Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Melkman Always Rings Twice
2007-09-22 20:17
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

I arrived at Yankee Stadium at 9:30 on Saturday morning and left shortly after 4. The Yankees were trailing the Blue Jays 3-2 at the time. I took a gypsy cab back to my apartment, took a shower, and hung out with Emily for about a half-an-hour. I saw the Yankees score four runs in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by Alex Rodriguez's two-run, bases loaded double. Then I saw them give it back in the top of the seventh as the Jays hit pay dirt with a flurry of bloop hits. Kyle Farnsworth was looming. I was Audi 5000.

I was off to a cocktail party that kicked off the Jose Feliciano/Bernie Williams concert at the Utopia Loews Paradise Theater on the Grand Concourse. In truth, I was going to see Ray Negron and the short play he was putting on to start the show. Negron is a special advisor to George Steinbrenner who wrote a children's book last year, "The Boy of Steel." He recruited Cathy Moriarty, Jose Guzman, Michael Kay, Scott Clark and Darryl Strawberry to appear in the show. Ray has been a bat boy, Reggie Jackson's gopher, an actor, an agent--he's just about done everything, and he's hustled a career for himself in the game. He takes sick kids on his own personal Stadium tour, he translates for the young Spanish ballplayers with little Enlgish, like Melky Cabrera. Ray seems to know everybody and he's always on the move.

I waited twenty minutes for the wack-ass BX 1 bus, called Em and said, "Did he give up any runs yet?" "Yes, two." Farnsworth! I figured as much. I couldn't wait any longer so I hopped in another gypsy cab. My driver didn't speak a lick of English but he had the game on. I tried to discern what was happening but couldn't make out who was up or what was going on. So the driver changed the station to WABC where NY Post columnist Joel Sherman was sitting in for S. Waldman. Just as we arrived on the Grand Concourse, Melky Cabrera slapped a two-out, two-run single to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. Cabrera had entered the game in a 3-38 slump.

Fifteen minutes later, I was sitting in the balcony of the Upotia paradise talking to a woman who used to come to theater as a kid. The Loews Paradise is a lavish, ornate throwback to the grand old movie houses that existed when my dad was a kid in New York. It's the Bronx's answer to Radio City Music Hall. I can safely say I've never seen anything like it. I truly felt as if I was in another era.

A kid working the door suddenly announced, "A Rod got a double, he's on second with two out, Matsui is up." Moments later he shook his head and removed his earphones. Matsui made the third out.

I walked upstairs, marvelling at the old relic of a building, and overheard Darryl Strawberry talking to reporters. I called my wife. "What's going on?" "One man out, one man on, Karstens is pitching." I asked her to announce the at-bat to me. Which she did happily, but without much flair. I had to keep reminding her to tell me what was happening. "Oh, those pesky Blue Jays," she said. I agreed that Blue Jays are indeed a pain in the neck. Then my wife started telling me a story she read in the new National Geographic about how woodpeckers don't get headaches. There were now two outs and I patiently listened to Emily's anecdote and then asked what it had to do with the game. "Oh, well, we were talking about how nasty Blue Jays are and that got me to thinking about the Cardinals, and birds, and then woodpeckers."

Right, honey. What's happening? "He got the third out."

"I love you, I'll call you back."

When I did call again, less than ten minutes later, I was standing outside of the theater, with a good-sized crowd of people. It was hot and unseasonably humid. "They won," my wife said. "Melkowitz got the winning hit."

Yanks 12, Jays 11. Gametime: five hours.

I got off the phone and a few minutes later saw Ray rushing to his car. It was almost 8 o'clock. "Ray, where are you going?" I called out. "I have to go down and translate for Melky." Ten minutes before his show and he's got to go to work. (Ray was back in less than twenty minutes. "Three questions, that's all," he told me later.)

Melky also had an assist to end the top of the 10th inning. A banner day for the Yankee center fielder. Oh, and with four hits (two doubles), and three RBI, it was a nice afternoon for Alex Rodriguez too. Matsui and Posada each had three hits, Derek Jeter added two. After losing a close one on Friday night, this was an enormous win for the Yankees. It was a strange game, with a lot of lead changes, another long game. But a necessary win for the Yankees, what with McGowan and Burnett pitching the next two days. Even better, the Tigers lost tonight, cutting the Yankees' magic number to clinch a playoff spot down to three, which as everybody knows, is the magic number.

2007-09-22 21:14:15
1.   yankz
Might be the best post I've ever read here. Thanks, AB.

"Right, honey. What's happening?"

You're a lucky dude. My ex once got pissed off because I told her I'd call back during the '05 ALDS. She never really did get sports.

2007-09-22 21:25:37
2.   BklynBmr
0 Great headline, and nothing less than expected on just another evening out ;-)

From last night — Sterling: "Deep center, over Melky's head, Stairs' rounding third, he'll score. Wait. Here comes the throw...

2007-09-22 22:16:54
3.   JL25and3
2 To be fair to Sterling, as I was watching that play develop, it was clear to me that there was no way they were going to get Stairs at the plate. No chance, not possible, wasn't going to happen, no way.
2007-09-22 22:36:15
4.   Chyll Will
Melkowitz?? Ouch, and I thought RI was being mean >;)

That was a laborious game to watch on the TV, never mind actually being there (I feel bad for JL, who said the same thing I did), though I did discover a ritual that seemed pretty effective throughout. I hope it works for everyone else, since I'll probably be at Uncle Woodrow's all day tomorrow...

Bottom line, these guys need to rest as soon as possible (after clinching the PS) and so do I. g'nite zzzzz...

2007-09-22 22:46:36
5.   thelarmis
alex - i agree with the first two comments: i love your writing, esp. the human interest parts and what a fantastic title to this post! kudos. i cracked up at the woodpecker part - hilarious. thanks for that.

and thanks to the yanks for winning! i know it doesn't mean a whole heckuva lot, but i would really like the division. 3 is my very favorite number and it's definitely magic. earliest to clinch is monday afternoon. nice way to kick off a week.

let's go yan-kees!!!

off to last call...

2007-09-23 00:09:30
6.   SF Yanks
Awesome right up Alex! Like thelarmis said, I highly enjoy the mixture of real life and sports.

For all the suckiness that is Farnsworthabsolutelynothing, I can't figure out why his ERA is only 4.98. I would of thought it would have been about 25.87 by now, but sub 5?? Weird.

So if Moose has a bad (really bad) game today, does that mean he gets the boot from starting in the playoffs? I guess he would get one more start in before either way. But if he has a bad game and Kennedy has a good one, you have to think IPK is the favorite going in no? Especially if Moose has two bad starts before the playoffs. Anyways, just thinkin random thoughts.

2007-09-23 05:28:28
7.   willdthrill
Yo Alex,

The BX1 bus is pretty wack-assed. It takes it about an hour and a half to get from Riverdale Ave in the Bronx to the Stadium. It's almost easier to take the subway to downtown and come back uptown and get to the stadium in about half the time. And if Utopia Loews Paradise is the theatre I think it is, I sure hope they fixed the place up since I was there last. The place smelled like day-old urine and had seen its better days... then again. it didn't help that my friend and I went there and paid good money to watch a Judd Nelson movie at the time...

2007-09-23 05:59:21
8.   Sliced Bread
Woodpeckers don't get headaches, but Farnspeckers give 'em. All the stuff ya gotta know about boids is in yer National Geographic.

Great stuff, Alex.

Melky Cabrera. 4th outfielder, my ass.

2007-09-23 06:42:32
9.   weeping for brunnhilde
I just have to say, Alex, you and Emily are adorable. You can pass on to her from me that woodpeckers not getting headaches association is eminently sensible.

Hold on to that dame, ok?

2007-09-23 07:07:57
10.   Sliced Bread
I called it. Right here at the Bronx Banter. Back in June, I believe. (look it up if you must). Cubs to offer A-Rod a piece of the team to end his career there.

New York Magazine reports Boras is pursuing such a deal.

I seriously doubt my post here gave Boras the Cubbie idea, so don't blame me if it happens.

2007-09-23 07:16:27
11.   weeping for brunnhilde
10 Booooo, hisssssssss!
2007-09-23 07:18:43
12.   Sliced Bread
7/11/07 - Bronx Banter

128. Sliced Bread
By the time Boras The Spider is done spinning his magic web, A-Rod will own the Chicago Cubs. That's where I see this thing headed.

147. Sliced Bread
132 I was half-kidding when I posted 128 but in the light of day it's not as crazy as I initially thought.

A-Rod as an owner/player of the Chicago Cubs? Why not? He and Boras could easily scratch up an investment group and a hefty down payment.

And who needs WGN when you can have "A-Rod TV" 24/7? "Cubbieography" and all that.

Boras is thinking BIG. Bill Gates BIG. You could hear it in his voice on the radio the other day.

$30 million per and a monument at the new "House That A-Rod Built" would be nice -- but not as nice, nice, very nice as OWNING THE CHICAGO CUBS.

2007-09-23 07:24:00
13.   rsmith51
With a bunch of bilingual players, it seems weird that they would need Ray the night of his show, if at all.

I liked the post, though! I can see my wife getting side-tracked like that, too.

10 I thought players couldn't have a stake in the team(ala Jordan and the Bullets, er Wizards). It seems like if it was possible, teams would have already done it as it doesn't cost them anything except part of their profit when they sell the team.

2007-09-23 07:28:42
14.   Sliced Bread
13 Not sure if it's ever been tested.

My thinking was more that Boras would lead an investment group including A-Rod to purchase the club.

NY Mag is reporting a different scenario.

2007-09-23 07:28:59
15.   mehmattski
Also, if that story is actually true, Scott Boras and the Cubs are in major major trouble for tampering.
2007-09-23 07:38:00
16.   rsmith51
Wouldn't an agent owning a team be a big problem as well?
2007-09-23 07:41:08
17.   Sliced Bread
16 Jeff Moorad, minority owner managing partner of the Diamondbacks.

I think it was during the last Yanks Diamondbacks series when the thought of Boras and A-Rod purchasing the Cubs occurred to me.

2007-09-23 07:56:16
18.   rsmith51
17 Ok, that seems like a conflict of interests. I guess if they don't participate in the day to day operations, it doesn't matter.
2007-09-23 08:28:48
19.   fansince77
Is AROD irreplacable? absolutely. Will the Yankee legacy die without him? no. Could AROD's potential legacy die without the Yankees? absolutely. If AROD wants to leave he will and there is nothing we can do about it. He will once again be a giant fish in medium sized ponds. He'll be a first ballot HOF'er. But he won't be cemented in baseball lore. He won't be what people talking about 100 years from now.
2007-09-23 08:44:26
20.   thurmtheman
17 I believe Moorad no longer represents any players as a condition of his becoming a part owner because it is a conflict of interest.
2007-09-23 08:44:51
21.   fansince77
sorry "irreplaceable"- see can't even say it.
2007-09-23 08:47:01
22.   joe in boston
Gotta keep AROD - without him this year, we're not even close.

Great headline - great summary as usual -

Check out this Schilling video - it will make your day ....

2007-09-23 08:53:34
23.   OldYanksFan
I confess that the idea of ARod leaving the Yanks scares, depresses and infuriates me. A quote from the Post:

"According to the magazine, Boras is peddling a Second City deal that could go for an average of $30 million a year over 10 seasons, with much of that cash backloaded for the 32-year-old Rodriguez - who would then be given the right to buy a chunk of the Cubs at the contract's conclusion. The report does not indicate who would pay for this proposed, precedent-setting deal."

First: If 10yrs/$250m was nuts when ARod was 25, is someone REALLY going to offer him 10yrs/$300m when he's 32? I love ARod, but he ain't worth $300m... its just too much.

However, they offered him the right to buy stock AFTER his contract is up. If there is a 'conflict of interest' rule, this might be a sleazy way of getting around it.

However, after a $300m contact, added to the $200m he has alreay made, couldn't ARod buy stock on his own? Are they just offering it at a special price?

Hell, Forbes says the Marlins are worth $226m+/-. ARod can buy 51% of them now, and the other half after he gets his next contract.

The Yanks are worth over 1 billion. How about George throws ARod 7yrs/$200 and 2.5% of the Yankees (a mere 25m, but who's counting)

ARod will have enough money to do whatever he wants. I can't see these deals as that viable. What will affect ARods choice is most likely where he and his wife WANTS to live, where a team has a reasonable shot at the PS, and maybe were the stadium is condusive to HRs.

Actually, ARod would be a God in Boston and hit 60 HRs in Fenway easily. My fear is Boston will get him. And then he will post a 2.327 OPS in the post season, against US!

2007-09-23 08:55:16
24.   JeremyM
19 I don't know, if he could somehow (big if) lead the Cubs to win the Series, that would be pretty big. And plus, he'll hit them out by the caseload at Wrigley. 800 would be a lot easier for him.

This is the first time I've felt that he might actually leave.

As far as the ownership stake, Cheney gets all of his Halliburton stock back when he's done "serving", if I'm not mistaken (though I probably am...)

2007-09-23 09:01:20
25.   Sliced Bread
20 Perhaps Boras has more than a little Steinbrenner in him, and would give up the agent thing to become an owner.
He's made a ton of money as an agent, and perhaps the prestige and challenges of owning a ML franchise are enticing to him.
Who knows?
It's all speculation at this point.
2007-09-23 09:02:40
26.   JeremyM
Although I have to agree, the 10-years at 30 million sounds ridiculous.
2007-09-23 09:14:17
27.   OldYanksFan
The ESPN game tonight is Houston/St. Louis.
That's 2 teams who are both eliminated from the PS, and who both have records well below .500.
WHY televise this game?
2007-09-23 09:56:32
28.   Simone
The Yankees would be crazy would give Alex Rodriguez $30 million for 10 years, period. Pure craziness. If the Red Sox want to give him that contract, then let him go play there. I don't blame Alex if him takes that deal from another team or if he goes for an ownership stake in the Cubs because that is how you accumulate and maintain wealth.
2007-09-23 10:02:24
29.   Simone
23 Steinbrenner would be a fool to give Alex an ownership stake in the Yankees. It is primary source of his wealth. He already has several minority owners. Why on earth would he want more? He would be giving away part of his wealth when he is in the process of preparing to pass on his wealth to his family after his death.
2007-09-23 10:11:24
30.   C2Coke
How do you do that, Alex? Engaging your readers like this? Such a great read, thanks a lot.
2007-09-23 10:16:42
31.   fansince77
So what about our chances at the division? I know it's not high priority # 1 but...if we can gain 1 game on Sox in this series...I say with the respective schedules of both teams- we will win the division. If we don't get to 1 1/2 before Tuesday- wildcard.
2007-09-23 10:20:35
32.   fansince77
Oh snap...Moose looks pinpoint early!
2007-09-23 10:32:54
33.   OldYanksFan
28 Simone... At 2.5% he would be giving away $25m... to a player he would already have given $250m to! It would be a token move, but might have appeal to ARod. Hell... the $30m that Texas would pay to a continued contract is more!
2007-09-23 10:40:57
34.   OldYanksFan
31 With 8 games left (including today), we would do well to go 6-2. The Sox would have to go 3-4. With so few games left, it's theirs to lose, more then our's to win.

If we sweep, Sox have to go 5-2.
Short of amazing pitching and blowouts, in order to sweep we would probably have to use MoJobaViz pretty hard.

Possible but highly improbable.
We can now sit Shiva for any 2 games we had in the bag, and then blew.

2007-09-23 12:38:55
35.   cult of basebaal
what no love for me for the Postman nod in yesterday's game thread??? #458???



and actually, i think i would have gone with Our Melkman always rings thrice, since he did have 3 huge consecutive run scoring singles ...

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