Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Talk of the Town
2008-05-04 06:45
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Oooh, two in a row. Whadda ya say we make it an even three? 

Bronx Banter: Arthur Avenue

Emily and I stopped by New York's real Little Italy on Saturday afternoon after hanging out at the Botanical Gardens for a few hours.  Arthur Avenue feels like a movie set--it's a small neighborhood and it is filled with little old Italian ladies dressed in black, handsome men wearing too much cologne, middle aged women with tin foil in their hair standing outside the beauty parlor smoking, fat guys with jump suits and lots of gold jewelry, and the sound of Italian being spoken.  Everyone seems to be straight from Central Casting.  It is one of those places that makes me grateful to be a New Yorker.  Just to know it is there makes me feel better about the world.  When I'm there I feel as if I've died and gone to heaven.    

The bakeries are good but the butchers are better.  I always go to Borgatti's for fresh pasta (Their ravioli is amazing but today I got spinach pasta instead). A guy on line behind us told Em he comes all the way from Brooklyn to get his pasta there.  There are a lot of Italians in Brooklyn, so that's saying something. 

But my favorite place is the indoor market--the guys making cigars, the vegetable stand, the pizza shop in the back that is tremendous.  I especially love the pork sausage dudes, who feed you slivers of cold cuts and small chunks of cheese and say mangia, mangia.  After giving me a taste of romano cheese today, the guy helping me pounded his chest once with his fist and said, "I'm gunna need a rolaids soon."

Em and I had a slice of pizza and I got a couple of few things, nothing crazy--some dried and fresh pasta, romano cheese, a bag of dried oregano, a hunk of pancetta

Here's a look.




We didn't stop for canolis, but man, I love this stuff (not that we got any, but that doesn't mean I can't look...and drool).


   Mangia, mangia!

And, Let's Go Yan-Kees!

Comments (98)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-05-04 07:07:45
1.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
Man, you're killing me..impossible to get real good Italian here unless you pay $150 for dinner...and it still ain't as good as what I grew up with in Brooklyn!

Great job against King Felix this morning, let's go for the sweep boys!

2008-05-04 08:27:05
2.   3rd gen yankee fan
mmmmmmm... man when I came to KC from Texas I figured ok, I gotta find an Italian deli fast to get some nourishment for my soul, and Columbus Park used to be the center of action for Italians here. Even got the fire hydrants painted red white & green. So I visit some places and they just sell sandwiches, no bread, no cold cuts, what kind of an Italian deli is that! I tell them that I'm looking for the kind of place where the salami is hanging from the ceiling. One guy told me, "Nah, the Health Department would probably shut you down for that." What!
2008-05-04 08:47:58
3.   Jeb
That looks incredible, Alex. I wanted to go to Arthur Avenue in 2006 when I saw the Yanks, but never made it there. The wife and I are flying up there for 2 games against the Reds in June. Between all the museums she's got me going to, we need to get up to the Real Little Italy.
2008-05-04 08:53:17
4.   Chien Music
Same problem here in Oregon. So hard to find real good Italian food. Pete Abe reports that IPK has been demoted to Scranton to make room for Rasner.
2008-05-04 09:07:40
5.   tommyl
IPK has been sent down. So much for the youth movement, sigh.
2008-05-04 09:17:39
6.   Jeb
Alex - I've been looking at the MTA website. From Yankee Stadium do you take the B/D train and get off at Fordham Road to get to Arthur Avenue?
2008-05-04 09:43:39
7.   DarrenF
I was eating at Hill Country recently and discussed baseball and hanger steaks in-depth with some new friends. In-depth as in, "Yes, I know Willie Randolph has an abysmal postseason batting average" and "As a matter of fact, I visited Lobel's a few weeks ago."

Is it just me, or are baseball aficionados also food aficionados and music aficionados?

Maybe it's just me.

That sounds elitist, I suppose.

In any case, great post, Alex.

2008-05-04 09:44:24
8.   Jeb
5 that's probably better than having him sit for 10 days and/or be a long man out of the pen. He's got options. He needs to work out his problems in AAA and come back later this month.

Meanwhile, the rotation appears to be Wang, Pettitte, Moose and Rasner (as #4 unless he implodes too). Who's going to be our 5th starter? Please tell me that it won't be Kei Igawa!! I'd rather give Alan Horne a crack in 10 days

2008-05-04 09:47:12
9.   Bags
Arthur Avenue is the best place in the world. I see you went to Mike's Deli, Alex. Love that place...
2008-05-04 09:50:50
10.   Jeb
In looking at Scranton's pitching stats, it's either going to be Igawa, Steven White, or Horne joining Rasner. I would really prefer Horne even though I realize he's not on the 40 man roster. Surely they can work around that issue and add him if he's ready. Has Horne pitched since his injury?
2008-05-04 09:59:51
11.   ny2ca2dc
10 I don't think Horne has pitched since the injury. And, honestly, with all the rushing of pitching prospects, I'd really just suffer thru a (GASP!) Igawa start or three than bounce the kids around. Rasner has been knocking at the door, and he's still a reasonable prospect(ish), at least. Let Horne have at least half a season at AAA before he bears the weight of the Yankee Universe. For this year, I actually prefer him as a bullpen prospect to replace Joba later in the season.
2008-05-04 10:07:19
12.   Simone
Bad news about Kennedy being sent down. I wish the Yankees would have stuck it out with Kennedy. Oh well, I hope we see him again soon.
2008-05-04 10:09:20
13.   quacks25
question: Why was Kennedy sent down? Wasn`t Rasner brought up in replace for Hughes?
2008-05-04 10:09:52
14.   Jeb
11 that's not a bad thought. Igawa really does suck though. If he lived in China they'd leave him outside to die of exposure.
2008-05-04 10:11:49
15.   Jeb
2008-05-04 10:13:02
16.   3rd gen yankee fan
Oi Jeb, just oi.
2008-05-04 10:13:48
17.   Jeb
oi re: which comment?
2008-05-04 10:16:13
18.   3rd gen yankee fan
17 15. hee hee
2008-05-04 10:16:53
19.   weeping for brunnhilde
Beautiful, Alex, thank you.

Hey, that reminds me, I thought of you (and the rest of yous BB crew) the other day. I was in Park Slope and saw some kids playing kickball right there on the sidewalk.

I stopped to watch, lost in the moment, thinking that the stickball tradition lives on and how beautiful that is.

When I moved to the Slope in 1995, there was a lot more of that demographic (black/hispanic middle/working class kids playing in the street). It was like Sesame St.

I guess what struck me is how this old time Brooklyn is being squeezed out by the newcomers.

One of the girls playing nearly kicked the ball onto the roof of a brownstone and I nearly called out, "Careful of the roof, there, kids!"

Happy times, long live NY.

2008-05-04 10:17:01
20.   OldYanksFan
I guess Raz is not the answer. Sorry to see IPK go dwon. Hopefully he will be up again shortly. Is it a minimum 10 day stay in Scranton?
2008-05-04 10:17:36
21.   Jeb
18 granted it's also Ted Lilly's jersey.
2008-05-04 10:17:43
22.   OldYanksFan
This guy doesn't walk many, so look forward to early hacks from the Jankees.
2008-05-04 10:18:38
23.   Jeb
20 one mistake. He's looked okay otherwise. If he goes another 5 with only 1 more run he'll be servicable.
2008-05-04 10:19:41
24.   quacks25
Ill try again:
anyone know why it makes sense that Kennedy was sent down Now we only have 4 starters?
2008-05-04 10:20:27
25.   Jeb
c'mon Godzilla....let's take that lead back..
2008-05-04 10:21:07
26.   OldYanksFan
Jeez... it really looks like the days of Jeter driving the ball are gone. He hit one well yesterday, but they are few and far between. A singles hitter with bad D at SS, for $20m a year... for 3 more years after this one? OY!
2008-05-04 10:21:34
27.   Jeb
24 he wasn't going to pitch again for 8 to 10 days b/c they're skipping a start. He's pitched like absolute shit and I think they finally decided he needed to be successful to get his confidence back.
2008-05-04 10:23:31
28.   Jeb
Mr.Uncompromising gets ready to hit into the shift.
2008-05-04 10:24:25
29.   OldYanksFan
This little Iggy went to market,
This little Iggy stayed at home,
This little Iggy had roast beef,
This little Iggy had none.
And this little Iggy went
"Wee wee wee" all the way back to MLB.
2008-05-04 10:27:18
30.   Jeb
29 haha
2008-05-04 10:29:20
31.   Jeb

This little Giambi can't hit
This little Giambi gets the shifts
This little Giambi can't field
This little Giambi kills rallies
This little Giambi starts every game
And this little Giambi is 2-44 with RISP

(Yeah I can't rhyme but it's all true)

2008-05-04 10:31:54
32.   3rd gen yankee fan
LOL, you guys and Murcer today...
2008-05-04 10:33:50
33.   3rd gen yankee fan
I got a rhyme:

Oh NO, not Cano

2008-05-04 10:36:52
34.   Jeb
we're making Silva look good today.
2008-05-04 10:39:40
35.   OldYanksFan
31 Look, I'm a Giambi fan and I confess I am getting ready to give up on him. But the truth is Jeter is a very poor fielding SS and has the same (bad) OPS, and hasn't hit as many hard outs as Giambi. But we know Jetes is valuable and will get better. Cano's OPS is .250 pts lower then Giambi's, but he is an excellent fielder and we KNOW he's a stud hitter.

The point is we KNOW Jetes and Cano WILL hit better. We KNOW they are in slumps. With Giambi we DON'T know. He may be done, but he may not. The truth is this team NEEDS a Good Jason, so I think we need to ride him out abit longer and HOPE he has something left.

His conditioning and ST told us he should be decent. I'm just hoping he ain't done and will be productive with the bat.

2008-05-04 10:43:58
36.   Jeb
good hustle by chad moeller there.
2008-05-04 10:46:43
37.   Jeb
35 I'm rooting for him, but I am horribly frustrated. I guess he CAN'T go opposite field which is why he won't change.
2008-05-04 10:52:40
38.   Jeb
let's go steal second...
2008-05-04 10:53:55
39.   OldYanksFan
37 He can't on grounders, but everyone is pitching him inside. He has gone the other way in the air a numbers of times, but only on outside pitches. Frankly, it is Girardi's responsibility to have Jason bunt during BP for 2 weeks and then call for it in a game. If Girardi isn't going to mandate it, Jason ain't gonna do it.
2008-05-04 10:54:36
40.   Jeb
39 Kevin Long needs to help him adjust
2008-05-04 10:55:26
41.   Jeb
Hey oldyanksfan, looks like it's just the too of us. how long you been a fan?
2008-05-04 10:56:10
42.   Jeb
two not too --- duh on me
2008-05-04 10:57:08
43.   OldYanksFan
Since 1965. I remember all the darkest days very well, which helps to have perspective on our current 'dark days'.
2008-05-04 10:57:08
44.   OldYanksFan
Since 1965. I remember all the darkest days very well, which helps to have perspective on our current 'dark days'.
2008-05-04 10:57:57
45.   Jeb
WOO HOO! No station to station on that one with Damon running....The Captain has set this one up...NOW steal 2nd Derek and let Abreu and Matsui get you guys in.
2008-05-04 10:59:30
46.   Jeb
43 WOW. My first year was October 1977. The Gym coach where I lived in Virginia required that everyone pick a team in the WS and each day the loser had to do jumping jacks while the winners sat out. I picked the Yankees because I'd "heard" of them. I was only 10 and my family weren't sports fans. I suffered through the 80's mightily.
2008-05-04 11:01:10
47.   Jeb
yeah....tie game with 2nd and 3rd. Now with Giambi doing what he LOVES to do (hitting into the shift) we take a 3-2 lead.
2008-05-04 11:02:11
48.   OldYanksFan
I saw then go from the WS (BEFORE I started following them in '64), to 6th place, to 10th place. I mean, most people here don't know what ugly really is!
2008-05-04 11:02:27
49.   Jeb
Giambi goes opposite field! And Ibanez makes like Sandy Amoros or Al Gionfriddo on that one.
2008-05-04 11:02:49
50.   rsmith51
Should Hideki have tagged up?
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-05-04 11:03:07
51.   OldYanksFan
Well Giambi.... better then nothing!
2008-05-04 11:03:54
52.   OldYanksFan
50 He didn't! MY GOD!
2008-05-04 11:04:30
53.   Jeb
2008-05-04 11:04:45
54.   ny2ca2dc
Melky sucks. He'll never hit for any power.
2008-05-04 11:05:13
55.   OldYanksFan
(We don't need no stinkin' Santana!)
2008-05-04 11:05:39
56.   Jeb
52 50 He was at 2nd, caught by the left fielder. That's a little borderline with his knees.
2008-05-04 11:05:56
57.   OldYanksFan
2008-05-04 11:06:33
58.   bobtaco
Wasn't there something Mattingly-esque about the way Melky turned on that inside pitch?

and Cano, nice!

2008-05-04 11:06:37
59.   Just fair
It would be incredibile and maybe a tad depressing if Melky becomes the one player everyone is ecstatic about not trading a few years donw the road. Hey Robbie, thatta boy.
2008-05-04 11:07:32
60.   rsmith51
Good analysis by O'Neill!
2008-05-04 11:08:26
61.   Jeb
Robby Cano, don't ya know!!
2008-05-04 11:08:31
62.   ny2ca2dc
Not sure that's going to help with Cano's slump, but at least it ought to help his confidence. Oh, and it should help with, uh, winning today.
2008-05-04 11:09:03
63.   bobtaco
59 Repeat after me until you feel better, Hughes is 21. Hughes is 21...
2008-05-04 11:09:35
64.   Jeb
57 you don't like sterlingisms?
2008-05-04 11:10:19
65.   ny2ca2dc
59 I'd be fine with that, as long as it's because he turns into Bernie Williams.
2008-05-04 11:10:48
66.   OldYanksFan
59 He won't be the ONLY one. But a number of 'fans' considered Melky a throwaway. It would be real nice if he turns into a quality CFer, and will just make the Santana deal or the more worse. (All the more worse? Is that English?)
2008-05-04 11:11:15
67.   OldYanksFan
2008-05-04 11:11:41
68.   Jeb
gotta love that crooked number. I really like Giambi's opposite field smash (even though it was a long out) even better than Melk's or Cano's homers.
2008-05-04 11:16:52
69.   OldYanksFan
Maybe Raz IS the answer?
2008-05-04 11:17:50
70.   Just fair
I know it's early, of course, but Melky's start to 08 is not too shabby. There were lots of folks banging the "he'll never have any power" drum this winter.
2008-05-04 11:18:31
71.   ny2ca2dc
Wow, those Kennedy quotes do make it seem IPK is down on himself. Sure seems like he needs to get his head straight. Poor kid, I think (hope) he'll be OK.
2008-05-04 11:20:59
72.   Jeb
I like how Rasner pitched out of trouble. If he can go 6 today, that would make 3 in a row. 7 would be a dream.
2008-05-04 11:21:09
73.   Just fair
4+ from someone other that Wang, Moose, or Pettitte. Hallelujah.
2008-05-04 11:21:56
74.   ny2ca2dc
Hopefully the hitters will keep pouring it on, so Raz can get the opportunity to get deep without worry. Though with the ninety relievers, those guys gotta get work!
2008-05-04 11:26:54
75.   OldYanksFan
70 My issue with Melky was not power, as that is always the last to develope and can be helped with conditioning/weight lifting. My concern was plate disipline and OBP. I would also like to see him improve his routes in CF.

Melk's current OBP is .363. His SLG is better then expected. I think he needs to maintain a .370ish OBP throughout his career in order to really be effective.

2008-05-04 11:31:48
76.   OldYanksFan
Thursday night, we were looking at a 3 game losing streak with Bedard, King Felix and Razner over the next 3 days. It was looking a little bleak, and like a potential black hole.

Man... it's amazing how a few wins can change your outlook. With Joba and Mo available, I gotta feel pretty good about this weekend.

Now lets hope Kazmir can help us out.

2008-05-04 11:33:54
77.   OldYanksFan
Is it Farnsproof yet?
2008-05-04 11:38:51
78.   bobtaco
I hope Melky doesn't try to hit everything out now... that AB sucked.
2008-05-04 11:39:07
79.   OldYanksFan
Kazmir gets out of a jam. TB up 1-0 after 2. Lester for the Sox. DAVID ORTIZ WAS SCRATCHED FROM THE STARTING LINEUP DUE TO SORENESS IN HIS RIGHT KNEE.
2008-05-04 11:42:39
80.   OldYanksFan
Detroit with 6 runs in the first. I guess they is woken up.
2008-05-04 11:55:28
81.   Shaun P
Rasner: 67 pitches through 5 innings = less than 14 pitches/inning.

If Rasner can throw strikes, there's no reason IPK (and Hughes, once he's healed), won't be back and throwing strikes themselves.

2008-05-04 11:59:01
82.   OldYanksFan
Can we simply agree that Matsui should never be in LF, as opposed to JD?
2008-05-04 12:00:12
83.   OldYanksFan
Wow. High Quality start for the Raz.
2008-05-04 12:02:55
84.   ny2ca2dc
79 Huh? Ya got it reversed, TB was DOWN 0-1. Now after 3 full, Kazmir is up to 75ish pitches, and it's 3-0 Boston.
2008-05-04 12:04:33
85.   JeremyM
Off topic, but what a strange series the Hawks-Celtics turned out to be.
2008-05-04 12:04:51
86.   Shaun P
Admittedly, Seattle's offense sucks.

10th in the AL in runs score/game.
11th in the AL in EQR (runs adjusted for park effects etc).
10th in the AL in hitter VORP.
9th in EqA (also adjusted for park effects!)

And the pitching isn't much better.

6th in the AL in runs allowed/game.
BUT 9th in the AL in EQR allowed/game.
9th in the AL in pitcher VORP.
12th in defensive efficiency.

This is what the Yanks should be doing to such teams - destroying them for 3 games in a row.

2008-05-04 12:07:17
87.   Shaun P
85 Two words:

Doc Rivers.

Of course, today they seemed to have remembered how to play defense properly . . . IIRC, by some advanced metric, the '07-'08 Celtics were the 3rd best defensive team of all time.

2008-05-04 12:21:44
88.   rsmith51
Hughes and Kennedy are probably thinking that they wish they could face Seattle's lineup.

That said, I would leave Rasner in the rotation as long as he provides league average or better starts.

2008-05-04 12:25:07
89.   OldYanksFan
84 I didn't do that stuff when I was just 'YanksFan'....
2008-05-04 12:48:09
90.   Zack
88 Well, with Hughes gone till July or later, that shouldn't be a problem.

I'm pissed about Kennedy and the thought of Igawa makes me throw up a little every time. I just hope that they actually work with him down there and don't just let him do well against AAA kids without really fixing anything, have him come back up and face the same problems....

2008-05-04 13:00:09
91.   Shaun P
90 I'm guessing they have been working with IPK in the bigs, but this might help his confidence a bit.

I hope that they call up a 5th starter, because as of right now, I'm going to Thursday's game, and I had my heart set on seeing Wang.

And, Igawa would slot into IPK's Wednesday start, and the Indians do NOT hit LHP. Only 2 of their guys have OPSs over .782 vs LHP. Better he faces Cleveland than Detroit. More than half of Detroit's lineup has OPSs over .833 vs LHP.

2008-05-04 13:01:04
92.   Eirias
Good win. One question though; why was Matsui replaced? He was only DHing, so it was not a defensive substitution.
2008-05-04 13:06:05
93.   Shaun P
Oh, and I imagine the reason IPK was sent down instead of one of the extra relievers was to have as many expendable hands available today as possible in case Rasner got into trouble.

The crazy thing is, no matter when Veras/Edwar/Britton gets sent down for Igawa, the Yanks will still be carrying a 13-man staff and thus a 3-man bench. If any offense can survive this, its this one, but the Yanks can't afford for any other position players to get hurt.

2008-05-04 15:13:38
94.   horace-clarke-era
That was one of those 'get a team while they are a mess' sweeps. You need to pound in those situations and we more or less did, but we'll see if it has legs soon enough. Rasner looked just fine as a #4 ... and his AAA #s suggest it isn't a fluke. HE's still young too. Not kidlet young ... and that may be part of the point.

OYF, with respect, think you are expecting too much of Melky's minimum OBP. If you put it at .370+for 'effective' you are close to Damon at his best levels ... and JD's career is well below that (.354 as of now, and THIS year at .394 is his highest ever so far! Da Mon.).

I think Melky's plate control is well ahead of Cano's at this point (even without Robbie's spring slumps) and if power's arriving on schedule towards 20 hrs we can legitimately jump on this bandwagon ... his outfield routes WILL improve. Somewhere in the spring he'll have ONE season at CF in the majors. If he holds at .350-.360 and plays solid D with some pop ... he's a big league CF. We were horribly spoiled by Bernie who had EIGHT years above .390 IN A ROW.

In fact, brief pause to remember just HOW good he was.

89 Them was the days ... very funny.

2008-05-04 16:01:21
95.   Mattpat11
91 I imagine the public demotion in favor of Kei Igawa did wonders for his confidence.
2008-05-04 16:06:57
96.   RIYank
Hey, jeb and OYF, good job holding down the fort.

I think I've been away from Bx Banter for three games (checking in at the end of the games). Maybe I should keep that streak going...

2008-05-05 08:01:28
97.   Schteeve
75 Dude, I used to be one of those "you're kidding, right?" guys when it came to Melky, but I'm starting to believe in him. Yeah, his .360 OBP is a little sub par BUT, he's 23. If he has 3.5 years til his peak, don't you think it's reasonable that he'll notch that OBP up to .380 ish? I do. And the power is coming. And yeah, maybe he takes weird routes sometimes, but so do most OF. His arm and speed make him a way better OF than anyone else on the team. He's legitimately and exciting player, because he's turned out to be more than I expected. Which is refreshing, given what happened with Hughes and IPK last month.
2008-05-05 18:18:51
98.   Jeb
96 thanks--sorry to be so late on the thank you.

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