Tag:Mickey Mantle
Posted on: May 2, 2011 4:49 pm
 

The Yankees, the Mick, Paul Simon and DiMaggio

Where have you gone, Mickey Mantle?

Doesn't have the quite the same ring as Joe DiMaggio, does it?

Yet the interesting thing about Paul Simon's classic song, Mrs. Robinson, is that the singer's favorite player was Mantle.

Catching up on some reading over the weekend, I came across Nicholas Dawidoff's excellent feature on Simon in Rolling Stone magazine and found a very entertaining anecdote about Simon, his love for baseball and the classic song from The Graduate.

Here it is, from Dawidoff, the author and former Sports Illustrated writer, who obviously spent much time with Simon while reporting the story:

"Near the entrance to Simon's office, there are several framed pictures of baseball players, among them Jackie Robinson, the Negro Leagues star Buck O'Neil, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and a fleet of other New York Yankees.

"I like baseball," he says. "Probably my favorite thing. When it comes to the end of life, I'll say it was baseball and music. That'll be it."

What Simon savors most about the sport is line drive.

"That feeling of the ball hitting the bat so perfectly, you don't feel it," he says. "It's like writing a great line. You don't even feel it. You think, Ahhh! It's perfectly concise. Anybody who has not experienced it can't understand."

His favorite player was Mantle, who, when he met Simon, wanted to know why, if that was the case, DiMaggio was the one Simon had immortalized in song. Simon explained about syllables, how it helps when they glide along for awhile. When Simon encountered DiMaggio in an Italian restaurant, the Yankee Clipper also had questions:

"What does that mean -- Where have you gone?"

He let Simon know he hadn't gone anywhere. He was doing ads for Mr. Coffee. Simon told DiMaggio about the potency of vanishing heroes. As for the line itself, how it came to him at age 26, all Simon has ever been able to say is, "I don't know where it came from, but all of a sudden it was there."

You can read the entire Simon piece at RollingStone.com by gaining access to their digital archive here. It's great stuff. Simon's new CD, So Beautiful or So What, is getting rave reviews.

Likes: If you haven't read it yet, Jane Leavy's biography of Mickey Mantle, The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood, is the best thing I've read on one of America's icons. Very well done. ... Great day to be an American, today. Not just knocking off Osama bin Laden, but to do so in such breathtaking manner, with such a clean hit and no American injuries ... bravo, troops.

Dislikes: Aw, Simon should have been on the cover of Rolling Stone, not that goofy Steven Tyler.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
"Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you
"What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
"Joltin' Joe has left and gone away
"Hey hey hey"

-- Paul Simon, Mrs. Robinson

 

Posted on: April 27, 2011 7:32 pm
 

Chipper passes Mantle on RBI list

SAN DIEGO -- On one of the most routine plays in baseball, Chipper Jones moved past one of the most extraordinary players in the history of baseball.

Jones' first-inning ground ball to shortstop Wednesday sent Martin Prado home from third, and it changed the game's all-time RBI list for switch-hitters to look like this:

1. Eddie Murray, 1,917.

2. Jones, 1,510.

3. Mantle, 1,509.

One inning later, Jones clobbered a two-run triple to dead center during Atlanta's 7-0 blitzing of San Diego, sending him home from this 10-day trip to the West Coast with 1,512 RBI and some extra text messages from a set of sentimental parents.

When Jones' father taught him to switch-hit as a kid in Florida in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was Mantle's name he usually invoked.

"It's gratifying," Jones, who turned 39 Sunday, said as the Braves dressed to fly home Wednesday. "I look at the numbers as just going out and doing my job."

Jones said he never really paused long enough to consider the history of it all as those numbers were piling up. But now that it's impossible to avoid the height of those piles. ...

"When you grow up hearing about Mantle like I did, the reverence regarding him from my father ... to pass him, it's gratifying," Jones said.

"It's nice to see," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It seems like there's a new milestone every day."

This one, though, comes with an extra lump in the throat for Jones and the Braves.

"The guy's pretty good, from what I hear," pitcher Tim Hudson deadpanned. "He's had an amazing career. I've played with him for going on seven years now.

"When you play with him and see some of the names he's passed, and the names of some of the guys he's going to be passing ... you lose touch with how significant a career he's had because you play with him and he's your teammate, your friend.

"But when you stack him up against everyone, he's going to go down as one of the greats in the history of the game."

Hudson paused, then quipped: "Even though he is a big dork."

That Jones was in the lineup Wednesday was a mild -- albeit pleasant -- surprise for the Braves. Following his season-ending surgery last summer that could have ended his career, and following an intense rehabilitation in which he arrived in spring training ahead of schedule, the Braves figured that at the very least, Jones would not be able to play in day games following night games early in the season.

Yet here he was on a beautiful day in San Diego, not only in the lineup, but advancing on history.

"He came in today saying, 'I'm good,'" said Gonzalez, clearly thrilled.

Jones is hitting .289 with three homers and 21 RBI through 25 games this season.

"Everyone has been saying in the dugout, 'Every other game, they're throwing out a baseball'," he said. "I'm like, 'Guys, we're done for awhile."

Posted on: February 8, 2011 2:43 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 2:44 pm
 

Love Letters: The Spring is Almost Here edition

Last mail call before spring training. Now, doesn't THAT sound nice? ...

FROM: Bert L.
Re.: Red Sox, Brewers, Phillies reign over winter carnival

Your column with trades and teams making them was an absolute riot. Very funny and very factual. Being in South Florida, I loved the Hanley Ramirez bit about hustling and the A.J. Burnett bit about salt and snow trucks. Thanks for the well written and well thought out entertainment.

May need some sand to dump on Burnett as well as salt to make sure he's good and thawed for spring camp and beyond.

FROM: Alan

You'd really put A-1 on filet mignon? You're about as smart as a bag of hair.

Depends on who's cooking the filet mignon. If I'm grilling it, no need for A-1.

FROM: Alex B.
Re.: Contrite Joyce seeks new beginning after haunted winter

Mr. Joyce is an inspiration to me. He has taken the wave of anger head on, stoically endured it, preserving what I believe is the most beautiful thing about baseball: That it is about the controlling of chance, and ultimately about the human element of judgment. I may be alone in this, but I believe what happened in that game is the best argument against replay-officiating in baseball. The controversy of judgment and the finality of the moment has been the spice of our nation pastime since its beginnings. But honestly, I had stopped thinking about that game, and I assumed everyone else did too. I hope that's the case soon, but I will remain his fan. Thanks for writing the piece.

I think he made a lot of fans and, as I wrote, he put a human face on the umpiring profession. And some of those guys really need it.

FROM: Kurt K.

Hi Scott,

Very well written article on Joyce. It was really interesting to see what he has been up to recently. What a class act Joyce is. I am sorry that it had to happen to Armando Galarraga but I am actually glad it did happen. It just shows what true sportsmanship is all about and why baseball is so much classier than all other professional sports.

Another thing: When baseball sells seats to a World Series, the seats are actually there for the ticketholders.

FROM: John B.
Re.: Rangers can't let demand get old before dealing Young

How about this for a deal? Michael Young to the Mets for Carlos Beltran. Works for both teams, fills needs and clears problems. Could work!!!

I like your thinking but here's why it won't work: The Mets are not on Young's list of eight clubs to whom he will accept a trade. I don't see Young being interested in playing for the Mets. And Beltran has a full no-trade clause.

FROM: Frank D
Re.: Needing youth, quickness, Angels instead opt for Wells

Love your passion, but I think too many are underselling Vernon Wells. If you look at his numbers in 2008 and 2009, though they were down, they were, in fact, superior to Adrian Beltre -- who got a huge deal and a lot of positives. Wells brings grit, power and pride to the Angels. Coupled with Torii Hunter, you have two pros who will play hard, produce and lead a team fighting for the AL West. They also have the best manager in MLB and he'll know how to get the most out of Wells. Napoli already has been dealt to Texas, and Rivera is an oft-injured 4th OF who jakes it. The Angels gave up nothing, but money to get a quality player with character.

You're right about Rivera, and Napoli wasn't ever a Mike Scioscia favorite. And you're right that Wells is a pro, just like Hunter. But that's a lot of dough for a player where there are other, more significant needs.

FROM: Scott D.

Nice hatchet job on the Angels Scott. It will be interesting to see what you have to say if Wells brings a big bat to go with his contract. Three center fielders in the outfield adds up to a great defensive unit, and Mike Trout is waiting in the wings. If the underachievers from last year play up to potential, we could see the Angels winning the division and more, again. Enjoy your vacation, moron.

If Wells plays a key role in the Angels winning this year, here's what I will say: I was wrong. But I'm not counting on it. I still think Angels need infusion of youth and speed.

FROM: Travis B.

Dear Mr. Miller,

I respect your words but I disagree. The Angels don't need a lead-off man -- Peter Bourjos can do the job. Vernon Wells is the power we needed just in case Kendry Morales can't answer the call. To drive in runs.

Come on, Bourjos batted .204 with a .237 on-base percentage over his 51 games in Anaheim last summer! Unless he grows into his offensive shoes in a hurry, I don't put him anywhere near the leadoff slot.

Likes: On deck in just a few days: The daily spring training Bull Pennings with news, notes, quips, likes, dislikes, the whole package. And, of course, the rock and roll lyrics. A Florida (and then Arizona) travelogue. Stay tuned. ... Could go from a Green Bay Super Bowl title to a Milwaukee Brewers' playoff appearance later this summer. The Brewers have made some great offseason moves. Wisconsin is a fabulous sports state. Could be fun. ... The Eminem/Chrysler/Detroit Super Bowl commercial. If you missed it, it's here. ... Jane Leavy's biography of Mickey Mantle is a terrific read. ... Go see The Fighter. You will not be disappointed. Christian Bale is everything you've heard, Mark Wahlberg is good and Melissa Leo -- one of the most underrated actresses around -- is as great as she usually is. ... Hey, the groundhog saw his shadow! Spring is right around the corner. Right?

Dislikes: The waiting for spring training to begin. Seems like it takes forever, doesn't it?

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well it's 9th and Hennepin
"And all the donuts have
"Names that sound like prostitutes
"And the moon's teeth marks are
"On the sky like a tarp thrown over all this
"And the broken umbrellas like
"Dead birds and the steam
"Comes out of the grill like
"The whole damned town is ready to blow"

-- Tom Waits, 9th and Hennepin

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com