Tag:Paul Simon
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: September 23, 2008 8:06 pm
 

Last word on Yankee Stadium closing

MILWAUKEE -- They did it the way you knew they would, with pomp and ceremony, and by blasting Frank Sinatra's New York, New York 6,000 or so times. That's not a knock. In that city, in that stadium, I could listen to Sinatra's New York, New York 60,000 times.

From what I saw on television, the whole night was nearly perfect.

Except for one thing.

The snubbing of former manager Joe Torre was awfully small for such an outsized organization.

The fact that they blew off Roger Clemens wasn't surprising, because that's apparently the way we're going while emerging from the Steroid Era. You see it in San Francisco with Barry Bonds -- or rather, you don't  see anything in San Francisco with Bonds.

For years, baseball's official position on performance-enhancing drugs was to pretend they didn’t exist.

Now, baseball's official position on players who pumped up and set records and won World Series is to pretend they don't exist.

Is it right?

Of course not.

But is it right when you bump into an ex-girlfriend at a party that you hem and haw and avoid her?

It's just the way it is with awkward circumstances.

Mostly, we just avoid dealing with them.

Clemens helped the Yankees win two World Series, but if there's anybody now who believes some of his career numbers aren't vastly inflated with PEDs, I'm a part-owner of the new Yankee Stadium.

Having Clemens there in person, or even unspooling highlights featuring him on the scoreboard, would have been a huge distraction for an historic evening. Given the way Clemens even threw Andy Pettitte under the bus, I don't blame the Yankees for conveniently forgetting about him.

The snub of Torre, though, was classless.

Esepcially on an evening in which the always classy Derek Jeter delivered an eloquent final address that ranks right up there with some of the great ones in Yankees history.

Likes: Teams that are out of it right now that still play hard. Case in point: Cleveland, which had won seven consecutive games heading into Tuesday night's contest in Boston. I've always thought that's one way you can identify a good manager, if the players keep playing hard when there's nothing to play for. And the Indians' play speaks very well of manager Eric Wedge. ... Same for Trey Hillman, with Kansas City winning eight of 10. ... Maybe it's because I live in Southern California and spend half my life trapped in freeway gridlock, but I always enjoy driving through the Midwest, where traffic generally is light and population bases are few and far between. I also love some of the sights, such as a couple I passed while flying across I-94: Signs for the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp Museum and the Mousehouse Cheesehaus. I only wished I had time to stop. Especially at the cheese shop. ... Really enjoyed the Chrysler Sebring convertible rental and the Sirius satellite radio on the trip, too. It's beautiful right now in this part of the Midwest, right around 75 and no humidity. Crisp, clean days.

Dislikes: Aw, I'm going to be working during the first presidential debate Friday night.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
"A nation turns its lonely eyes to you"

-- Paul Simon, Mrs. Robinson

 

Posted on: September 21, 2008 7:19 pm
 

Now paging Rudy Giuliani's wife

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Everybody's checking in with their Yankee Stadium memories, but here's one you're not going to hear anywhere else.

You know how former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani spends more time in Yankee Stadium than some of the box seats?

Well, before the first game of the 2002 playoffs, Los Angeles Angels bench coach Joe Maddon -- now generating a few stories as the manager who turned the Tampa Bay Rays around -- approached. But not necessarily to see Guiliani.

Maddon's motive: He went to high school with Judith Nathan, who was Giuliani's girlfriend at the time and now wife.

"Graduated together in 1972 in Hazelton, Pa.," Maddon says. "Her mom and my mom were buddies. I'm not saying we were great friends in high school. ..."

Anyway. ...

"I walked toward him and go to introduce myself and the goons started coming over and said, 'Hey, slow down!'" Maddon says. "I said, 'I just want to introduce myself to Mr. Giuliani.'"

So he did, told the mayor he was from Hazelton and Giuliani replied, "Hey, that's where Judy's from." Maddon told him they went to high school together and he just wanted to say hello, and Giuliani said she was running late and should be there in about 15 minutes.

Maddon didn't get to see her that night, nor has he seen her since.

That's one of his Yankee Stadium memories, but not the most vivid. No, that came in August, 1963.

"My dad took me with my Uncle Pete and Hank Toth to a Yankees-White Sox game," Maddon says. "The Yankees won 3-0, Whitey Ford pitched, Johnny Blanchard hit a home run, we exited out the center field gate by the monuments and when we walked outside my dad asked if I wanted a hat.

"I said yes, and I chose the St. Louis baseball Cardinals hat. That's the year I became a Cardinals fan. St. Louis Blues, Hawks, football Cardinals, even the St. Louis Billikens for awhile.

"All from that hat."

Likes: Been a lot of fun to watch baseball fans develop a crush on the Tampa Bay Rays here during the past week. ... The New York Times coverage of the closing of Yankee Stadium, including reminiscences Sunday from singer Paul Simon, director Penny Marshall and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, among others. ... Also, the memories of two of the Times' terrific, long-time baseball writers, Jack Curry  and Tyler Kepner. ... Another W for the Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High football team, this one 49-21 over New Boston Huron on Friday night. The mighty Falcons are 4-0, and all of those young sophomores they're starting are gaining some experience.

Dislikes: So many teams are fading that there's little drama shaping up during the season's final week. Milwaukee, Minnesota, the White Sox, Arizona ... just one of those years.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Hey Frank won’t you pack your bags
"And meet me tonight down at Liberty Hall
"Just one kiss from you my brother
"And we’ll ride until we fall
"We’ll sleep in the fields
"We’ll sleep by the rivers and in the morning
"We’ll make a plan
"Well if you can’t make it
"Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive
"If you can
"And meet me in a dream of this hard land"

-- Bruce Springsteen, This Hard Land

 

Posted on: August 27, 2008 4:57 pm
 

Boston bags Kotsay

Following the Manny Ramirez nonsense, the Tim Wakefield shoulder issue, the Josh Beckett numbness and J.D. Drew's back, things finally are beginning to break right for the Boston Red Sox.

Outfielder Mark Kotsay was a terrific acquisition Wednesday, and the road is beginning to take its toll on the Minnesota Twins for Boston's fallback October plan, the AL wild-card slot.

Kotsay is 32 with the back of a 42-year-old (or worse), but he's playing and he's good to go for now. He was hitting .289 with six homers and 37 RBI in 88 games for Atlanta. With Drew's status dicey for the rest of the season, Kotsay is the perfect complement to Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Bay and Coco Crisp: An experienced hand who is battle-tested, having playoff experience with Oakland in 2006.

The Red Sox have been in the market for an outfielder since the Manny Ramirez fiasco, before Drew's back began acting up. San Diego's Brian Giles declined a trade to the Red Sox earlier this month for family reasons and because the Red Sox couldn't promise him anything more than an extra outfielder's role at the time. Giles wanted to play every day.

What's changed since then -- and increased the urgency for the Red Sox to acquire another outfielder -- is Drew's injury. Fortunately for the Red Sox, they didn't grant Crisp's desire to be traded this spring. Think how thin they'd be in the outfield if they had.

Not only does Kotsay know his way around the outfield, he's a solid guy to have in the clubhouse for a stretch run. Professional, committed, intelligent and no-nonsense (no Manny comments here, please).

So consider this another test passed for Boston as the Red Sox gallop toward another October. This isn't to grant them a playoff spot yet -- there are still many challenges ahead.

But the Red Sox are better today with Kotsay on their roster than they were yesterday. And thanks to Minnesota's four-game losing streak, the Red Sox have some breathing room (a 2 1/2-game lead) in the AL wild-card race.

This isn't a team that has given up on first place -- they trail Tampa Bay by only 3 1/2 games, and they still play Joe Maddon's club six times in September (three home, three away). A lot still can change.

But the way things are shaping up, the Red Sox have two chances to make the playoffs. And the percentages are rising. Minnesota should have won three of four over the weekend in Anaheim and could have swept the Angels. But the Twins lost the final two games of that series and the first two in Seattle this week.

Not a good way to begin a 14-game trip, and even more disheartening for the Twins after they started 2-0. Being that Ron Gardenhire's club has begun a stretch in which they play 24 of 30 on the road, as Yogi says, it's beginning to get late early.

Meantime, Boston has won five of seven, nine of 13 and life without Manny isn't looking as daunting as maybe it once did.

Likes: Colorado has won four in a row and has pulled to within six games of first-place Arizona in the NL West. You don't think the Rockies will stage another September miracle, do you? … Instant replay on boundary calls are fine, but if baseball officials ever look to expand replay, it'll be time to dig in and fight it. … Watching Randy Johnson pitch. … My Weber grill. … Gates barbecue sauce from Kansas City, right in my fridge and then on the chicken on the Weber grill.

Dislikes: Well, I was just saying yesterday how fun the Mets are to watch lately. Not so much after they blew a 7-0 lead to Philadelphia on Tuesday night while falling with a thud into second place in the NL East. … Florida's Hanley Ramirez with a glove. … Sure, I write a feature piece on Arizona this week and the Diamondbacks promptly go into the tank in San Diego. I hate it when teams don't cooperate. … Come on, Tropical Storm Gustav, let's skip right over New Orleans this time.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When I think back on all the crap
"I learned in high school
"It's a wonder I can think at all
"And though my lack of education
"Hasn't hurt me none
"I can read the writing on the wall"

-- Paul Simon, Kodachrome

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