Happy 100 Days!

Graphic Source: Slate

Mr. President. By no means is he doing a perfect job. For all we know, some of his actions to deal with the recession, wars, and the rest could end up failing down the road, both in policy and in cost. Other presidents in the past have had bold ideas, put together staffs/cabinets which sounded great in theory… only to see the whole thing fall apart. Lyndon Johnson’s administration comes to mind because of Vietnam (and JFK also had some missteps on foreign policy with many of the same advisors).

But I do think we can be happy about at least one thing today- especially because it seems unlikely to go away anytime soon. Competence is but the least of Obama’s good traits, which collectively are now back in power after too many years away. Long may that continue!

(Also, long live my ability to pick basketball games more accurately than he can!)

Graphic Source: Delaware Online


There Are Two Places…

Thus begins Walter Cronkite’s supposed quote about Colgate University. He might have said and meant it, or maybe he didn’t, just as Yogi Berra joked about his infamous quotations (and later titled a book in the same manner). Doesn’t matter to us Colgate-types who actually lived the school. We wear it like a badge every time Spring Party Weekend comes around. Is it as crazy now as it supposedly was “back then”? I’d have no way to tell you; nobody else in my family has gone there and I don’t know too many older alums.

Actually, I do have one piece of anecdotal evidence to at least put Colgate up there with anyone else’s springtime festivities. Last year, my brother was a freshman at another prestigious liberal arts school (actually, it’s more of a small ‘full-service’ university). His version of SPW was the same week as ours. More students, more endowment, and arguably bigger-name musical acts, all over there, halfway across the country. And when I asked him how it was going early on the Saturday night, he and some of his friends were just about done. Some wouldn’t even wake up for the big concert.

I laughed. That would never happen at Colgate. From mid-afternoon Friday until the bars closed early on Sunday morning, it always was and still is pretty much non-stop anything and everything goes. Somehow, I only really experienced one SPW in this vein- last year. Not much of anything doing my first couple of years (to be fair, the event and Colgate’s social scene generally were undergoing some renovations), then I was abroad as a junior. Maybe it’s a good thing, as I’ll carry some distinct memories for a while to come of times and drinks shared just before the final push to graduation and real life. If that last point’s true, then when someone asks me about Colgate and SPW before experiencing it, my description won’t be a blurred compilation of years or complaints about the event getting worse as my four years progressed.

Of course, I’ll still start him or her off with Walter Cronkite’s quote. After all, he did give us a near mythological reputation to live up to.

Apologies for my relative lack of stories or specificity. Maybe I’ll do that later, but for now, I think that in an era of loose talk on facebook or the blogosphere frequently carrying unanticipated consequences, it’s probably better to keep the details private!

Watch This Space

More coming later today or tomorrow. Been pretty busy this week with day job-related stuff, not to mention all the baseball, playoff b-ball and hockey, etc… But with Colgate’s Spring Party Weekend coming up- no I can’t really make it up there- I’ll probably reminisce a little bit. Trust me, most of the memories are pretty tame! Also, with the terrific weather expected for this weekend, you might see me out and about some in Manhattan. So keep posted for updates and thanks for your continued support for Danimal’s Den!

Just a Typical NY Weekend

Yankee Stadium opens up and plays like a bandbox every day. Is it the weather, bad pitching, an actual product of the design? We’ll find out soon enough, but it’s definitely not something anyone saw coming. Listen, it looks really nice, but home-run havens can be tough to win a lot of games in. Took the Astros and Phillies a few seasons before they were in the playoffs after moving into their bandboxes, while Colorado got there in 1995 but not again until after they added a humidor to Coors Field.

On the field, a four-game split between the Indians and Yankees isn’t bad either way- although both teams will hate the manner in which their losses occurred- because they each definitely have talent (as I noted in the preseason predictions), and I won’t be completely shocked if they meet in October, although let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Especially when the Yankees have to figure out Chien-Ming Wang and their middle relief first- and fast– while Cleveland has to make sure Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona are really up to the job. Luckily for them, nobody’s running off with the AL East or Central so far (I haven’t really seen enough from Toronto yet, though if Ricky Romero pitches anywhere close to as well as he did on Sunday, it would sure help them win games not started by Roy Halladay). I saw the Posada home run as it happened and then the numerous replays and just couldn’t tell what the right call should be, so the umpires probably got it right simply by leaving it as made on the field.

Oh, and about that weather. We could not have asked for a nicer Saturday and Sunday around here. Everything the meterologists hyped it up to be. Okay, maybe I’m a little bit of a hypocrite here, because I hate big snow storms as I’ve said here before, but I do enjoy a day turning out even warmer and sunnier than expected! Plus, great to see some friends from school on Friday night in the city- some of whom I hadn’t in several months.

Rangers are 2-0 after they blanked the Caps on Saturday (see above). Lundqvist stood tall again. Yes, he’s good. No, I didn’t expect him or them to win two games in Washington and play as strong a defensive game as they did in the second one. Mark Herrmann was a little surprised too. Still have to finish the job, and to that end, Game 3 at MSG will be huge on Monday night. Elsewhere, looks like Boston, Detroit, and Vancouver each have a foot in the next round. Didn’t think Anaheim would match the Rangers and win two on the road though. They’re arguably a better team, but were playing San Jose, who racked up the most points of anyone during the regular season and lost five times in regulation at home. I still expect that San Jose and Calgary, who is down 2-0 to Chicago but going back home for Games 3 and 4, will not go quietly into the night.

Don’t worry, at least a few more posts over the next several days.

Urban Heat Island? What Urban Heat Island?

It looked like a nice day outside, and I knew I had plenty of time to make a train home at the desired time, so I decided to walk down Central Park West and then Broadway for a little while this afternoon until I finally boarded the subway at Columbus Circle.

Well, according to the giant CNN sign atop 3 Columbus Circle- don’t let the images in this post fool you, it stands out from well up Central Park West as you look to the south- it was 64 degrees around 5:30 in the afternoon. Seemed reasonable given today’s predicted forecast. But man, I could feel the wind most of the way down. Not many sunny spots to walk towards either. It wasn’t winter, but not exactly as pleasant as a day in the mid-60s should be. And this was still about two hours from sunset.

I guess 70-75 on Friday and Saturday would be hard to ruin, though! At least, so long as I can get outside for a little while…

Before I go, a quick farewell to John Madden. Watching the NFL won’t quite be the same without him (even if the quality of his insights have probably declined over the past few year), but at least the video game’s going nowhere fast!

Photo sources: NY Times and John Lumea

Thank You, Jackie

As this blogger , and many others note, myself now included.

The anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s Dodgers debut, April 15, 1947, is always a major event in baseball. We simply cannot forget how important it was in breaking down racial barriers all over the nation. Not just by showing that African-Americans could play baseball just as well as whites, but the integrity and courage he, Larry Doby (who started playing for the Indians later that same year), and other pioneers of the late ’40s and ’50s showed. They probably also helped pave the way for Latinos and others to follow suit and come to the Majors in more recent times. Each new group has brought its own talents and flair to the game (both collectively and individually), raising the bar of competition for all who followed.

So, it was a little strange to hear yesterday that Jackie’s first game, when it happened, actually wasn’t that big a deal to the New York Times, or even to the Associated Press. Especially considering the negative reaction his signing drew from rival teams, and that the game drew over 26,000 fans (an excellent regular-season crowd in those days), including thousands of blacks. Branch Rickey deserves a lot of credit for sticking his neck out to sign Robinson, even though he had to tell his player not to retaliate against any of the abuse he was likely to face. But as the AP’s Jim Becker recounted in 2007, the moment’s significance wasn’t necessarily lost to the media even then. He claimed that many in the press box that day, including himself, likened the debut and Robinson’s career-long triumph over segregation as something akin to our then-recent defeat of Nazism.

62 years later, I think Becker was right. Can you honestly imagine a sport or element of our society where there could ever be justification for excluding someone because of race? Didn’t think so. But to make sure that we don’t forget that the majors were once “whites only,” it was a really classy gesture for MLB to have its tribute include donning all of the teams in Robinson’s #42 for last night’s games. Fittingly, the Mets dedicated their Jackie Robinson Rotunda, Citi Field’s centerpiece, then recorded their first win at the new yard. Likewise, Mariano Rivera, the last player who is still grandfathered-in to wear #42, recorded yet another save as the Yankees beat Tampa to finish off a series win at Tropicana Field. Of course, the Yankees will retire #42 for Rivera soon after his playing days are over, so I guess you could say he and Robinson will share it like Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey do for #8 in Monument Park.

Speaking of the Yanks, home opener is tomorrow, meaning the new era/stadium is officially upon us.

Nice Catch, Camper!

Completely missed this on Ben Camper’s blog last week. Granted, I didn’t watch the game because I didn’t get home from a holiday dinner with the family until it was just about over. He got this opportunity because of injuries and a tight salary cap situation which was essentially resolved by the regular season ending on Easter Sunday. Doesn’t really matter though, once you make it, they can’t take the history away from you. Congratulations and welcome to The Show; here’s to many more games to come, whether for your hometown team or somewhere else in the league.

Picture source: Colgate Athletics