Never mind the groundhog or the Easter Bunny.
I heard this chirping outside the house.
You know what he was saying?
Let's play two.
Yanks and Mets, separately, on Monday.
Everything's going to be all right from now on.
I recently did a riff in the Times about missing the Boss and his high-spending demands that the Yankees dominate. This was formed by childhood traumas like Billy Martin catching Jackie Robinson’s pop fly, forever.
In case you missed it:
However, mea culpa, I forgot to add that it has been an honor to be around the past generation -- Joe Torre and the core five, Jeter, Rivera, Williams, Pettitte and Posada. They were all gentlemen and came through at the highest level.
It is not easy to watch Rivera gear up for his last season (and the last season for No. 42.) And it is downright painful to see Jeter trying to come back from a broken ankle. I take the doctors’ word that this is normal stiffness, but players break down at much younger ages.
One of these days Jeter will not be there, making a shovel pass to home to catch some opponent too lazy to slide. Remember that?
(This just in: my man in Salvador found the clip with a photo of Posada tagging Giambi.)
There is a human side to the Yankees, including the son-and-heir Hal, who found a place he could avoid his dad, by piloting a plane. That great piece by David Waldstein has brightened this spring.
This past generation of Yankees only existed because Gene Michael held the Yankees’ farm system together while the Boss was suspended for nefarious activities. That needed to be said, too.
One more season of Rivera and Jeter? That’s not too much for an old Brooklyn Dodger fan to ask, is it?
We recently visited friends for a lovely dinner and conversa-tion. The highlight just might have been seeing a new cycle of work by our hostess, Rosa Silverman.
The nice thing about having a web site is being able to display art, just because.
Somebody said Jack Curran should have been a priest, and somebody else said, he was.
This old-fashioned man, who coached basketball and baseball, and lived his faith, passed on Thursday at 82.
The obits all said he never married, that he passed up college coaching jobs so he could take care of his mother, and how he pitched batting practice for Molloy into his late ‘70’s.
“How’s your arm?” I would ask when I called for some old-fashioned city wisdom.
“Not bad,” he would say.
He blew out the arm in the minor leagues, which pushed him into coaching two sports for nearly six decades.
A few hours after Curran passed, I received an email from a reader I did not know.
Write something about Coach, it asked.
Of course, I did not need to write a word. Three of my favorite writers at the Times have captured him perfectly:
Vincent Mallozzi on Curran’s 50th anniversary:
And Bruce Weber, in the obituary:
So nobody needs me. But as a son of the city, I can remember him as a scrawny, big-eared red-headed sub with the good St. John’s basketball teams, intense, observant. I can remember my brother Peter, later a landmark basketball columnist in this town, playing both sports for Curran.
As a younger reporter, I thought Curran was a bit single-minded, and probably so did his players. The older we got, the wiser he became. Funny how that works.
In recent years, I went to Curran for wisdom, for opinion, for honesty. He knew what he knew. When area baseball coaches went along with the aluminum-bat lobby, Curran put together anecdotal impressions of youngsters being skulled by line drives that never should have traveled that fast. He lobbied his school to vote against the bats. It was the right thing to do, and he did it. This is what I wrote:
He was proud of graduates like Jim Larranaga who went on to coach George Mason in the Final Four:
I must add, he agitated for every break, the way the John Woodens and Dean Smiths did. A friend who played for a Queens public school recalled how annoying Curran could be, pestering the refs and the umpires. But his players were well-taught, my friend added, and they were tough.
Dan Barry noted the yin/yang of Jack Curran’s quotidian life, Mass, commuting across the bridge, coaching everybody, even kids on the opposing bench.
Barry wrote how Curran balanced “his daily aggressive commands – ‘Box out!’ -- with that saying of St. Francis of Assisi he carries: ‘Preach the Gospel every day and when necessary, use words.’”
Jack Curran kept that saying folded in his wallet. When people compared him to a priest, even in these complicated times, it was meant as an old-fashioned compliment.
Comments about Jack Curran are welcome here.
The babble from the American news media is that the new Pope is from Latin America and is a Jesuit, therefore this must be good for the poor and sorting out the scandals.
I am three years younger than the former Cardinal Bergoglio, in pretty good shape, and write four or five hours a day.
Having been around one conclave, and covered religion for four years, when I hear the expectations being projected from afar on the new Francis I, my first reaction is: I need a nap.
Take it from me, since I was around a Conclave, the Vaticanologists do not know what they’re talking about when they predict the new pope.
Better you should consult a Roman housekeeper from Sardinia, named Grazia. She will know.
I discovered this in August of 1978, when I was dispatched to Rome upon the death of Pope Paul VI. (The first thing I learned is that journalists in Rome do not refer to the popes by number but by their original family name; Montini had just passed, for example.)
Every expert was talking up the most famous candidates – Baggio, Maldini, Baresi, Del Piero. (Those are actually soccer names; I just wanted to see if you were paying attention. The point was, the favorites were all Italian.)
As soon as I got to Rome, the Times promptly went on strike. Our bureau chief departed for, I think, the beaches of Sardinia, lending his flat in the Piazza Navona to me and a colleague and our ladies. This gift included his Sardinian housekeeper, well under five feet tall, named Grazia. Her sister, also under five feet tall, was visiting. They wore black all the time.
Since I was the only one of our group who spoke any Italian, Grazia ran the household through me, but mostly she divulged her predictions for the upcoming conclave:
Signore Giorgio! Cardinale Luciani! Venezia! Famiglia Socialista! Uomo di Popolo!
I recited to her the names of all the Italian favorites. She wagged her index finger at me like a defender telling the referee not to give a yellow card.
Since I was on strike, my wife and I took a side trip to Vienna and Budapest. We came back when the conclave began. Grazia repeated her assertion that the Venetian cardinal would win.
Then one afternoon, while I was taking a blessed nap with the shades drawn, I could hear bells ringing all over Rome. I heard bustling in the hallway. Grazia and her sister, in their finest black, were heading off to church to pray for the new pope.
Grazia paused in the doorway and delivered her punch line:
Signore Giorgio! Cardinale Luciani! Venezia! Famiglia Socialista! Uomo di Popolo!
Albino Luciani lasted only a month. He was succeeded by a Polish prelate named Karol Jósef Wojtyla (whose name emerged from the first conclave; maybe I’ll tell that story in a day or two.)
If you want to know the identity of the next pope, ask a Sardinian under five feet tall. Or her sister.
Dow Jones Industrial Average 2 Minute
Dow Jones Indices: .DJI - Mar 6 4:35pm ET
I'm not a big money guy, and I know the Dow Jones is not a total indicator of national economic health.
All I can say is, this is what happens when a nation elects a Kenyan socialist introvert. It's all his fault, as usual.
Ever since last Sunday night, I have been thinking how cool it was that Barbra Streisand sang “The Way We Were” in tribute to Marvin Hamlisch. She had not sung at the Oscars in 36 years but showed up with immense energy for her friend.
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Having covered one conclave and a few papal trips, I’d like to express my admiration for the way Pope Benedict XVI resigned. I am sure he was giving an intentional signal that the human part of his organization is not working so well. He showed the world that six centuries of tradition did not have to continue – a good reminder in our lives, public and private. .
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I never thought I’d see the day when the Yankees would not spend money to improve their team. With Curtis Granderson out for a few months, The Boss would be trying to buy an all-star level outfielder, no matter the cost. He was insatiable. I’m not a Yankee fan, but I got used to his zeal for perfection. His sons want to cut the payroll. They must not be making money in their theme park in the Bronx.
As a huge fan of The New Yorker, I was interested when a saw a long piece by the estimable Ryan Lizza with a photo of Rep. Eric Cantor, but the current article is mostly about the mechanics of ominous politics and economics. I wanted to find out how somebody so low in personality could possibly get elected to public office, but the article gave no clue. What produced this sour and inarticulate human being? The only thing I learned was that he gets along with his mother-in-law, apparently a liberal Democrat. That’s nice, but in his public appearances, lurking behind the shoulder blades of John Boehner, there is no trace of a mensch.
David Vecsey's sweet tale of distant love before the Web, now NYT Podcast, narrated by Griffin Dunne. Please see:
George Vecsey is Hofstra University's Alumnus of the Month! Read a Q&A with George here.