Hosive

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Jul-22-2008

MLB all star week

it was an epic week in the city….and for the city as new york hosted major league baseball’s all star game and turned it into a week of festivites. it started with this…..

25 years ago(if you were alive), if you were asked who’s next to join the pantheon of great concerts in the park ala simon and garfunkel : the police, u2 or bon jovi…..if you had the police or u2…you lost!

dj jazzy victor got the tickets at yankee stadium a few weeks ago….all of them free! so add bon jovi to the list of superstars that have done a free of charge show. 60,000 tickets…but only 50,000 would get into the main area with 10k in the overflow.

obsessive new york events attender greg wong went early and got a good spot in the middle of the crowd. some slept out over night or woke up in the early morn for the 2p doors. we were loosey goosey and we would have been happy sitting in the overflow in front of a giant screen. but we were glad greg went and spread his big blanket for the 6 of us. the two couples, greg and his friend stephanie. we will not mock this man’s obsession again! well, maybe…if he gets ridiculous!

…where we were seated, we wound up watching television anyway! the band looks tiny. but still a fun, fun night!

and i’m no bon jovi fan…i didn’t even know all the songs(i only own a greatest hits album)…however, i remembered enough: the hits and a few that were buried in my subconscious from my high school years. the crowd was electric the whole night singing and screaming, making the earth shake…selling even the unknown and less than stellar songs…even the laughable bad medicine…..the park exuded waves and waves of energy and even soul in the heart of the city….

bon jovi has become so americana, so mainstream…so popular in a band of the masses way….no longer the bad boys or rebels or big hair obnoxious…..they are like the beach boys or the beatles(if they were still around)….their songs are giant sing alongs; equally for those raised AND those born in the 80’s and 90’s.

they played 2 hours. an hour would have been good for a free show(see earlier posts for examples). an hour and a half would have been generous….but they were going for epic. they hit the stage at 8p sharp and 20 songs plus later…..

i love the fact that the band loved nyc….and nyc loved them back. it could all just be talk as in “thank you(insert city)”…except jon bon jovi now lives in the city and talks in we and 9/11 tones. 9/11 was 7 years ago and if new orleans, tsunami and myanmar talk have faded from our consciousness…where does that morn in the early fall inhabit in the mind of americans? for nykr’s, it happened last week and that’s the way bon jovi talked about it’s effect.

it is rare for nyc to allow a concert like this(the last one being 1981 for simon and garfunkel’s opus?)..especially for a rock band(unthinkable in the early 80’s)…for context, imagine a hip hop concert two decades from now…….so nyc had no holds barred in celebrating(and courting)mlb.

all star week continued with work out day and home run derby at yankee stadium! at first, i was bummed by how high the seats were….but later, we got great views of the majestic flights of the ball. the seats were not good for batting practice…but we moved down until the derby, so we got to see most of the light hearted interaction between players…and of the mascots!

theresa was not a happy camper….wondering what he husband dragged her to. since it was all star weekend, i let her wear her orioles cap. normally, opposing fans get showered with a-hole and the other f word that the gay community despises. it is not pc at the house that ruth built. but people were more tolerant during this all star truce. red sox fans did not get the same amnesty…they still got their sexuality questioned.

theresa asked when the game was going to get started….”there’s no game???” she had never seen a derby before. but once the balls started launching into the sky….it was like fireworks and my baby was like “oooh….and ahhh”. this might be the most fun she’s had at a baseball related event.

then. then. then…….josh hamilton stepped up to the plate.

theresa was disappointed that she didn’t know many of the players in the derby(so was mlb). no celebrities. no big names. no sizzle. but i told her…..this guy…this was the guy we came to see. he’s a freak of nature!

my wife thinks i’m a genius! taking her to this event and pointing out to her to watch this guy.

she would have noticed without my help. josh hamilton launched moon shot after moon shot. he had 28 hrs in the first round. the next highest was 8. the totals of the three guys behind him were 23! he hit shots into the upper decks….the back of the bleacher walls…one could have left the park if he angled it over another 15 feet. at one point he hit 12 in a row on 12 straight pitches.

the stadium rocked and chanted his name…an opposing player! at one point, the whole upper deck was standing; maybe the whole stadium was. i already knew…but espn later confirmed and gushed that this was the greatest performance in hr derby history. even though josh hamilton lost the derby in the final round, he won the greater victory: the hearts of the people. there’s a sermon illustration there somewhere. or an application for the wars we fight.

by the end of the night, my sweet t was much happier. another glorious night in gotham.

the very next night….i went to the all star game with my yankee buddy, jackie. i think that she maybe the most fanatical(but reasonable)yankee fan i know. for example, during the introductions and game, we booed the red sox players but clapped for terry francona, the sox manager.

so we left our spouses at home, got there way early to settle in for a long night of epic baseball.

and that’s called foreshadowing, kids.

some of the early highlights and sights were seeing giradi and his son shagging flies, arod and jeter taking batting practice and fielding groundballs, the rows and rows of “free” seat cushions neatly assembled for arriving fans, the gap where josh hamilton almost sent his homers out of the stadium, player introductions including the biggest cheers for rivera, and the yankees actually playing in the game

the pre game hype is where you get most of your goosebumps. the game itself usually is a yawner.

joining the all stars were hall of famers at every position including many old time yankees which gave the crowd a thrill:wade boggs, yogi berra, dave winfield, reggie jackson. the boss, george steinbrenner also showed up for a victory lap around the park and to deliver ceremonial baseballs.

a stealth bomber also passed overhead….ironically, the crowd cheered. usually, the arrival of stealth bombers brings out fear and trepidation….not joy. more bizarro weirdness living in the united states.

the game buzzed along and we had some great moments like papelbon giving up the go ahead run. then wagner losing the lead. rivera pitching just under two innings and almost winning, a ton of great defensive plays that stunned me until jackie reminded me:”well, they ARE all stars”

but if you didn’t hear…it was a long, long, long night of baseball.

i think jackie is the only person who would’ve stayed the whole game with me. regular folks would have had to work the next day…theresa would have wanted to go home by the 9th inning….so midnite rolled around, 1am passed…a sobering wake up call was the 14th inning stretch!!!

i was running out of room on my scorecard and down to my last column. i asked jackie, how much longer she was willing to stay….3am? 4am? she said the 15th inning would be it…so in the bottom of the 15th, on a fly ball, there was a runner headed for the plate and……though he looked out from our angle…the ump called him safe. we laughed out loud in delirium. we said the umpire wanted to go home too!(later on replay, he did look safe)….and our night ended at 1:37 in the morn.

it was the longest game in all star history and the espn experts were saying it was one of the most memorable. perhaps one of the best in a long, long time. it was all these things for us.

the all star game comes to a city maybe once every 30 years…the last one in ny was 1977…its perhaps a once in a lifetime experience…and at my age, that might be more so!

but with not one but two new stadiums in the city, we might get the game again sooner. nyc did such a great job hosting with events all around the city..at the javits, the parade and the concert..i suspect baseball will want to come back in the next decade…maybe twice in the next 10 years!

but if not, it was a glorious, epic few nights in the city. thanks, mlb and nyc for putting on a great show. this is way better than driving around the burbs and winding up at the mall.

Posted under new york

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