Tuesday October 9 8:30 PM
What a great time of the year for a sports fan. NHL underway, CFL winding down, NFL in full gear and MLB in LCS mode. Ah yes, major League baseball. First year in 40 that I did not attend a single game. Since the loss of the Expos I've managed to get to Fenway Park and Shea Stadium a few times but this year-not even a trip to Ottawa for an Expos tribute. Call it a nasty divorce. I still read boxscores, every one of them. I read stories, mostly those written by Jeff Blair. But otherwise I've lost that lovin' feeling. Haven't played fantasy baseball since 2003. Watch very little during regular season. Maybe the odd Jays game, cheering for Matt Stairs.
Some late games involving Cabrera and Angels or Russell Martin and the Dodgers. The Red Sox. The Mets, especially after Pedro returned. But that's pretty much been it. Until now.
I've already explained why I'd like to see Cleveland win it all. But can Joe Borowski really close it out at Fenway against Manny & Ortiz? Jonathan Papelbon reminds me so much of John Wetteland circa 1993 (9-3, 43 saves, 1.37 ERA, 70 G, 83 IP, 58 H, 28 BB 113 K) while Grady Sizemore make me think of a young Larry Walker. Josh Beckett & CC Sabathia would both be legit Cy Young award winners. RED SOX in 6.
While we're still on topic, don't the Colorado Rockie make you think of the 1993 Expos? Problem in '93 was, the Expos simply ran out of time to catch the Philadelphia Phillies. Remember, there were still only two divisions and no wild card. The Rockies are on a roll that might not stop until the final game is played this season. Whether they win or not, they're certainly poised to pick up in 2008 as the Expos were in 1994. Pitching is a big concern as Canadian Jeff Francis (17-9) is the only member of the rotation to win more than 10 games. Arizona rellies a lot more on it's staff, especially true ace Brandon Webb, plus Doug Davis (13-12) & Livan Hernandez (11-11; 6-2 career post season). Imagine if they had a healthy Randy Johnson. Arizona in 7.
Still can't believe the Mets collapsed they way they did. Billy Wagner didn't get it done down the stretch yet told a NY magazine that pitching coach Rick Peterson and manager Willie Randolph didn't properly handle the bullpen. He might have had a point. Randolph repeatedly went back to ineffective middle men Jorge Sosa (4.47 ERA) Scott Schoenweiss (5.03), Aaron Sele (5.37) and Guillermo Mota (5.76-pretty bad without the 'roids, huh?). But then again what else was he supposed to do? Omar Minaya did the right thing in keeping Randolph. Now he has to rebuild the bullpen. And good riddance to Tom Glavine who's matter-of-fact reponse to getting blown out of the final game of the season versus Florida...Florida ! (7 runs in less than an inning) was enough to lead one to believe that he just wanted to go home with his 300 victories.
Congrats to Dan Seligman and staff at Pop Montreal for putting together a music and arts festival that seems to perfectly fit the indy spirit of our city. Last thursday at Barfly I got to see four bands in four hours including Hey Rosetta from St. John's. Lead vocalist and songwriter Tim Baker joined us in studio earlier in the day with just his acoustic guitar and some stories about Newfoundland and living around Concordia 5-6 years ago. He was awfully impressive and very intense while performing a couple of songs for us, repeating the mood with his full band (and string section) at the stage-less Barfly. Baker's masterpiece (so far) is "Lions for Scottie", a tribute to Jeff Buckley.
Friday night I was among 2,000 who worshipped at the church of Patti Smith. I met Patti a few years back while strolling through Greenwich Village with Cathy Newton. She seemed pleased when I mentioned that I had been reading her work for years. At the beautiful St Jean Baptiste church on Rachel Street Patti began her sermon by reading Alan Ginsberg:
Then came the music as she opened with "Within You Without You" from her recent cd "Twelve" (as in number of cover tunes), one of five songs performed from the album ("Are You Experienced" with a glaring clarinet solo, "Helpless" which she dedicated to her late husband Fred "Sonic" Smith ("...sing with me somehow"), The Doors' "Soul Kitchen" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" which earned the loudest pre-encore ovation of the night). Between well aimed blasts at George Bush Patti also managed to make her way onto the floor a couple of times, dancing and grooving to her longtime band, especially during "Dancing Barefoot". She reached way back for "Because The Night" but not for "Gloria". Improvised a song about the three days she spent in Montreal. And finished off with "Rock and Roll Nigger" while pulling off the strings from her electric guitar. It was all so beautiful.
Fourteen hours later I was at the border, waiting over two hours to cross for an Elvis Costello-Bob Dylan double bill in Albany, thinking a lot about what Bruce Springsteen recently said about his country in response to the right wing lunatic fringe crowd labelling of him as "Anti-American":
"I think we've seen things happen over the past six years that I don't think anybody ever thought they'd ever see in the United States," Springsteen told CBS television.He notably criticised CIA interrogation techniques, Bush's domestic surveillance program and the detention of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without referring to them explicitly."When people think of the Unites States' identity, they don't think of torture. They don't think of illegal wiretapping ... They don't think of no habeas corpus," he said, referring to suspects being held without charge."Those are things that are anti-American," he said.
Elvis is performing solo on this tour of U.S. college towns. His entire back catalogue has been given the deluxe reissue treatement. A back catalogue that prompted former music critic Stephen Brunt to suggest on monday that "He's never made a bad album".
Currently listening to "My Aim Is True" **** 1/2, bolstered by out-takes (including an early version of "No Action") and demos plus a second cd of a soundcheck and complete concert at The Nashville Rooms in August of 1977, a show that was nearly scrapped for security reasons.
In less than 24 hours I saw Patti Smith, Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan. So did Montreal Jazz Fest
President Andre Menard who arrived during Costello's set to ask a couple of guys he didn't know if we were in the right seats. We weren't. And we didn't move.