August 2010 Archives

Pennant Race Redux

Mariano Rivera

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It's been awhile since I have waxed poetic about my beloved Bx Bombers. I really don't get much opportunity to watch many games, as I'm pretty busy these days.  In fact, I did not get a chance to gush over championship # 27!  The truth is I watched most of the world series last year, but I found myself unable to see the game until completion. No it is not old age.. Because the networks are seeking prime time revenue, the games start much later on the East coast. Subsequently, the contest end after midnight. I'm usually asleep on the couch at that time.

Since, my mythTV project is yet to be finished, I didn't record any of these games. Regardless, it does appear that this 2010 Yankee campaign will be equally exciting. Despite the loss of George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, the inspired play of this team is taking center stage.

I watched Mo Rivera prove yet again that he is absolutely a first ballot Baseball Hall of Fame talent. Yes, I understand that he's not infallible.  However, if you ask the Texas Rangers and many other teams in MLB, he is pretty damn close. Case in point, he entered the game in the 9th inning, Yankees clinging to an improbable 7-6 lead (comeback from 6-1 deficit against former Cy Young winner Cliff Lee).  He surrendered a triple (actually should have been a double, provided Austin comes up with the ball cleanly) to Elvis Andrus.  After the triple, the young player behaved as if he'd helped is ballclub win a World Championship.  Unfortunately for him, he would be stranded at 3rd. Michael Young popped out to Austin Kearns.

rns, and the AL leader in batting average, Josh Hamilton grounded out harmlessly to the mound.  The final out was Vladimar Guerrero, he too weakly grounded out to end the game.


It would appear that the 2010 Texas Rangers are more formidable than the team the Yanks easily dispatched during their dynasty campaigns. Those Rangers never had enough pitching to beat very good teams and advance deep into the playoffs.  Juan Gonzalez was the chief threat on those clubs. Now there is a better mix of youth and veterans.

Though 2010 Yankee ballclub is without the services of Hideki "Godzilla" Matsui and Johnny Damon, I still like our chances. Perhaps the biggest concern is the age and depth of the starting rotation. Pettitte is out for awhile longer with a groin strain. He is expected to return within 1 week.  So, the erratic AJ Burnett and a healthy Pettitte are major concerns.  Yes, it is clear that the team is capable of winning in the postseason utilizing a 3-man rotation.  Possible but not ideal. It is almost certain that Phil Hughes will revisit the bullpen during the post season. I have no idea how Javier Vasquez will be used in October.  The good news is that the bullpen seems to have corrected itself.  Now that they are being used, on a somewhat frequent basis Girardi now understands who can be trusted with the game on the line and who to deploy during a mop-up circumstance.

There is still a great deal of baseball to be played and the AL East is the toughest division in the league. The Rays appear to be real this season, I thought they would fade by mid-season, but that has yet to happen. There starting pitching is excellent, but I still believe that they are a free swinging club. They certainly do not take as many pitches as do NY and Boston.  Hopefully, the Bombers will be at full strength for the next Rays confrontation.  The Bosox do not scare me at all. The will not catch NY, as they will need to play .630 ball through August and September. Very unlikely indeed.

I'll be back shortly before the playoffs to preview likely opponents.


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Prayer Musings

Cults and new religious movements in literatur...

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Now that I'm married, I have become a fairly regular church attendee. For those of you who know me well this is indeed remarkable, as I have shared my thoughts on religion and church in this space on numerous occasions. Nonetheless, my wife and I enjoy our discourse on various belief systems and process of building faith both internal and external.

Our church is pretty progressive in its approach to spreading the gospel and promoting a healthy community.  It is not uncommon for the pastor to ask the congregation to hit the streets to assist in prayer vigils or some other spiritual revivals.  We have gone door-to-door to pass out leaflets and offer prayers of encouragement for the disenfranchised and less fortunate.   One one particular Sunday, I assisted the pastor and roughly ten others members of our congregation in canvassing a 10-story "project" building in midtown Detroit. The idea was that we'd inform folks of the forthcoming revival and respond to and offer to give prayer to those who acknowledged a need.


Not sure that I could really call that tenement a project building, as it looked more like a re-purposed hotel circa 1960's.  Though it was very grimy inside, it did not stir memories of Farragut (B'klyn) or Soundview (Bronx).  Anyway, I digress. Perhaps the most noteworthy was the fact that we decided to start the work on the 10th floor. By the time pastor had reached the top floor, I had to chuckle at the fact that we probably lost seven brothers on the way up to the 10th floor. Nuff huffing and puffing. Mad giggles for me.. Anyway we get to the top and split up into groups of three and send the groups to 9th and 8th floors too.  We figured that it made more sense to do it this way. I did have a bit of trepidation about the prayer vigil, as I wasn't sure what the tenants would say to us. Moreover, I'm not much for prayer in general.  More on this later.

After we broke up into groups of three, we began to knock upon doors at random. Clearly, there is a bit of risk when doing such things. Particularly when you do not know what lurks on the other side of the door. Call it blind faith, much like the Book of Eli ;-)  Anyway it was decided that I would be the person who would explain why we had chosen to knock on the door.  Once you explain your purpose, you will immediately learn whether you're wanted. It was typically for the residents simply not to answer the door. Surprisingly, more often than not they actually opened the door and didn't spray us with profanity or buckshot. I actually got pretty comfortable speaking about the revival and selling something for which I was not completely invested. Someone said if you can sell Jesus, you can sell anything.

Eventually, every group member had to say a prayer for those residents who allowed us to do so at there door entry. Definitely not in my comfort zone, but we got it done.

Most of the residents we spoke to were likely jobless and perhaps a few days from being homeless. It was a very somber sight indeed. I could not help but wonder if our time would have been better served by providing them with vocational training, food or something more tangible than prayer. 

I once learned something called the 12 jewels - Food, clothes, shelter, peace, love,happiness, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, freedom, justice, and equality. It would seem to me that these are the most precious jewels for the human being. Reason with me for a moment. People who are in the cycle of poverty for whatever reason, would likely be uplifted in many respects by attaining the components of these 12 jewels. Uttering prayers seems so very hollow to me. Perhaps it is a start, but it just seems that there is so much more needed.

We will never know whether the people living in that tenement building really benefited from our presence and prayers. However, I am clear that much more needs to be done.
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This page is an archive of entries from August 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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