2013 Boston Red Sox Preview Preview

I can’t I’ve ever really made a point of reading Ken Rosenthal, but a tweet of his popped up on my feed today. I followed the link to an excellent quick-hitter piece on the Red Sox. Here, go read it for yourself.

Rosenthal touches upon some of the same major themes that I sense in this 2013 Boston team, namely:

  • Enigma of team’s identity
  • “No-lose” scenario of this season
  • Growing promise of young talent

Next week I’m going to turn back the clock and dial up a hard-hitting, full-on season preview of the 2013 Sox, recalling my halcyon days at the Wheaton Wire and the Bleacher Report. So watch out for that.

My 15 Minutes of Single-Gear Fame

The bike corral (but not my bike).

The bike corral (but not my bike).

As I shamelessly promoted on Facebook, I was just quoted in a New York Times article that explores the furor behind a relatively new bike corral on Franklin Avenue, the main thoroughfare in my Crown Heights neighborhood.

Let me tell ya, making the NYT was all about being in the right place at the right time. My buddy Rob and I had just finished grabbing a drink at the Crown Inn and our bikes were locked up at the corral in question. As we were unlocking our bikes, the woman who wrote the story, Maya Lau, came up to us and introduced herself. So we talked to her. I promise we weren’t drunk.

It should be mentioned that Rob talked with her too but, apparently, didn’t make the cut. Sorry, buddy.

I think Ms. Lau—digging that Times‘ style surname usage?—wrote a balanced article that does a nice job covering a nuanced story efficiently and effectively.

Ms. Lau references the communication snafus that appear to be a major contributor to the controversy behind the corral. I just want to add a little more detail to this particular issue, specifically on the communication behind the DOT and Brooklyn Community Board 8, which covers northern Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, and Weeksville. The following is excerpted from a post on the blog I Love Franklin Ave.:

[Community Board 8] voted unanimously to approve their previous decision to recommend the placement of the bike corral, with three additional stipulations for the Department of Transportation: they asked them to consider turning the now-defunct meters along Franklin between St. Johns and Eastern Parkway into bike racks, to install metered parking north of St. Johns so as to free up parking for those with cars visiting local merchants and churches, and to report back on the usage and progress of the bike corral in the spring, either at their May or June meeting. While this last point was somewhat lost in the shuffle, one can’t help but wonder whether such a “let’s give it a shot and see if it works” formulation, more fully communicated and discussed, might have averted much of the polarization around this issue.

I really couldn’t have said it better myself. So there you have it, living drama from the front lines of gentrification in Brooklyn. And I’m famous. Sort of.

Luis Suarez’s Top 10 Goals in 2012

Luis Suarez made me a fan of Liverpool soccer. His goal-scoring talents have blossomed under Brendan Rodgers this season, but he also had a few memorable 2012 knocks from back in the spring. Awesome video.

So, where did the past two months go?

It’s been a while since I’ve written here! I guess grad school will do that to me. I’m nearly done with this semester, so I’m hoping to write here a bit more frequently in the coming weeks. Anyway, here are some thoughts for posterity on the past couple of months:

Thank God Mitt Romney lost!
Notice that I didn’t word that “Thank God Barack Obama won.” I like Obama and I generally support his policies, however, more than anything else, I’m just super glad that that crazy guy on the GOP ticket—and his especially zany running mate—came up short.

Sandy Update
It’s really interesting to see the massive waves of private donation efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I really don’t recall seeing this level of charitable action after Katrina. Or am I remembering things poorly?

Yo bro, let’s go to Colorado and get high. Oh wait—if we go to Washington we can get married, too!
Voters in Washington and Colorado passed measures to legalize marijuana in their states, signaling a major shift, if not the beginning of the end, of the great waste of taxpayer money we call the War on the Drugs. Not only will these states stop wasting money on policing low-level drug offenses, they will also reap—pun definitely intended—the benefits of taxing legal weed.

Washington, along with Maine and Maryland, made history by successfully passing same-sex marriage initiatives, the first time that same-sex marriage has been legalized through voting. It’s all just so super, duper gay.

Newtown Massacre
It will be very interesting to see what political action comes out of the shooting in Newtown, Conn. A number of notable cases of gun violence have happened under Obama’s watch. His (relatively) outspoken language on Sunday night seems to indicate that gun legislation will become an important policy issue in his second term. I really am not up for a full-blown discussion of guns right now, but I think I will be up for the writing about this topic more extensively in the next month or so.

On a much lighter note, there’s been plenty of action in the world of sports. I’m eager to write about the Red Sox sooner rather than later. Before the year is out, you’ll have a Red Sox column from yours truly. That I promise.

Thoughts on Hurricane Sandy

I’m going to break from my usual sports and pop-culture dialogue for a bit of reflection on Hurricane Sandy, dubbed “Frankenstorm” and “Superstorm” by the media.

Not surprisingly, the first I heard of the storm was in an e-mail from my mom last Thursday. Before last Friday was out it was becoming pretty clear that New York City was going to take a pounding from Sandy.

I never felt particularly worried about my and Anna’s situation. And, thankfully, the storm passed rather uneventfully. Our neighborhood, Crown Heights, is indeed well elevated and the apartment windows face out toward the west—away from the prevailing winds of northern hemisphere cyclones, as we all should know! The trees outside our windows certainly had a wild night, but not as wild a night as some of their buddies two blocks away on Lincoln Place:

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All in all, however, Crown Heights and nearby neighborhoods weathered the storm pretty well. They certainly are fairing better than places along the water. We never lost power or Internet, with just a few moments of flickering lights on Monday night.

The chief impact that this Sandy is having on my life and the lives of virtually everyone in the city is the subway shutdown, which could last another three to five days. Schools will be closed again tomorrow, as they have been all week. Buses are already beginning to run again, however the subways are what make this city run. I believe the current shutdown, now approaching 48 hours, is the longest weather-related shutdown in MTA history. (There have been longer shutdowns on three separate occasions because of transit strikes.)

Anna has yet to hear anything from her school, The New York Harbor School, which is located on Governor’s Island, which is just off the tip of Lower Manhattan. In all likelihood there was/is probably some substantial flooding on the island.

Even for those in New York without power and with property damage, I’m guessing things are rosier than they are for most folks down in Atlantic City, N.J., miles from where the hurricane made landfall. The Jersey shore really bore the brunt of Sandy, even more so than the affected areas in New York City. Maybe some local hero will lend a hand with the recovery effort in the days and months to come…

All right, to wrap things up here are some quick thoughts on a variety of hurricane-related subjects. The preventative power shutdown of Lower Manhattan seems sort of ridiculous. Isn’t the point of underground electric lines to protect them from weather issues? Bloomberg handled this pretty well I think. He’s certainly made progress from the boondoggle of blizzards two years ago. I can’t wait to ride the subway again. The subway is awesome. Also, what a shame that Yankee Stadium didn’t get flooded and destroyed.

10 Movies to See Before New Year’s

I’m no movie buff, but I enjoy a good trip to the movies and I sure hate a bad one. 14 dollars demands wise spending.

In the holiday’s season loving effort to crush bank accounts and max-out credit cards, the rest of 2012 is packed with a slew of excellent new releases. I’m eager to see two movies currently screening, Looper and Argo. Here are the eight other films that made the cut:

  1. Skyfall (October 26)
  2. Cloud Atlas (October 26)
  3. Lincoln (November 9)
  4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 14)
  5. Zero Dark Thirty (December 19)
  6. Django Unchained (December 25)
  7. Les Mis (December 25)
  8. Promised Land (December 28)

R.A. Dickey’s 20th Win

Mets’ Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is putting the finishing touches on a remarkable 2012 season that might very well earn him the NL Cy Young Award. Yesterday, he picked up his 20th win against the Pirates in Mets’ final home game of the year. Dickey is the first 20-game winner…

  • For the Mets since 1990 (Frank Viola)
  • Among knuckleballers since 1980 (Joe Niekro)
  • On a sub-.500 team since 1997 (Roger Clemens, Toronto Blue Jays)

It’s a remarkable achievement for a guy who’s 37 and had never won more than 11 games in a season prior to this one.

Dickey’s a very articulate and interesting man, especially in comparison to many of his peers. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last winter in support of an organization that supports victims of human trafficking in India. He names his bats after swords from literature, his walk-up batting music is the Game of Thrones theme and he is a completely unabashed Star Wars nerd. Oh, and he has said that if he weren’t a baseball player he’d be an English professor. I’m eager to read his autobiography, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, which came out this spring

What a guy. He’s a pretty cool dude who’s also been pretty darn good this year.


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