Friday, March 20, 2009

pulled over by the music police?

In our opinions there were perhaps no greater comedians than Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.....some of them are a bit more risque, but this one is a rarity.

Pachelbel is following me....

I agree with this guy that Pachelbel is everywhere. I have made more money from playing Pachelbel than any other piece I have ever played or studied. I once offered to play a wedding for free if they would let me play the march from for the love of Three Oranges by Prokofiev, rather than Pachelbel....and they paid

Saturday, March 14, 2009

enter the sandman...exit the sand bag

When I heard the news that A-Rod would need surgery and wouldn't be with the team at the begining of the season, I was not really concerned. That concern begins with the fact that I am a Met fan, and don't really care about the Yanks. However one thing has been as steady as death and taxes....and that is the entrance of Mariano Rivera.

Watching him in 1996 it was hard to imagine that the guy would be around 12 years later and still the greatest closer I have ever seen.

He has done everything you can to win games, hold leads, blow away the opposition etc. That any flaws he has had on his certain hall of fame career get overlooked. Blowing the 2001 World Series would have seemed like something that no player could come back from, and indeed some people have called that the night that the Yankee Dynasty ended, however Marian Rivera keeps coming back and throwing stuff that you know is going to come but you can't do anything about (reminds me of the joke that asks how are viola solos like premature know they are coming but there isn't a damn thing you can do about it).

Last year, he had a great year and played injured. Giving his all, he worked the innings that needed to be done and went out there to battle for every inning. When the war was lost he admitted to his physical deterioration and had surgery.

Rivera says he is ready for opening day. Even if he ISN'T ready, he will not make excuses he will give his all and get the job done as best as he can.

You wonder if A-Rod watches or notices these things.....or is he too wrapped up in himself!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

the state of baseball as I see it

World Baseball Classic is a tournament that seems to be named incorrectly, it is not really the world, it is neither for the whole world, nor really about baseball and it certainly is not a classic.

When you have an event with such a name you hope that the top world talent shows up and can participate. However that doesn’t happen. What teams will want to give up their prize players or even top prospects as they get ready to start the year long battle to win the pennant.

So it is that many of the stars of today are still in Florida.
You may very well ask yourself why we can’t just have this after the season. Yes that would be in November, well because the world really doesn’t care that much and frankly the TV people don’t find it that interesting.

The Yankees and Mets couldn’t figure out how to have a couple of post season games this past year, nor could they have a series of field of dreams games for new York baseball fans. They could have brought back the old mets and yanks of years gone by to play a series of games for charity and to say goodbye to the stadiums…..but nobody REALLY cared that much.

I watched one game in interest the other day. Chinese Taipei vs China…..Blue China vs Red China?

I figured Taipei should have an easy go of it since the Chinese of mainland china have little understanding of baseball. It has turned out that the Chinese baseball team is made up of players who were athletic but not good enough for the other sports. And don’t you remember how Taiwan ALWAYS won the Little League World Series. They had powerful squads with players who might have been ringers but either way, played the game with a tenacity and skill that was to be held in awe.
Obviously the Taipei team of today is not made up of kids who were the winners of those teams, because if they had been they would have at least made a better go of it against the Chinese. Taiwan did not have Chien Ming Wang the Yankee pitcher nor did they have Hong Chih Kuo of the Dodgers. But they lost and were beat WICKED Bad by a guy named Ray Chang……a ringer from the US who plays in the Pirates organization. This is a guy who is in the minors and has hit for an average of 258.
Now if he is just in the minors and he is teeing off on these asian pitchers it makes you think twice about how the scouting reports are on players who come from Asia and are “world beaters.”

Asians take the baseball quite seriously. Korea fields a good team and has good players, so do the Japanese (they actually know what the word team is), and of course the Americans have put together a good team, but one that isn’t quite as star laden as one would expect. Admittedly, if they just took the Yankee or Mets roster they would have had more real all stars.

I suppose until the Europeans really get into baseball there is no such thing as a WORLD baseball classic. Italy had Mike Piazza on their team the last time around and I guess he is a hitting coach on this team. That is nice, however how useful it is would be rather questionable to me.

But then look at what happened with the Netherlands and the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is a team heavily made up of major league ALL-Stars. Without having A-Rod on the team (who will be spoken of later) they STILL should have beat the Netherlands like a drum. Some friends have complained that the Netherlands has ringers from the Caribbean, and that is somewhat true. The ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) are part of the Netherland Antilles which are part of the kingdom of the Netherlands. So yeah, they belong on the team far more than say Mike Piazza did. And let’s face it, other than Sidney Ponson, and the pitching coach Bert Blyleven, who knew anyone on the Netherlands team?

Well David kicked Goliaths butt, not once but TWICE. It was an exciting game made better by the fact that the WBC did not have that idiotic rule they had last time with the tie break, where you put a guy on base if the game is tied in extra innings (don’t get me started on the idiocy of a MERCY rule in baseball).

Will the win of the Netherlands be a big boost to the credibility of the WBC? I really don’t know. If you looked at the players they seemed excited, but the stands were pretty empty and it was tough going to find the game on TV.

Now to A-Rod
When A-Rod became a New York Yankee it was with fanfare and certain amount of satisfaction that he was not on the Red Sox. In retrospect it might have been better if he had been with the Red Sox.

Many years earlier he had flirted with coming to New York , but to the Mets. The Mets in search of a star player and an identity tried to sign him, but he was just too difficult. He wanted to much, he wanted extra perks that he then denied, but in his behavior with resigning with the Yankees and opting out DURING the World Series one would have to think that they were all true.

A-Rod is that most curious of player. This is a guy who has studied the game to the n-th degree but does not understand it in the slightest. His belief that he is bigger than the team, the league, and the game is almost incomprehensible.

He used steroids for a couple of years because he was “young and stupid.” Let me just say that he is now a little older and just as stupid.

Apparently, we are to believe that he had a cyst on his hip. That hip had bothered him during last season and he played through it. If he were older and wiser would he not have gone to see a physician RIGHT after the last game of the season? Then he could have had surgery and rehabbed it in the off season and gotten better?
Didn’t Tiger Woods, win a championship on a damaged knee, and then after he finished had surgery and started working on things? Doesn’t that seem normal?

Not to A-Rod, who apparently thinks that he should show up to spring training deal with the steroids issue that he somehow thought would go away after reading a prepared statement that mind you, he should have at least looked at a couple of times BEFORE reading it to the press, and then say his hip hurts and he will need surgery.

The doctor said it was a successful surgery. The only way that surgery was successful was if they found his brains in his ass.

Lang Lang Bangs again....

I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago about how wonderful this asian pianist was. He had heard Bang Bang play with the Vienna Phil with Zubin Mehta conducting.

Let us not forget that though beautiful the chopin 2nd piano concerto is no deep well of musical thought.

Lang Lang should be able to get through the piece without problem, if in fact he has the technique that everyone says he possesses. Truthfully he does not have much of a technique and the following snippet from the New York Times review should illustrate that:

"The orchestra’s tone was among the most attractive attributes of the Chopin concerto too, but interpretively, it was a puzzle. Lang Lang was the soloist, and it was presumably at his behest that Mr. Mehta led the introduction at a needlessly breathless clip.

Mr. Lang’s own contribution ranged from a dreamy facsimile of poetry (and occasionally the real thing) to grandstanding assertiveness. He dropped plenty of notes along the way, particularly in the finale, but after the concerto he scooped those up and threw them into his encore, a blustery account of Chopin’s Polonaise in A flat (Op. 53).

That was appalling: in the usually restrained E major section (it’s marked sotto voce), Mr. Lang bounced on the piano bench as if he were riding a pony. And he pummeled the work’s louder, more ebullient passages as if the score had somehow taken human form and kicked his dog. The standing ovation he received must have been meant to acknowledge the sheer audacity of the performance rather than its musicality."

My friend was bowled over by the person, the emotion of the moment, and indeed by the theatrics. Unfortunately, this does not serve the music, or the audience. Just Bang Bang himself

So I have one thing to say, Bang Bang, go play with yourself.....