Enjoying playoff hockey
NHL post season intense
Good morning, all!
I admit, I am not the biggest hockey fan in the world, but when it comes to the NHL post season, that is a different story. The intensity exhibited by the NHL playoffs is second to none, when it comes to major league sports on this continent.
As I put this latest newsletter together, I am watching Game 5 of the conference finals between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightening. The winner advances to the Stanley Cup finals against the Vegas-Montreal winner. That conference final is tied at 2-2.
Of course, there are many story lines here. If Montreal makes it, they are the New York Yankees of hockey, who have not enjoyed much success in recent years. That would be a story. If Vegas makes it, that would be a story, seeing as the Golden Knights have made the post season in all four years of their existence, including advancing to the finals in their first year. That is an unheard of accomplishment. To make it to the finals in two of their first four years would be amazing. If the Islanders make it to the finals, it would be a nice run for a team that won four straight Stanley Cups from 1979 through 1983. And if Tampa Bay makes it the region might have to be renamed Titletown USA. Sorry Green Bay. Think about it. The Tampa Bay Bucs won the Super Bowl, the Tampa Bay Rays captured the American League pennant and now the Lightening is on the verge of going to the Stanley Cup Finals. That’s a nice run for any city or region.
So sit back and enjoy the hockey. It is a post season filled with intensity.
1961 Yankees had their problems
I continue to have fun putting together my podcast on the 1961 New York Yankees and the 1961 Major League Baseball season. Here is the link. In some quarters the ‘61 Yankees of Mantle and Maris were considered the greatest club of all time. Who knows?
But consider this. 60 years ago, on June 22, 1961, the Yankees to that point in their season had spent only one day in first place, under their new manager Ralph Houk. They had engineered several trades in an effort to remake their starting rotation and bullpen. And the much heralded infield of Boyer-Kubek-Richardson-Skowron was having its problems on defense. The club lost a crucial game in Detroit, by making five errors and then came back the next night with another poor effort on defense. Luis Arroyo may have been the savior out of the bullpen - just ask Whitey Ford - but he was having his issues too. Consider one game in Kansas City, when the Yankees, leading 3-2 going to the bottom of the ninth, lost on back-to-back home runs by former Yankee Norm Siebern and Wes Covington. And the stunning Athletics’ victory came in Hank Bauer’s first game as Kansas City manager. Bauer was another former Yankee. In other words, at this point 60 years ago, the ‘61 Yankees weren’t a lock to win anything, let along the World Series.
The point is, the baseball season is long. And this was the first season the schedule was expanded to 162 games. A baseball season has its ups and downs, even for the supposed GOAT teams. It is why baseball has to be accepted on an even keel. Granted, their are the aberrations, like the Arizona Diamondbacks, who this season are a disaster. But when a club loses a heart breaker, it has to shake it off, because the season is long.
So the next time your club loses one in the ninth, or plays an overall bad game, don’t get too upset. Even the best clubs are imperfect.
Miss the organ music
Someone sent me a tweet the other day, lamenting the loss of old time organ music at the ballparks. And I agree. I miss it too. Yes, many ballparks still have organists, but it is almost as an afterthought, as the speakers blare with loud music and the extravagant scoreboards show one loud video after another. Gone are the days when you can name a team’s organist and even the brand name of the organ played by the organist. So with that in mind, I invite you to examine You Tube, where some of the all-time great ballpark organists reside from season’s past, including the great Nancy Bea Hefley, who for years graced the Dodger Stadium organ and ushers in our Summer of 2021. Enjoy.
Have a great week and thank you for subscribing to the newsletter.