Jeremy Lin doing his thing for Hahvahd Hoops 2006-2010

Jeremy Lin doing his thing for Hahvahd Hoops 2006-2010

Jeremy Lin is only the 3d player from Harvard to play in the NBA.

He was a terrific player not only at Harvard, but in the Ivies.  He established a line of records unmatched in Ivy League history, and along the way, the Harvard basketball team, which had never amounted to a bucket of warm spit until Lin and Coach Amaker arrived, found its way to the Ivy League title and the NCAA tournament.

My sons and I watched these guys, led by Lin, play a ferocious contest in the Palestra against their arch-rivals Penn in 2010, which was a double overtime contest, and as Harvard finally won, largely due to the intensity and refusal to lose of Lin, who kept penetrating, dishing off, shooting jumpers, and doing whatever it took to win, it seemed like a passing of the guard.

DP made pun of Lin's name back in 2009 at Penn

The Daily Pennsylvanian made pun of Lin's name back in 2009 at Penn, showing once again Philly was three years ahead of NYC media.

So it’s no secret why Lin is the 2d best player on the knicks in win shares per 48 minutes at .187 after Tyson Chandler’s .248; or why his PER approaching 25 leads the team.  Lin plays defense, doesn’t turnover the ball, and is efficient both on offense and defense.  Also, he hustles.  In the Ivy League, he led across a large number of categories, including points, steals, rebounds, assists, assist to turnover ration, etc. and established benchmarks for a guard across many such categories–in fact, all time records for a guard to have such all-around abilities.

What we saw, watching him two years ago, was a guy who refused to lose.  He could penetrate and score; penetrate and dish out to the three line; penetrate and dish to the man beside him after drawing the double-team;  penetrate and dish to the open man; had amazing peripheral vision; could drop the three or the jumper if left unattended; always could run the ball and locate the open man on the run; could play defense; could steal the ball; could rebound and start the break the other way; in short, he was a complete player.

And Lin never stopped to breath.  He was always in continuous motion.  Harvard had a lot of talented players, but they looked kind of confused unless Lin got them the ball and he was coordinating the offense.  He was, in short, a terrific and talented point guard who had game.

A lot of Penn players have played in the NBA, but not so much Harvard.  Hockey has always been the winter sport at Harvard, along with playing the stock market and inventing new financial instruments the SEC can’t regulate.

Three players including Lin played in the NBA:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/friv/colleges.cgi?college=harvard#stats::none

first was

Saul Mariaschin

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/mariasa01.html

who was a 5 foot 11 inch player on the 1947-48 Boston Celtics.  The Celtics were in a predecessor league to the NBA, but who cares?

Here were Saul Mariaschin’s teammates on the Boston Celtics of 1947-48:

riebe_spector_sadowski_garfinkel_mariaschin_1948

riebe, spector, sadowski, garfinkel with Saul Mariaschin Harvard Grad on 1948 Boston Celtics

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/BOS/1948.html

Here’s another of his teammates from that legendary Celts team:

CHUCK CONNORS.  Yes, the guy who later played the RIFLEMAN on TV.  Lucas McCain himself.  And a 6’5″ grad of Seton Hall, which in 1947-48 would have made him a giant player.  And he was a CELTIC.  You can look it up.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/c/connoch01.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Connors

Chuck Connors was a Celtic and played with Harvard Grad Saul Mariaschin in 1947-48

Chuck Connors was a Celtic and played with Harvard Grad Saul Mariaschin in 1947-48

Chuck Connors also played baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers!

And he was a TV Star!

Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain the Rifleman

Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain the Rifleman

Chuck Connors was a Boston Celtic and and Brooklyn Dodger

Chuck Connors was a Boston Celtic and and Brooklyn Dodger

The second player that went to Harvard and played in the NBA was

Ed Smith

Edward Bernard Smith (Ed)

Ed Smith was a New York Knick in 1953-54.  On that Knicks team, Ed played with Vince “Moose” Boryla, Nate “Sweetwater” Clifton, Al McGuire and Dick McGuire, and the famous Ernie Vandeweghe, and others well-noted.

That 1953-54 Knicks team finished 1st in the Eastern Division, going 44-28 under the helm of the legendary Joe Lapchick.  And they played in the old Madison Square Garden, which many hold in as high esteem as the old Boston Garden.

Nate "Nat" "Sweetwater" Clifton of the 1953-54 NY Knicks played with Harvard's Ed Smith

Nate "Nat" "Sweetwater" Clifton of the 1953-54 NY Knicks played with Harvard's Ed Smith

and here’s ernie vandewege v bob cousy:

Bob Cousy and Ernie Vandeweghe Reaching For Ball

Bob Cousy and Ernie Vandeweghe Reaching For Ball

Of course, Ernie has some bloodlines. Kiki Vanderweghe was a great NBA player, and now his granddaughter is a professional tennis player:

CoCo Vandeweghe professional tennis player and granddaugher of Ernie Vandeweghe who played on the NY Knicks with Ed Smith in 1953-54.  Ed was the last Harvard alum to play for the NY Knicks, nearly fifty years ago

CoCo Vandeweghe professional tennis player and granddaugher of Ernie Vandeweghe who played on the NY Knicks with Ed Smith in 1953-54. Ed was the last Harvard alum to play for the NY Knicks, nearly fifty years ago

The Madness Begins

March 15, 2010

I can’t believe Temple got the #5 seed while Nova got a #2. Georgetown played really well down the stretch, by the way. That was a great Big East final.

I took my boys to the penn-cornell ivy league championship game in november. that was fun, at franklin field. i still can’t believe penn won at harvard.

cornell won the ivy over harvard barely, but they have to play temple in the first round, and temple is very, very good this year, that’s a bad draw for cornell. temple almost never loses in the first round of the ncaa. coming out of the bracket, temple has uphill all the way, but texas might actually beat kentucky, although john calipari has to be the best coach on the planet, he used to torture temple when he was at umass, he drove john chaney crazy.

also, i like richmond to win their first round game, and then upset villanova in the 2d round. richmond has a really good team and nova never plays well in the tournament. jay wright is a horrible tournament coach. richmond gave temple all they could handle inthe a10 final and richmond beat temple in the regular season. richmond is a great team this year, much better than a #7 seed. that’s a 2-7 matchup that’s bad for nova.

i was watching spike lee on 30-30 on espn on that reggie miller thing and 3 points.

first, reggie miller has to be the most overrated player in NBA history.  he could only do one thing, the three point jumper, and that was it.  He did it well, but he couldn’t pass, penetrate, dunk, rebound, run, steal or do any of the other things that an NBA Hall of Fame guy does.

second, Patrick Ewing, for all his greatness, came up short in two of the biggest games of his life, game 7 against Hakeem in the NBA finals, and the NCAA title game against Villanova in 1985, of which this is the 25th anniversary of Nova upsetting Georgetown, or Patrick Ewing choking unbelievably, depending on how you look at it.  Based on how awful Ewing was in his NBA finals against Hakeem, i’d bet Nova could have beaten Georgetown in a 7 game series, and, in fact, Nova did handle Georgetown if not outright beat them pretty well that season in Big East play.

Third, Spike Lee claimed “New York is the cradle of basketball.”

Uh, Spike, New York is the cradle of incredible wealth and incredible poverty, a lot of models and caviar and restaurants, and some good hoops players, but PHILLY is the cradle of liberty and hoops, pal.

ALL the great hoops players (and jazz players) have been from philly, not NY.  Earl the Pearl Monroe, Wilt the Stilt Chamberlain, Rasheed Wallace, Tyreke Evans, Kobe Bryant, the list is endless.

John Coltrane is from Philly.  Dizzy Gillespie grew up here.  Lee Morgan was from Philly.  Philly Jo Jones.  Hank Mobley, McCoy Tyner, Archie Shepp, Byard Lancaster, Mickey Roker, Bill Harris, Calvin Massey.  Are You Kidding Me?????

Philly is like the Jazz/Hoops capital of the earth.  Doesn’t anyone remember Grover Washington Jr playing the national anthem at Sixers games? and he was like the WORST sax guy ever to come out of philly!  and he was great!  but hey, he was no JOHN COLTRANE soloing for hours on soprano sax!

Dr. J played here for TWELVE YEARS.  He played in New York for four years.  New Yorkers like to remember that it was longer, but hey, too bad.

We were at the Palestra the other week and there were no less than several HUNDRED NBA all stars who played their high school ball in philly pasted on the walls there.  Maybe a thousand.  Maybe more.  I couldn’t count them all.  That doesn’t count the guys who were kept out of the league for gambling, or who blew out their knees, or just didn’t have the grades to go to college.

It’s not even close–Philly v. NY in hoops is like PROS V JOES–NY being the JOES.

Oh, and by the way, Alex Rodriguez took steroids and needed an instant replay to win the world series last year.

And I didn’t see him tying Reggie “Reggie Bar” Jackson’ HR record of 5 dingers in a World Series like Chase Utley did–and Chase being about 1/2 the size of Reggie, by the way, who was enormously strong and had arms like a bricklayer.

Hey, the Yankees are great.  But Philly’s got the Hoops.  Even the guys at Sports Center know it’s Philly when it comes to Hoops.

And when was the last time a NY university made it into the NCAA exactly?

Columbia never gets in.  NYU doesn’t have a team.  St. Johns has fallen off dramatically.  Syracuse is way upstate.  CCNY had its glory days when the court was surrounded by caged wire fences.

In all the years, NY had exactly one great player–Kareem Abdul Jabbar, aka Lew Alcindor.  But he hates NY.  He changed his name, became a Muslim, and never goes back to NY.  He’s become such an LA/Cali guy, you’d never know he was a NY guy to begin with.

But i loved the guy in Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee, doing kung fu and all.  Now that was awesome–way better than Wilt in that Conan movie.

–art k, philly

Last night we witnessed the triumph of existentialism, or should I say, Instantiation, in modern baseball, because the alleged two run home run hit by Alex Rodriguez NEVER ACTUALLY OCCURRED.

To understand this, first we must review the Home Run Rule in modern baseball, which was first defined in 1885, and was subsequently amended in 1892, 1914, 1920, 1926, 1931, 1950 and 1955.

The key concept of the home run rule is most plainly expressed in the 1892 rule which has not been changed very much since 1892:

A FAIR BATTED BALL THAT GOES OVER THE FENCE SHALL ENTITLE THE BATTER TO A HOME RUN…

The key concepts here are that

1) the ball has to be fair; and
2) the ball has to go “over the fence.”

The 1892 rule adds that “A distinctive line is to be marked on the fence showing the required point.” Meaning, if the ball goes over the fence above the line, it goes “over the fence.”

However, and this is the key point, the ball still has to go OVER the fence, not just ABOVE the line.

Last nite’s alleged home run by Alex Rodriquez, as a careful examination of the Rules of Baseball in this blog will demonstrate, was not a home run, but a Ground Rule Double.

It was a Ground Rule Double, because the ball never went OVER the Fence, as require plainly by the Rules of Baseball, but merely hit an object, which was in the field of play, above the line, but still in the field of play.

As to whether the ball would have, could have, or should have gone over the fence, but for the object, which was a TV camera, that is an interesting philosophical debate (which is the same as conceiving of unicorns, trolls, a planet without war and the tooth fairy), but the result is still the same: the home run remains an abstraction, something INSTANTIATED and given EXISTENCE only in the collective minds of the umpires.

You see the replay plainly on Fox TV. At no time did the ball go OVER the Fence. Moreover, the camera was jutting a good five to ten feet into the field. Even if the camera wasn’t there, the downward arc of the ball meant that the ball might have gone over the fence, or it might have continued its downward slope and hit the fence at a point BELOW the line of the fence.

Now, as a careful examination of the rules will show, similar disputes such as balls getting caught in the wiring of the ivy fences at Wrigley have always been rules as ground rule doubles. At no time have such balls ever been rules home runs, not in World Series and never on instant replay, because there has never been instant replay in the World Series or at any time in baseball.

I’m certainly pleased to see that baseball, not content with attempting to stop the Phillies from winning the World Series last year by calling a rain delay halt for the first time in World Series History when Cole Hamels was pitching a brilliant game in game five, this year, for the first time in World Series history called a fake home rum and foiled Cole Hamels again from winning.

Up to the point of the fake homer call, Hamels was pitching a no-hitter. It was obvious that Hamels was furious with the call. And rightly so. The call was utter and total BS, and proves that Bud Selig and Organized Baseball are determined to see that the Yankees win the World Series at all costs. The Umpiring crew rules so quickly that they must have been told by Selig how to rule. They didn’t have time to deliberate.

This is reminiscent of 1950, when the Yankees used their connections with the US Government to have Curt Simmons, a blazing lefthander with Sandy Koufax stuff, a twenty game winner, on the Phillies, get his draft notice in mid-September 1950, two weeks before the World Series was coming up with the Yanks. At the time, the Phils had Robin Roberts, now in the Hall of Fame, and Curt Simmons, a blazing lefthander, on their staff. The two pitchers had combined for more than fifty wins. The two pitchers could each have won two games in the series and blown out the Yanks, much like Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson won the 2001 Series for Arizona back a few years. But with Curt Simmons in the Army, the Phillies barely won the Pennant, and were eradicated by the Yanks in four games.

The Yankees always need to cheat to win.

Ok, so here are the Home Run Rules:

1885 – A fair batted ball that goes over the fence at a distance less than 210 feet from home base shall entitle the batsmen to two bases. A distinctive line shall be marked on the fence at this point.

My comment: At this point, a ball “over the fence” is not a homer at all, it’s a ground rule double. Weird.

1892 – A fair batted ball that goes over the fence shall entitle the batter to a home run; except that should it go over the fence at a distance less than 235 feeet from home base, the batter is entitled to only two bases. A distinctive line is to be marked on the fence showing the required point.

My comment: This is essentially the modern rule. The ball has to go “over” the “fence” to be a home run. And it has to go “over” the “distinctive line” of the “fence”. Not above, but over.

I think we all understand the difference between going near, above and around a line painted on a fence, and going over a fence. It’s the difference between a hurdler stumbling on the hurdle, and a hurdler clearing the hurdle entirely.

Rodriquez’ ball last nite, in Game 3 of the 2009 World Series, is not a home run under the Home Run Rule. It did not go “over the fence” or over the “distinctive line”, because in three dimensional space, it hit the camera before it crossed the plane of the line, and was knocked back into the field. Therefore, it never went over the line, never went over the wall, and never went over the fence.

Consequently, it was not a home run under the 1892 rule.

Are there any changes in the rules SINCE 1892 that could make it a home run? The answer is no, but let’s go through them all and see.

Note that this is not a “judgment call” by the umpires. The ball has to go “over the fence” and be a “fair ball” to be a home run. End of story. An umpire or group of umpires cannot make a ball that might have been or should have been a home run except that it hit something, into a home run by philosophical instantiation, or abstractive analysis.

In short, there are no unicorns, trolls or other imaginary beings just because we think there are; and there are no imaginary home runs. C.f. Occam’s razor—we don’t create a multiplicity of abstract universal beings just because we name them, think of them or create them in our minds. If we create now a class of abstract home runs, home runs that might have been, should have been and so forth, we now introduce into baseball a series of abstract balls, strikes, stolen bases, catches, hits and so forth and soon there will be entire parallel universes of baseball realities creeping into games, abstract realities which have nothing to do with what’s going on down at the field level, or, more pertinently, in the empirical world or in the rulebook. Everything will come down to what the umpires say and we’ll have a courtroom, not a ballgame.

1914 – Should an errant thrown ball remain in the meshes of a wire screen protecting the spectators, the runner or runners shall be entitled to two bases. The umpire in awarding such bases shall be governed by the position of the runner or runners at the time the throw is made.

My comment – this is the first indication that hitting a camera should be a ground rule double. Here the rule says if an errant thrown ball gets caught in wire screen mesh, the runner gets two bases and two bases only. It doesn’t matter if the ball is over the fence in fair ground, it’s still only two bases.

1920 – Home Run/Game-Ending – If a batsman, in the last half of the final inning of any game, hits a home run over the fence or into a stand, all runners on the bases at the time, as well as the batsman, shall be entitled to score, and in such event all bases must be touched in order, and the final score of the game shall be the total number of runs made.

My comment – this is the famous “walk off homer” rule change. Prior to 1920, if someone hit a walk off homer with one, two or three men on that won the game, the only runs that counted were the ones that won the game, e.g. if the score were 9-8 the road team, and you hit a grand slam, you got two runs, the score ended 10-9 home team, and you were credited with either a single or a double, usually a single. Not a grand slam. But under the walk-off rule, the score ended 12-9, the batter got credit for a homer, a grand slam and 4 RBI.

Note again that the rule says “over the fence” and “into the stand”. Rodriquez’ alleged homer last night meets neither of these key tests.

1926 – A fair batted ball that goes over the fence or into a stand shall entitle the batsman to a home run, unless it should pass out of the ground or into a stand at a distance less than 250 feet from the home base, in which case the batsman shall be entitled to two bases only. In either event the batsman must touch the bases in regular order. The point at which a fence or stand is less than 250 feet from the home base shall be plainly indicated by a white or black sign or mark for the umpire’s guidance.

My comment – again, the rule says “over the fence” or “into a stand” in order for a ball to be a home run. This changes the 1892 rule by making the minimum fence distance 250 feet for a home run instead of 235 feet in order not to have “cheap” home runs, although even 250 feet would be a pretty short distance. Of course, Yankee Stadium had a 297 foot right field porch for years for their left handed sluggers, another example of the Yankees “cheating”, and then they would have an all-lefthanded staff to keep the other team from stacking up lefties against them, c.f. Lefty Gomez, Whitey Ford, Andy Pettite, Ron Guidry and so forth. This unfair advantage has been wiped out with the new Yankee Stadium, although allegedly there remains a slightly easier job of hitting to right field.

1931 – Batter/Awarded Bases – A fair hit ball that bounds into a stand or over a fence shall be a two-base hit. Note: There is no reference to distance in this rule and any fair hit ball bounding over the fence or into the stand is a two-base hit.

My comment: This is the modern ground-rule double rule. It hasn’t changed at all. Most importantly, READ what it says. “A FAIR HIT BALL THAT BOUNDS INTO A STAND OR OVER A FENCE SHALL BE A TWO-BASE HIT.” That means that if the ball bounces off a camera and then over the fence, it’s a two base hit. If the ball bounces off a fan and over the fence, it’s a two base hit. If it bounces off the top of the Astrodome, and back into the field of play, as happened to Mike Schmidt in 1974, it’s a two base hit; but if it went off the top of the Astrodome and then over the fence, it would be a ground rule double according to the rule.

According to the plain language of the ground rule double rule of 1931, the ball A Rod hit last nite in game 3 of the World Series was a double. Not subject to review, not subject to judgment call. A ground rule double. It went off a camera and bounded over the fence and then back into the field. It was in play. It’s a ground rule double in that case.

In 1950 the rulebook was entirely recodified and rewritten, refined and clarified:

1950: Batter/Awarded Bases: Each runner including the batter-runner may, without liability of being put out, advance to home base, scoring a run, if a fair ball goes over the field fence in flight and he touch [sic] all bases legally; of if a fair ball which, in the umpire’s judgment, would have cleared the field fence in flight, is deflected by the act of a defensive player in throwing his glove, cap or any article of his apparel, the runner shall be awarded a home run.

My comment – to be a home run, the ball must go over the fence “in flight”. The only case where an umpire may exercise judgment and rule on whether a ball “would have cleared the field fence in flight” is solely and exclusively the case of when the ball is “deflected by the act of a defensive player in throwing his glove, cap or any article of his apparel”. This is the one and only situation where an umpire may exercise abstract judgment and award a hypothetical or abstract home run under the rules of baseball; where a fielder attempts to block the ball by throwing his glove, cap or article of his clothing at the ball.

This was not the case with A Rod’s home run last night. Jayson Werth did not throw his cap, his glove or any article of his clothing at the ball last night. Consequently, the ball would have had to clear the fence “in flight” to be a home run. Since the ball never cleared the fence “in flight”, it was not a home run under the 1950 rule, as amended.

More 1950 changes:

The batter becomes a baserunner when a fair ball, after touching the ground, bounds into the stands or passes through or under a fence or through or under shrubbery or vines on the field, in which case the batter and the baserunners shall be entitled to advance two bases.

The batter becomes a baserunner when any fair ball which, either before or striking the ground, passes through or under a fence or through or under a scoreboard or through or any opening in the fence or scoreboard or through or under shrubbery or vines on the fence, in which case the batter and the baserunners shall be entitled to two bases.
The batter becomes a baserunner when any bounding fair ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands or over or under a fence on fair or foul ground, in which case the batter and all baserunners shall be entitled to advance two bases.

The batter becomes a baserunner when any fair fly ball is defelected by the fielder into the stands or over the fence into foul territory, in which case the batter shall be entitled to advance to second base; but if deflected into the stands or over the fence in fair territory, the batter shall be entitled to a home run.

My comment – the first three rules make clear that deflections by the fielder and interference with the ball by objects on the field, such as vines, fences and shrubbery, are always ground rule doubles. The only case where a ball is NOT a ground rule double is when there is a deflection by the fielder, and for this to be a home run, there are four requirements;
1) a fair fly ball in fair territory;
2) deflected by a fielder;
3) into the stands; or
4) over the fence.

Note that even if argued analogically to last nites hit by A Rod, the 1950 rule does him no good. First, the camera deflected the ball back into the field. Second, the deflection was by a camera, not by a fielder. Third, the deflection was not “into the stands.” Fourth, the deflection was not “over the fence.”

Consequently, it’s really, really, really crystal clear that what we have is a ground rule double, under the remaining provisions of the 1950 and 1932 ground rule double rules. A Rod and the Yankees were only entitled to a ground rule double last nite in game 3 of the World Series.

1955 Rule Change

The 1955 rule change is very, very minor, it just provides that if a hitter hits a homer and has an accident while running the bases and time is called, he can have a runner come in and pinch run for him and run out the homer run and score it. It has no effect whatsoever on the discussion at hand.

Ok, through 1995, that’s all the rule changes I have from the source J. Thorn, P. Palmer, M. Gershman, D. Pietruskza, Total Baseball V: The Official Encyclopaedia of Major League Baseball (Viking NY 1997), c.f. D. Bingham & T. Heitz, “Rules and Scoring,” at pp. 2376-2432.

Now let’s hit the Net.

The rules as they exist through 1955 continue to exist and are codified in Official Rules of Baseball at Rule 6.09, exactly as they were enacted in 1950, see for yourself:

6.09 The batter becomes a runner when—
(a) He hits a fair ball;
(b) The third strike called by the umpire is not caught, providing (1) first base is unoccupied, or (2) first base is occupied with two out;
Rule 6.09(b) Comment: A batter who does not realize his situation on a third strike not caught, and who is not in the process of running to first base, shall be declared out once he leaves the dirt circle surrounding home plate.
(c) A fair ball, after having passed a fielder other than the pitcher, or after having been touched by a fielder, including the pitcher, shall touch an umpire or runner on fair territory;
(d) A fair ball passes over a fence or into the stands at a distance from home base of 250 feet or more. Such hit entitles the batter to a home run when he shall have touched all bases legally. A fair fly ball that passes out of the playing field at a point less than 250 feet from home base shall entitle the batter to advance to second base only;
(e) A fair ball, after touching the ground, bounds into the stands, or passes through, over or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to advance two bases;
(f) Any fair ball which, either before or after touching the ground, passes through or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through any opening in the fence or scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, or which sticks in a fence or scoreboard, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to two bases;
(g) Any bounding fair ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over or under a fence on fair or foul territory, in which case the batter and all runners shall be entitled to advance two bases;
(h) Any fair fly ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over the fence into foul territory, in which case the batter shall be entitled to advance to second base; but if deflected into the stands or over the fence in fair territory, the batter shall be entitled to a home run. However, should such a fair fly be deflected at a point less than 250 feet from home plate, the batter shall be entitled to two bases only.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2008/official_rules/06_the_batter.pdf

the deflection by the fielder rule is also exactly the same as adopted in 1950 and has not been changed, and is codified in Rule 7.05(a);

7.05 Each runner including the batter-runner may, without liability to be put out, advance—
(a) To home base, scoring a run, if a fair ball goes out of the playing field in flight and he touched all bases legally; or if a fair ball which, in the umpire’s judgment, would have gone out of the playing field in flight, is deflected by the act of a fielder in throwing his glove, cap, or any article of his apparel;

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2008/official_rules/07_the_runner.pdf

See? It’s exactly the same. The only way an upire can judge if the fair ball would have left the stadium and gone out of the playing field in flight, is if it was deflected by the act of a fielder under Rule 7.05(a).

The umpire can’t make a judgment call under any other of the rules of baseball.

All the rules of baseball, incidentally, are on line and available for you all to read for yourselves at;

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/foreword.jsp

see also these websites:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/rulemenu.shtml

http://www.rulesofbaseball.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_rules

There IS however, a rule which pertains to interference by media, and that is rule 3.15, which I hereby quote now:

3.15 No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club. In case of unintentional interference with play by any person herein authorized to be on the playing field (except members of the offensive team participating in the game, or a coach in the coach’s box, or an umpire) the ball is alive and in play. If the interference is intentional, the ball shall be dead at the moment of the interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2008/official_rules/03_game_preliminaries.pdf

NOTE WHAT RULE 3.15 SAYS ABOUT INTERFERENCE WITH A BALL BY NEWSPHOTOGRAPHERS WHO ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE ON THE FIELD OF PLAY: In case of unintentional interference with play by any person herein authorized to be on the playing field (except members of the offensive team participating in the game, or a coach in the coach’s box, or an umpire) the ball is alive and in play.

Since A-Rod’s ball was UNINTENTIONALLY INTERFERED WITH BY A PRESS CAMERA, RULE 3.15 COMES INTO PLAY EXPRESSLY AND THE BALL IS IN PLAY. It’s not a case of fan interference where the umpires are allowed to make a judgment call to nullify the fan interference and create a home run abstractly.

To the contrary, the rule is clear and express- “the ball is in play” says the rule. Since the ball did not go over the fence or into the stands or over the fence in flight, but back to the field, and since Werth relayed it back, the Yankees runners were stuck at 2d and 3d.

There was no interference, and if there were a ground rule here, it was at best a ground rule double. See discussion above, supra.

NOTE THAT THIS IS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SITUATION THAN IF A FAN HAD INTERFERED WITH THE BALL.

The Umps and all of major league baseball got the rules wrong last night.

The ball was alive and in play last night and/or was a ground rule double, under the ground rule double rules and also under official Rule 3.15.

The Umps had no interference discretion under rules 3.15 or 3.16 because NO FAN touched the ball—instead, an authorized member of the press touched the ball.

The camera was an authorized photographer.

Consequently, the ball was in play.

Note the difference if a spectator had touched the ball:

3.16 When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball, the ball shall be dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference.
APPROVED RULING: If spectator interference clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the umpire shall declare the batter out.

Rule 3.16 Comment: There is a difference between a ball which has been thrown or batted into the stands, touching a spectator thereby being out of play even though it rebounds onto the field and a spectator going onto the field or reaching over, under or through a barrier and touching a ball in play or touching or otherwise interfering with a player. In the latter case it is clearly intentional and shall be dealt with as intentional interference as in Rule 3.15. Batter and runners shall be placed where in the umpire’s judgment they would have been had the interference not occurred.
No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk. However, should a spectator reach out on the playing field side of such fence, railing or rope, and plainly prevent the fielder from catching the ball, then the batsman should be called out for the spectator’s interference.
Example: Runner on third base, one out and a batter hits a fly ball deep to the outfield (fair or foul). Spectator clearly interferes with the outfielder attempting to catch the fly ball. Umpire calls the batter out for spectator interference. Ball is dead at the time of the call. Umpire decides that because of the distance the ball was hit, the runner on third base would have scored after the catch if the fielder had caught the ball which was interfered with, therefore, the runner is permitted to score. This might not be the case if such fly ball was interfered with a short distance from home plate.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2008/official_rules/03_game_preliminaries.pdf

The ground rules for ground rule doubles are exactly the same as the 1950 and 1932 rules discussed above, and are codified at the official rules of baseball 7.05;

7.05 Each runner including the batter-runner may, without liability to be put out, advance—
(a) To home base, scoring a run, if a fair ball goes out of the playing field in flight and he touched all bases legally; or if a fair ball which, in the umpire’s judgment, would have gone out of the playing field in flight, is deflected by the act of a fielder in throwing his glove, cap, or any article of his apparel;
(b) Three bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a fair ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play and the batter may advance to home base at his peril;
(c) Three bases, if a fielder deliberately throws his glove at and touches a fair ball. The ball is in play and the batter may advance to home base at his peril.
(d) Two bases, if a fielder deliberately touches a thrown ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play;
(e) Two bases, if a fielder deliberately throws his glove at and touches a thrown ball. The ball is in play;
Rule 7.05(b) through 7.05(e) Comment: In applying (b-c-d-e) the umpire must rule that the thrown glove or detached cap or mask has touched the ball. There is no penalty if the ball is not touched.
Under (c-e) this penalty shall not be invoked against a fielder whose glove is carried off his hand by the force of a batted or thrown ball, or when his glove flies off his hand as he makes an obvious effort to make a legitimate catch.

(f) Two bases, if a fair ball bounces or is deflected into the stands outside the first or third base foul lines; or if it goes through or under a field fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery or vines on the fence; or if it sticks in such fence, scoreboard, shrubbery or vines;
(g) Two bases when, with no spectators on the playing field, a thrown ball goes into the stands, or into a bench (whether or not the ball rebounds into the field), or over or under or through a field fence, or on a slanting part of the screen above the backstop, or remains in the meshes of a wire screen protecting spectators. The ball is dead. When such wild throw is the first play by an infielder, the umpire, in awarding such bases, shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the ball was pitched; in all other cases the umpire shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the wild throw was made;
APPROVED RULING: If all runners, including the batter-runner, have advanced at least one base when an infielder makes a wild throw on the first play after the pitch, the award shall be governed by the position of the runners when the wild throw was made.
Rule 7.05(g) Comment: In certain circumstances it is impossible to award a runner two bases. Example: Runner on first. Batter hits fly to short right. Runner holds up between first and second and batter comes around first and pulls up behind him. Ball falls safely. Outfielder, in throwing to first, throws ball into stand.
APPROVED RULING: Since no runner, when the ball is dead, may advance beyond the base to which he is entitled, the runner originally on first base goes to third base and the batter is held at second base.
The term “when the wild throw was made” means when the throw actually left the player’s hand and not when the thrown ball hit the ground, passes a receiving fielder or goes out of play into the stands.
The position of the batter-runner at the time the wild throw left the thrower’s hand is the key in deciding the award of bases. If the batter-runner has not reached first base, the award is two bases at the time the pitch was made for all runners. The decision as to whether the batter-runner has reached first base before the throw is a judgment call.
If an unusual play arises where a first throw by an infielder goes into stands or dugout but the batter did not become a runner (such as catcher throwing ball into stands in attempt to get runner from third trying to score on passed ball or wild pitch) award of two bases shall be from the position of the runners at the time of the throw. (For the purpose of Rule 7.05 (g) a catcher is considered an infielder.)
PLAY. Runner on first base, batter hits a ball to the shortstop, who throws to second base too late to get runner at second, and second baseman throws toward first base after batter has crossed first base. Ruling—Runner at second scores. (On this play, only if batter-runner is past first base when throw is made is he awarded third base.)
(h) One base, if a ball, pitched to the batter, or thrown by the pitcher from his position on the pitcher’s plate to a base to catch a runner, goes into a stand or a bench, or over or through a field fence or backstop. The ball is dead;

APPROVED RULING: When a wild pitch or passed ball goes through or by the catcher, or deflects off the catcher, and goes directly into the dugout, stands, above the break, or any area where the ball is dead, the awarding of bases shall be one base. One base shall also be awarded if the pitcher while in contact with the rubber, throws to a base, and the throw goes directly into the stands or into any area where the ball is dead.
If, however, the pitched or thrown ball goes through or by the catcher or through the fielder, and remains on the playing field, and is subsequently kicked or deflected into the dugout, stands or other area where the ball is dead, the awarding of bases shall be two bases from position of runners at the time of the pitch or throw.
(i) One base, if the batter becomes a runner on Ball Four or Strike Three, when the pitch passes the catcher and lodges in the umpire’s mask or paraphernalia.
If the batter becomes a runner on a wild pitch which entitles the runners to advance one base, the batter-runner shall be entitled to first base only.

Rule 7.05(i) Comment: The fact a runner is awarded a base or bases without liability to be put out does not relieve him of the responsibility to touch the base he is awarded and all intervening bases. For example: batter hits a ground ball which an infielder throws into the stands but the batter-runner missed first base. He may be called out on appeal for missing first base after the ball is put in play even though he was “awarded” second base.
If a runner is forced to return to a base after a catch, he must retouch his original base even though, because of some ground rule or other rule, he is awarded additional bases. He may retouch while the ball is dead and the award is then made from his original base.
(j) One base, if a fielder deliberately touches a pitched ball with his cap, mask or any part of his uniform detached from its proper place on his person. The ball is in play, and the award is made from the position of the runner at the time the ball was touched

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2008/official_rules/07_the_runner.pdf

as you can plainly see, nothing has changed in the ground rules at all.

Consequently, A-Rod’s hit was either a ground rule double under rule 7.05, or it was a ball in play since it hit a media camera which was authorized to be in the field of play under rule 3.15. What it was not was a home run under either rule 6.09(d) or rule 7.05(a) or any other rule of baseball.

I’ve looked exhaustively and so have my sabrmetric friends, and there isn’t a rule in the book supporting what happened last night.

What happened also violates the laws of logic and violates the laws of physics. It violates the laws of logic, because the home run was created by an act of particular instantiation—abstract thought created a thing from a concept—what we in philosophy call a “unicorn”—which would make my old professor of logic at Harvard turn over twice—and violates Occam’s razor—that you don’t create needless entities through nominalism.

Instead, empiricism and realism dictate that a home run is a home run when we SEE and WITNESS that the ball goes over the fence—not that we imagine or suppose that it MIGHT have gone over the fence.

The problem with the umpires’ supposition last night is that it is what we call in philosophy a “modal” proposition, an “if….then” statement, that is conditional.

“If the camera were not there, then the ball would have flown over the fence.”

This can readily be recognized as a categorical statement of conditional form—namely, if there were no camera “x”, the trajectory of flight of the ball would have been different in form “y”.

The problem, as anyone knows, is that without an actual observation of same, there are a plethora of possible universes of possible “y’s”.

All we know is that the ball may or might have gone over the wall—or it may or might have bounced below the line and back onto the field. All we have is a possibility that it might have gone over the wall.

All conditionals are like this.

Moreover, accepting conditionals as true introduces a host of problems.

The medieval philosophers didn’t like conditionals, and neither should we.

It’s true that rule 9.03c states that

Each umpire has authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in these rules.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2008/official_rules/09_the_umpire.pdf

however, in this case, the A-Rod double IS covered specifically by the baseball rules. There is no room for discretion or authority to rule.

Here’s what actually occurred before game 3 of the World Series according to the umpiring crew:

Indeed, umpire crew chief Gerry Davis said that his crew explored every inch of Citizens Bank Park prior to Game 3, spending time reviewing areas unique to the park. The right-field camera was one of the aspects they discussed.
“We tour the field during the series whenever we go to a new ballpark, and discuss specific ground rules and potential trouble areas just like that,” Davis said. “Because we cannot control what the cameraman does with the camera, one of the specific ground rules is when the ball hits the camera, [it’s a] home run.”
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20091031&content_id=7586236&vkey=news_mlb

So, the umpiring crew themselves MADE UP THEIR OWN GROUND RULE that the camera, if it was hit, would be a home run.

That would be fine, except that it’s in direct violation of Baseball Rule 3.15, as cited above, supra, that a media photographic camera, if a ball strikes it, the ball is in play and NOT a home run.

The Umpires don’t have discretion to make a ground rule about that.

The statement made by Umpire Davis is totally and completely WRONG. The rules cover the situation of when a ball strikes a camera held by a camera man.

Let’s see the rule again:

3.15 No person shall be allowed on the playing field during a game except players and coaches in uniform, managers, news photographers authorized by the home team, umpires, officers of the law in uniform and watchmen or other employees of the home club. In case of unintentional interference with play by any person herein authorized to be on the playing field (except members of the offensive team participating in the game, or a coach in the coach’s box, or an umpire) the ball is alive and in play. If the interference is intentional, the ball shall be dead at the moment of the interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2008/official_rules/03_game_preliminaries.pdf

Ok, then, cameramen, news photographers who unintentionally interfere with the ball, and the interference is unintentionall, the “ball is alive and in play.”

It’s not up to Davis and his crew to make up a ground rule there. It’s up to Davis and his crew to follow Rule 3.15. Rule 3.15 trumps Article 9 and the umpire discretion rules.

Now let’s discuss the instant replay rule.

Here’s the story on the instant replay rule adopted in September of 2008:

5. Instant replay
Main article: Instant replay
In November 2007, the general managers of Major League Baseball voted in favor of implementing instant replay reviews on boundary home run calls. [19] The proposal limited the use of instant replay to determining whether a boundary home run call is:
• A fair (home run) or foul ball
• A live ball (ball hit fence and rebounded onto the field), ground rule double (ball hit fence before leaving the field), or home run (ball hit some object beyond the fence while in flight)
• Spectator interference or home run (spectator touched ball after it broke the plane of the fence).
On August 28, 2008, instant replay review became available in MLB for reviewing calls in accordance with the above proposal. It was first utilized on September 3, 2008 in a game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. [20] Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees hit what appeared to be a home run, but the ball hit a catwalk behind the foul pole. It was at first called a home run, until Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon argued the call, and the umpires decided to review the play. After 2 minutes and 15 seconds, the umpires came back and ruled it a home run.
About two weeks later, on September 19, also at Tropicana Field, a boundary call was overturned for the first time. In this case, Carlos Peña of the Rays was given a ground rule double in a game against the Minnesota Twins after an umpire believed a fan reached into the field of play to catch a fly ball in right field. The umpires reviewed the play, determined the fan did not reach over the fence, and reversed the call, awarding Peña a home run.
Aside from the two aforementioned reviews at Tampa Bay, replay was used four more times in the 2008 MLB regular season: twice at Houston, once at Seattle, and once at San Francisco. The San Francisco incident is perhaps the most unusual. Bengie Molina, the Giants’ Catcher, hit what was first called a double. Molina then was replaced in the game by a pinch-runner before the umpires re-evaluated the call and ruled it a home run. In this instance though, Molina was not allowed to return to the game to complete the run, as he had already been replaced. Molina was credited with the home run, and two RBIs, but not for the run scored which went to the pinch-runner instead.
On October 31, 2009, in the fourth inning of Game 3 of the World Series, Alex Rodriguez hit a long fly ball that appeared to hit a camera protruding over the wall and into the field of play in deep left field. The ball ricocheted off the camera and re-entered the field, initially ruled a double. However, after the umpires consulted with each other after watching the instant replay, the hit was ruled a home run, marking the first time an instant replay home run was hit in a playoff game. [21]
Source:

http://wapedia.mobi/en/Home_run?t=3.

Citing to

• ESPN – GMs vote 25-5 to use replay to aid home run decisions – MLB
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/gameday_recap.jsp?ymd=20080903&content_id=3412731&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20091031&content_id=7586236&vkey=news_mlb

Now, let’s parse all this.

What instant replay boils down to is this.

A lawyer sits in Bud Selig’s offices in NYC and HE reviews the play and decides how it should be called.

The head of the umpiring crew calls NYC and asks the lawyer how the play should be ruled.

Then they decide.

Uh, what’s wrong with this picture if the NEW YORK YANKEES are one of the teams in the playoffs?

Let’s see, a NEW YORK LAWYER making the call? Against a PHILLY team?

Oh right, that would be really fair, impartial and just.

Incidentally, let’s review the rule again:

The proposal limited the use of instant replay to determining whether a boundary home run call is:
• A fair (home run) or foul ball
• A live ball (ball hit fence and rebounded onto the field), ground rule double (ball hit fence before leaving the field), or home run (ball hit some object beyond the fence while in flight)
• Spectator interference or home run (spectator touched ball after it broke the plane of the fence).
Id, supra.

Note that the ball has to hit an object BEYOND the fence while in flight.

Not in front of the fence, but BEYOND the fence.

This is completely consistent with Rules 6.09 and 7.05(a) which define a home run as one hit “over the fence in flight”.

The camera, in this case, was jutting out over the fence by a good five to ten feet.

So it was not beyond the fence, but on the field of play.

Second, because it was on the field of play, it was therefore a photographic interference under Rule 3.15, and should have been considered an unintentional interference, and a live ball in play under Rule 3.15.

Third, if not a live ball in play, then the ground rule double rule of 7.05 (b) et seq. comes into play.

What’s wrong with this picture?

THERE WAS NEVER ANY JURISDICTION FOR HOME RUN REVIEW UNDER THE HOME RUN INSTANT REPLAY RULE BECAUSE THE BALL HIT BY A ROD NEVER WENT OVER THE FENCE IN FLIGHT OR BEYOND THE FENCE.

Let’s review the criteria for instant replay;

1) is it fair or foul? Well, it was a fair ball. No need for instant replay.
2) Is it a live ball that hit the fence and bounced back to the field? No. No need for instant replay.

Was it a live ball that hit some object beyond the fence while in flight?

No. It never went beyond the fence. So no instant replay was required.

Well, it hit the camera==part of which was behind the fence, but the part of the camera the ball hit was NOT beyond the fence.

This is not a semantic issue, but a real rules issue, because if you start saying that balls that don’t go over the fence in flight are home runs, just because the umpires make up ground rules before the game to make them eligible for instant review, doesn’t make it so.

I think the key here is to parse the fact that the umpiring crew made a mistake before the game establishing false ground rules, by making a camera that jutted INTO the field, a candidate for HOME RUN instant replay.

That wasn’t their call to make.

Under the instant replay rule, the camera has to be entirely beyond the fence for them to make that decision, end of story.

Remember, the rule is to decide the boundary issue of when a ball has hit an object BEYOND the fence–not an object within the ballfield.

The Umps exceeded their rulemaking authority. Also, see #3, below, because there’s actually a different rule that applies to cameras that are in the field of play and not beyond the field of play, in which case the ball is either a ground rule double or in play. In either case the result is the same; arod at 2d, texeira at 3d.

3) There was not spectator interference, but rather, photographer interference under rule 3.15, which made it a live ball under the rules, and on the field of play.

Consequently, there was no jurisdiction for an instant reply. Rather, the umpires AGGREGATED and SEIZED inappropriately the jurisdiction for home run instant replay because they forgot their own rule book and the rules of baseball.

They got the call all wrong.

It’s an insult to our collective intelligence and our common sense to say that a ball that fell short of the wall, and never went over the wall, is a “fair ball” that “went over the fence in flight” or that after instant replay, was shown to have struct an object “beyond the fence” in flight. None of these things occured on arod’s hit.

And messed up a 25 year old kids’ no hitter in the processs.

Did they purposefully do it?

Did the NY Offices of baseball reverse the call to obstruct the Phillies from repeating?

I don’t know—go ask the Atlanta Braves. No one in Bud Selig’s office was happy when they went up 2-0 on the Yankees in 1996 either.

The Commissioner’s office basically wants LA or NY to win the series because that’s good for TV ratings.

They like to ignore Philly and Atlanta even though we’re much more rabid about baseball than New Yorkers, most of whom are too poor to afford to go to a game, whereas in Philly or Atlanta, it’s mostly the middle class who attend.

And if we have to cheat and violate the rules to make the Yankees winners, what the hay?

Just remember Curt Simmons’ draft notice, and Bud Selig’s ridiculous rain delay call in last year’s Game Five in Philly.

Definitely be sure there’s bias against the Phillies in NYC.

And of course, let’s not forget they used a single New York Lawyer as the judging panel for instant replay of a World Series play involving….

The New York Yankees.

Like that’s really fair.

This is the Second World Series in a row where Bud Selig has personally messed around with our ace, Cole Hamels, in a World Series game.

First was Game Five in World Series 2008, in which Cole Hamels was shutting the door down on Tampa Bay. Selig allowed the game to proceed in the rain, then let Tampa Bay score a cheap run in rain soaked conditions against Hamels, a cheap run in conditions not fit to play in, and then Selig announced the game would be suspended—a first in Series history—which infuriated not only the Phillies, but Hamels, who had pitched well enough to win. Last year the story line was supposed to be tampa bay to win, cindarella, last place to world champions. New york didn’t want philly winning.

Conspiracy theorists, you are right if you think Selig hates Hamels.

And now this year, Selig sends Davis and an experienced umpiring crew out, and they set up illegal ground rules, and use the first chance they get, to award a two run instant replay home run—an existential, instantiated home run—an abstraction if you will, because nothing ever left the park or ever went over the fence in flight—for the sole purpose of screwing up Cole Hamels’ game in game 3, the pivotal game of the 2009 world series.

I need not point out how furious Hamels must have been with all this BS; for the second year in a row, he’s been messed with, not by the opposing lineup, but by lawyers and umpires and the commissioners’ office. They just won’t let him do his job.

I understand why he might have hung a few curves the next inning to Swisher and Damon.

What I don’t understand is why the Phillies don’t aggressively move

1) for Bud Selig’s immediate ouster as Commissioner of Baseball; and
2) an immediate amendment of the baseball instant replay rule requiring that the review of plays always be done in a neutral city by an impartial panel of three arbitrators, not lawyers, with one chosen by each team and the third chosen by the other two.
3) And the umpiring crew and ground rules be reviewed two weeks in advance of the World Series by the front office of each team, and by the teams attorneys, to be sure there are no conflicts with the Rules of Baseball.

Even my 80 year old mother in law, who just had eye surgery, who watched the game last night, and used to be a Brooklyn Dodger fan from Brooklyn, saw the play last night and she knew that the A-Rod hit wasn’t a home run.

“it didn’t go out of the park” she said. “how could it be a home run?”

Exactly. To be a home run, under rule 7.05(a), and in the common sense of every fan, a home run must go over the fence in flight.

And to be a home run for instant replay purposes, it has to go over the fence in flight and THEN hit some object.

Not hit some object which inteferes with the ball from going over the fence in flight. That’s a ground rule double or a ball live in play, as we have seen from our discussion, at length, of the rules.

The difference last night was two runs.

But the difference, from our perspective, is the lawlessness of the Bud Selig regime.

A regime which bars Pete Rose from the Hall of Fame, but tolerates steroid use by the likes of A-Rod and David Ortiz, and turns a blind eye to the income inequalities between teams like the Yankees and the Twins that keep baseball from truly being competitive.

A regime which makes arbitrary and capricious decisions each and every year about rain delays, rain suspensions, instant replay home runs in the World Series, and which plays games of law and fate which affect a man’s life and career in the case of Cole Hamels, who is a truly great pitcher along the lines of a Steve Carlton.

In fact, if you study Hamels stats, you will see that his 2009 is to his 2008, as Carlton’s 1973 was to Carlton’s Cy Young 1972.

I expect Cole Hamels to have a very bright future.

And he will not take much more of this abuse from Bud Selig and his cronies.

And neither should we philly fans.

And New York Yankee fans, you are cheating to win.

And to think I actually shed tears for you guys on 9/11.

And by the way, your NY Giants got rolled by the Eagles. At least the NFL runs a fair league. Thank you Pete Rozelle Paul Tagliabue and your successors.

Guess those memories of Joe Namath are starting to fade, eh?

–art kyriazis, philly
home of the world champion phillies, 2008 world champions
2008, 2009 National League pennant champs

The Wall Street Journal’s Will Friedland has a really nice story in Wednesday August 19, 2009 at p. D19 on the Cenntennial of legenday bop saxophonist Lester Young’s birth (1909-1959) which occurs today, August 24, 2009.

This year also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Lester Young, who passed away at age 49 in 1959. Jazz Giant, Jazz Legend, Jazz Colossus, these terms don’t do him justice. In Jazz Circles, he was known only as the President, or the Prez, a moniker hooked on him by none other than the late, great Billie Holiday, aka Lady Day, Queen of Jazz.

As Friedland writes, “Young…created a new approach to the saxophone and to jazz in general. His playing was, by turns, lighter and gentler than anything that had come before it, but also capable of driving with tremendous force and energy.” Id. at p. D19.

Friedland reviews a release from Fantasy Records (now owned by Concord, I believe) called “Centennial Celebration”, which contains a good deal of Lester Young live during his later years, with emphasis on the 1950s. This is probably a must-buy if you don’t have any of this material. Even if you do have it, it’s never a waste of money to buy a Lester Young CD just to get even one track you didn’t have before. Or download the one you don’t have.

When Ken Burns did his Jazz documentary stretching over a bazillion PBS hours not so long ago, there were two figures that stood head and shoulders over everyone else—Lester Young and Billie Holiday.

Before President Obama was born, before Hawaii was even a state or was issuing official state birth certificates, we already had a black president—and his name was Lester Young—or as Billie Holiday dubbed him—the President, or the Prez for short. Everyone else in jazz was the Vice-President, or the Vice-Prez—but there was only one President, and that was Lester Young. Because Lester Young ruled the roost, he was in charge, and everyone else was second best.

Lester Young was so good, that you basically need to own every track he every played on, but if you can’t afford that, the Ken Burns jazz sampler is a great place to start. There’s several different phases to Lester Young’s career, all of them fantastic. Video of Lester Young, with Basie, with Billie Holiday and solo, are also around, and these are worth viewing as well.

First there’s the Count Basie years, from around 1935-1940, where Lester “leaps in” on countless classic tracks with the Count Basie Band. According to Friedland, Mosaic Records has recently issued a 4 CD set last year covering this period, but it’s covered on many of the compilations of either the best of Count Basie or the best of Lester Young. This stuff is just fantastic, the best big band jazz ever recorded.

Then there’s his work with Billie Holiday. Here, one just says, wow. These two were so born to work together. Billie Holliday’s best tracks are with Lester Young playing; Lester Young’s best playing is with Billie Holliday singing. This is the best jazz ever laid down on vinyl in U.S. history. It’s covered in part in the Ken Burns samplers of both Lester Young and Billie Holiday, fortunately.

There is also the final appearance of them both on CBS television in 1956 or 1957 for a special jazz show with several other jazz giants, which is caught on LP, CD as well as on video somewhere, and a good thing too, since both Young and Holliday would both be dead in just a couple of years’ time. This is a must-have session as well.

Then there is the body of Lester Young’s solo work, almost all of which is essential. I could rhapsodize about all of it, but there’s particular stuff that’s really great, such as the live in DC dates from 1956, which produced more than one CD/LP. This stuff is terrific, and very fine indeed. It’s well-represented on the “Centennial” CD reviewed by Mr. Friedwald. Lester Young’s solo 50s work doesn’t try to follow what others are doing during the 1950s—and that’s kind of what makes it great.

Lester Young is essentially a romantic at heart, and this comes across in all of his playing.

Of the great boppers, I’ve always preferred Lester Young to Charlie Parker—while I know Parker is technically great and plays fast and improvises crazily and so forth, but Lester Young is really the finer ballad player, and yet can still bop and swing as well as anyone, improvise, and also accompany his vocalist, or play in a big band. In short, there was nothing Lester Young couldn’t do with a saxophone.

One comment about Young, and it’s discussed by Friedwald as well, is Young’s terrible experiences with the United States Army during World War II, and particularly with segregation. Friedwald descrbes this as a “nightmarish year he [Young] spent in the detention barracks, in the segregated armed forces during World II, which certainly exacerbated the chronic alcoholism that contributed to his [Young’s] death at age 49. (Friedwald, WSJ, 8/19/09 at p. D9. The liner notes to LESTER SWINGS (see infra) state that “his sensitivity in these matters was certainly aggravated by his traumatic army experiences of 1944 and 1945, until it amounted almost to a form of disability. Several people who knew him at the time have remarked on this. It took only one aggressive or unfriendly present to upset his equilibrium.” “Von Hangman is here,” he would mutter, as gloom descended. On the other had, when things were goint well, he could be the life and soul of the party.

So what we know about Lester Young is that he was a supremely gifted musician; he was a sensitive and tortured soul; a sensitive and open man with his feelings and emotions; and when it came to institutional racism, he was no Jackie Robinson; he could not stand up to inhumane treatment, and nearly collapsed under its weight. That he survived at all is a testament to his inner artistic strength and will to survive to play another day, and the twelve years of artistic production we have from 1946 to 1958 are, in my view, supremely brilliant and as gifted as his pre-war output.

Lester Young, if you see him play on video, had that kind of sideways way of playing, that was wholly unique, plus the famous pork pie hat he always wore, which when he passed away in 1959, gave rise to one of the world’s greatest jazz compositions, by Charles Mingus, “Goodbye Pork-Pie Hat,” which has been covered by a zillion artists, including even an incendiary fusion version by Jeff Beck and Jan Hammer during the crazy 1970s. I’m not sure what Lester Young would have thought about fusion, but then again, Lester might have leapt right in.

Lester Young’s was a long and happy administration, and long may it rule, happy 100th birthday to Lester Young, the Prez. I hope that the Ken Burns Jazz Documentary re-runs on PBS sometime, and if it doesn’t run in its entirety, I sure hope they re-run the parts about Basie, Young and Holliday again, because those were smoking hot. It’s not that we don’t love Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington or Charlie Parker, but Lester Young was the Prez for a reason—he had the sweetest sound, the most beautiful, and the music he made will last forever.

Happy 100th birthday to a true American legend, Lester Young, our only other officially recognized African American President.

DISCOGRAPHY – LESTER YOUNG

KEN BURNS JAZZ – THE DEFINITIVE LESTER YOUNG (VERVE 314 549 082-2) (2000) nineteen perfect tracks, compilation. Nice booklet with photos. Great place to start. A+++

THE PRESIDENT PLAYS WITH THE OSCAR PETERSON TRIO (VERVE 831 670-2) (West German Pressing, Polygram). Lester Young, tenor sax, Oscar Peterson, piano, Barney Kessel, guitar, Ray Brown, bass, JC Heard, drums. Recorded NYC November 28, 1952. 13 tracks with alternate takes, 61:49. A+

LESTER YOUNG: THE COMPLETE SAVOY RECORDINGS (SAVOY JAZZ SVY 17122 2CD Set with booklet). This outstanding two CD set collects rare material recorded for Savoy in 1944, 1949 and 1950 by Lester Young with the likes of Billy Butterfield, Hank D’Amico, Johnny Guarnieri, Dexter Hall, Billy Taylor and Cozy Cole (April 18, 1944); a session with the Earle Warren Orchestra (see, he really was the Prez!) (April 18, 1944) (too many greats to mention, but Harry Sweets Edison, Jimmy Powell, Earle Warren, Freddie Green, Jo Jones, to name but a few). The Lester Young Quintet (and this is rare); Lester Young tenor sax, Count Basie piano, Freddie Green guitar, Rodney Richardson bass, Shadow Wilson drums (May 1, 1944). These six tracks are worth the price of the entire 2 CD set. Fantastic. Lester Young and Count Basie in a small group setting. Wow! And this is all Disc One! Disc Two starts out with Lester Young Sextet, Lester Young tenor sax, Jessie Drakes trumpet, Jerry Elliot Trombone, Junior Mance, piano, Leroy Jackson, bass, Roy Haynes drums. (June 28, 1949). (10 tracks). Lester Young Quintet. Lester Young Quintet, Lester Young tenor sax, Jessie Drakes trumpet, Kenny Drew piano, Kenny Shulman bass, Jo Jones drums. April 2, 1950, live in Chicago (10 tracks). This 2CD set has a lot of outtakes, but also has a lot of rare material from great bands, and covers a hard to find period of Young’s career, unless you have the original Savoy 78s or 10” vinyl. Stupendous. A+++.

LESTER SWINGS – LESTER YOUNG (VERVE 314 547 772-2) (1999). According to the CD, “This CD contains some of the most memorable masterpieces from Young’s enigmatic and memorable Verve studio recordings. These recordings can be found in their entirety on the 8-CD set THE COMPLETE LESTER YOUNG STUDIO SESSIONS ON VERVE.” http://www.vevemusicgroup.com. thirteen tracks, 64.22. This CD covers the highlights of Lester Young’s solo and small group career from 1946-1958, and is thus the cream of the crop. Absolutely vital. A+++

LESTER YOUNG TRIO WITH NAT KING COLE AND BUDDY RICH SUPERVISED BY NORMAN GRANZ (VERVE 314 521 650-2) 1994) (Mfd for BMG direct marketing under license. This is an interesting CD. There are a total of fourteen tracks totaling 60:41. Tracks 1-10 are recording with Lester Young on tenor sax, Nat King Cole on piano and Buddy Rich on drums, playing as a trio, recording April 19, 1946 in Los Angeles, CA. This was originally issued on vinyl as 10” Norgran LP MGN and before that as Lester Young Trio Vols I & II on Mercury/Clef MGC 104 & 135, 1074 with just 8 tracks; two outtakes are included here. Tracks 11-14 are recorded with Lester Young, Harry Sweets Edison on trumpet, Dexter Gordon on tenor sax, Nat King Cole on piano, Red Callendaer & Johnny Miller on drums, and Cliffor Juicy Owens on drums, recording summer 1943 or 1944 Los Angeles, CA, and originally released on vinyl 78 Clef/Mercury 15003/8900. Some of the tracks on this CD are 78 to CD transfers. This is a very fine CD preserving some very famous session tracks with Lester Young and Nat King Cole now considered classic. A+.

LESTER LEAPS IN: HIS GREATEST RECORDINGS 1936-1944; LESTER YOUNG. (ASV Ltd. Living Era CD AJA 5176 MCPS MONO) (Made and printed in England) (ASV Ltd., 1 Beaumont Avenue, London, UK, W14 9LP). (1995). “lester young with count basie, billie holiday, teddy Wilson, buck clayton, bill coleman, dicky wells…and other jazz greats!” what else do you want to know? 24 tracks, 75:40 total playing time. This is pretty much prime Lester Young material. A+++.

LESTER YOUNG LIVE IN DC VOLUMES I AND II 1956 I don’t have the CD info on these, but they’re classics and easily found on the internet.

youtube links:


lester young with billie holiday


this is billie holiday doing fine and mellow from the cbs special in 1956 with lester young and an all star band. with coleman hawkins and gerry mulligan. wow! A++++


a famous clip of lester young and allstar big band doing the “jitterbug jam” check out those dancers swinging to lester’s solo! with Harry Sweets Edison and many others. A+++


count basie band with lester young at randall’s island ny


lester young in a nice video


lester young and great band – pennies from heaven


same band – blues for greasy

http://www.kerouacalley.com/young.html
multimedia directory of lester young videos etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_Young
wikipedia article on lester young

theres more youtube video out there of lester young–these are just some highlights.

here’s another discography and list of books on Lester Young from a fan website:

http://www.nme.com/artists/lester-young

Discography

albums.

* Lester Young Quartet And Count Basie Seven – 1950 (Mercury)
* Lester Young – ()
* The Immortal Lester Young – 1951 (Savoy)
* The Lester Young Trio – 1951 (Mercury)
* Count Basie And Lester Young – 1951 (Jazz Panorama)
* Collates – ()
* Pres – 1951 (Mercury/Norgran)
* Kansas City Style – 1952 (Commodore)
* Battle Of The Saxes – 1953 (Aladdin)
* King Cole-Lester Young-Red Callender Trio – ()
* Lester Young-Nat King Cole Trio – 1953 (Aladdin/Score)
* Lester Young – His Tenor Sax – 1953 (Aladdin)
* The Lester Young Trio – 1953 (Clef)
* The President Plays – 1953 (Verve)
* With The Oscar Peterson Trio – 1954 (Norgran)
* Pres Meets Vice-Pres – 1954 (EmArcy)
* The President – ()
* Lester Swings Again – 1954 (Norgran)
* Pres And Sweets – 1955 (Norgran)
* The Pres-ident Plays With The Oscar Peterson Trio – 1955 (Norgran)
* Lester Young – ()
* It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) – 1955 (Norgran/Verve)
* The Jazz Giants “56 – 1956 (Verve)
* Tops On Tenor – 1956 (Jazztone)
* Lester Young And His Tenor Sax, Vol. 1 – 1956 (Aladdin)
* Lester Young And His Tenor Sax, Vol. 2 – 1956 (Aladdin)
* The Masters Touch – 1956 (Savoy)
* Lester’s Here – 1956 (Norgran)
* Pres And Teddy – 1956 (American Recording Society/Verve)
* Lester Young-Nat “King’ Cole-Buddy Rich Trio – 1956 (Norgran)
* Swingin’ Lester Young – 1957 (Intro)
* The Greatest – 1957 (Intro)
* Going For Myself – 1959 (Verve)
* Laughin’ To Keep From Cryin” – 1959 (Verve)
* The Lester Young Story – 1959 (Verve)
* Memorial Album – 1959 (Epic)
* In Paris – 1960 (Verve)
* The Essential Lester Young – 1961 (Verve)
* Lester Warms Up – Jazz Immortals Series, Vol. 2 – 1961 (Savoy)
* Pres – 1961 (Charlie Parker)
* Pres Is Blue – 1961 (Charlie Parker)
* A Date With Greatness – 1962 (Imperial)
* The Immortal Lester Young, Vols. 1 – ()
* 2 – 1962 (Imperial)
* The Influence Of Five – 1965 (Mainstream)
* Town Hall Concert – 1965 (Mainstream)
* Chairman Of The Board – 1965 (Mainstream)
* 52nd Street – 1965 (Mainstream)
* Prez – 1965 (Mainstream)
* Pres And His Cabinet – 1966 (Verve)
* In Washington, D.C., Vols. 1-5 – 1980 (Pablo)

Books

bibliography.

* Lester Young – Lewis Porter
* The Tenor Saxophone And Clarinet Of Lester Young, 1936-1949 – Jan Evensmo
* Lester Young – Dave Gelly
* You Got To Be Original Man! The Music Of Lester Young – Frank BÃchmann-Møller
* You Just Fight For Your Life: The Story Of Lester Young – Frank BÃchmann-Møller
* A Lester Young Reader – Lewis Porter
* No Eyes: Lester Young – David Meltzer
* Lester Leaps In: The Life And Times Of Lester “Pres” Young – Douglas Henry Daniels

–art kyriazis, philly south jersey
home of the world champion phillies

WHAT A DAY FOR TV YESTERDAY AUGUST 16TH.

1) AN ELVIS MARATHON ON TCM, INCLUDING ‘KID CREOLE’.

2) THE RETURN OF DON DRAPER AND MAD MEN FOR SEASON THREE.

3) THE PHILS DESTROY THE BRAVES ON NATIONAL TV SUNDAY NITE BASEBALL ON RYAN HOWARDS TWO ENORMOUS HOMERS, SOLO AND THREE RUN SHOTS, AND WIN 4-1 AS JA HAPP WINS 9TH OF YEAR AGAINST 2 LOSSES.

Is it just me, or watching Elvis and Don Draper, do I get the feeling that back in 1961, smoking, drinking, and driving drunk, were GOOD for you?

That chasing women, even if you were married, was what men were supposed to do no matter what? and that this was ok as long as you came back to your wife at the end of the road trip or whatever?

the flip side of all this is getting inside of don draper’s creative process, which seems to require that 1) he gets a new account 2) he can’t think of an idea 3) he needs to bed down some new conquest not his wife in a seedy motel 4) the plane ride back or in his office later, he suddenly and brilliantly spits out the ad idea of the century for the account.

i’d think it was a crock, except my brother in law is an ad guy and i’ve seen his creative side work like this (except for all the wild sex) (I’m joking, he actually made don draper look like a monk back in the day) (that would be the chiat day).

speaking of monk, he’s back, and they’ve announced it’s his final season. this is rare for a tv show to say “that’s all folks”.

so the question begins, how many episodes will they devote to solving trudy’s murder before they wrap it all up? It’s been what, seven, eight years, and Monk has one case, one huge case, he’s never solved–the case of his wife Trudy’s murder.

It has to be solved.

Finally, a word about Elvis. “kid creole” is actually a very fine movie. the early elvis movies, from before 1962, are pretty good, and even the vintage ones, from the 60s, have fine qualities about them.

–art kyriazis
philly home of the world champion phillies

George Russell, one of the Jazz Legends, died last week in New York City, a death that went all but unnoticed except in the New York Times, which had a fitting obit to the jazz legend.

Russell’s album “The Jazz Workshop” from 1956 is a legendary work, and for years commanded very high collectors’ prices in mint first edition, usually more than a hundred dollars. It was an amazing work.

Russell, as the NYT obit noted, invented modal dissonant jazz—dense harmonic dissonant chord changes which he described in his “bible of modal jazz”, The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization for Improvisation, published in 1953 and again in 1959. (thanks to the New York times 7/30/09 for this).

The effect on the jazz world was dramatic. Miles Davis and John Coletrane immediately picked up on modal jazz, starting with the album “Milestones” in 1958 (they were still in the same band) and then Davis struck gold with his all time classic “Kind of Blue” a year later in 1959 (the fifty year legacy edition was recently released by Columbia in a two cd edition).

From here to the wild modal jazz explorations of miles and coletrane of the 50s and 60s, and to the free jazz of ornette coleman, and the fusion jazz of the 60s and 70s, was but a short step. Dissonance and freedom from tonality was all the rage for the next 25 years.

The movement raged on into rock and blues. Ray Manzarek explained “Light My Fire” as a “modal chromatic inversion” of Coletrane’s “My Favorite Things”; the Grateful Dead and other groups began to improvise and jam along modal jazz lines each and every night, as did more blues-based groups like Eric Clapton and Cream. By the 1970s, modal jazz and jazz-rock fused into jazz-fusion and groups like Mahavishnu Orchestra led by John McLaughlin produced stupendous works like “The Inner Mounting Flame,” while more mainstream artists like Al DiMeola, Jean Luc-Ponty and Weather Report experimented with jazz fusion and modality throughout the decade.

Perhaps my favorite modal work was 1967’s “Nefertiti”, by the legendary Miles Davis lineup which included Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter & Tony Williams. Sublime and spectacular.

George Russell was completely forgotten by then, but he was the father of it all. No one remembered that Russell was the composer of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Cubano Bop” and “Cubano Be Cubano Bop” in the late 1940s, or that Russell continued to teach and play in the new york area for years, or that Russell received a McArthur Fellowship in 1988.

George Russell was one of my favorite jazz figures precisely because he was obscure but influential and brilliant. He never sought out the spotlight, fame, money, fast cars or the attention of pop stardom. He was, to the end, a musician’s musician. He will be missed.

–art kyriazis, Philadelphia, PA
the birthplace of dizzy gillespie & john coletrane

The Sixers announced this week that Tony DiLeo will not return to coach the Seventy-Sixers next season. Let’s examine that for a moment. With the firings of Jim O’Brien, Maurice Cheeks, and now Tony DiLeo, the Sixers have now fired three coaches in the last five years who have taken the Sixers to a playoff spot, and a decent showing in the playoffs.

This past season, DiLeo inherited a losing record and a completely injured Elton Brand from his predecessor Maurice Cheeks, along with instructions to start and play Brand, even though Brand was completely hurt and ineffective.

After a month of losing games with Brand, Brand finally went on the disabled list and the Sixers went on a tear, finishing the season 32-27 overall under DiLeo.

It’s true they slumped at the end of the season, but they won two games in the playoffs against Orlando, and more importantly, Andre Iguodala established playoff highs in PPG at 21.5 and looked dominant for the first time EVER in a playoff series.

Also the team lacked any kind of three point game, general manager Ed Stefanski having traded away lock and load three point shooter Kyle Korver to Utah for nothing, and also lacked any tall defensive guards who could shoot and score, the prior GM having traded away John Salmons in the foolish Chris Webber trade (Webber was also injured and never played effectively).

Salmons only scored 35 points in Chicago’s key triple overtime playoff win over Boston, the most exciting game of the playoffs.

You think Salmons and Korver might have helped this year’s Sixers’ roster?

The Sixers, as a sidenote, seem obsessed with a big man, in a league and with league rules, that no longer value big men.

They traded away Alan Iverson, the best small man in the league, and instead have wasted valuable resources and money and players pursuing big men like Chris Webber, Elton Brand, to name but a few, in the mistaken believe that big men win in the NBA.

The fact is, if they currently had Allen Iverson, Kyle Korver and John Salmons to go with Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala, this would not only be a winning squad, it would be in the top tier of the NBA’s eastern division, and better than any other team other than Cleveland, assuming Garnett was injured for Boston.

Note that Garnett, by himself, won nothing in Minnesota–he had to be paired up with Pierce and Allen, fast, swift small men who could shoot and play the running game and shoot the three, before Garnett could win in the current NBA.

Look again at Boston—they’re playing with Ray Allen, a player similar to Iverson, and Paul Pierce, a player similar to Iguodala.

Obviously that’s a good combo. Pierce-Allen or Pierce-Allen-Garnett is a lot like Iguodala-Iverson or Iguodala-Iverson-Brand.

If we added Salmons and Korver to that mix, we’d have an ideal team—and Chicago picked up Salmons for a song in midseason.

My point is, it’s not bad luck or bad coaching dogging the sixers, its their bad management of talent.

Many other ex-sixers torch the league, and the sixers every night—I need not remind you of Larry Hughes, or the long career of Jerry Stackhouse, and so on and so forth. Tim Thomas, Keith Van Horn, Clarence Weatherspoon, Shawn Bradley, Larry Hughes, Kyle Korver, John Salmons, Jerry Stackhouse are all examples of players the Sixers drafted, or kept around for 2-4 years, and then let go once their salaries got bigger–and those players went on to very productive NBA careers.

Don’t fool yourselves–salary is driving force for the Sixers in getting rid of some of this talent. John Salmons was making about $750,000 as a third year player–he’s now making several millions as an experienced guard. Kyle Korver, the same. Larry Hughes commands much more on the open market these days. Bradley evolved into a very fine defensive center and was making as much as 8 million dollars a year during his peak years with the Mavs, compared to his rookie deal of 2.5 million and 3.5 million with the Sixers.

Jerry Stackhouse was making between seven and nine million dollars a year at his peak with the Pistons and Mavs–compare that to the one to two million dollars a year the Sixers paid him.

The point is, the Sixers have always had the TALENT, but never have been willing to pony up the MONEY to keep the TALENT HERE.

They make a lot of excuses, but in the end, they keep wasting money on useless immobile or injured big men like Elton Brand, Chris Webber and so on.

The sixers have a chance to get Iverson back this offseason, and the sixers should jump at it, because Iverson is a good fit if Andre Miller is the point guard.

Clearly, the guards other than Miller are a lot less efficient than Iverson and are much more streaky shooters than Iverson—Iverson is steady, can play 40 minutes a night, and can shoot the three.

With Iverson in the 2 guard, the remaining guards can play off the bench, in limited minutes, and they can actually go against bench players and guys like Lou Williams will actually play better against other bench players.

Let’s get back to coaches.

The Sixers fired Jimmy O’Brien after O’Brien went 43-39 and made the playoffs in 2004-05. Why? He won, he made the playoffs, and Iverson had a good year. That made no sense, no sense at all.

Then came Maurice Cheeks. The Sixers fired Cheeks after what was Cheeks’ arguably best year as Sixers coach—last year, 2007-08, Cheeks coached the Sixers to a 40-42 record (the same overall record as they had this year), the sixth seed, Cheeks did it without Iverson, got plenty out of Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala, did very well the second half, got the sixth seed, and won two games against Detroit, which got to the finals of the NBA East before submitting to Boston.

Cheeks was fired even though Elton Brand was forced on him, Brand was injured, and it was obvious to everyone that Brand didn’t fit with the other players on the team. And, as soon as Brand was off the court, the team started winning. It didn’t have much to do with Tony DiLeo, did it?

In fact, whey don’t they just bring back Maurice Cheeks? He can win with this squad, he’s proven he can.

What did Cheeks, O’Brien or DiLeo do wrong? They won, they got to the playoffs, and they even won in the playoffs.

Also, I would argue, all three played an uptempo, exciting brand of basketball that was worth watching—O’Brien stressed shooting the three, early and often, while Cheeks and DiLeo stressed defense and the running game and scoring off fast breaks.

Even though Cheeks and DiLeo lacked Iverson, the NBA’s most exciting player, they STILL won and got to the playoffs without Iverson, which is actually quite an accomplishment.

I don’t understand the revolving door on the Sixer’s coaching situation.

They had Larry Brown here for five years, and every year was exciting, and there was stability. I don’t think a Doug Collins, who is superannuated, or a retread like Eddie Jordan, is the answer here.

What is needed first and foremost is a commitment from the OWNER and the GM to get players, small players, who can play the running game, and second, a coach who can coach shooting the three ball, running the running game, and playing in the European style that has taken over the NBA game the last five years.

San Antonio and Tim Duncan aren’t winning like they used to because of the changes in the league and the rules.

The Sixers badly need to get a Two Guard, such as Allen Iverson, and a Three Shooter, such as Kyle Korver or Rasheed Wallace. Wallace would be good because he can rebound and play defense as well as shoot the three, and he’s from Philly.

Iverson would also probably want to come back to Philly.

With the existing nucleus, those two players would be good additions.

Getting back Korver and Salmons, along with obtaining Iverson and Wallace, would be ideal.

Then the Sixers could let go some of the less talented guards they’re holding onto and keep just one or two reserve guards, and play Korver, Salmons, Miller, Iverson and maybe one or two other guards as a rotation.

At power forward and center, assuming Brand ever comes back, you’d have Wallace, possibly Korver as swing man, Iguodala, Dalembert, Speights, Young and others. That’s a good front line, offensively and defensively.

Also, at that point, you could trade Brand for something you really needed. Like Josh Smith or Jim Bibby or John Salmons.

Now you have a team—then get a coach. Once you have a good team, finding a coach will be the easy part, and that team will win, by the way, it will win fifty games going away.

–Art Kyriazis, Philly/South Jersey
Home of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies

Well, no matter that Boston won in 7 incredible games, this has turned into a pleasant surprise, and a rivalry at that.

I remember well the old Michael Jordan-Larry Bird Chicago-Boston series of the 1980s, which were insane, with Jordan scoring infinity points, but Boston having a better team and winning anyway, and these games have been a lot like that.

Without Garnett, Boston has come down to earth, and Chicago has great young players, especially DERRICK ROSE the SUPER ROOKIE who’s really come to play. He only dropped 36 on Boston his first playoff game—Iverson-like intensity in the playoff cauldron. Watching Rose square off against Paul Pierce and Ray Allen was really something.

Chicago has at least six championship banners from the Jordan years, and a lot of titles, and Boston has at least thirteen from the Russell year, another five from the Bird years, and one from last year, so between them these two franchises have about half of the all the NBA championships of the last fifty years. It’s a lot of history and pride on the line.

I know Philly-Boston used to be something, and Boston-LA is always something, but Chicago-Boston is surely something too, and this year’s playoff series between the two was SOMETHING.

Chicago was assisted by at least three ex-Sixers this year—Larry Hughes, Tim Thomas and John Salmons—for different portions of the year. Hughes helped Chicago in the first half of the season, before he was moved to the NY Knicks, while Salmons was a late season acquisition from the Sacramento Kings. Thomas was over the hill, but helped them all year, including during the playoffs.

Everyone will remember the awful trade of Salmons, Kenny Thomas and Corliss Williamson a couple of years back for an over the hill, injured and not so productive Chris Webber—well, to be fair, in 2005-06, Webber’s only full season with the Sixers, he did average 20 ppg, balancing scoring duties with Iverson, and the Sixers won 38 games—and missed the last playoff spot in the east by 2 games. Such is the difference between success and failure in the NBA. Everyone thought that pairing would last forever.

That is until the two of them missed fan appreciation day the next to last day of the season. All the old fat white guys on sports radio suddenly went nuts and demanded they both be traded. Are you kidding me?

By the very next season, Webber played only 18 games, Iverson was back to scoring 30 plus ppg, but the Sixers panicked and traded Iverson after only 15 games, regressed to 35 wins, again missing the playoffs by five wins. Webber’s contract was bought out and I’m not even sure he ever played again.

In the meantime, John Salmons by this past season had developed into a very fine player with Sacramento—at 6 foot seven he was a good defensive player, and he finally had learned the offensive game, pouring in twenty points a game for the lowly Kings.

Chicago, in need of a scoring guard, took notice and picked Salmons up for a song during midseason (where was Eddie Stefanski during all this?) and Salmons helped drive Chicago into the playoffs and the final seed during a late season run.

Watching a guy like Salmons who played his high school ball at Plymouth-Whitemarsh, and who spent his first four years in a Sixers uniform, help drive the Chicago Bulls to a playoff spot, was kind of annoying to me this year. It only got worse during the legendary Game Six of this years Chicago-Boston series, the triple-overtime game in which Salmons dropped 35 points on the Celtics. Now that was showing off.

Does anyone doubt that Salmons could have been helpful at the two guard position this year for the Sixers? I think the case is closed on that one. Salmons is tall, he plays good defense and he can score.

This past year Salmons earned 5.7 win shares, one of those defensive, and averaged close to 19 ppg. His field goal average was .473, very efficient, and his three point average was .415, also excellent, and he averaged 2 assists and only 1.7 turnovers a game. That goes along with 4.3 rebounds a game. Throw in a steal a game and a block a game, and you’ve got a really good player who can do a lot of good things. It’s true Salmons is now thirty years old, but so what? He might be a late bloomer, but if he’s learned to play the game, he’s learned to play the game. And he can play.

Ray Allen is what, a hundred? He was playing for Milwaukee back when the amphibians and the reptiles first walked on dry land. He’s so old that some of the cave paintings in France are attributed to him. I’m not saying Ray Allen is old, but he has grandchildren playing ball in college right now. It’s not that Ray Allen is old, but he’s the only NBA player I know who get’s Social Security checks delivered next to his NBA paychecks.

Seriously, though, Ray Allen is the ageless wonder, a beautiful player who can still play the game beautifully, and for those who think Allen Iverson is washed up or too old, I offer as exhibit one, Ray Allen. Small shooting guards who are pure shooters can play a long time in the NBA—I think here of the wondrous Hal Greer of the Sixers—a Hall of Famer—who played of course with Wilt on the 1967 team that won 68 teams and dethroned the Celtics for the title—and we should be mindful of this fact.

In short, Boston-Chicago was a wonderful, marvelous series, a beautiful thing to witness, pure basketball at its best, overtime game upon overtime game, each with its own storyline. Neither time yielded or gave quarter. It’s nice to see pro athletes play that hard and that long and give effort on that scale. Again, it’s reminiscent of the days of Jordan and Bird and when they first met in the late 1980s—those playoff series were wars between Chicago and Boston. This latest series was no less.

–art kyriazis, philly/south jersey
home of the world champion philadelphia phillies

Two men are having lunch at Adriano’s, an expensive Bel-Air restaurant. While they are eating, Frank Sinatra and his entourage enter the restaurant and are seated at a large table in the corner. Seeing this, one man says to the other, “I’ll bet you fifty bucks that I know Frank Sinatra.” (He doesn’t.) His friend, thinking the bet would be easy money, smugly agrees. The man gets up and walks across the restaurant to Sinatra’s table. He puts one hand on Sinatra’s shoulder and offers the other for a warm shaking. “Frank!” he exclaims. “How you doing? Good to see you again.”

Sinatra rises, shakes the man’s hand heartily, and asks how he is doing. He and the man spend a few more moments in cheerful conversation before the man comes back to his table to collect his winnings from the awestruck friend.

This is a true story, and the diner’s skillful manipulation of Frank Sinatra is a classic example of the value of shmoozing. Shmoozing is the most important skill there is for a Hollywood nobody (and let’s face it — that’s what we are, those of us who fantasize about seeing our name on the credits or our faces on the screen).

In Hollywood, a résumé or a degree mean nothing. Some argue that skills and talent mean nothing. Deals do not get made because X has an MFA in screenwriting and got an A+ on her thesis, or because Y starred in I Hate Hamlet at the Winesburg Playhouse and his performance was lauded by the local papers.

Deals get made because Z is a friend of Michael Eisner. It was through his friendship with Robert De Niro that Joe Pesci secured his first film role, in Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull. Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) attended college with Usual Suspects director Bryan Singer, and was asked by Singer to write the script.

It was Quiz Show screenwriter Paul Attanasio’s friendship with director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Sleepers and the Attanasio-scripted Disclosure) that got him into the industry.

But what about the rest of us? Those who have high Industry ambitions but lack high Industry friends? Are we without hope?

Perhaps not. Perhaps there are ways to make Industry friends and influence Industry people — the skill which the man in Adriano’s had perfected. You have to strike up a conversation, make a solid impression, be straightforward. And above all, you have to talk to your subject (the shmoozee) in a way that will put the two of you on friendly terms. The key lies in the shmoozing.

Last summer, I had the good fortune to come across tickets to the MTV Movie Awards. Kevin Spacey, fresh from his Oscar for The Usual Suspects, was there and won the MTV award Best Villain for Seven. Let’s say you are in attendance, and after the ceremony you have a chance to talk to him. Spacey, now that he is rather famous, is serious player in Hollywood and can do wonders for your career, if he wants to. So what do you say to him? How do you act?

Don’t panic. Just remember these items:

— Hollywood does not make bad movies. Despite what the box office grosses were, despite what the critics said, despite even what you think of a particular film, you must always sing its praises. You never know what film your shmoozee might have been involved with. As far as you’re concerned, Spacey’s film The Ref is, in some ways (though you needn’t be specific about what those are), on the same level as Citizen Kane.

— Your shmoozee has no last name. When congratulating Kevin Spacey on his award and his performance, never say, “Congratulations, Mr. Spacey. Very well deserved.” There is no greater heresy. You always say, “Congratulations, Kevin. Very well deserved.” (Note: It doesn’t matter whether or not Kevin actually deserves his award. As far as you’re concerned, he deserves the award he got, as well as the ones he didn’t.)

— If you are fortunate enough to actually be employed by a firm with some involvement in the industry, then, as the shmoozer, your last name is extended to include your company’s name. Having worked for Premiere magazine for a time, I had the luxury of introducing myself to Kevin Spacey in the following way: “Kevin. Good to meet you. Alex Lewinpremieremagazine.” (You may wish to rehearse this in front of a mirror, as it can be quite a mouthful, particularly if you work for Bresler, Kelly, Kipperman or Donner/Shuler-Donner.) This informed Kevin that I was almost somebody — and therefore worth talking to — without my having to say so.

— Never underestimate the importance of the word “over,” as in, “I’ve been over at Premiere for two months now.” It may sound trivial, but it helps to convince Kevin that, despite the geographical largesse of Los Angeles, every company remotely involved with Hollywood is located on the same happy block, and you’re all the best of neighbors.

— If you are acquainted with person A, who is nobody, and person A is acquainted with person B, who is somebody, you are, by default, a good friend of person B. A woman I worked with at Premiere, for example, told me one day that she knew screenwriter Paul Attanasio. An admirer of his work, I eagerly asked if there was any way she might introduce the two of us. At this point, she buckled, and explained that she, in fact, did not know Paul Attanasio — she knew his brother.

“Who’s his brother?” I asked. “Anybody?”

“No, he’s nobody. But I did meet Paul once.”

A more skillful shmoozer would not have admitted so quickly that her connection to Paul was a shmoozer’s connection and not a real one. For example, when I was chatting with Kevin Spacey and the topic of Seven director David Fincher came up, I was free to say, “David did a great job with the mood of that film.” I don’t know David Fincher, but I have a friend who does. I could conceivably get in touch with Fincher if I absolutely had to, and that is what’s important. (It also helps, in talking with your shmoozee about a particular film, to refer to some vague aspect like “mood” or “tone” — terms which make you sound intellectual, but really don’t mean anything.)

I met Kevin Spacey because my good friend, Wall Street Journal film critic John Lippman, had tickets to the MTV Movie Awards and wasn’t using them. (Lippman’s actually a friend of a friend and I’ve never met him, but that’s not important.) At the party afterwards, Kevin stood at a crowded blackjack table, waiting for a space to open up. I saw my opportunity, took a deep breath, and went in for the kill.
“Kevin [offering my hand]. Alex Lewinpremieremagazine. Good to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you,” said Kevin, shaking my hand.

“Congratulations on the award. Very well deserved.”

“Thank you.”

“I enjoyed Seven a lot. Great film. Did you have a good time working on it?” (For the record, I find Seven a rather depressing and self-indulgent film, but Kevin didn’t need to know that.)

“Well,” Kevin told me, “I didn’t have a lot of screen time, so they didn’t need me around much for shooting.
Not as much as Brad or Morgan, anyway. So that was easy to fit into my schedule.”

And just like that we were having a conversation. Not the type of conversation that a gushy and excited fan typically has with his film idol, but a real conversation. Of course, one has to ask, “what is real?” if everything that came out of my mouth was based on strategy and a level of honesty that was tenuous at best. It’s all part of Hollywood. If you want to make it — if you want friends in high places — you’ve got to fit in. Just ask Kevin; he’ll tell you the same thing. Oh, and when you talk to him, be sure to mention that you’re a friend of mine.

[this was a GREAT article by Alex Lewin posted to the net a few years back. Paul Attanasio is actually a harvard classmate of mine, and we actually have the same name, I’m Athanasios Kyriazis, he’s Paul Attanasio, we’re named for the same saint, St. Athanasius….however, I’ve never been nominated for an emmy or an academy award. Disclosure was a rocking good movie, to name only one of Paul’s great screenplays, he’s a prolific, brilliant writer/producer. –art kyriazis, philly/south jersey, home of the world champion phillies]

Back in the late 1970s, Philosopher Richard Rorty wrote an influential philosophy book, Philosophy and the Mirror of Human Nature (1979), that essentially embraced deconstructionism and entirely rejected empiricism, british analytical philosophy, Quine, Kuhn, Kant, epistemology, scientific method, etc.

Rorty basically said, look, there is no spoon. Nothing we see can be verified as real. Everything that is said, everything that is written, is contextual and depends on who says it, its grammar and context, and must be deconstructed. In saying this, he essentially depended on, and was influenced by, all of the french deconstruction theorists, especially Derrida and Foucault, though there were others that influenced his thinking more clearly than those two.

I don’t subscribe to Rorty, because if Rorty were right, there couldn’t be atomic bombs, nuclear power, triads of nuclear warfare, 9/11 didn’t happen, etc. The good part of Rorty is that he asserts a sort of extreme relativism, in which every point of view can be correct. To that extent, he asserts that man is indeed the measure of all things, as Protagoras first asserted, and rejects the Platonic-Aristotelian notion of absolutes, and accepts instead the relativism of the Sophists. But Rorty goes too far–he rejects everything that modern science has shown us is actually true–if Rorty were right, there would be no objective facts of any kind, and yet we know that we can split the atom and turn mass into energy, and plenty of it. They actually did blow up dozens of pacific atolls with h-bombs during the 1950s during open air tests of h-bombs in the 1950s. Those things are scary. The film is enough to make me believe there is science. Plus, i’ve worked in enough labs to know there is dna, rna, genes, and that you can grow wings where a fly’s legs should be by transposing the genes, etc. So I know there’s science and we can control it pretty carefully. There’s actually more science that you think.

So while Rorty should be read, and should be consulted, and should be used to argue that there are two sides to every question, it remains true that there is epistemology, that there are absolute facts, and that there are some absolute truths. For example, we are alive and we will die, and this is not some eternal dream we are experiencing while our bodies are frozen in cryospace (Vanilla Sky) or or alternate reality dreamed up for us by machines running the world (the Matrix), even though those are certainly plausible explanations of what we experience every day. Rod Serling used to come up with about a dozen other explanations of reality every season on Twilight Zone and every one was terrific, but still, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, a tree has fallen in my book.

Here’s some science facts. Penn, for example, has been conducting lie detector research for the FBI and other government agencies for years using MRI and PET scans of human brain and blood flow for the last ten to twenty years. you can look this up on the internet. They’re getting pretty reliable, by the way. In about 5-10 years, those scans will be very, very reliable and eventually will make their way into employment situations and courtrooms. You won’t need to waterboard or torture anyone once you have these devices.

But contextualism is a bit fun, isn’t it? Remember how people used to search for meaning in all the Beatles’ lyrics? That’s kind of what French contextualism and deconstruction is, except without the bong, the getting stoned and starting at the album cover part, apologies to our latest olympic swimming champion who’s probably still working on U2’s latest album lyrics for deeper meaning in the smoke haze.

This used to be fun– here are some examples of modern textual analysis.

Credence Clearwater Revival had a song that went “There’s a Bad Moon on the Right” which a lot of people thought said “There’s a Bathroom on the Right.”

Bob Dylan released an album at the height of his career in 1966 called “Blonde on Blonde”, and one of the longest songs on it was “Visions of Johanna,” which seems vaguely to be about either lesbians or a menage a trois involving the songwriter or singer. When analyzed in this fashion, the title of the album can be seen contextualized as having a different connotation altogether. Remember he was dating blonde model Edie Sedgwick at the time and hanging out at the Factory with andy warhols models in NYC. this is actually pointed out in the recent dylan movie with the six dylans.

The Rolling Stones had a song, “Jumping Jack Flash,” where the refrain sounded suspciously like “Jumping Jack Flash, hits of gas.” Now that’s not what the words really were, but that’s definitely what they made them sound like. Again, some sixties contextualism.

Recent movie titles have some interesting contextualisms. For example, “Milk”, which is about the first openly gay man ever elected to office in the us, in this case a man called harvey milk who was elected to office in SF in the 1970s. He was assasinated and thus a martyr, but the name of the film has, at a deconstructionist level, surely a triple meaning. First, the name of the politician, second, the Jesse Unruh saying that money is the mother’s milk of politics, and third the vulgar one associated with Milk’s sexuality.

George Orwell wrote several essays which discussed contextualism in a more forthright nature, especially his “Politics and the English Language” essay. We all know that Orwell discussed how the War Department, the Navy Department etc. suddenly became the Department of Defense after WWII. One would wonder what Orwell would say about the “Department of Homeland Security.” No one in the United States is even from the United States. It’s not our Homeland. My family is from Albania, Greece, Asia Minor and the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. My ancestors on my mother’s side came here because those empires were destroyed after World War I and the U.S. was the best option available, compared with Turks killing Christians for the heck of it back in the 1920s. My dad came here on one of the very first Fulbrights every given, to study medicine at Harvard, so he was just part of the brain drain. (Thanks Sen. Fulbright). So whose Homeland is the US? The Native Americans and the native American mestizo Latinos of Mexico are my best bet–they’ve been here the longest, right? But Homeland Security seems devoted to keeping out Mexicans of Native American descent, and they don’t have jurisdiction over Indian lands, so that’s a bit confusing.

Overall, it reminds me of an old saying i learned in latin class:

atque ubi solitudinum faciunt pacem appellant.

“and where they make a solitude, they call it peace.” –Tacitus.

That’s sort of pre-Orwellian, but you get the drift.

Rap is par spelled backwards. I kind of like that becaus i like to golf, and because I think rap, while occasionally good, is mostly average and par for the course, as we golfers say. It’s easy to make music now with all of the technology. It’s hard to imagine today that the beatles struggled to make a four or eight track master back in 1967, or that overdubs were uncommon back then. now musicians made demos with 32 or 64 tracks in their basement and wear vocal processors on stage.

there’s not too much subtlety in rap lyrics. you don’t need to be a derrida or a foucault to understand a lyric like “give it to me good baby” or “give it to me right”.

speaking of mysterious lyrics, Van Morrison played last night on Jimmy Fallon’s spectacular debut on the Late Show, playing a track from “Astral Weeks Live.” Astral Weeks is one of the greatest albums in rock history, very hard to pin down, but jazzy, folky and stream of consciousness. Van the Man played acoustic guitar with a full accompaniment of strings and about fifteen musicians. It was fantastic and capped off a show with Bobby DeNiro and other great guests. DeNiro rushed the stage to hug Van when he was done. Those are two great entertainers, let me say.

This is the track listing from Astral Weeks, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Side one – “In the Beginning”

1. “Astral Weeks” – 7:00
2. “Beside You” – 5:10
3. “Sweet Thing” – 4:10
4. “Cyprus Avenue” – 6:50

[edit] Side two – “Afterwards”

1. “The Way Young Lovers Do” – 3:10
2. “Madame George” – 9:25
3. “Ballerina” – 7:00
4. “Slim Slow Slider” – 3:20

Van played “Sweet Thing” last nite. It was truly a glorious moment, because this album, from 1968, is one he has rarely, if ever, played live. Van Morrison is around 65 years old now, but even growling, he’s one fantastic Irish R & B singer, and along with U2, proves that Ireland is the home of the greatest rock bands in the world. Astral Weeks is a title that deserves deconstruction, along with the song titles. Van Morrison has always been fascinated with the title “Cypress”.

Regarding Jimmy Fallon, he is a great shot in the arm for Late Night. I really liked Conan, and he is a Harvard and Lampoon guy, and we have mutual friends in common, and I wish him success on the Tonite Show. But this is a change they should have made three years ago when Jimmy Fallon was smoking hot from SNL doing the news with Tina Fey. I used to read the FallonFey.com website and laugh my behind off, they were so funny together. (Tina Fey will be on tonite). But NBC always gets it wrong–as dramatized in “The Late Shift” (with my cousin Johnny Kapelos). They monkeyed around with Leno and Letterman and almost got neither.

Making Fallon wait, Fallon has cooled off. They should have pushed Leno to prime time three years ago, pushed Conan to the Tonite Show, and put Fallon on immediately back in 2005-2006. Then someone might have remembered who he was. Instead they kept Fallon on ice. This is insanity and explains why NBC-GE is taking such a hit in the stock market.

Basically, Conan was great, but Fallon is a fresh face. It’s Leno that’s tired. They need to move Conan to the tonite show because his audience is older now, and Fallon to late nite, because his demographic is who’s staying up late now. That’s only sensible. I thought Fallon’s show was great. also, Fallon is a low key guy who let’s the guests talk and the musicians play. He’s so nice and low key, he really reminds me of Carson at his best.

I predict a great future for Jimmy Fallon.

Did I mention that he and Tina Fey were hilarious together on SNL?

Getting back to homelands, there’s only one guy in America that i’m certain was born in the USA, and that guy is Bruce Springsteen. I know he was Born in the USA because that’s what his album said back in the 1980s, and no singer is more identified with his state of origin, New Jersey, than Bruce Springsteen. You don’t really have to contextualize or analyze Springsteen’s lyrics too much. When he sings that “Everybody has a Hungry Heart” or says that “Baby we were Born to Run” you sort of know what he’s talking about.

Because I’m from around these parts, I’ve always liked Springsteens’ music and it does speak to me at some level. A lot of the places he used to sing about are closed now–places in Asbury Park and the north shore of Jersey have disappeared or changed now–but a lot of the things he sang or sings about are still the same at the Jersey Shore. And we like that he lives in Freehold and not in LA.

I meant to say more here and may add to this post in the future.

–art kyriazis, philly/south jersey
home of the world champion phillies