Feb 28

The Yankees’ ballpark in Tampa Bay, Florida, used for spring training, has been renamed from Legends Field to Steinbrenner Field, after the Yankee’s famous owner, George Steinbrenner.

George Vecsey of the New York Times has some interesting observations about this. He says:

“This gesture runs against the hideous trend of hanging transient corporate names on major league ballparks. It revives the ancient tradition of autocratic owners putting their names on their fields”

With that said, perhaps it’s worth mentioning a few points of note about Mr. Steinbrenner.

Steinbrenner and a group of investors bought the Yankees in 1973 for $10 million. He has owned the team longer than any Yankee owner in history. Under his leadership the team has won 10 pennants and 6 World Series titles.

He’s not been free of controversy. In his first 23 seasons he changed managers 20 times. He was indicted on 14 criminal counts in 1974 for illegal contributions to Nixon’s campaign. He pleaded guilty to the contributions and obstruction of justice. He was suspended from the game for nine months by the commissioner. He was later pardoned by Ronald Reagan in 1989.

He’s been criticized for paying higher prices for star free agents, escalating the price of all players. But there’s no denying his success in creating a super successful ball club. Under his ownership the franchise has grown from a $10 million team into the first billion-dollar team. It’s quite remarkable. He probably deserves his own stadium.

Another Steinbrenner owned baseball season is coming to New York. Be sure to purchase your NY Yankee tickets online.

Feb 27

The play, “Raisin in the Sun” came to television this week. It tells the story of family in Chicage during the 1950’s who’s “hopes and dreams are constantly deferred” through issues related to racism. The original play was first produced in 1959 and made history as the first play to be written by an African American woman. The play starred Sidney Poitier, Claidia McNeil, Diana Sands, Ruby Dee, and Louis Gossett, Jr. This was followed by a Hollywood movie in 1961.

The play was revived several years ago, starring Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald, Sanaa Lathan, and John Stamos. This cast reprised their roles in the new television version.

This new television movie aired Monday night, February 25th, and succeeded in “beating NBC in their 6-week winning streak, with 12.7 million viewers.” It’s refreshing to see a movie of such positivity doing well in the ratings.

It’s also good to see strong Broadway productions being featured to a wider audience. The more that people are exposed to quality stage plays in movie form, the more that they’ll be likely seek out Broadway tickets online. It’s a good thing for the theater.

Feb 26

Carlos Beltran’s got a welt on his arm due to a wild pitch by Johan Santana. According to a recent blog by Bart Hubbuch:

“Randolph said Beltran was among several veteran hitters who – upset at having to face young pitchers eager to out-duel them in mere BP – asked to go instead against an older pitcher unafraid to throw strikes.”

Thinking he was going up against one of the most controlled pitchers in the league, you can imagine Beltran’s surprise at getting nailed.

According to John Harper, the pitcher to watch this season is John Maine. He believes that the Mets may well have the deepest and most dominant rotation in the National League. When you put together Pedro Martinez, Santana, Oliver Perez, Orlando Hernandez, and Maine, you’ve got a pretty great line-up. Maine had a great year last season, where Harper claims that “there were more that a few days when Maine looked like on the best pitchers in baseball.”

With all of the depth and possibilities available for this World Series caliber team, there’s a lot of optimism going around. Both Brian Schneider and Ryan Church, two new editions the NY team report missing their friends in their old club, but excited about the possibilities with such a winning line-up.

“You look around this clubhouse and you see MVP candidates, All-Stars, Cy Youngs,” Schneider says. There are a lot of good reasons to buy Mets tickets this year.

Feb 25

It’s spring training and the Yankees are working on giving fans a reason to buy NY Yankee tickets. This is likely going to be a very well conditioned team. Girardi seems to be running his team more than the Torre era. They are running more in practice and you can expect them to be running more in games. Girardi is also making defense a major focus.

Team captain and shortstop, Derek Jeter, is also doing some running. Gerry Fraley reports in his blog:

“Rather than trying to add bulk that would enable him to remain strong throughout the season, Jeter concentrated on quickness. Jeter said he worked on speed, lateral movement and a quicker first step.”

This same blog also mentions the three young pitchers that seem to be forming the future for this franchise’s mound. Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Joba Chamberlain are getting a lot of attention at training. When Chamberlain took Legends Field recently, the crowd burst into cheers. Fans see a lot of potential and talent.

These three young athletes could be the key to Yankee’s success in 2008. Fraley quotes Andy Pettitte:

“They all have so much talent. The sky is really the limit for them. They’ve even picked it up from last year, and that’s what’s exciting to me.”

Feb 22

Most of the world knows Lawrence Fishburne as the spiritually serious Morpheus from 1998’s hit sci-fi/adventure, “The Matrix,” as well as the two sequels. He’s also been in other critically acclaimed films such as, “The Color Purple,” “Apocalypse Now,” “Mission Impossible III” “The Tuskegee Airmen,” and he received an academy award nomination in 1994 for his portrayal of Ike Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do with It.”

But Mr. Fishburne hasn’t been relegated to the screen only. He’s an acclaimed stage actor, having won a Tony Award for his performance in “Two Trains Running.” He was also on Broadway in the revival of “The Lion in Winter.”

He’s returning to the stage in April at the Booth Theatre, to play the legendary Civil Rights lawyer and judge, Thurgood Marshall. The play, appropriately titled, “Thurgood,” is written by George Stevens Jr. It’s “the remarkable and triumphant story of Thurgood Marshall, who rose from a childhood in the backstreets of Baltimore to the Supreme Court of the United States. Along the way, Mr. Marshall overcame many adversities but through them all, remained focused and positive to maintain the great country he wanted to serve. And did.”

The play begins previews on April 12th. It officially opens on April 30th. Make sure you look for these great Broadway tickets online.

Feb 21

According to the NY Post, Pedro Martinez is trying something crazy during training. He’s pitching occasionally with his eyes shut. He explains:

“It’s to get the feel of your body doing things naturally,” Martinez said. “It helps you mentally. Once you throw with your eyes closed and have no idea where it’s going, it makes it easier to hit the target [when your eyes are open].”

Martinez will be joined this year by Johan Santana, making for a World Series quality team of veteran all-stars. This line-up is expensive, giving them a payroll that may be over 140 million this year. But the great team line-up should prove good for Mets tickets sales which are currently 10 percent above last year.

Expectations are clearly high. With the building of the new stadium, huge salaries on contract, it’s time for the Mets to prove what they’re made of. It’s time for them to have the kind of season that every team is shooting for, but they seem particularly set to achieve.

“We expect to be in the playoffs, and deep into the playoffs,”
said Mets CEO, Fred Wilpon. With those kinds of expectations, huge salaries, big ticket sales, this will be a fun season to watch.

Feb 20

The biggest news in baseball these days is the controversy over NY Yankees, Andy Pettitte, and former Yankees star Roger Clemens. One admits to using human growth hormone, and seems somewhat vindicated by his admission and honesty. The other is causing everyone to scratch their heads in disbelief. Who did the right thing?

Pettitte said in a public statement:

“I want to apologize to the New York Yankees’ and to the Houston Astros’ organizations and to their fans and to all my teammates and to all of baseball fans for the embarrassment I have caused them.”

The Yankees seem ready to accept his apology. He’s met with team leadership, including George Steinbrenner.

In the end, I think honesty always works with the public. Obviously, if Clemens is innocent, he’s right to fight this. But if he’s not telling the truth, I don’t know what he thinks he can gain from denying it. Because now that he’s publicly sworn to not have used the substances, he can’t come back and admit it. He’s stuck with his story, no matter how implausible it seems.

My sincerest hope is that this controversy will be done soon, that the regular season can begin, that players, the league, and the law will all commit to keeping baseball clean, and that we can debating the game again rather than being constantly distracted by these issues. To find NY Yankee tickets online click on the link.

Feb 19

I recently read a fantastic review of Joan River’s new play which opened last Wednesday in L.A. at the Geffen Playhouse. You gotta’ give credit to Ms. Rivers for creating a persona that has permeated the entertainment industry and remained strong. She knows who she is and the public knows who she is.

For her show, she’s able to rely on years of stand-up experience. Veteran comedians understand their craft so well that they’re capable of working their audiences in a way that young comedians couldn’t dream of. Comedy is an art form and it’s a craft, and it takes real experience to know how to do it well. According to reviewer, James Sims, Rivers is one of those comedians. She really “gets it.” He says:

“She understands that her humor is not what some might consider “high brow,” rather she is a comedienne of the people, even if she doesn’t quite resemble any person living today, thanks to far too many trips under the knife. With the nearly rolling in the aisles response from the opening night crowd, it is obvious Rivers has once again connected with her base, a demographic that oddly enough no television network executive seems to believe exists.”

If the theater is your thing, you’ll probably want to check this out. If you’re looking for Broadway tickets online, click on the link.

Feb 18

The Mets won the National League Title last year, but they’ll have a much more difficult time defending that title this coming year.

The New York Times says, “The Phillies upgraded their rotation. The Braves bolstered their bullpen. The Marlins still have loads of young pitching.”

The Mets haven’t been to the World Series since 2000. What’s their true chances of being the winner this year?

According to a recent computer analysis, very good. The Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm or PECOTA analyzed the projected player statistics, calculated runs and scores for all of the teams, and then decided what the teams’s records will be. In this case, the PECOTA calculated that the Mets will be in first place in the National League East. Second place will be the Braves, and third place will be the Phillies.

With the Mets Rotation of Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, John Maine, Oliver Perez, and Orlando Hernandez, they are the team to beat in the league. This is good news for NY fans, hoping that one of their teams makes it to the World Series this year. So make sure that you buy your Mets tickets now, and be ready for a season of high expectations.

Feb 15

This was not a day that Roger Clemens was looking forward to. No one wants to have to defend the honor of their name on Capital Hill. But that was where he sat, facing allegations from his former trainer, Brian McNamee, that he used performance enhancing drugs in an attempt to enhance his incredible career.

Their seating placement was slightly awkward. They sat one seat apart, with only the lawyer, Charlie Scheeler, between them.

Clemens asserted:

“I have never used steroids, human growth hormone or any other type of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I think these types of drugs should play no role in athletics at any level, and I fully support Sen. Mitchell’s conclusions that steroids have no place in baseball.”

This stood in stark contrast to McNamee’s testimony that he did inject Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone.

All in all, it was a sad but necessary day for baseball. Hopefully it will bring about the truth regarding Mr. Clemens, whatever it may be. Hopefully the full investigation by Congress will bring to light the bigger truth, that the use of these substances is rampant and out of control in professional baseball. Hopefully new regulations will be put in place to keep the game clean. Hopefully we can return to more positive issues with the sport.

For NY Yankee tickets click on the link.

Feb 14

Shrek sings! He never really seemed like the singing type. I always imagined him as the kind of guy that watched football on the weekends and shunned the limelight. But the light will be shining on the big green ogre on December 14th when he debuts on Broadway. And he’ll have to kick up his heals, drink some lemon-juice, and hope he comes out in tune.

Needless to say, singing green men all over America are likely to be traveling to the Big Apple this summer for tryouts. And if getting to New York is too much of a challenge, they can also catch an out-of-town tryout in Seattle in August and September.

Although the parts for Shrek and the talking (now singing) Donkey are up for grabs, the part of Fiona has been cast. She will be played by the talented Sutton Foster, to be seen currently playing Inga in “Young Frankenstein.” She’s also starred in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Little Women” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

“Shrek” will be directed by Jason Moore. Book and Lyrics are by David Lindsay-Abaire, and music will be Jeanine Tesori. The movie and now play are based on the children’s book by William Steig.

To see other plays based on children’s books or movies, look for Broadway tickets online.

Feb 14

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Feb 13

Can you believe that Billy Joel has sold over 100 thousand records? That amazes me. And apparently, he’s set to amaze Met fans as he performs the final concert at Shea Stadium. The concert will be called, “The Last Play at Shea,” and will feature “the piano man” paying tribute to this legendary venue.

The Mets website quotes Joel as saying:

“Shea Stadium is one of the most hallowed venues in rock ‘n’ roll history and it’s an honor to help throw Shea the ultimate concert farewell party.”

The world famous rock star has had 33 top 40 hits. It’s hard to imagine, but with all of those hit records, he hasn’t released a new album since 1993. But during that time, he’s done a lot of touring and performing, and seems to be continuing that trend, with no word of new material.

Shea Stadium has been functioning since 1964. It has always been the home of the Mets. It was home for the New York Jets and the New York Giants. It has also held many historic concerts, including the famous concert by the Beatles in 1965.

The new stadium will be built in what is now part of the parking lot of the old stadium. It will open Spring of 2009. Shea is scheduled to be demolished. To catch tickets for the final season of this classic venue be sure to buy Mets tickets online.

Feb 12

February 14th, Valentines Day, the Yankees start their Spring Training. Many of their stars are returning, with one major new edition. Mr. Joe Girardi takes up uniform No. 27, replacing Joe Torre as the new manager. What’s in store for this team with 26 World Series Titles and new leadership?

For Giraldi’s part, he’s trying to keep a flexible attitude about the challenges instore. He’s quoted saying:

“I think every managing job is different, because of players and all the parts,” Girardi said. “Everyone changes. It’s different people and different situations, with different expectations.”

One thing that Giraldi is inheriting is a franchise with little turnover, with its major stars still in on the roster. They spent more than $400 million to keep it that way. I think this was important, given the new manager. And it’s not as if the team stunk last year either.

I think all in all, it’s a good strategy. Keep the same basic elements in place. Give the franchise a new leader, and see how it plays. At the end of the day, it seems that they’ve got what it takes to be a great team. They just need a chance to do that.

To see how the team does this year, feel free to check online for NY Yankee tickets.

Feb 11

Mel Brooks seems to be spending his finals years on Broadway. After the unbelievable success of “The Producers,” winning 12 Tony’s, including Best Musical, it seems only natural that Brooks would look to his enormous filmography to see if another one of his classic comedies could translate to the big stage.

This time he’s turned his attention to one of his most beloved classics, “Young Frankenstein.” The 1974 film stars Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Terry Garr, and the unforgettable Madeline Kahn.  It is one of the most beloved film comedies of all time.

The story revolves around a young neurosurgeon, the grandson of the famous Dr. Victor von Frankenstein, who lives in embarrassment over his families famous reputation. He inherits the castle, and upon visiting it, becomes caught up in his grandfather’s obsession of bringing dead flesh back to life.

Of course, this synopsis doesn’t explain just how funny this movie really is. And I could quote all of the classic lines, but it wouldn’t be the same as seeing it.

The new Broadway play is follows the same general story line, and contains a lot of the original famous lines, while probably adding some new ones. And like “The Producers” before it, he’s converted his movie into a musical.

The musical play opened on Broadway on November 8th of last year. Make sure you purchase your Broadway tickets online.

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