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I am a moderate liberal in most things, including the weather, so I am glad that July is in the rear view mirror.It was the hottest July on record in New York City and the air-conditioners were really tested. Mine are only five years old and they had some kinks in them but they came through and while I am a semi-luddite they sure were needed in this tough July. August has started brutally too, perhaps some relief on way. Still beats shoveling snow and the fear of slipping on ice.

Thank God too that the trade deadline of July 31 in MLB is now over. The old adage that sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make may hold true. Far too early to make any judgments on the last-minute acquisitions of the Yankees but thanks to the existence of 25-man rosters, they can’t simply add former All-Stars like Lance Berkman and Kerry Wood and it not have an impact on playing time for those still on roster. No need to be brain surgeon to see that Wood’s addition puts Joba Chamberlain’s late-inning set-up role into question. Or that Berkman’s use as dh will make Jorge Posada’s playing time confined mainly at catcher where despite his offensive slide Francisco Cervelli is more adept defensively.

If additions of Berkman and Wood and also righthanded hitting outfielder Austin Kearns were meant in part to force Tampa Bay into matching these moves, it did not work. The Rays have been adept at promoting from within and despite injuries to such stalwarts as the versatile infielder-outfielder Ben Zobrist and first baseman Carlos Pena (on dl for another week) they have been rolling along on a hot streak and even passed the Yankees by one game in early August. Dead even as of Aug 5 and probably will stay that way through end of season. Though remember: YOUNEVERKNOW, YOUNEVERKNOW!

The two July Yankees-Rays head-to-head series were taut playoff-style baseball resulting in each team winning a series in the other’s ballpark. The home run power of each team reminded me of the Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns classic battle a quarter-century ago. Both teams can strike with speed, too, with the Rays having stolen base skill almost from 1 to 9 in lineup.

The only thing that made the July matchups slightly anti-climactic is that both teams should make the playoffs unless the loser of the Chicago-Minnesota tight AL Central race gets very hot in the last two months to cop the wild card. It could happen and that is what makes dog day of summer baseball so wonderful to watch.

**Nice game that Tom Trebelhorn plays with his coaches as he manages a Single-A Portland, Oregon franchise. The former Milwaukee Braves manager and Baltimore Orioles coach bets his staff on how long the National Anthem will take, according to Thomas Kaplan in a Sunday Aug 1 sports page story New York Times.

If the anthem goes much over a minute and a change, it says here it is too long. The best version I ever heard was at old Yankee Stadium about 10 years ago when the brass section of a Marine band from Washington D.C. delivered a stirring rendition in no more than 1 minute and 15 seconds. The name of the group was unforgettable: Players To Be Named Later.

**A must-see exhibit in NYC is “Home Base: Memories of the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field.” It is showing at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street (a block from the Borough Hall subway station of many lines) thru April 24, 2011.
Open W Th F Su 12-5, Sat 10-5.

Some Highlights:
**Taped memories of the Brooklyn Dodgers historic quirky ballpark from people who attended including yours truly, a Manhattan boy who didn’t root for them but appreciated a very special place. Truly special are reminiscences of turnstile boys, fans who avoided the taste-challenged concessions, and local residents who fought vainly to save Ebbets Field and the Brooklyn Navy Yard .

**Also a picture of Glady Goodding in all her respectable Midwestern-bred glory taken when the Ebbets Field organist made an appearance at a fraternal organization in 1956. BTW, One of greatest trivia Q’s ever: Who is the only person ever to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Rangers hockey team and New York Knicks basketball team? Glady Goodding, two d’s please!!

**Also on display a 1950 45 record of “The Brooklyn Dodgers Jump” sung by pitcher Erv Palica, right fielder Carl Furillo and first baseman Gil Hodges.

**Note most of all! A blouse autographed by many members of the 1944 Brooklyn Dodgers. The ardent female fan embroidered their names around their signatures. Talk about the intense loyalty of the Dodger fan!

Back to you later this month as the Dog Days continue! Remember: Take it easy but take it! Ciao for now.
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