instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Post-Election Musings on Politics and Baseball + TCM Tips

Wherever you may be as you read this blog, I hope your spirits are good.  We'll

need every bit of inner resolve to meet the challenges ahead politically, socially, and as sports fans banned from attending any crowded events in near future.


Shortly before 1130AM Eastern Standard Time on Saturday November 8th, horn-honking jubilation broke out in NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago and other blue enclaves, mainly urban, around the country.   


I was seated at my desk where I am typing right now.  Don't have a window facing the street which accounts for the lovely quiet isolation of this apartment. 

I received a call from my significant other dear Maria with the good news.

 
I found out later that just a few blocks from me - above Lenny's Bagel shop

on the northwest corner of 98th Street and Broadway - musical comedy star Brian Stokes-Mitchell raised his window and started to serenade the crowd

with "America the Beautiful" and maybe two other numbers. 


Of course, we must endure Trump's Presidency until January 20th.  His better-than-expected electoral showing has emboldened his refusal to concede.  So as broadcaster Bob Murphy advised in late innings of a tight Mets game, "Fasten your seat belts."  


Speaking of the Mets, new owner Steve Cohen "won" his press conference on Tuesday the 11th with a pledge to make the team he always has rooted for, "iconic". That means constant contention and a World Series title within 3 to 5 years or else he'll be very "disappointed."   


To his credit Cohen has already pledged to hire back at full salary Mets employees who were furloughed or cut back during the early stages of the pandemic. 

 
New president Sandy Anderson, back for a second tour as a top executive in Queens, added to the good will by saying it was "highly likely" that rookie manager Luis Rojas will return as skipper in 2021. 


I think it was Alderson who promised a new "collaborative culture" for the Mets.

With no game results until next April - at the earliest given the accelerating pandemic - I call this the silly season of words and promises that always sound nice but can they be believed?

 

I cross fingers that Cohen will not be like most owners who enter baseball with humility saying they will leave it to experts who know the business.  Six months later though they know everything.  See under Steinbrenner, George.  

 

I just hope there is a semblance of a regular season on all levels.  Too

early to tell with the second wave of the virus sweeping into NYC and almost every state of the union.  

 
I continue to find solace in the old black and white movies on TCM - Turner Classic Movies.  Saw one I never heard of last week - "The Sport Parade" (1932)

embarrassingly once known as "Free, White, and Twenty-One."

 

Rising star producer David Selznick received a major credit for this film. It is a

curiosity not a great work but has some merit. 

 
Underrated Joel McCrea plays a star Dartmouth football end who instead of going into journalism with his quarterback (William Gargan) turns to pro football.  He 

flops at it and does turn to journalism for a while. 

 
Then he is coaxed by his blustery agent (Walter Catlett) into becoming a pro wrestler.  Of course since this is Hollywood, there is a love triangle involved, Marian Marsh being the wooed young woman. 

 
An amusing feature of the film are three short sports announcing segments delivered by the always wry and hilarious Robert Benchley. 

 
I couldn't find many upcoming sports-themed films on TCM except that "Woman of the Year" (1942) returns on Sun afternoon Nov 22 at 1:45p EST. 

 

An opening scene with sportswriter Spencer Tracy in the press box sets the stage nicely for the conflict between Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, playing an internationally-famous journalist, a role patterned after Dorothy Thompson.

 

"Woman of the Year" was the first Tracy-Hepburn film.  It also features in a small role Minor Watson as Hepburn's father.  Eight years later Watson did a creditable job as Branch Rickey in "The Jackie Robinson Story".

 
Other films of great value include (all times EST):

Sat Nov 14 2p "In A Lonely Place" (1950) perhaps best film about a writer if a very flawed one starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, Nicholas Ray dir.   

 

Later on Nov 14 at 8p  "Ball of Fire" (1942) Gary Cooper as staid linguist falls for

Barbara Stanwyck with Dana Andrews as her other guy. 

 
Midnight - repeated Sun at 10A - Noir Alley presents "Fear" (1946) a 54-minute take on "Crime and Punishment" - 1946 considered by many best year ever for movies in USA. 

 
M Nov 16 8p "Diary of Anne Frank" (1959) - part of Shelley Winters Mondays in Nov.

11:15p "Odds Against Tomorrow" (1959) best jazz-themed film, set in NYC.

 
Tu Nov 17 back-to-back-to-back in afternoon three 40s classics

1p "Maltese Falcon" 1941,  3p "The Big Sleep", 5p "Treasure of Sierra Madre"

Home runs and championships are not the only things that can be back-to-back!


Wed Nov 18 8p "Body and Soul" 1947 - one of the great boxing movies with

John Garfield and the gorgeous talented Lilli Palmer


Th Nov 19 two American films about racial issues from the late 1940s that I've never seen:

8p "Lost Boundaries"

10p "Home of the Brave"  


F Nov 20 8p Elia Kazan's circus movie "Man On A Tightrope" (1953) with Gloria Grahame and Terry Moore (the actress not the Cardinals outfielder)

 
Sa Nov 21 8p "2001" this week's Essential 

Midnight/repeated at 10A Sun - "Kiss Me Deadly" 1955 - Robert Aldrich directs this Mickey Spillane story with Albert Dekker/Juano Hernandez (so unforgivably forgotten)/Paul Stewart

 

Later on Nov 22p

1:45p "Woman of the Year"


8p Woody Allen's "Bananas"  followed by 945p Marx Brothers' "Duck Soup" 1933 

 

More than ever, Take it easy but take it!"

Be the first to comment

Fasten Up Your Seat Belts for A Wild September Esp. In National League

If only legendary Mets broadcaster Bob Murphy were alive to give his signature late-inning close-game call, "Fasten up your seat belts!" Because he could say it every night as eight teams in the National League can stake a chance to make the post-season.

I write mainly about the Orioles and the American League in this blog but given the historically horrible 2018 of my favorite team, they are playing no meaningful games in September this year. Except to be a spoiler now and then.

Like last night (Tues Sept 4) they rallied to beat the Mariners 5-3 in Seattle. Mariners skipper Scott Servais, drenched in the analytics that told him that starter Wade LeBlanc couldn't face the fearsome Orioles hitters three times, yanked his effective southpaw after six shutout innings.

The Orioles then went to town on the struggling Seattle bullpen. Although like every losing team they almost threw away the game on defense. The Mariners evidently showed more fight in the clubhouse before the game when second baseman/center fielder Dee Gordon and shortstop Jean Segura got into a tussle - reportedly over Gordon's sloppy defensive lapses.

Seattle is now a distant third in the race for the two wild cards with the Yankees and surprising Oakland A's. The A's could still catch Houston for the AL West title but there is no real drama in the AL.

Cleveland is running away with the AL Central and the Red Sox have a lead varying from 7-8 games over the Yankees in AL East. They still have two head-to-head series left but it will take a full collapse of Boston to make those games truly dramatic.

Quite the contrary in the NL. The West is really the wild west in 2018 with only a game separating the Colorado Rockies, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the five-time consecutive champion LA Dodgers.

In the East, Atlanta has maintained recently a lead of two to three games over the fading Phillies but they still have two head-to-head series left, too. Their records are not great so they can't count on earning a wild card - one of then must win the title.

In the NL Central, the Cubs seemed to be in control until they went to Milwaukee on Labor Day and lost two in a row to their rivals to the north.

Newly acquired southpaw Cole Hamels - who has solid playoff experience with the Phillies and the Rangers - has pooh-poohed any rivalry because so many Cub fans make the 90-minute trek to Wisconsin.

That, of course, didn't go over well in beer and bratwurst and cheese country. The Brewers have to make one last trek to Wrigley next Monday thru Wed. And their next-to-last series is in St Louis with the revived Redbirds.

Let's not forget the Cardinals who have been on a tear ever since organizational lifer Mike Shildt took over as interim manager for Mike Matheny early in the summer.
After a 26-12 log under the new leadership, management rewarded Shildt with the permanent job (as permanent as anything ever is in "the hired to be fired" world of baseball).

Of course, Cardinals then went on to lose a few in a row before they held on to beat the disappointing Nationals last night 11-8 in a road slugfest in DC. They have a lot of new young faces on both the mound and in everyday roles that make them a very interesting story. As are the Brewers who with St. Louis are right now the two wild card leaders.

One thing about baseball never to forget is that it is a game of trends and peaks and valleys. Never get too high after a win or too low after a loss, one of the great cliches.

Yet all bets are off when it comes to exciting September baseball. So sit back and enjoy it and we'll be back to you later in the month with updates and more stories.

For now always remember: Take it easy but take it!
 Read More 
Be the first to comment