Shortly after midnight on Mon Oct 24, YED - Yankee Elimination Day - was celebrated for the thirteenth year in a row as the Houston Astros completed a sweep of the Yankees, winning a back-and-forth game, 6-5, at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees have not been in the World Series since they beat the Phillies in six games in 2009. It
was manager Joe Girardi's rookie year as skipper. He wore #27 to highlight the 27th world title he was confident would come to the Bronx.
Starting in 2010, he tempted fate by switching to #28 but that title has never come.
When Aaron Boone replaced Girardi before the 2018 season, he was more modest in his uni choice of #17, but the title drought continues.
The Yankees did win the AL East in 2022 for the first time since 2017, but trust me - there will be no AL East banner raised at Yankee Stadium next year. It is World Series Title or bust in Yankee land though
Hal Steinbrenner, George's younger son, seems committed to keeping Aaron Boone as manager.
If I read tea leaves correctly, though, he is yet to endorse re-hiring of Brian Cashman whose contract as general manager expired with the end of the Yankee season. Most media people think Cashman will
return since he has been associated with the Steinbrenner family since they ran a horse business in
The big decision facing the team is the free agency of Aaron Judge that will happen less than a week after the end of the World Series. I would be surprised if the Yankees let Judge leave as a free agent.
He's a rare home-grown star in the Cashman regime, and he should be an eternal member of the Yankee
pantheon. He is a rarity indeed, someone who draws praise from many YED celebrants, including yours truly.
In one of the interesting twists that make baseball history so intriguing, Joe Girardi, after staying visible by doing the almost-obligatory baseball TV commentary, was hired by the Phillies in 2020. He was dismissed after Philadelphia started 2022 at 22-29.
Rob Thomson, Girardi's longtime assistant with both the Yankees and Phillies, led the team to the playoffs with 65 victories of his own. They swept the Cardinals in two games in the wild card round and dispatched the defending world champion Braves and surprise-conqueror of Dodgers, San Diego Padres, in five games each.
Houston is undefeated in 2022 post-season play and is favored, but I think the Phillies will give them a tussle. With timely home runs and unbridled passion, Bryce Harper is seemingly on a mission to prove that he is worth his mega-contract.
Unable to play the field because of an injured arm, he can still serve as the DH and Houston will have to
contain him. I have never loved the DH, but baseball needs its stars on the field.
If Philadelphia splits the first two games in Houston this weekend, look out for what the raucous Phillie
fans might do to will their local heroes to victory in the middle three games of the Series. Not unlike
what the Mets did to the Orioles in 1969.
But I want Dusty Baker to win his first World Series as a manager - the Astros lost last year to the Braves in six games and in 2002 his Giants fell in seven games to the Angels. Astros ace Justin Verlander has a lot to prove, too, since he is 0-6 in previous Series games.
On the music scene, on the same October 24 that YED was celebrated, I attended David McVicar's
production of Puccini's "Tosca" at the Metropolitan Opera. I have seen the opera many times, but never
has the love story between diva Floria Tosca and artist and freedom fighter Mario Cavaradossi
been presented more convincingly.
Mario was sung beautifully by Montclair NJ tenor Michael Fabiano, whose first appearance on stage was greeted with a lot of home town applause. Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak in the title role was also in top form.
Singing the role of police chief Scarpia, one of opera's most loathsome villains, baritone George Gagnidze from Tbilisi, Georgia was in chillingly good voice. Carlo Rizzi, from Rome, Italy, led the great Met Opera orchestra with customary aplomb.
There are three more chances to see this production.
Th Oct 27 at 730p
M Oct 31 at 8p with veteran Roberto Alagna singing Mario
F Nov 4 at 730p, again with Alagna.
In the spring, a new cast and conductor will again perform "Tosca".
Th Mar 30 at 730p
Su Apr 2 at 3p
Wed Apr 5 at 730p
Sa Apr 8 1p - national radio broadcast
Wed Apr 12 730p
Sa Apr 15 at 8p
For more information including availablity of rush tickets, see www.metopera.org
That's all for now. Always remember: Take it easy but take it, and more than ever,
stay positive, test negative.