Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bleachers' Brew #280 Catharsis after the fall (of the New York Yankees)

This appears in the Monday October 10, 2011 edition of the Business Mirror.

Catharsis after the fall
by rick olivares

When I think of baseball I think of my grandfather who introduced me to the game. I think of a time when I played sandlot baseball or playing catch next to the parked caboose along the railroads tracks. I think of those black and white photographs of Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio. I think of my grandfather teaching me the game. I think of my first baseball mitt and how a right-handed one didn’t fit my left hand since I am a lefty. I think of the New York Yankees who were such a powerful lure along with Marvel Comics and Spider-Man when moving to New York. I think of Don Mattingly, the lone star on a team that was baseball’s best for over a decade but never went to the playoffs or won a title. I think of the times I said, “There’s always next year.” I think after a while, I wondered if next year was not going to be in my lifetime. I think of Aura and Mystique and I am quite sure that I cannot find them in an adult shop on 42nd Street. I think of how foolish the Atlanta Braves sounded when they said they were the team of the 90s but they only had one title to show when New York won four including three straight. I think of fearfully sitting in the upper tier boxes and not paying attention to a foul ball and getting boinked on the head. I think about getting embarrassed along Yawkey Way but obnoxious Red Sox fans and getting revenge a few weeks later at Yankee Stadium. I think about serving lunch for Jason Giambi and Tanyon Sturtze in an Upper East Side restaurant and asking for an autograph even at the risk of getting fired. I think about being reluctant to ask Paul O’Niell to sign a book and immediately regretting it as he stepped inside the players’ entrance. I think of those days when the Boss fired Stick and Buck and signed what the Post said was Clueless Joe. I think that Joe Torre was actually magnificent and the most successful Yankees manager since Casey Stengel. I think of losing in ’01, ’03, and ’04. I think of ’11 against Detroit. I think of how this is where Derek Jeter gets a home run and the Yankees win in five. I think that this is where Alex Rodriguez saves his poor season and slaps a bases clearing hit to the gap. I think of him getting fanned for the last out of the season. I think of that empty and sinking feeling of taking the 40-minute subway ride to midtown and the hour’s wait before that 30-minute bus ride from New York to New Jersey. I think of lying in bed at night refusing to take off my pinstripes and by the time I am ready to sleep it’s time to go to work and my eyes are bloodshot. I think that Aura and Mystique have packed their bags and so will Jorge Posada. I think of pre-Game 2 where Andy Pettitte threw the opening pitch and where he and Posada shared an embrace on the hill. I think that Derek Jeter is at a point where he is like Cal Ripken Jr. (and he does look like Cal Ripken Jr. at this point). I think that the season that had all the makings of a memorable one since DJ joined the 3K hit club and Mo now owns the saves record. I think of how AJ Burnett sent the series back to the Bronx but we suddenly lost Ivan Nova. I think of this Fall and how the Fall Classic will be without my Yankees and what a long winter it’s going to be. I think of Spring next year when I hope to make that long-awaited pilgrimage to the new Stadium that the Boss built. I think of Cashman reloading and I for one cannot wait for things to get started. I think this time off will be a period of healing and at the same time that Spring seems like an eternity at this point. I think that, “Hey, we actually weren’t seeded to win this year and we overachieved.” I think that maybe so but a season that does not end with a World Series title is a failure. I think that the players need to commended for what is nevertheless a great season. I think that 97 wins in a 162-game season are pretty good enough when you have a patched-up pitching staff. I think I should count my blessings because after all, the Yankees did win the AL East. I think too that in Yankee Stadium there is no room for AL East trophies since we only have room for pennants and World Series trophies. I think that this painful ouster by Detroit magnifies the throbbing pain of a toothache. I think that maybe I should relax and go out and have fun at the Ateneo bonfire later. When I think of the New York Yankees I think of my grandfather who introduced me to the game and my favorite team. I think back to a time that has been frozen in my mind’s eye and how I stubbornly cling on to them as happy thoughts. I think of my grandfather who I miss even after all these years. I think that the love he showered me in my more rambunctious days that is something I repeat with my own kids. And I think that it’s great that my kids too are Yankee fans.


From Kathryn Pauso, a friend from UP who is a fellow Yankee fan (photo by Bill Kostroun). Here is her blog.

I guess I should be thankful that the ALDS reached Game 5. 

Seriously, why continue being a fan? Not just a Yankee fan, but why follow sports at all? It is so frustrating to support a team throughout the year only to watch them get beaten in the first round. It is even more painful to watch now that my old heroes are showing signs of being human. 

Is Jorge Posada coming back? 

He had a good series. Going 6 for 14 in the past five games is pretty good considering he had to fight his way towards the end of the season to make the playoff roster. This is the end of his 4-year contract and we might not see him back anymore. He has not indicated his desire to retire and talks about next season has not come up. He is 40 years old and has lost the regular catcher position to Russell Martin. Jesus Montero caused a stir when he came up the Majors late this season as well. Game 5 of this ALDS might be Jorge's last game as a Yankee and I was too busy hoping the team would come through with men on base to even realize it. 

Can Derek Jeter still hit .300 next year?

I admit I did not follow nor watch the Yankees early this season. It was mostly because Derek Jeter stank, big time. But apparently the 3,000 hit record was a monkey on his back and he came back to hit .326 in the last three months of the season. There were a couple of Jeter moments in this ALDS. There was the cut-off relay throw in Game 1. There was the 2 RBI hit in Game 4. Today, the Yankees were behind by one, Brett Gardner was on first base, and there were two outs. Joaquin Benoit was hittable but he has only given up one run. Jeter hit the first ball thrown and for a couple of seconds the crowd thought that it was November 2001 again. But no, it was a couple of feet short of the left field porch and the Tigers' right fielder caught the ball. 

That is how it has felt like for the past two seasons with Jeter. The hustle never went away, as shown by his infield single in the 6th inning today. Despite the statistics and his age, believers like me still think he would deliver. Just because it is October. 

Mariano Rivera was a non-factor in this series. 

This is a bit interesting. Both times Rivera came in were not save situations. The Yankees won big in Games 1 and 4. This is probably the only postseason series where Mariano Rivera did not add to his postseason saves total. 


Losing in the first round of the play offs must be how an ectopic pregnancy feels like. 162 games of playing, enduring injuries, living the grind, only to go home empty-handed. Another half-day supposedly working was spent waiting in futility for another dose of October magic. 

I am thankful for the AJ Burnett Game 4 performance though. It gave me some hope that Aura and Mystique is still on Yankees side on October and new legends will replace the fading ones. But apparently not this year again. 

Former Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 to his old battery mate Jorge Posada. Felt a tinge of nostalgia seeing how the last remaining players from the title years of the 1990s are dwindling. Was this Posada's last ride with the Yankees? If it is, thanks, Jorge. You were great for us pinstriped fans. Hip hip, JORGE!


Picked up this book at Booksale for a little over a hundred bucks. It's Joe Garagiola's Just Play Ball. Baseball fans, you won't regret picking this one up.

According to Barnes & Noble: Stories and baseball insights from one of the game's most beloved characters. Joe draws on a baseball career spanning 60 years - from behind home plate to the broadcast booth.

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