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A New Lineup

As a person of limited substance, I have always been drawn to both light verse and baseball.  In the first grade we were asked to recite a poem in front of the class.  Amidst various renditions of Roses are Red, Jack and Jill, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I offered up Ogden Nash's Lineup for Yesterday: An ABC of Baseball Immortals -- all 26 stanzas and 104 lines.
In this popular poem - first published by SPORT Magazine in 1949 and seen HERE - I had discovered the masterful confluence of my two prime interests.  I was hooked young.and never lost my love for this unique work.  In fact, more than 50 years removed from that classroom, I still recite it to myself when I need to pass time waiting for the water to boil or the timer on the microwave to run its course. 


With that in mind - and desperately avoiding whatever task actually needed to be done - I attempted an homage to Mr. Nash with a modern "Lineup" comprised of the "Immortals" of my lifetime.  
I am we…
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Elizabeth Speirs Goldberg ???? - 2008

When my father passed away, my mother asked me to write a tribute to him.  Doing so was extraordinarily cathartic and helped me through a difficult time.  Despite that, it was not an easy decision to do the same thing upon my mother’s passing.  Where my father had the overblown traits of a fictional character, she was far more nuanced and I was concerned that I might not see my Mom the same way my siblings had.   Because of that, I drafted a tribute and asked my sister Joan to edit and enhance my thoughts.  The result of that process is what follows.
This small passage was extremely painful to compose.  I had the time to more leisurely craft Arthur’s tribute and I’d catch myself  laughing aloud as I recounted the stories of his life.   More to the point, that experience was made easier by my mother’s presence, her guidance, her suggestions and her appreciation for the finished product.  This time I shed tears through every page.
Still, I’m glad it’s done and I’m grateful for a small op…

Tough

I’ve seen toughness in many forms.  Having spent most of my professional life around athletes, my rolodex includes names like Cal Ripken Jr., who famously played 2,632 baseball games without taking a day off; Willis Reed, named NBA Finals MVP after dragging a barely functional right leg up and down the Madison Square Garden court in a storied Game 7 victory; “world’s strongest man” and WWE superstar Mark Henry; and NFL wide receivers like Mike Quick, Cris Carter and Tim Brown, each of whom ran fearlessly across the middle of the field in a job defined by continual brutality, frequent pain, and occasional debilitating injuries.
But the toughest athletes I know are often draped in lavender and violet spandex and tend to leave a trail of sequins and rhinestones in their wake.  One of them is my own daughter.  She is a baton twirler and she is an absolute beast. 




Sure, we can quibble over the definition of “tough”.   If someone slammed down a glass in a gritty barroom and demanded to know w…

The Most Beautiful Woman in the World

The other day, I came across a tidbit in the news.It said it was the birthdate of former movie star Hedy Lamarr; she would have been 100 years old.To call Hedy Lamarr’s life fascinating would be to damn it with faint praise.The word to describe her journey has yet to be invented (Larmarresque?).
She was much more than a beautiful woman, but beautiful she was.Ms. Lamarr’s look was truly timeless.Her publicity shots from the thirties and forties could be released, unaltered, today and cause the same buzz they did then.


Fortunately for her, though, the term “buzz” was not yet in vogue and she flew somewhat under the radar through a series of scandals that – if seen today – might cause the Twittersphere to explode.She left Germany in 1933 after stirring up controversy for depicting the first female orgasm in non-pornographic film history.She was married at least six times.She essentially gave away her 12-year-old adopted son and never spoke to him again.She was arrested multiple times for s…

Haypath Park

We didn’t have social media.No Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram.In fact, we didn’t have the internet, cellphones or cable TV.
But we had Haypath Park and that was pretty damn good.
I have a vivid mid-sixties recollection of my father at the kitchen table with the Long Island Press reading an article about plans to build a park on Haypath Road.Almost like literary foreshadowing, I sensed this was a more important nugget than whatever was on the first few pages of the paper that day.
Carved out of the woods between three housing developments, our park immediately became the beating heart of a generation of local kids.Two baseball fields, a basketball court, tennis courts, handball and some scattered diversions for younger children. From the day the gates swung open, it rendered the question, “what are you doing after school?” obsolete.



In my decade or so tethered to the park, I tried just about every game known to man.We played football, baseball, softball, nok-hockey and tennis.If …

My Bronx Tale: A Father's Day Remembrance

In February of 1965, my father and I went to the Bronx.
Given the time of year and later custom, I suspect the sibling-free excursion was a birthday treat.  We probably stopped for a hot dog in that pre-fast food world, but I couldn’t say for sure. Nor can I recall a single thing we talked about on our drive.  But I certainly remember what we did that day; my father took his six-year-old son to his first basketball game.
We went to see the Manhattan Jaspers play at Fordham University.  The oldtimers referred to the rivalry as “The Battle of the Bronx”. The gym was a smoky bandbox; both sides packed with Irish and Italian New Yorkers who went home to the same neighborhoods when the game ended.
The intraboro matchup warranted a couple of lines in Sports Illustrated’s weekly college basketball wrapup though it was hardly a big game outside of New York.  An on-campus college game in a small gym was a far cry from the Madison Square Garden experience; even in 1965 with the old Garden in i…

The Great Leap Forward

On Friday, the "Catholic 7" officially announced their plans to soldier on under the proud Big East banner and to stay in the league's traditional postseason home.  The news will read like a victory and provide a rare opportunity for basketball-first fans to cheer about the business side of college sports. 

Celebrations aside, the new Big East knows it has not staved off irrelevancy.Even after adding Butler and Xavier, it will only have slowed the process and softened the degree of their inevitable fall.The new conference is not, in fact, designed to compete with the big boys.At best, it hopes to fit comfortably and profitably beneath them. What choice do they have?It has become clear that the BCS, and not the NCAA, will determine the future of college sports.Those controlling the finances will never again act in the best interests of Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s or their basketball-leaning league members.

Despite the trappings of boldness in the league’s announcement…