Monthly Archives: February 2011

Update: Bad things happen when you show up to Yankees camp wearing hideous shorts

I didn't think they were that bad... though some colleagues helped change my mind.

UPDATE, 3:21 p.m.: Joe Girardi talked about Joba Chamberlain’s weight, Andruw Jones’ role and Jesus Montero’s development. But before he began his media briefing here today, he tackled a much more colorful and far less important subject. And now, I give you the manager of the Yankees:

“I’m just laughing a little inside, that’s all. I’m trying not to. Shorts. Shorts are… something I didn’t quite expect. I just didn’t. Maybe from one of our younger players or something. Or my son. I didn’t quite expect it. And he’s sitting right in front of me. He could sit over there where I couldn’t see his shorts? I thought when we got to a certain age we didn’t dress loud. Or surferish. Now I wonder what he does when he goes home at night.”

Now, if you’d excuse me, I’ll be over at Publix. I’ll be the guy cruising the aisles for a pail and lighter fluid.

TAMPA, Fla. — Well, that was a painful wardrobe malfunction

Here’s a sampling of the abuse from Yankees camp this morning after I made the mistake of wearing this hideous piece of clothing. This was just in the space of an hour. Actually, I didn’t think the shorts were that bad. Most disagreed.

“I actually have a pair just like them,” one critic admitted later. “But I don’t think I’d wear ’em though.”

Brutal as they are, rocking these shorts is still a better alternative than showing up in a Speedo.

If you have a minute to kill at work, see if you can match the comment below to the smart-alec who made them. Answers listed at the bottom of the post:

a.) “Feinsand, remember when you wondered what ever happened to your grandmother’s couch? Looks like Carig turned them into shorts.”

b.) “Hey, nice shorts! You golfing? No, seriously, I like them…”

c.) “Couldn’t bother to change when you got out of bed this morning?”

d.) “Very patriotic.”

e.) “Like you said, those are one and done, right?”

f.) “You should have wallpaper made out of those shorts. Same pattern.”

g.) “Did you really get up in the morning and think nobody was going to say anything?”

h.) “Those are the worst shorts I’ve ever seen. You wear shorts like that, they should give you a free bowl of soup… Looks good on you, though.”

i.) “That’s California.”

Answers:

a.) Sweeny Murti, Yankees beat reporter, WFAN Radio, to Daily News beat writer Mark Feinsand; b.) Joba Chamberlain, Yankees relief pitcher; c.) George King, Yankees beat writer, New York Post; d.) Jason Latimer, Yankees media relations; e.) Tony Pena, Yankees bench coach; f.) Pete Caldera, Yankees beat writer, Bergen record; g.) Mark Kafalis, Yankees security; h.) Bryan Hoch, Yankees beat writer, mlb.com, in a dead-on rendition of Rodney Dangerfield’s character in Caddyshack; i.) Mick Kelleher, Yankees first base coach.

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Averting crisis with some timely motivation

Desk at my spring training hotel.

TAMPA, Fla. — Back in my cigarette smoking days, I always took care to earn good smoking karma. All you had to do was ask. And sometimes, I even gave up the last one in my pack, which for smokers is about as precious a gift as organ donation is to non-smokers.

Of course, when you quit smoking, that karma is worthless. And at worst, it can be a hindrance to remaining a quitter, as it was tonight when I was at dinner with an old friend.

We hadn’t crossed paths since last fall. I was smoking like a chimney then, and midway through a bar-hopping excursion with a group of other pals, he asked for a smoke. I obliged. This went on until they dragged the last of the drunks out of the bars.

Anyway, he let me know early during dinner that he was prepared to pay me back in smokes. For the first time since quitting (again), I faced serious temptation.

But I didn’t give in. For that, I have only my motivation to thank.

I met her for the first time exactly a year ago today. She came into my life at a great time of change and has stuck with me ever since. When we met, I was in the midst of quit attempt version 3.0. And when I started again we were already dating.

She made it clear she wasn’t happy about my relapse but never once nagged me about it. I promised I’d quit again and I’d be done for good. She’s been patient with me about everything else — such as being away for work, sometimes days at a time — but she was especially understanding as I prepared to quit once more.

So, as my friend offered karmic payback, all I could think about was Jo.

I thought about how amazing (mostly) this last year has been, and if just one year with her was awesome, imagine two? Or three? Or even 30? I thought about something I read once, that each cigarette cuts about 11 minutes off your life. I thought about how many days I could have with her that I’ve smoked away.

Then I thought about the foolish decisions I’ve made in my life, and how none of them would be as stupid as giving up even one more minute with her.

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Finally, my very own building!

"Well, it looks like you're a cheap place to go to have sex with prostitutes."

TAMPA, Fla. — Some dreams come big. Some dreams come small. Mine, they come… stupid.

This is my fourth season covering baseball, all of them in the American League East. If I were to compile a list of most-visited regular season cities list for that span, I’d wager that No. 1 would be Tampa.

All that time, there has been one photo I’ve wanted to take from here, but the right opportunity never seemed to present itself. Well, that all changed this afternoon on the way home from the driving range.

The building is in Tampa near I-275. My thanks to my buddy Bryan for humouring me. Turns out I was wearing the perfect ballcap for this mission — a vintage 1960s-style Cubs cap — which features a prominent “C” and not a “K.”

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Crimes against photojournalism

TAMPA, Fla. — One of the things I had always liked about journalism was the division of labor. Editors edit, writers write and photographers take photos.

At places with smaller staffs, there’s some mixing of duties, but even then people try to stick to their strengths. Simple enough.

But in this age of Twitter and camera phones and short attention spans, a lot of times those rules get thrown out the window.

The results can be disastrous, as I so capably proved yesterday, my snapping the worst sports photograph of all time.

It started innocently enough. I arrived for the Yankees’ workouts, Tweeted a few details, and felt the need to take a picture. Even if I hadn’t, people on Twitter would have started asking, and I would have. felt obliged I had only an iPhone, and you can only do so much with it, but as a friend once told me after I shanked a golf shot and threw my 6-iron down the fairway, “only a poor craftsman blames his tools.”

So I tried, and failed. Miserably.

I aimed the camera at a line of Yankees players running on the practice field and came out with an image of barely recognizable figures lost in a gray haze.

It made me wish that iPhones came with lens caps. Leaving the cap on and snapping the photo would have produced a better result.

One day, I’ll be brought up for multiple charges of “crimes against photojournalism.” And when it comes time to present evidence, they will unearth the photo above and enter it as Exhibit A.

Really, to find me guilty, would they even need anything more? Doubtful.

I was stupid enough to Tweet the photo. One blog even used it on a post, a tactic that I’ve decided could only drive away potential readers.

Anyway, real workouts begin soon, and that means the real photographers can take over and do the wonderful job that they do.

And me? I can go back to using then iPhone for the purpose of sending inane tweets, which is a whole lot photojournalistic atrocity.

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And to think I had been foresaken by the Rental Car Gods…

Isn't she lovely? Isn't she wonderful?

TAMPA, Fla. — The Rental Car Gods are smiling down upon me.

They had foresaken me for two straight spring trainings and I was prepared for a third. My first year covering the Yankees in 2009, they assigned me a half-SUV, half-sedan made my Chevy that possessed only the middling qualities of both. Last year, the Gods challenged me once more, sending me a Hyundai that couldn’t beat a John Deere lawnmower off the line. I wasn’t pleased.

I began to think that getting a convertible for my first spring training in 2008, back in my Orioles beat writer days, was an exceptional stroke of luck. I wonder what I had done to anger the Rental Car Gods. Did I neglect to bring back a rental without a full tank? Did I spill Starbucks and stain the carpet? Did I inwpark in a handicap spot? Did they even exist?

But finally, after my crisis of faith, the losing streak came to an end today.

Nissan Altima, silver and blue, with a grand total of nine miles. Comfy seats, four doors, no bizzare blind spots, and plenty of room, for those times when it is my turn to drive colleagues who may need to work in the car on the back from games. Score.

The golf clubs fit perfectly in the trunk, where they will live until heading back to New York in late March.

I’m not a huge fan of the keyless ignition, which still strikes me as a wholly useless innovation. That’s a minor quibble though. This car is going to work.

During the regular season, I don’t usually get caught up about my rental car because you’re in it at most for five days.

Spring training in Florida is a different story. This is when the Rental Car Gods really have to come through. Though it’s not as bad as it used to be, you’ve got drives that are up to three hours (thanks Washington Nationals!) each way. So it’s important to have a decent set of wheels instead of a piece of shit.

Indeed, learning that that I have not been totally abandoned by the Rental Car Gods was a perfect way to start Day 1 of spring training duty, simply because it’s going to help the remaining 47 days go by that much easier.

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The gang’s all here

Sign of a new season: This year's BWAA cards.

NEWARK, N.J. — I’m roughly two hours into the beginning of my 2011 season but already I’ve bumped into a few familiar friends at the airport.

Such as “Wait, it’s not cool if I walk through the scanner in my chain mail guy.” As an added bonus, be brought his entire family, who also dressed for the occasion by adorning their bodies with scrap metal.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I suppose. But when they show up to the security line as if they’re there for the first time — even though the tags on their luggage tell you otherwise — then I have a problem. That was a fun 30 minutes, watching this dude take off his belt and walk toward the scanner, only to be told he also had to remove his watch, his pocket change, his cell phone. He looked surprised every time, which is to be expected of morons.

Guiding him was another pal, “TSA employee who appears to do next to nothing.” Actually, this particular guy seemed to be a whole new subspecies.

While his colleagues appeared to be doing important work — such as fondling the dude in 13A like he’s a supermarket cantelope — this new character stood around and watched people put their luggage on the belt. That’s it.

Sometimes, he’d sort of do something, like tend to chain mail guy the fifth time he attempted to go through the scanner wearing more metal than Dennis Rodman.

When I went through, TSA guy appeared eager to look busy. He approached as if he were going to tell me to remove the laptop from my bag. When I beat him to the punch, he stood there with a confused look, gestured at my bag, and said “oh good.”

Perhaps this is some junior level position in the TSA. If so, I really hope he one day graduates to feeling up passengers. He looked gentle.

As I walked toward the gate, another old pal came swooping by. Didn’t recognize him at first. But then I heard screeching tires and the faint sound of a grown man saying “beep, beep,” the way you’d think Daria would impersonate a car horn.

Yes, “Reckless Golf Cart Driver” guy was in the house, burning rubber and breaking ankles.

Anyway, I’m at Gate 71, getting on my flight to Tampa. Baseball season is officially here.

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Welcome to the not so all-new marclestercarig.com

HARLEM — It’s important to always embrace your identity, even if it caused your classmates to call you “molester!” To that end, the blog is now registered under marclestercarig.com. Yes, that’s my full name. No, I don’t think it’s funny. Yes, I’d like for you to stop laughing.

Nothing else about the site will change. It will still primarily feature my nonsensical bullshit, and promises about blogging regularly, which I will probably break. The only difference really is that it’s now slightly better-branded nonsensical bullshit, so I’ve got that going for me.

Anyway, I get a plane for spring training in less than 24 hours, which is always exciting. But as much fun as it is to start a new season, it comes with some fear that I won’t have the time to devote to other cool things, such as writing in this space. It’s been an off and on experience, but whenever I’ve had one of those bursts where I feel like I’ve got to blog, it has always brought nothing but good.

Old friends come out of the woodwork and it feeds the desire to keep writing. It applies to work, too. It seems as if I have a lot more fun writing my newspaper stuff when I’m also farting around here with you all. This last week or so has been no exception and I’d love to keep it going. Not a promise, mind you, but an acknowledgment that I really enjoy our time together.

Besides, doing this is better than taking a smoke break.

Speaking of work, one last thing: Have you ever played or coached with Yankees pitching Larry Rothschild? Do you have any insights as to why he is so well respected around the game? Well, if you’re reading this and I haven’t called or texted you yet, boy would I love a few minutes of your time!

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