Save me, Alex Rodriguez

We non-New Yorkers implore the baseball gods: Please don't make us suffer a Subway Series.

Topics: Baseball,

Oh, please, no. Not a Subway Series.

Go, Seattle! I can’t take two weeks of the city so nice they named it twice. Please don’t let the big spotlight that’s always shining on New York shine 10 times brighter for an endless fortnight. Somebody win something. Somebody not from New York.

John Halama, won’t you pitch a shutout in Game 6? Alex Rodriguez, could you get a few more big hits? Mike Cameron, Edgar Martinez … uh … Mark McIntyre. I mean McLemore. Whatever. My boys! Go!

From 1949 to 1958 there was at least one New York team in the World Series every year. In six of those 10 years, both teams were from New York, and five of those six times, the two teams were the Dodgers and Yankees, who also played each other in 1947, just to get warmed up.

This period is commonly known in the media as “baseball’s golden age.” Why is that? Because the media is centered in New York. Of course it was baseball’s golden age. It was all about New York. How much more golden can you get? Finally, New Yorkers said to themselves every October, baseball has arranged itself the way all things should: There is no need to leave the city. We’ve been looking at sepia-toned retrospectives of that gilded age ever since.

In that same 10-year period the Pittsburgh Pirates finished last five times and next-to-last three times. Probably not a golden age if you ask Pittsburghers. It was no picnic in Washington either, where the Senators finished last four times, next to last three times and never higher than fifth in an eight-team league. At least starting in 1954 Washingtonians could go to Baltimore to watch the Orioles, who didn’t have a winning season until 1960.

If the media were somehow centered in the Steel City, baseball’s golden age would have been the early ’70s, when the Pirates won a few division championships and a World Series, or maybe the mid-’20s, when they went to the Series twice in three years. Or maybe just that day in 1960 when Bill Mazeroski hit that home run to beat the Yankees in Game 7.

Beat the Yankees in Game 7. Mmmmm. Hear that, Mariners?

In Washington, the golden age started when the Senators left town for good.

All year I look forward to October. The playoffs. The World Series. Baseball’s climax. The best sport at its best. For my entire life I’ve been spared the unavoidable New York is the center of the universe nonsense of a Subway Series. For the most part, when the Mets have been good the Yankees have stunk and vice versa. It’s been fine. Thank you.

We had a scare last year, but the good old Braves (message from Atlanta: It’s the golden age now, pal) came through and knocked the Mets out in the League Championship Series. This year it looked like we were in the clear. The Yankees stumbled into the postseason looking entirely beatable, while the Mets, a better team, had to get past the red-hot San Francisco Giants just to get a chance at the Cardinals or Braves, both of whom had better records than New York.

Everything looked fine when both the Yanks and Mets lost their opening games, but the Mets bounced the Giants by winning three straight and the Yanks somehow defibrillated and beat the Oakland A’s — scuttling, by the way, a potential Giants-A’s “Bay Bridge Series” that, make no mistake, would have been just as insufferable as a Subway Series, but only in the Bay Area. The local blats don’t double as “national” newspapers here. The TV networks don’t live here.

Anyway, no problem. Still only a one in four chance that the World Series would be all Big Apple, all the worm-infested time. We could have New York-Seattle, New York-St. Louis, Seattle-St. Louis.

But with their loss Monday night the Cardinals have failed, and so far the Mariners have likewise been unable to do what they must for the benefit of the rest of us, the 285 million of us who live in the United States and Canada but not in metropolitan New York: Beat the damn Gothams, save us from two weeks of Subway self-absorption.

Save us from 14 days of man on the street interviews. Some yutz in a leather coat: “Yo, if it ain’t New Yawk pizza, it ain’t pizza! Fughettabahtit heh-hey!” Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York.” Hot dog vendors. Hansom cabs. Statue of Liberty. Liza Minnelli singing “New York, New York.” Donald Trump. Rudy Giuliani. Hillary Clinton singing “New York, New York.” TV people droning on about how great it is to have the Series in New York. That’s what people want to see, they’ll say, rubbing their little claws together.

Even if we can’t avoid a Subway Series — and, oh, you Seattle Mariners, I know you can hear me: Go! — we can prove them wrong on that score. Let’s not watch. Let’s not talk about it. Say, how ’bout them Edmonton Oilers!

Ogden Nash wasn’t talking about the Yankees, but he spoke for me and my 284,999,999 comrades when he penned these immortal lines:

The Bronx?
No, thonx!

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>