Author: eulelog

A Lasting First Draft

A day after Barack Obama’s historic win, I think newspapers are among the major winners in Election ’08. On Wednesday in New York City, I heard various stories about a scarcity of the day’s newspapers. Friends and colleagues were unable to find copies of the New York Times at newsstands. By midday, I heard reports of lines forming outside the NYT’s headquarters and of Times reporters who themselves couldn’t get copies of the election edition.

Perhaps it’s just human nature to hoard keepsakes about historic events. But just days after what could have been the worst week in publishing history — layoffs, restructurings and the shuttering of print editions — the run on print papers is a clear reminder of their importance. Websites had incredible graphics on the election results but the pixels forming news sites’ “front page” will quickly dissipate, leaving behind a muddled archive of the day’s events.

It took an election to remind Americans about a great democracy. Here’s hoping it taught us something about our news, as well.

Thanks to Wednesday’s newsstand run, I’m confident that newspapers will still be here in 2012 to etch the results of one more presidential election.

(Here is the Newseum’s collection of 719 front pages from Nov. 5, 2008.)


After months of holding out, I finally signed up for a Twitter account. And, I have to admit, I kind of like it. From tonight’s VP debate to random thoughts, I’ve had plenty to write about in the last week.

Check out my “tweets” at Let me know if you’re on Twitter. I need more folks to follow.

A Night at Shea

Mets fans are an angry bunch these days. I had gathered as much in the wake of the team’s latest swoon, but my trip to Shea’s upper deck last night left little doubt.

The fans around me screamed at a woman trying to start a wave in the sixth inning of a tied pennant-race game. They cursed at a Mets-sponsored photographer roaming the stands. And they were less than hospitable to the Cubs-hat wearing guy who sat among them.

The collective ire of Mets fans all over the city, however, was most apparent after the team squandered a 5-1 lead in the top of the fifth. The lead had provided a brief respite from fans’ angst thanks to Carlos Delgado who hit a grand slam in the third inning. Like most of the Mets good moments of late, it didn’t last. After many blown opportunities chances, the Mets lost in 10 innings and forfeited their sole possession of the wild-card spot.

For the second straight year, Mets fans are left wondering why they bother. A Mets fan friend sent me this text after attending last night’s game. I think it says it all:

From now on I think I’m just going to throw fifty bucks in the toilet, and then punch myself in the nuts and save the three hours for something else.

Ah, the life of a sports fan…

Yankee Stadium: A Birds-eye view

The Orioles were an afterthought in last night’s finale at Yankee Stadium. Without playoff implications, the game was secondary, and the Orioles just a means to a quorum. Still, my memories of Yankee Stadium have always been through the eyes of an Orioles fan so last night’s game was a satisfying conclusion.

Some commentators (Tony and Mike, you know who you are) recently ridiculed MLB for scheduling the long-suffering Orioles on the Stadium’s final night. Should have been the Sawx, they said, but the PTI crew overlooked a symmetry that only baseball can provide.

The Yankees, after all, began life as the Baltimore Orioles in 1901 before moving to New York (thanks for that reminder, Rob). The stadium’s biggest star also hailed from the streets of Baltimore.

My own memories of Yankee Stadium largely begin in 1996, when 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier stole Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS from the Orioles and launched the Yankees to a series win and a dynasty.

Next year, I ventured into enemy territory for the first time in September 1997, as the soon to be AL East champion Orioles took on the Yankees. That day, I sat in the bleachers and was not so nicely told to stop rooting for my team.

I showed up each year from then on to watch the Os. They became increasingly less relevant to the Yankees and the standings, but wins at the Stadium went a long way in keeping my Os faith.

Some of my other Stadium memories are the fight turned brawl that sent two drunkards tumbling down 13 rows of the upper deck. Witnessing the introduction of friends who turned their loge-level meeting into a marriage. Sitting through 17 innings of rainy baseball in Sept. 2001 for what would have been Cal Ripken’s final game, if not for the events of Sept. 11th. And joining fellow New Yorkers at the Stadium on that tragic day’s first anniversary (to see, who else, but the Orioles and the Yanks).

Nice things about the Yankees make me cringe, but even I will miss their hallowed grounds. Several times a year, it’s where I met the Orioles and recovered a piece of home.

Here are some good musings on the building’s farewell:

– Stadium Farewell Rekindles Memories of Times Gone By, Wright Thompson,
– Jeter?s Actions True to Example Set by Ripken, Harvey Araton, New York Times
– It’s Gone! Goodbye!, Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated

Will I, Won’t I?

Every year as sports seasons come to an end, attention turns to the future of athletes. Who will be back and who will ride off into the sunset. Funny thing is that each year, the same athletes turn up on the list, as if they have some special lease on retirement. Will I, Won’t I is a particular class of athletes that craves headlines, and we’re happy to oblige.

Brett Favre, the Jets new quarterback, undoubtedly tops the list. His retirement turned comeback turned trade demand grabbed headlines for weeks this summer.

Now, with the Yankees all but destined for their first October vacation in 14 years, pitcher Andy Pettitte is again grappling with indecision. On Wednesday, the Times reported that the pitcher was once again considering his options.

Pettitte’s pattern of indecision follows that of his former pal Roger Clemens, who regularly held baseball hostage while deciding whether to give the sport another season. The vacillating Clemens even got a standing-ovation farewell in the 2003 World Series before returning for several more seasons.

Why is that we never hear Greg Maddux making similar public statements of indecision? When Cal Ripken was ready to retire he did just that. Yes, he gave himself a farewell tour, Ripken haters might say. But at least there was finality. There’s little doubt what class either of those athletes belong to — one that makes its home in upstate New York.

For the inevitable next round of Will I, Won’t I?, how about a collective Who Cares.

In the Air: Good and Bad

We left for Utah this morning via JFK and JetBlue. First thought is flying has simply become humiliating. We learned to live with long lines at check in and shoe removal at security, but we’ve crossed the line. At JFK, we spent 36 on bagels, coffee, water, two sandwiches (for later) and chips. Not like there’s much choice — no outside water allowed and now no free water on board. Once on the plane we were greeted by dirty seats and a sweltering cabin. The air didn’t start flowing until they closed the cabin (yet another fuel/ cost saving measure I presume). A complete mess.

But, here’s the flip side of our new world of air travel. Sitting in seat 20D somewhere over Ohio I have a live view of multiple Olympic events in Beijing. Thanks to JetBlue’s satellite feed I’ve already watched Roger Federer’s gold medal doubles match, wrestling and soccer. In about an hour I’ll tune in for the live broadcast of the U.S.-Spain basketball game. Not a bad way to spend a cross-country flight.

(Next up for the airlines: wi-fi. Would have been cool to post this in real time.)

*Update: apparently JetBlue hasn’t gone the charge-for-water route…yet. Thanks Blue.

*Update2: JetBlue even offers snacks still. Nothing like a little snack mix at 9:45 a.m.

Costas on Shabbat

Bob Costas is among the sporting world’s more respected reporters — and for good reason, I think. But Costas exposed a surprising ignorance during the Olympic opening ceremony when discussing Israel and the Jewish sabbath.

Here’s what he said as Isreal’s contingent entered the opening ceremony:

[Israel’s President] Shimon Peres is here. He is staying at a hotel very close to the Bird?s Nest stadium. I mention that because since this ceremony may carry over into Saturday, he can?t violate the Sabbath by being driven away from the stadium so he will have to walk it back to the hotel, which he will do post midnight tonight.

Someone should tell Costas that Judaism uses a lunar calendar. Holidays (including shabbat) start at sundown. Once the sun set in Beijing Friday night, Peres was compelled to walk back to his hotel. By midnight, the sabbath would have been well underway.

Bye Bye Boredom

The world has certainly seen enough iPhone reviews in the two weeks since the new version’s release. Here’s another one of sorts. But I’m writing with a slightly different idea after having something of an epiphany today: boredom has gone extinct.

Now that the iPhone travels wherever I do (I’m writing from the bandshell in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park waiting for a free concert to start — see photo), I’m not sure I’ll ever again feel the need to kill time while I wait for a tardy friend or a slow 4/5 subway train.

The iPhone is a marvel of technology for sure but it’s the simple (and free) apps that make the biggest difference. Even without the fancy new 3G data connection I’m more than occupied. Check out Instapaper, for instance. Sad to say I’m not sure I’ll ever need to carry around a magazine again. Or the WordPress app that lets me do this post on the go.

I think everyone I know is probably tired of my iPhone praises. I just can’t stop thinking how Apple might be changing our lives.

Gotta go. Concert starts.

Super Duper Thoughts

I found my interest in last night’s Super Tuesday coverage diminishing little by little as the electoral map became muddled in various shades of blue and red.

Still, I was drawn to one particular bit of exit polling data, showing that the leading quality sought by Obama voters is “can bring about needed change?”

Obama has rightly inspired voters across the country. For those who remain somewhat skeptical, however, the exit polls do little to quell reservations.

Before more of America is swept up by the freight train of change, it’s worth exploring how the term became a quality, rather than a hoped-for result.

Survey experts who throw the word into exit polls are doing little to clarify the situation. Neither are most reporters, who rarely turn down any type of polling data.

The focus on a generic brand of change threatens to marginalize this all-important election. After all, has any politician from an opposition party ever sought the status quo? And, for an election about change, the raise-and-spend 2008 race seems like more of the same.

Wouldn’t Obama’s brand of change be more compelling, for instance, if the candidate also revolutionized his campaign tactics?

In January, Obama’s campaign said it raised $32 million — $19 million more than Clinton’s. If Obama is serious about change, how about taking that difference and donating it to a serious cause?

The candidates are in a dead-heat, we hear, so let’s allow the rest of the primary to be about ideas, not cash. Meanwhile, those millions could go a long way in making health care affordable for many families TODAY, not sometime in 2010.

The plan might be deemed political suicide, but no one ever said change was pain-free.

Super Thoughts

1) Giants coach Tom Coughlin should be getting far more credit than he is — for bucking the NFL trend and playing his best players in the last week of the regular season. With nothing more than pride on the line, Coughlin took on history and allowed his team to give the Patriots all they could handle. For the Giants, it was the beginning of a historic ride. For the Patriots, the game might have caused the extra exhaustion that left them vulnerable in a Super Bowl rematch.

2)The University of Phoenix might have pulled off the best stadium-naming deal in all of sports. How many Americans realize the “University of Phoenix Stadium” name — home of the Arizona Cardinals — carries no more significance than M&T Bank Stadium, AT&T Park or Coors Field? University of Phoenix is a private-equity owned for-profit education company. The company has no athletic teams, let alone its own 75,000-seat stadium. Thanks to Super Bowl 42 and its stadium sponsorship, the virtual educator has created the most real of impressions.

3) 2008 is looking good for the Washington Redskins. Two other times the Giants have won the Super Bowl (’86 and ’90 seasons). Two times the Redskins defeated the same AFC team a year later (Broncos and Bills). Looks like the Patriots are facing two straight Super Bowl defeats. Hail to the Redskins…

4) Bill Belichick has now solidified a reputation as a petulant child. His mumbling “concession speech” to Fox was embarrassing. Walking off the field before the game had officially ended is fine-worthy. At 18-0, the genius coach’s antics were quirky. As the Super Bowl loser, he looks immature and maniacal.

5) Please let this be the end to the media’s obsession with so-called locker-room material. Giants receiver Plaxico Burress predicted a victory last week. Apparently, it did nothing to motivate the Patriots. If some mouthy opposing player means more than completing a perfect season, than the Patriots had no right to win. Why don’t we get that?

6) Despite a Super Bowl that became an instant classic, the game’s ending was a reminder of the elegance that is baseball. With the game decided and a single tick on the clock, officials had to clear the field of coaches, players and media for Eli’s final kneel down. A walk-off, World Series-winning home run would never require such an artificial, scripted conclusion.