Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Is This Thing On?

Yeah, last time you guys heard from me, it was Wednesday and I was promising my Hall of Fame column "tomorrow". Life intruded, so I've been pretty quiet. In the interim, I've finished one major project (more on this shortly), started another, seen an opera (La Traviata at the Met), got bounced hard out of the playoffs for my pool league, had a couple of celebrity sightings (Famke Janssen, John Turturro), saw a play (A Spanish Play, directed by Turturro), helped tear up a concrete sidewalk in my friend's backyard (who ever knew that a well-swung sledgehammer was so cathartic?), and experienced pain in muscles I'd forgotten I had in the aftermath (the mysterious one is the muscle that sends me into a nice bit of pain whenever I try to reach my right hand into any of my pockets).

So I've been busy. The Hall of Fame column is still coming, even if it's stale. A few notes while we wait for that:

The Iron Sheff, now happily situated in Motown, is bringing out an as-told-to book this spring. Guess this must have happened pretty quickly after he was traded, because according to the New York Times, Sheff is one of the first players I can recall to focus some criticism on Joe Torre, saying that Torre got on his nerves by constantly talking about how much he wished the Yanks had signed Vlad Guerrero.

Tom Verducci has an article mentioning both Phil Hughes and Roger Clemens, so I'm linking it. Tim Marchman, whose articles are now available to everyone now that the New York Sun isn't subscription-only, is optimistic about the Bombers' future, so that gets linked as well.

The pool league playoffs I meantioned in the intro were held at Amsterdam Billiards' new location, across the street from Webster Hall, after their old location on Amsterdam Avenue and West 76th Street closed down at the end of the year. Not mentioning the closing of the place where I met La Chiquita, and spent huge amounts of my young adult life was definitely an oversight. Some of it I'll have to chalk up to denial--the old Amsterdam was the best pool hall in the city, upscale and well-maintained, but also down-to-earth and entirely focused on the game (unlike, say, Slate--the former Chelsea Billiards--which is now a high-end lounge/sports bar with several dozen full-size pool tables thrown in as an afterthought). I loved the old hall's wood paneling and exposed brick; its working fireplace, and the front tables were pool pros (Jeanette Lee, Mika Immonen) and celebrities (Paul Sorvino, Jerry Seinfeld) were put on display. But most importantly, it was my pool home. I'd played every single table in the room at least a couple of times, I knew the place like the back of my hand. Shortly, there will be a soulless apartment building in its place.

Amsterdam's new home is the former Corner Billiards, down on Fourth Avenue. It's just a walk away from where I live now--the move saves me a ton on cab fare--but it'll take lots of time for me to get as comfortable downtown as I was on the Upper West Side. It's just a different room with a different vibe--and management hasn't gotten to shake out all the kinks, yet. The Bank the Nine Blog has some awesome photos of them getting the new pool hall ready to open at the start of this month.

As the saying goes, you close a door and open a window. I had a chance to say good-bye to the old Amsterdam, dragging Brother Joe out there while he was in town for the holidays, and spending the last nights the place was open there with La Chiquita. Now, we've moved on to a new place, which despite the 7-2 whupping I took there on Saturday, we're intent to call home. Back with some baseball tomorrow.

No comments: