Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Of all the secular holidays, there probably isn't one that resonates with me as much as Thanksgiving. The proposition that we should dedicate time to be thankful for all the good things in the world is simple, elegant, and necessary. Tomorrow--as I am on just about every other day--I'll be thankful for La Chiquita, for my brothers, my parents (who are currently somewhere on the other side of the world), and my friends. I'll also be thankful for baseball, the fact that I get to write about it and get paid to do so, and to all of you who stop by here or Baseball Prospectus to see what I have to say.

Today, I'm going to single out a couple of things that I take for granted, but for which I'm grateful:

Thanks, Andy Pettitte:

I've been doing a bunch of research on Yankees rookies for Bombers Broadside 2008, and it's given me a big appreciation for how big a step it was when the farm system produced Andy Pettitte in 1995. It had been quite a while since the Yankees had groomed and kept an elite starting pitcher--arguably since Ron Guidry in 1976 (guys like Jose Rijo, Doug Drabek, Bob Tewksbury and Al Leiter were all dealt away before getting established; Dave Righetti had been acquired as a high-level minor leaguer, so he wasn't really a product of the Yankee system).

Andy's given Yankee fans over 2,000 innings of excellent baseball in his career, and a ton of great memories. Last season, after a regrettable (but brief) separation, he returned to the Yankees and really was a rock in a sea of uncertainty. It's only fitting that we should thank him, and Steve Lombardi over at Was Watching has thought of a great way to do that, and ask Andy to come back for one more go-around. He calls it Project P46 (shades of Alex Rodriguez's Project A13 last season). I'll let him take it from here:

Here's an idea - where maybe Yankees fans can help the team's chances in 2008. Some time over the next 5 days (meaning over the long weekend where you should be able to find 15 minutes to get this done), why not send a card or note to Andy Pettitte? You can send it to:

Andy Pettitte
c/o Hendricks Sports Management LP
400 Randal Way Ste 106
Spring, TX 77388

Tell Andy that you're a Yankees fan. Offer best wishes for the holiday season and new year to him and his family. And, of course, tell him that you would be thrilled to see him be a big part of the Yankees season in 2008.

Maybe an outpouring of affection by Yankees fan would help sway Andy towards returning next season? At the worst, it wouldn't hurt.

Are you willing to try it? Also, if you think this is an interesting idea, please pass the word about it. Let's try and get over 100,000 cards and notes to Andy by the end of this month. Wouldn't that be something? But, you have to have one sent before you can have 100,000 sent - so, that means you have to send one...yourself.

Again, why not take 15 minutes between today and Sunday night and "pitch" in on Project P46?

So pass the word along, get some stamps, and let's get going!

Thanks for Local Theater:

Yeah, a lot of people are bummed out about the big Broadway Theater Strike that's shut down much of the Great White Way through this weekend's holiday. But hopefully, something good can come from the strike--not just making sure that a little bit more of the money from those high, high ticket prices trickles down to the men and women who make things run behind the scenes. Hopefully this is a good time for anyone who's in New York to discover that there's much, much, more theater off-Broadway than there is in the big production houses, and that it's just as much fun, and often a much better viewing experience.

Off-Broadway can be scary, with lots of off-putting "experimental" entries that--although I enjoy them greatly--might not be suitable for everyone's palate. Personally, my most reliable off-Broadway pick is Classic Stage Company. I just caught their presentation of Richard III this weekend, and it was fantastic. People are alternately intimidated by Shakespeare, or else consider his works to be old chestnuts. What pleases me about CSC's presentations of the Bard, led by lead actor Michael Cumpsty and director Brian Kullick (this time out, he's co-director with Cumpsty) is that they bring the text to place that's more human than either of those camps would expect.

While we often consider Shakespeare's language lofty and archaic, Cumpsty's line readings show us that it's the delivery that makes them seem so. At the same time, without changing the text (other than the cuts that are necessary to bring Shakespeare's second-longest play down under three hours) the Classic Stage troupe wrings all the comedy possible from one of the canon's bloodiest plays. And it isn't inappropriate, since Richard III is a very strange tragedy: usually, tragedies are about good people who are unable to overcome their flaws, and wind up ruined as a result. Richard starts the play, and he's already a villain. There's no indication that he ever was a good man, and he doesn't get any better as things go along. When the end comes, it's not tragic in the least--so it all kind of makes sense.

Anyway, it's very highly recommended, and it's running through December 9. Go see it, and if you're not in New York, I entreat you to find the group of people near where you are who are putting on a play, and give them some of your time. It's the least I can do, by way of thanks.

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