All posts by Stanzo

No longer banned from TopGolf. Rutgers student, avid Yankees fan, 2-time Intramural Basketball champion. I tell terrible jokes 95% of the time, the other 5% are probably above average

Never Forget Derek Jeter & Mariah Carey

Merry Christmas, everyone. You might be wondering why a retired Yankee and a washed-up pop star are an appropriate blog topic for Christmas Eve. Well, there’s a very clear reason.

 

Derek Jeter is my favorite Yankee and athlete of all-time. Everyone knows his baseball accolades; 14-time All-Star, 5-time World Series champion, sixth-most hits in baseball history, etc. Most people also know his illustrious dating history.

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I always thought he’d get married to Friday Night Lights star Minka Kelly, and was unsure why he didn’t.

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But, of course, being Derek Jeter, he lands on his feet and marries swimsuit model Hannah Davis, who he now has a child with.

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Jeter’s history of dating high-profile women all started with Mariah Carey, whom he was linked to early in his career. Obviously, this is where the story ties into Christmas, as she sings the best Christmas song of all-time. I won’t listen to any arguments saying All I Want For Christmas Is You isn’t the GOAT Christmas song. Not only will it send any ugly holiday sweater party into an absolute frenzy, you could play it at any time of year and people will gladly sing along. It’s just an absolute banger.

Jeter was always a guy who had a vision of what he wanted in his life. He was voted “Most Likely to Play Shortstop for the Yankees” by his classmates in high school because of how often he talked about doing exactly that; he was later drafted 6th overall by the Yanks out of high school. His teammate in the minor leagues, R.D. Long, visited Jeter in Kalamazoo after the 1993 season. Here’s what he said about the visit:

Long couldn’t believe his pal’s bedroom: wall-to-wall Mariah Carey posters, “like a little kid.” As far back as high school, Jeter would tell people that one day he would marry the pop diva. By 1996, he would be dating her.

I mean, that’s just insane. To grow up with posters of a celebrity on your wall, and then becoming a famous athlete yourself and dating her? Derek Jeter is a legend that will never be forgotten. But wait, the story gets better.

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Rumor has it that Jeter was the one to dump Mariah when they eventually split. I’m not gonna elaborate on this too much because this is BTB and not TMZ, but that is some big dick energy right there. Growing up with posters of a girl on your wall and telling people how you’re gonna date her, then actually dating her, only to become a huge star in your own right and break up with her? Derek Sanderson Jeter was an absolute legend on and off the baseball diamond.

Nowadays, Jeter is retired with a wife and kid, and is busy absolutely tearing down the Miami Marlins (thanks for Stanton), while Mariah has seen better days.

Yeah, Jeets.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Definitively Power Ranking the Best Thanksgiving Foods

In just a few short days, the greatest eating day of the year will be upon us. Thanksgiving is the absolute best excuse to drown anything wrong in your life with some delicious food. Before I get to my list, I wanna set a few ground rules.

  1. I strictly stuck to classic Thanksgiving dinner foods. I didn’t do appetizers, desserts, or anything that may not be considered a “classic” (ex. I know a lot of people do mac n’ cheese on Thanksgiving, but personally my family doesn’t so I left it off the list.)
  2. If you disagree with me calm down, it’s a fucking blog about Thanksgiving food
  3. Sorry I got a little heated with #2, food is a sensitive topic
  4. I took into account the food’s place in Thanksgiving, not just how good it is overall

Here we go, power ranking the best 5 Thanksgiving foods:

5. Cranberry Sauce

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Also commonly referred to as “turkey lube” (never actually heard that but I’m trademarking it now), cranberry sauce is definitely one of those “Thanksgiving only” foods. I think that’s dumb because it’s really freaking good. If I walk into a deli in July and order a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, I’d get looked at like I have three heads. But November is pretty much a free pass to order Thanksgiving food all the time. Don’t sleep on the Thanksgiving bowl from Wawa, the Fat Pilgrim from CARS (for the Bergen County readers), and the Thanksgiving Wrap from Hansel (for the Rutgers readers.) It’s the perfect complement to turkey, and even better on sandwiches. No disrespect to it at #5, cranberry sauce is absolutely a Thanksgiving essential.

4. Mashed Potatoes

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Kind of surprised myself putting mashed potatoes at #4 since I consider them one of my favorite foods, but they’re socially acceptable to eat year round unlike most other foods on this list. They also go great with turkey and in sandwiches, and you can use them to pick up anything else on your plate for a bigger bite (vegetables, stuffing, etc.) Big bites = big flavor, that’s a life hack. Just make sure you keep your mouth closed while you chew. Also, PSA: gravy ruins mashed potatoes. I don’t care how unpopular of an opinion this is, keep the gravy away from my plate.

3. Turkey

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While I’m very confused as to why we only eat some of these delicious foods on Thanksgiving, I kinda get why a full turkey is a once a year thing. It takes a long time to make, and it’s a shit ton of food. That being said, turkey is absolutely delicious. They call it “Turkey Day” for a reason. After Thanksgiving dinner, at least my next 3 meals will include turkey in some form, most likely in a leftover sandwich. They say “you can’t have Thanksgiving without turkey,” and I pretty much agree with that statement. You can do ham or roast beef in addition to the turkey, but not instead of it. Despite that, turkey is not the #1 Thanksgiving food.

2. Stuffing

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Look at that beautiful bowl of carbs. Stuffing is sick and it’s a tragedy we only have it on Thanksgiving. It’s like having a girlfriend who you can only see once a year. Consider Thanksgiving Day the equivalent of getting the “my parents aren’t home ;)” text from bae, and crushing a bunch of stuffing is basically just you Razor scootering over to her house. (Side note: overeating and your stomach violently hurting is also the metaphorical equivalent to hitting yourself in the shin with said Razor scooter, just brutal.)

1. Sweet Potatoes

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If you’re saying,”A vegetable #1? What’s this dumbass saying?”, then you’ve clearly never had candied sweet potatoes. These things taste so good and are so covered in sugar/syrup/whatever else that you can’t even taste the fact that there’s a vegetable somewhere in there. They’re pretty much only a holiday thing, which makes them even better. So no, Michelle Obama, you do NOT win this round. Candied sweet potatoes ftw, maybe if you’re lucky I’ll have a bite of salad or something.

If You Had to Pick One Player In Your Rival Team’s History To Play For Your Team, Who Would It Be?

I just saw this question on Twitter, and it really got me thinking. You spend so much time rooting against the players on your rival teams that you never really consider, what if they were playing for my team instead? As a die-hard Yankee fan, my most hated rival team is clearly the Red Sox. I saw another Yankee fan answer this with Pedro Martinez, or perhaps Mookie Betts. For me, the answer is clear. I would have wanted David Ortiz on my team 100%.

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As a Yankee fan, I absolutely hate the guy. There has never been a bigger Yankee killer than David Ortiz. The Red Sox’ 2004 ALCS comeback doesn’t even start without his heroics in Games 4 and 5. So as much as I hate him for that, as well as the fact that everyone lets him off the hook for being named in the Mitchell Report, the guy was a damn good hitter. In my mind, he’s the most clutch hitter of all-time, or at the very least of my generation. If you don’t think he could’ve helped the Yankees win more than just the one title they won during his career (2009), you’re insane.

 

As for my other teams’ rivals, here are my “Honorable Mention” picks behind Ortiz:

Giants: Sean Taylor (Redskins); absolute savage, Rest in Peace.

Knicks: Kevin Garnett (Celtics); I guess they were kind of rivals for that like season and a half stretch where the Knicks were pretty good?

Rangers: Martin Brodeur (Devils); Why wouldn’t you want the best goalie of all time on your team?

UNC Basketball: Zion Williamson (Duke); I don’t care if he’s only played two games, watch this kid play for 30 seconds and you’ll understand why I picked him.

Rutgers Football: Our only rival is our coaching staff’s ability to recruit.

What about you? If you could have picked a rival player to put on your team’s jersey, who would it be?

Creed 2 Comes Out in a Week

I was always a big fan of the Rocky movies, and Creed just took everything about the Rocky movies and made it 100 times better. Michael B. Jordan is the best lead actor the series has ever seen (no offense to Sylvester Stallone), Stallone himself puts in his best performance in Creed, and modern technology made the fight scenes much better than in the older movies. All that being said, Rocky IV is also one of my favorite movies of all time. I mean, Rocky going to Soviet Russia on Christmas Day, in the middle of the Cold War, to fight a roided-up Soviet Ivan Drago, who he watched kill his close friend Apollo Creed in the ring? What kind of storyline could match that? How about Apollo’s son Adonis fighting Drago’s son? Well, that’s exactly what we get with Creed 2.

Throw in the fact that Adonis’ girlfriend, Bianca’s hearing is still deteriorating, and the two now have a child together, there is so much more on the line in this movie than the original. The original is already my favorite movie! Creed exceeded my expectations in every single way. I’ve never been more excited for a movie, next week can’t come soon enough.

 

They Might Not Win, But Let’s Appreciate the Yankees’ ROY Candidates

Major League Baseball will announce both their American and National League Rookie of the Year award winners tonight. In the National League, the finalists are the Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr., the Nationals’ Juan Soto, and the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler. That is believed by many to be a two-man race between Soto and Acuna Jr. I have Acuna Jr. winning, but you can easily make a case for either of the two.

The American League finalists include two Yankees in Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres, as well as the Angels’ two-way star Shohei Ohtani. As much as I love the two Yanks, and think they’re both deserving (Andujar especially), I really believe Ohtani will win this award. I don’t like the guy, and I think it’s somewhat silly to go crazy over his pitching stats when he made only ten starts. But, there are a few reasons I think he’ll edge out both Miggy and Gleyber to win.

  1. His sample sizes are smaller, but when he did play he was exceptional, especially for the first pitcher/hitter since Babe Ruth
  2. There is a lot of anti-Yankee bias in the media when it comes to award voting, and they’ve had ROY candidates get snubbed before (Gary Sanchez in 2016, Robbie Cano in 2005.)
  3. Andujar and Torres will take votes away from each other

So yeah, I think Ohtani will be the Rookie of the Year. But this post isn’t about him, it’s for the two Baby Bombers. I’ll start with Torres.

As the main return in the Aroldis Chapman deal, there was a lot of hype surrounding Gleyber before he came up. There were talks that he could be an All-Star caliber player for years to come. He has certainly lived up to the hype thus far, earning his first All-Star nod in his rookie season. To me, the most impressive thing about him is that no moment seemed too big. Gleyber played with the confidence of a seasoned veteran, not a 21-year old rookie. He immediately made an impact, coming up clutch numerous times.

Just two weeks after being called up, he delivered a game-tying two-run single in the 9th inning at the defending-champion Astros in a game the Yankees would ultimately win.

 

He had a walk-off single against the Astros at home later that month

And who could forget his three-run walk-off homer to sweep the Indians at home?

Not only did Torres provide a flair for the dramatic, his power numbers were better than anticipated too. He blasted 24 homers this year after never hitting more than 14 in a season in the minors. He even launched five in four games at one point.

I love Gleyber, and everything he did. Red Sox series aside, you couldn’t have asked for a better rookie season from the kid. That being said, Miguel Andujar deserves the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year award.

Andujar was not only one of baseball’s best rookies, he was one of its best hitters down the stretch. He was the Yankees’ most consistent hitter all year long, and arguably their MVP. His .297 average led the team, his 27 homers put him in a three-way tie with Judge, Hicks, and Didi for second on the team, and his 92 RBI trailed only Stanton. The Yankees won 100 games this year; I don’t think that’s remotely possible without the production they got from Miguel Andujar.

Andujar was a consistent, doubles machine, and just seems like a guy who plays the game hard and has fun doing it. How could you not love him? I know his defense at third was bad, and even horrible at times. But hopefully he can work on that, because his bat is too valuable to have to take out of the lineup for defense late in close games.

Andujar’s name has also come up a lot in trade rumors, especially in potential deals for Indians’ ace Corey Kluber. The rationale behind that would be to trade Andujar, and then sign Manny Machado to take his place at third. While Kluber and Machado are two franchise-altering players, it would be tough to part ways with Andujar. His rookie season was so promising, and you have to think that as he continues to grow stronger, some more of those doubles will turn into homers. We’ll see what happens, but regardless I’m ecstatic that Andujar is part of this baseball team.

Ohtani will probably win it, but boy am I glad we have these two Baby Bombers. Hopefully Gleyber and Miggy are wearing Pinstripes for a long time. (It would be such a Stanzo thing for one of them to get traded like a day after I post this.)

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Put Some Respeck on Thanksgiving’s Name

When you think of October, November, December, not only do you think “last three months of the year,” but three major holidays come to mind: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. October is Halloween season, filled with haunted hayrides, carving pumpkins, and girls spending weeks obsessing over their costume only to dress as a cat for the 7th consecutive year (I’m like soooooo upset with my costume but whatever it’s fine I’m fine.)  However, once the calendar strikes November 1st, many people commit an absolutely heinous crime; they skip straight to Christmas season.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. But Thanksgiving is a top-3, maybe even top-2, holiday in its own right. To completely ignore the fact that it’s coming up just because Christmas is now about six weeks away is blasphemous.

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Thanksgiving is really early this year, November 22nd to be exact. You’re telling me we can’t give it three weeks of our attention when we just gave Halloween a month, and are about to give Christmas a month as well? Can we hold off on the Christmas music until Black Friday at least? After that, by all means play Mariah Carey nonstop because All I Want For Christmas Is You is and always will be a certified banger (never forget that Derek Jeter grew up with a Mariah Carey poster on his wall, only to eventually date her and then break up with her. Absolute GOAT.)

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But 2 full months of Christmas music? That’s just too much. Also, how about we show Turkey Day some love? It’s the holiday that encompasses everything that is good about the world: family, good food, NFL Football, and giving thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives. Is it Christmas? No, and it probably never will be. Nothing will ever compare to the feeling of being a little kid on Christmas Eve/Christmas morning. But Thanksgiving is basically just a giant loaf with your family while enjoying amazing food. It deserves some love.

Can there be a “Thanksgiving season?” Honestly, not too sure. I don’t think anyone really decorates for it, there’s no songs about it (to my knowledge), and what Thanksgiving movies are there besides A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving?  (Side note: that movie is low-key racist, they stuck my boy Franklin on his own side of the table at dinner with a freaking beach chair. It’s 2018, clean it up guys.)

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So no, I’m not saying there should be a “Thanksgiving season,” there’s really no way of doing that. But can we just hold off on Christmas season until Black Friday? Thanksgiving is way too good of a holiday to constantly be disrespected by Christmas season starting earlier and earlier every year.

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All I’m saying is, next time you get the urge to break out the Christmas decorations or play the Michael Buble Christmas album before you’ve even gotten your turkey yet, don’t do it. In the words of Birdman, put some respeck on Thanksgiving’s name.

Watching the Red Sox Win the World Series Is Not What You Want

I know Game 1 is tonight. The series hasn’t even started yet. But if you don’t think there is a more than solid chance the Red Sox are going to win this series, you haven’t been watching. As a Yankee fan, after we won ALDS Game 2 at Fenway, I thought the series was ours. Coming home to Yankee Stadium with the series tied, Luis Severino on the mound? Sounded great. What happened after that? The Sox dropped a bomb on us, winning 16-1 before pulling out a 4-3 victory the next night to eliminate us on our own home turf. For those keeping score at home, that’s 20-4 in two games. On the road. At Yankee Stadium.

I was obviously (and still am) extremely upset with that result, but I remained hopeful that the defending-champion Astros would take the Red Sox down. After the Astros won Game 1, the Sox went on to win the next four (including three on the road) to dethrone the defending champs. All year, the Astros honestly scared me more than the Red Sox did. Maybe I was biased by my hate for the Sox, and fear of the Astros after the Yankees were eliminated by them in last year’s ALCS. I can admit that. But the fact of the matter is the Astros are a really good baseball team, and this Red Sox team disposed of them in 5 games.

Does every fiber in my body want to believe that the Dodgers can win this series, and prevent the Red Sox from winning another World Series? Of course I do. And the narrative doesn’t sound too bad when you start to put it together. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher of our generation, Manny Machado is a bona-fide stud whose bad history with the Sox could propel him to greatness, the Dodgers’ bullpen is better. On paper, this could be a great series. But I think I’m regrettably coming to the most horrifying realization a Yankee fan can: It’s just the Red Sox year.

I know what you’re thinking. “Stanzo, they won 108 games and just steamrolled the Yankees and Astros, no shit it’s their year.” That’s not what I’m saying. Regular season wins don’t necessarily mean shit; in 2001, the 116-win Seattle Mariners failed to even reach the World Series. This is the Red Sox year because all the unlikely, even somewhat “magical” things are happening for them to win games. Not trying to discount this team or their talent, because believe me, I’ve watched them enough times this year to know that they are legit. But it takes a little bit of magic to win a championship.

Christian Vazquez hit .207 with 3 home runs this year. The guy had a negative WAR. What’d he do in the deciding ALDS Game 4 against the Yankees? He hit a two-run home run.

Jackie Bradley, jr. is the Red Sox’ 9 hitter, a .238 career batter in the lineup for his defense. He was the ALCS MVP, blasting two huge home runs (including a grand slam) and driving in 9 in the series.

Nathan Eovaldi has gotten Tommy John surgery twice, missed all of 2017, and has a career ERA over 4. He’s been nothing short of brilliant in the playoffs, tossing 7 innings of one-run ball against the Yankees in ALDS Game 3 and 6 innings giving up two against the Astros in ALCS Game 3.

And on top of those guys’ performances, don’t even get me started on this catch.

My reasoning behind pointing out these facts isn’t to discount the efforts of the Red Sox’ stars. It’s just to show that this is their year. Everything is going right for them. They’re the superior team. It absolutely pains me to say it, but they’re going to win this series and it’s not going to be close. I think they win it in five games, clinching the championship in Los Angeles.

It’s going to be awful for us Yankee fans to watch, and will only make this offseason harder. But I have to make peace with it at some point, it might as well be now. At least I have the Giants and Knicks to watch…

 

shit.