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Alex Rodriguez, 2009 Champion

Alex Rodriguez, 2009 Champion

Much of the last 5-6 years of my New York Yankee fandom has been spent on defending the Yankees’ decision for trading for, and eventually resigning Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez. I’ve had so many heated battled with Red Sox fans and fellow Yankee fans about the merits of getting one of the greatest players of this generation (and possibly of all time) for arguably the greatest sports franchise in the world. The vaingloriousness of New York demands such a matchup. Plus, until Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series vs. the Comeback Red Sox, there was no question about how great an acquisition this became.

Of course, no one talks about Mariano Rivera’s 2 blown saves because it had to be the new guy’s fault. Everyone on that team was a “true blue Yankee” with pinstripes in their veins, whether they were acquisitions or from the farm system … unless their name was Alex, and these definitions often made Yankee fans the laughing stock of baseball, even with the gaudy 26 championships at that point. While it’s hard to pity a man who’s making 400 times more money than I am, I couldn’t help but think about how this Dominican overachiever resembles and reflects so many people within our society.

Our society has countless stories of people who succeeded tremendously on an individual level, but never got the respect they deserved simply because the factors and societies around them couldn’t legitimize their work and put it in its proper perspective. So you can only imagine my excitement when Alex Rodriguez won his first championship, fingers to his eyes, in the embrace of Mr. Perfect, Derek Jeter. After all the hard work, the sports psychoanalysis, the drama, the steroids, the surgery, the criticism from all angles, he not only became a champion, but he contributed in a major way to ensuring that his team won, in a league where his secret name was “The Freezer” … for making his teams worse for playing on them. (An unfair comparison if you ask me.)

Finally, a chance for people to see him for what he is, blemishes and all. Oh right, and a championship ring to go along with that.

Jose, who hates to say he told you so, but … I don’t hate to tell you.

p.s. – 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009 were his best years … A-Rod is odd.

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The Proverbial Godfather to My Students

by Jose Vilson on November 5, 2009

in Jose

Yankee Stadium Gang

Yankee Stadium Gang

This morning, I had a strange choice to make. Ever since the Yankees made the playoffs, I made a quasi-promise to myself that, should the New York Yankees win the championship, I’d take my students to the parade. While not educationally sound, I’ve been building that bridge from Inwood to South Bronx for my students since their 6th grade year. For their big class trip in 6th grade, I took them to the old Yankee Stadium a few months removed from when the owners closers its doors. For their 7th grade year, I took them to the new Yankee Stadium as well. Thus, it would have been fitting for me to bring them to their first Yankee parade.

My real reason for bringing them to the stadiums has less to do with my fervor for the Yankees; Citi Field would have done fine (Shea? Not so much.) It’s knowing that I continue to give them an experience that they may not otherwise get as children, exposing them to things within their area that otherwise people deny them. For instance, as my then 6th grade students and I rode the D train to 161st and River Ave., my students admitted to me that they’d never been to Yankee Stadium. They may never have known what the big deal was about unless I personally took them, at a cost that was well within their price range (free).

What’s more, I knew they’d at least get the feeling that, for at least a moment, the whole world was theirs. So this morning, almost completely out of my mind since I’d slept about 4 hours, I had to make a critical decision: do the kids go or do they not? Then I realized at a ticker tape parade of this magnitude, they’d feel more cramped and antsy than open and free. Plus, the risks associated with thousands of eccentric New Yorkers cheering on 25 baseball guys make me a little nervous.

Best believe that, before the year is done, I’ll have something that’ll complete their career at my middle school. Even if they don’t remember me, they’ll at least remember the time when, for a second, they walked in the steps of world championships …

Mr. V, who loves the vibe of NYC right about now …

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Me at the Old Yankee Stadium

Me at the Old Yankee Stadium

Imagine having to sit through an entire baseball game with announcers whose unseemly hate for your favorite team is too obvious after every inning, after every close play, or after  some “managerial” mistake. Imagine hearing the announcer just say the most random and irrelevant things at a ration that’s far too frequent for anyone to fully accept. Imagine one had a venue by which they could simultaneously criticize these announcers who dominate the game and have their own venue in playing the role of announcer for others.

Well, that role last year fell on the lap of one Jose Vilson, and the venue was Twitter. Because Twitter lends itself to this practice in such an open forum, I created a space where Yankee fans could vent their frustrations at the lack of quality we’ve enjoyed all season from Michael Kay and Ken Singleton in a voice as objective as a World Series Yankees fan can possible be.

Naturally, with every poke at the opposing players and every score update, a collective of tweeters did not take too kindly to me using that venue to livetweet (even when they would livetweet their shows continuously, or discuss their ridiculous hashtags for days on end). One even tried to reproach me on the basis of SEO and good Twitter techniques, scolding me on the use of MY OWN VENUE which people CHOSE to follow even when I’d warn those who weren’t interested about the process.

That’s when I started to learn more about how humans worked. People only want to hear commentary from those who, while lousy and gets tuned out, still get paid 6-7 figures to do so while those who can do a better job (by many accounts) for free. People only want to hear themselves talking about irrelevant and sometimes heinous things, and not others. It’s strange. Then, I get more positive feedback from people in class or work who can’t watch the game, or those who wanted to rebel against the sounds emanating from the terrible announcers’ mouths. Those people, and everyone who stuck with me through the 3 weeks or so (most people really), are the ones I wanted to reach.

That’s why I liveblogged the game to begin with: it was fun, it was fresh, and it was a public service. Plus, it’s my Twitter. Forget your rules. So says the greatest Yankees livetweeter alive.

Jose, who never received any royalties from the New York Yankees or Major League Baseball.

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Short Notes: On The Brink Of

October 25, 2009 Short Notes
Muse: The Resistance

A few notes: I haven’t done this short notes format because I’ve had more to talk about topically. Now, I have a lot less time but more things happening. Perfect for this format. I’ve noticed that many educators in the digital age have taken on the vision of Frank McCourt, who once said that, when […]

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A Yankee Reflective

September 21, 2008 Jose
Me at the Old Yankee Stadium

I walked into my classroom with a pinstriped white shirt, and a brand new Yankees tie I got shipped to me a few weeks before, with navy blue pants, and black shoes. I knew I’d get criticism for it, mainly from a group of students who preferred the now-two time championship Boston Red Sox, my […]

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In Search of A-Rod’s Soul

August 7, 2008 Jose
AlexRodriguez2.jpg

Make no bones about it; I got love for Alex Rodriguez, the 3rd baseman for the New York Yankees. His swift and graceful swing, his trot, and that swagger he shows when he comes up to bat. The ease in which he picks up balls coming down the left field line and gets them to […]

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