Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yankee Doodle Dandies

George M. Cohane was the original Yankee Doodle Dandy, a song and dance man, who produced Broadway musicals. In 1942, Warner Brothers produced the movie, "Yankee Doodle Dandy", a loosely structed tale on the life of George M. Cohane. The title came about as Cohane was a patriotic citizen who liberally (pardon the expression) put patriotic songs into his shows. Warner Brothers chose James Cagney for the title role. Despite his tough guy roles, Cagney had a background as a song and dance man. Cagney had won an Academy Award for "Angels With Dirty Faces" in 1938 playing tough guy, murderer, Rocky Sullivan, screaming as they led him to the chair. You gotta dig this one out folks, its a classic that also has Humphrey Bogart, Pat O'Brien (the priest, what else?), Ann Sheridan and the famous Dead End Kids.

Cagney had starred in the famous "The Public Enemy" and "The Roaring Twenties" where he built up quite a cult of fans and worshippers. His final great gangster film was "White Heat" with an incendiery ending. So they gave him the starring role of the famous George M. Cohane who cavorted with Kings, Presidents and the GI Joe's all over the world. So he won his second Academy Award and would get the trifecta with "Love Me Or Leave Me" in 1955. There is a street in New York named after him. I believe its in the nineties on the East Side.

Another Yankee Doodle Dandy is Derek Jeter. Here is a guy who kept playing with a bad hand that limits his hitting ability. He was leading the lead in hitting when he got hurt but kept playing, and his average fell. The team came first. What a novel thought in this day and age. With Jeter its always about us, we, the team. Just like the bubble head doll that plays in San Francisco.

What about Randy Johnson? A dandy or a doozy? Lets not forget that Johnson is 42 years old and has seen his better days. Still last year he was 17-8 and beat the Red Sox five out of five. And he won the division clincher in Boston. Isn't that why we got him? So this year he has done poorly? He has a 7-4 record. His last start brought raves from the Yanks and the press. Six shutout innings against the top team in the league, the Detroit Tigers. All the experts analyzed his performance and no won got it right. Not one mentioned the key ingredient that brought about this masterful performance. The heat! It was 93 degrees in Detroit and when you are 42 years old 93 degrees does wonders. Heat works wonders on old bones, trust me on this one. Its simple but none of our experts either in the driveby sports media or the Yankee braintrust could figure it out. Believe me, check the temperature next time Johnson pitches. He could be another Yankee Doodle Dandy albiet a mercenary one.

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