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Notes on a Monday: 'Mad Men', NFL hits, and a farewell to Freddy

Bravo to "Mad Men" for a terrific final episode. We watched some characters change, some remain the same. Some became hugely prominent, setting up next season. Overall, it was a superbly well-acted episode--downright loose at times, as if someone had ordered shots of tequila for the whole cast. It's been a great year for "Mad Men." How will we ever get by until the next? Can you believe she talked about her teeth? The large white elephants in the room?

If you've ever been to a Yankee game--or if you listen closely to them on radio or TV, you know the sound. It starts about midway through the game, and sounds like--well it sounds like someone is hitting a metal surface with a spoon. That's exactly what it is--what it WAS until a few days ago, when we learned that Freddy died. Freddy "Sez" Schuman was a fixture at the stadium for two decades or more--always carrying a hand-painted sign cheering on the team, and walking around with a well-worn spoon and a badly beaten frying pan. It was a rite of passage for those seated in the area he circulated in to grab the spoon for a few good whacks at the pan, clanking it loudly...sometimes to a smattering of applause for the effort. I'm happy to have had the honor once or twice. Freddy was 85, and had been in failing health when he died this weekend. I knew Freddy had value to Yankee fans, and I sensed it even more when my son rushed to find me at home last night to tell me he'd just heard the news on TV. I saw Freddy (heard him first, as usual) at the last home game I attended a few weeks back, not knowing it would be the last time. We will miss him at the stadium.

Finally, the violent weekend in football: The Sunday Night Football post-game highlights were hard to watch last night, showing collision after collision in the NFL and college ball. Something must be done. Those of us who played any kind of organized football were always taught how to AVOID injury and how to tackle, and it never involved helmet-to-helmet collisions. While having the most "paint" on your helmet was always a badge of honor, especially for defensive players and linemen (meaning, the helmet color of your opposing team) it has reached insane levels, and action is now required at every level of the sport. We can all name the "hit men" of the sport, but that's not why we play or love the sport. And we've learned again this past weekend it can have tragic consequences.

We hope you can join us tonight.