Archives for the month of: June, 2009

Doom, meet Gloom.  Gloom, this is Doom.

Carlos Beltran has been put on the DL with that bone bruise business he felt last month.  He’d said it was painful yesterday as he ran about the base paths and in the field.  This according to

… .

I suppose it’s a good thing that Brian Schneider’s unloaded a couple home runs recently.  Let’s, uh, see if he can keep that going against the Cardinals.


The problem with being a finesse team is that you typically need dominant pitching to stay in the game long enough to eke out runs.  But I’ve pointed this out before–the Mets’ starting rotation is:

  1. Johan Santana
  2. Mike Pelfrey
  3. Tim Redding
  4. Livan Hernandez
  5. Fernando Nieve

I repeat:

… .

Fernando Tatis will need to be more patient.  Gary Sheffield will need to pick his spots.  David Wright, at this point, must go fifty for his next fifty.  No pressure.

I’m heartened by Daniel Murphy’s picking up steam.  Word is Angel Pagan will be back at some point soon.  But this line-up’s lying in a burned-out basement, hoping for replacements.  And there are no real viable options out on the block.

So we will no doubt be watching some very interesting or very heartbreaking baseball as we work to the All-Star break.  Here’s hoping the rest of the NL East’s competition is as deadly to them as pursuing a physical activity for the purpose of earning a salary appears to be for the 2009 New York Mets.

A typing machine today… I really meant to post this one on Saturday, but you know the story.

The Mets play in a park that is literally devoid of an exclamation point.

If you go to Citi Field, and stare at its “Citi Vision,” you’ll note the aesthetes were smart enough to spice up some of the garish advertising with a clear, concise “LET’S GO METS” at the top.


lets go mets.JPGBut that’s all.  Not “LET’S GO METS!!!” (which would have killed me for the two superfluous exclamation points) or “LET’S GO METS!” (much better) or “LET’S GO METS!” (fine).


reads like






…which threw me in my youth.  Everyone was stopping.  Weren’t tickets bad?  Shouldn’t we be GOING to AVOID TICKET?

I’m not a fan of the name “Citi Field,” but they (the Mets) signed a contract with Citi, and that’s that.  This stuff about taxpayers’ money doesn’t wash.  I know from budgets; yes you can look at it as being all in one pool; no, they don’t sign a contract in 2006 for $400 million over twenty years and NOT project where the money would come from.  Projections based on revenue wrong?  Sure.  That happens.  Adjust and move on.  There’s plenty to be mad at Citi about without picking on $20 million a year in “excess spending.”

But all the nonsense did spark an email discussion with ticket plan friends about what the park would be renamed, in the event that all hell broke loose and Citi split. 

The favorite was “Metropolis,” until it was pointed out that Metropolis is glass and steel, not brick and iron.  The name was modified to “Metropolis Park,” and lost its luster.

“Iron Triangle” was next on the list; an homage to the chop shops next door.

I bought an “I’m Calling It Shea” t-shirt from No Mas, and I call the park Shea more often than not, out of habit I’m in no rush to break.  But Citi Field is less a stadium and more a ball park; to call it “Shea Stadium II” would be weird; to call it “Shea Field” would seem like a demotion; there’s an aural dissonance with “Shea Park.”

Frankly, I’m surprised they went with “Citi Field,” given what else rhymes with “Citi” and the exact nature of the Art Howe era.

If Citi ever imploded as a company, the Mets could make a ten-degree turn and start calling the place “City Field.”  I have a friend from New Hampshire who seems to know next-to-nothing about baseball, and believed for months that “City Field” was its true name.  Negative.

I have little to offer by way of foolproof suggestion; I think it would be wrong to memorialize anyone living (Seaver Field) or double-dip on anyone who’s passed (Robinson Park).  Aside from MetLife, I can’t think of a decent corporate sponsor, and besides, we’re trying to get away from that sort of thing.

Not really looking to open this whole can of worms again, though, really.  What I’d really like is for that sign to read:


…and in a non-sellout font.

Bobby Parnell doesn’t want to be traded.

He’s the kid staying over at the cool friend’s house for the weekend, and on Sunday morning he breaks a dish or smashes a lamp, thinking that when his parents come to pick him up, there’ll be such a ruckus about how bad he is that they’ll leave him there.  “I don’t want him.  Breaking lamps; drawing on the walls; nine runs and eleven hits over ten days and three innings pitched?  You keep him.  He likes the pool here, anyway.”

You may argue that the Mets’ pool is above-ground and hasn’t been skimmed since Papa Delgado hurt his hip down at the factory, and they also had to cut down on cheese and Charmin toilet paper.  I’ll argue that Papa Delgado has nothin’ to do with nothin’ around here as far as Bobby’s concerned; the Mets have a losing record in June but the Phillies are swooning, so they’re living on credit.  The Mets are still a contender.  Any team that trades a power hitter or a front-line pitcher to the Mets either feels they’re out of contention, was never in contention to begin with, or is smoking something delightful.

Or you may argue that Bobby’s pitching badly because he DOES want to be traded, but to someone who’ll take him in this condition.  My guess is that’d be the Nationals.  If that were actually the case, then I’d want no part of him.  Ladies on the bus.  Gangstas on the field.  All that good stuff.

Or you may argue that he’s sincerely trying to do a good job, he’s struggling under the use and the pressure, and I’m wrong for assuming any ill intent.  You’re the most correct, certainly, but that theory’s no fun.  Nuh-uh.  Citi Field’s got the Nintendo Wii, and Danny Murphy’s Honda Civic is awesome to bomb around in on off days, cranking the Dropkick Murphys and the *Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Old Man Stokes has the funniest stories.  He’ll break enough stuff until the trade deadline, after which his parents’ll have gone, and he’ll be good.  He promises.

*Besides once again using the CBS Sports MLB Players’ Page, I do not mean to imply that Daniel Murphy is a fan of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Woof, Endy.
ACL, MCL, cartilage, all busted, along with the season, and next season’s spring training, at least.
That should not be the consequence of playing hard. Playing hard should earn you fame, cheers, and a good night’s sleep. Instead, Endy Chavez gets an indeterminate amount of time on the Mariners’ DL.  Not.  Cool.
I’ve seen the replay; can’t really fault Yuniesky Betancourt, either.  He was chasing for it hard; maybe he didn’t hear Endy calling for it… .  It was just nasty luck.
The guy could barely hit a lick in ’08 for the Mets, but I love Endy Chavez still. My plan tickets have me entering Citi Field, regularly, through the Left Field gate, and observation as well as a note from Metsblog from way back leads me to believe that the silhouette at the gate is that of The Catch. Spectacular.
I attend my Friday games with a Mets fan and a Yankees fan, and they were with each other, at a bar, during Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. The Yankees fan (he’s a SHINING example of one of the good ones; find yourself a Yankees fan who loves baseball so much that he’ll gladly plunk down $300 on fifteen METS games) regularly tells the story of how he believes he blacked out briefly when Endy made The Catch, and as soon as the relay was coming in to first, he was standing on his bar stool.  Cheering his guts out.

I was home, and shaking on my floor, on my knees, fist pumping in the air. My landlord–the octogenarian war veteran living (by choice!  by choice!) in the basement–was shouting as loud as I’d ever heard him. My sister, living with me at the time, came out of her room believing someone had broken in or I’d fallen from the roof.  Neither was the case, but had a thief broken in, we’d’ve stood in front of the TV together and watched the replay on my DVR; had I been watching on my roof and fallen out of excitement, then adrenaline and euphoria would’ve been enough to sustain me while I took in the rest of the game, and walked to Lutheran Medical.
I cried in 2006 because of The Catch. I drank HARD after strike three to Beltran, but I cried after The Catch.

The MLB highlights promo that runs at Citi before every game draws my loudest cheers for The Catch. Not the Grand Slam Single or Piazza’s home run at the game post-9/11.  The Catch was one of the greatest grabs in all of sport.  And I’m going back to when the ball was invented. I’m talking centuries here.  

The only way I could be hyperbolic about this is if I were to say that a greater catch has never been made in all of imagination.  I once scaled a sixteen foot-high wall to rob Ryan Howard of a home run, then flung my glove, El Duque-style, at Shane Victorino off second for an unassisted double-play that ended the inning. On my way back to the dugout I flipped off Oliver Perez, who was heading to the mound (in this version, he’s been traded to the Phillies).  That catch was SLIGHTLY better than Endy’s.
A knock against my Yankees fan friend is that he repeatedly states that The Catch can’t truly be considered great because the Mets wound up losing that game. Obviously I disagree.

You can’t deny Endy’s spirit, Endy’s hustle. (By no means am I saying he was the only one on that 2006 team that had it.) It’s a great play because, in that moment, the Mets were alive, and the potential for turning the tide, rather than just holding it off, was there.  It was the physical manifestation of that feeling I got when the Mets won games in late September, chugging to the finish line, and DiamondVision showed the crowd one word: “BELIEVE.”

We could believe then because of Endy.  I will continue to believe because of Endy.  I believe he’ll get better, and I hope he still has many playing years ahead of him.

Reasons for my confusing the Tampa Bay Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays in my post on Friday afternoon:

  1. It’s interleague play and that doesn’t usually interest me in the slightest, save for the potential for gains in the standings.  That the Mets have been unable to gain any decent ground given the Phillies’ struggles DOES interest me.  That they haven’t lost much ground either just makes the whole thing silly.
  2. Look at the teams’ names: (a) Tampa Bay Rays; (b) Toronto Blue Jays.  TBRays, TBJays.  They should’ve left the “Devil” in their name; I could’ve made a far funnier and more egregious error and thought the Mets were playing the New Jersey Devils, or the Charlie Daniels Band, or Bill O’Reilly.
  3. I was blinded by hate for my usual compatriots, who used the lame excuses of their mother’s sixtieth birthday and their best friend’s wedding to leave me with the task of filling their seats.  (This rage would also cause me to sit in the wrong section for a good forty-five minutes before the game started, marveling at how much more of the outfield I could see.)
  4. I was blinded by hate for the friend who DID join me, and doesn’t believe there’s anything redeemable about We Are Marshall.  C’mon.  Rousing cheer.  Ian McShane.  Matthew McConaghuey sporting a ridiculous accent and ‘do.  What’s not to like? 
  5. I was blinded by hate for ALL THE OTHER REGULARS in my section who didn’t show up that night.  It was just me and the older couple who sit in the row ahead and two seats over.  And besides my shouting “Don’t bunt!” whenever Luis Castillo comes up to the plate, my antics appear to be wearing on the older guy’s better half.
  6. Brian Schneider’s three-run blast got hit so far that it traveled back in time and hit me in the head.  These things happen.
  7. I knew I’d be seeing Pat Burrell, who played for the Phillies last year, who themselves played the Blue Jays in the previous set at Citizen’s Bank Park.  Transitive property, Q.E.D., ergo yo mama.
  8. I’d been up ’til 3 AM the night before, prepping for a long day at work followed by a night at the ball park followed by a long morning of work followed by Father’s Day.
  9. I miss Carlos Delgado so much that I’d hoped the Blue Jays would be in attendance, just so he could hit four more home runs in one game against the Rays, who would absolutely be there.
  10. Speaking of Delgado, 9/25/2003: 9+2+5+2+0+0+3=21.  2+1=3, which is how many runs the Rays scored in their loss to the Mets on June 19, 2009 (6/19/2009: 6+1+9+2+0+0+9=27; 2+7=9 divided by 3 equals THREE), and how many runs they beat the Mets by on June 20, 2009 (6/20/2009: 6+2+0+2+0+0+9=19; 9 divided by one is nine, and divided by 3 equals THREE).  Isn’t that WEIRD?

But seriously; I kid the numerologists.

Sights from the game against the Tampa Bay Rays (W, 5-3), below.  Even Teflon Tim Redding takes the train to the game!

Teflon Tim.jpgPepsi Porch.jpgDaniel Murphy.jpg

Sonnanstine Zipper.jpg
Schneider Runs The Bases.jpg
Pat Burrell.jpg
Mets Win.jpg
My thanks to Ed who showed up and paid far too much for two tickets that had no shot at being able to see the two run double Parnell let slip late.  I’ll be in the seats next week for the game against the Yankees.  I double-checked.  It’s absolutely against the Yankees.


I’ll say it.  I don’t think it’s going to happen.  Ever.

Santana Scrim.jpgBut in appeasement of those who, like me, are superstitious, I’ll only say that, and give you the picture, above, and let you think back to Saturday’s game (L, 3-1).  Get it now?  You’re familiar with that feeling.  You’ll think about it for another day or so, and then file it away with John Maine and Nelson Figueroa and all the Tom Seavers and, tangentially, David Goddamn Cone, and Dwight Goddamn Gooden, and Nolan Goddamn Ryan times too many to count without crying.  Among others.

I missed this particular one myself; I had to get up early for work, and was so tired by the time I got back home that I dropped into bed and didn’t wake up until 7:30 in the evening.  My personal record this week was a wash so I gave myself a break on Saturday’s.  Frankly, I thought it would be rained out.

But think about this: are we entitled to one?  We have Johan and we’ve had Cone and Ryan and Seaver.  If memory serves, the Padres’ cupboards are bare, too.  Hell, the last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, Charles Fairbanks was bemoaning Teddy Roosevelt’s backing of William Howard Taft for the presidency.  Do you even know who Charles Fairbanks WAS?  I didn’t until about a minute ago.

What are we, as fans, owed besides a comfortable, safe place to watch a game, a competent crew to broadcast the proceedings whenever we can’t or don’t want to make it, a front office that doesn’t treat us like idiots, and a team that goes out and plays hard every day?  If the Mets can get all that right–and I get the sense that the front office sometimes/often forgets how smart this fan base is, and I could kill Jose Reyes for his occasional loafing–then we should find ourselves proud of our boys.  Success will follow, assuredly.

I want one as bad as the next Mets guy, but I think I’m about done thinking about it every time I walk into the park, and every time I see a 1-2-3 first inning.  And second inning.  And–goddamn it Dioner Navarro! 

Ugh.  Fine.

Today is Father’s Day.  I am late for several things.  Hope those father-son duos going out to Citi have some good weather; I will be watching on a 42-inch plasma at the parents’ homestead.

*My thanks to
Greg Prince of Faith And Fear In Flushing for the link re: Metstock.  Greg, I owe you an email and an offer of crappy hi-res images.

I’m 0 for 2 in Mets events that I view away from home, yet away from Citi Field. 

David Wright is 0 for 9 with an RBI in that span, but he gets paid to go to these things (ball games). 

I just spend money at local establishments.

Going Home.jpgAs stated in the previous post, Metstock was yesterday: food, fun, and fans at Two Boots Pizzeria on Grand Street.  I’d already been to every other Two Boots Pizzeria in New York City, so this was a double treat for me.  I can get fired up about pizza. 

For my money, the best pizza around is at Peppino’s on Third Avenue and Seventy-Seventh Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, but in that case I’m a homer, and I appreciate a great neighborhood place.  They actually LOWERED their prices recently, in the wake of the Great Recession.  Who does that?!

…Apparently Phil Rizzuto called; he wants his tangents back.

Fearless Leader.jpgBordering the windows at Two Boots are amazing paintings of New York sports heroes.  This one, of Keith Hernandez, I found quite inspiring.  Later, I’d feel a near-irrepressible urge to fly a Zero into Camden Yards.  But that would have been an inappropriate reaction to the events in the bottom of the ninth inning (L, 5-4), and chances are the Mets will need Aubrey Huff sooner rather than later.

Hubie Doobie Doo.jpgThat poster (behind Pick Me Up Some Mets! blogger Zoe Rice’s head) is amazing, and further example of how this particular Two Boots caters to the clientele.  I will someday come back here and offer them $5,000 for this work of Hubie Brooks art.  They will reject me out of hand.  I will be disappointed.

Readers.jpgReaders at the event were Jon Springer of Mets By The Numbers, Greg Prince of Faith And Fear In Flushing, and Skyhorse editor Mark Weinstein filling in for Stanley Cohen, author of A Magic Summer.

Gratuitous link.

If you read back on the blog, you can probably piece together that I was sentient and ambulatory during the Mets ’86 World Championship, but not so much that I could ever put down recollections of that time or even of the kind Greg Prince has of 1969.  Being a fan of the Mets, as I’ve stated before, is like eating to me.  I don’t remember the dinner I had in late October when I was four.  I’m sure I enjoyed it.  Inductive reasoning would suggest it was pizza; my dad loves it.  But we’re back at pizza again.  I should just fly a fighter jet into myself, and call it a day.

Jon Springer Speaks.jpgMy point is, I sat and drank Brooklyn Lager and marveled at the descriptions of jubilant chaos, after Mr. Springer regaled us with the story of Jeff McKnight, who now has become my favorite goateed Met, if only for the glasses which he wears in his publicity photo (visit Mets By The Numbers and find the “McKnightmare” link at top).  I also ate pizza (why so spicy, Two Boots?  Why?) and watched a game unfold.  It’s heartening to be with a group of fans who will listen as an event goes on in their presence, but will also clap and cheer as an event is televised before them.  Made me wish the Ziegfeld was packed with these folks instead of traffic-beaters the other night, but maybe they understood too well what I spoke about a few days ago: baseball’s played outside.  A stadium or stadium-like atmosphere cannot be replicated in a movie theater; instead one’s options are either to sit in a bar-like place (like the Two Boots on Grand) or at home, or at the damned ball park.  Very well.  I’m sufficiently down on my luck with regard to the Ziggy and gatherings with strangers that I might cut the bar out altogether, and stick with home or Second Home.

But this was fun.

We watched the game and moaned at the Orioles scoring.  We cheered the Mets scoring, as Alex Cora did twice, including this play (after which it got LOUD):

Cora Beats The Tag.jpgThat hazy representation is somewhat purposeful; I don’t want to land on the wrong side of MLB’s or SNY’s boilerplate.  Suffice it to say that’s Alex Cora weaving ’round Matt Wieters, who dropped the off-target Howitzer throw from right.

Greg Prince Reads.jpgHere’s something, and I don’t want to get on the wrong side of anyone’s Ornery or Glance Askance (God, I should’ve been beaten up more in junior high): Mr. Prince (featured, left) has an admittedly funny chapter devoted to Yankees fans, and it’s not complimentary.

I have Yankees fan friends, and Mr. Prince does, certainly, and we all do because they’re everywhere and nearly unavoidable.  (Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house, but can she see the South Bronx?  Does she see David Letterman waving from the box seats?  He’s giving you the finger, Sarah, and ninety-nine point nine percent of me is sure you deserve it, with an oh-point-one percent margin of error.)

Many Yankees fans, including my friends–from time to time–are obnoxious.  It does stem from undeserved entitlement; it does speak poorly of the organization, which could perhaps get off its high horse about history and tradition and realize that the schtick, like its last World Series title, is getting old.

But I got the sense that the prevailing attitude last night was to hate the Yankees because they’re the Yankees and that’s just that.  They’ve won championships and feel entitled and Willie Randolph was a drip and that stadium of theirs can just go take a bath and how dare they take David Cone and have him accomplish THAT and oh-for-the-love-of-God-please-make-it-stop.  I am not of the camp that hates the Yankees success as much as he revels in their failures.&
nbsp; My Yankees friends are not like that regarding the Mets, and I have to dismiss any such feeling as a generational thing or misguided adoration of the game.  With respect.

Had the Mets won tonight’s game against Baltimore AND the Yankees had lost, I’d’ve texted my friend currently working up at Tanglewood.  “3-0? To the Nats? Wha’ happen’, Boli didn’t kick in yet?” And he’d’ve probably texted back. “Quiet, son. Remember 15-0, vs. Johan.”  This is rivalry.  When the Yankees are playing the Chicago White Sox, I could give a damn unless someone on the Yankees makes a miraculous play.  I’ll cheer that.  I’m a fan of baseball.  I’m a fan of the baseball I watch in front of me.  (By the way, cannot STAND scoreboard watchers at Mets games who erupt into a “YANKEES SUCK!” cheer when they see the Blue Jays are giving them a thumping.  My response is reflexive at this point: “THEY’RE NOT HERE!”  Atrocious.)

And I’m a fan of New York City.  If New York stands at the top of the baseball world, then the world makes sense.  If the series were between the Padres and the Yankees, I’m rooting for the Yankees.  Not obnoxiously, not with my Mets cap or jersey on.  But I’m at a bar for one of those games, and I’m rooting for the home team.  My opinion is valid, and if you think it misguided, feel free to try and convince me otherwise.  But I loves me gloating rights over another, lesser city (and they’re all lesser cities).  I loves me a parade. La-di-da-di, we like to party. 

Now, if what floats your boat is specifically hating on the Yankees, that’s fine.  I enjoy talking smack about Premio sausage patties (as opposed to the links, which are top notch).  I can lay into Uwe Boll with glee.  I don’t particularly enjoy three-drawer lateral filing cabinets: they’re too tall to make a seat and too short to be useful on any reasonable scale.  But if it’s Yankees hatred because they’re not the Mets and they’re crowding you with their obnoxiousness, chill out.  They’re due for a slide into terminal mediocrity, and the town will clear of the knuckleheads.  Fear not.

Chat With Fans.jpgFans stayed until the game was over, which was heartening.  The place was more crowded than this during the reading, but I suspect this was because there were a number of Skyhorse employees who had come to show their support of the house.  Commendable.  But Pearly McNecklaceson who was sitting beside me and jabbering about how cool it is to be in charge of interns, was it necessary to thwack me with your knock-off bag at EVERY opportunity?  I was wrong: it should be you that gets the fighter jet to the face.

Skyhorse Editor.jpgAll in all, a great time.  Fun to see people, whose words I’d been reading, reading their words.  I was tickled by Ms. Rice’s covering of her eyes as Frankie R. loaded the bases.  Something my sister would do.  And as I left the loss and proceeded down the–I’m sorry–AWFUL-smelling Grand Street, my switch flipped and I was in prep-for-Citi mode (will be in attendance tonight for Fernando Nieve’s tilt against the Toronto Blue Jays). (Update: I must’ve been high when I wrote this, and never mind the fact that I don’t smoke: they played the Rays.)

“Great,” I thought to myself.  “More birds.”  (Update: I probably cared more about getting the joke out than getting the team right.)  Perhaps I felt better recalling that this is still interleague and Andy Sonnanstine would have to bat.  He’s 2-for-8 so far this year.  That HAS to be his high-water mark.

*The only link I didn’t supply is one that I have in the past, to CBS Sports’ MLB Players Page.

If you’re coming to this blog for late-breaking updates on the Mets game, you’re coming to the wrong place.

I was at Faith And Fear In Flushing’s METSTOCK event tonight at Two Boots Pizza on Grand Street this evening.  Watched the Mets game with them, and Mets By The Numbers, And Pick Me Up Some Mets, and Dana Brand.  I have photos.  Tomorrow, tomorrow.

Frankie Rodriguez couldn’t get his first pitch in place for a strike.  They’d dip low and then he’d be behind in the count.  Regardless of how much the Mets SHOULD have scored, this loss is on him.  Everybody gets one.

Gee, thanks, Spidey.

More tomorrow.  Sleep now.  Huzzah.

Goddamn it, Frankie.

Are you superstitious?  I am.

Do you have routines because you’re superstitious?  I do.

Do you fear for your psychological well-being sometimes, as a result of this blind devotion to superstitious routines?  I do.

Would you ever, EVER, tell anyone about those routines, for fear of them permanently and catastrophically losing their power?  I wouldn’t.

With that, here’s the Ziegfeld Theater, which is where I watched the Mets play the Baltimore Orioles (L, 6-4):


I can’t tell you whether, upon office departure for the Ziegfeld, I began any kind of superstitious routine.  I can only tell you that last year, any game I attended at Shea in which the Mets emerged victorious had the coincidental concurrence of my enjoying one beer every three innings.

The days I didn’t do this, they lost.  One day in particular–July 25, 2008–saw them lose to the Cardinals in an interminable number of extra innings.  Brandon Knight’s 4-run first inning start.  Eighty-dollar field level seats on the third base line, for my sister and I.  A horrible head cold (on the same day I quit my previous job).  Fernando Tatis bringing the Mets back from the brink twice.  Aaron Heilman actually holding a tie past the point where she (my sister) absolutely had to go home, and I either had to leave and barely make the LIRR back to Long Beach and the rented beach house with The Wife, or sleep in Shea’s parking lot. 

–And that’s another thing, which I won’t put into a parenthetical: my sister had to go home during the 13th inning of that game because she had to pack for a flight that was leaving from JFK four hours later.  If my head didn’t feel as though it was going to explode, or if I’d brought my Brooklyn house keys, I’d’ve stayed to watch Heilman give up the tie.  There was no way to make it so I could stay.  There was no way for my sister to stay.  We had absolutely no choice that wouldn’t have cost us untold sums of money or our health.  IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES, it’s okay to leave a game early.  If you feel a need to beat the traffic, head yourself off at the pass and DON’T COME.  The wave will go on without you.–

I got to the Ziegfeld.  Met a friend there, subbing for aforementioned sibling.  Sat in the back, because I felt there was some good juice in the back, but not on the left side center, because that’s where I watched Marlon get robbed.  Took some photos from this vantage point, because I’m not a reporter and until or if and so forth, I’ll be comfortable in my documenting of live events.

Bud Harrelson.jpgBud Harrelson and Ed Kranepool were brought up early on, to talk about the ’69 Miracle Mets.  That was a treat, though at the outset a guy thought it charming to shout “Cesspool!” at Ed.  This is the same charity case who, despite the Mets being down 6-4 with a frame left, proceeded to chant “T shirt!” at the hurlers of the Pepsi Party Patrol.  AND HE ALREADY HAD A SHIRT.  Moron.  When I felt the sober urge to chant “Ball game!” in response to his loserdom, I had a sense the night was lost.  I chanted it anyway.

Speaking of anyway, here’s Ed:

Ed Kranepool.jpg

Still using the Gillette Foamy.  Nice to see.

So I avoided the taste of the creature, so to speak, having had a near-epic time of it the night before, but still chanted and cheered.  Bobby Parnell seemed in need of the slow clap with one out and the prey at a ball and two strikes, so I indulged, even though you just don’t do it with just one out.  I’ll fight anyone who says you do.

The Crowd.jpgThe place was not terribly packed.  Good seats were available in prime spots; I just like to mutter and curse away from children, and there were gaggles of ’em wherever I’d want to be.  On the other hand, I also wanted to be with Mr. Met, so I braved the crew and had my subbing friend take the shot.  He’s six feet seven inches tall (not Mr. Met, the friend), and Mr. Met was animated, and it was dark.  Now that I’m done equivocating:

Mascot.jpg I DON’T avail myself of the Gillette Foamy.  Sensitive skin; no need to raise my batting average.

There were loud cheers for Sheffield’s home run, and the requisite laughs for Keith Hernandez’s tangent of the game: this particular one related to the Ziegfeld, where last Keith saw Lawrence of Arabia and met David Lean (but not Alec Guinness; he couldn’t make it).  Keith also kept his program for the movie, from when he was a boy, and got some autographs.  Mr. Hernandez, I had no idea you were so sentimental.

There was the seventh-inning stretch:

Seventh Inning Stretch.jpgAnd Mr. Met has the choreography down COLD.  And the Mets didn’t skimp on the “Lazy Mary,” either, which was heartwarming.

But still the crowd.  Boy, I don’t know.  When Aubrey Huff hit the two-run homer past Eutaw and into the downtown Potomac twenty minutes away (I still don’t want him on the team), people got up and out of their seats, never to return.  There was the attempt at rally caps, but the kids were wearing them with the brims facing front.  Not to the side, not to the back.  So I followed along gamely.  Look where it got me.

I blame the loss squarely on the ten year-old in the Jets T-shirt, with his rally cap on in ENTIRELY the wrong fashion.

It’d be impossible to complete a superstitious routine while watching a game in a movie theater.  But then again, I may or may not even have one, so perhaps that ten year-old is safe from my fearsome, vengeful wrath.  These are constructs I may or may not build around the game itself, which is devoid of interest in whatever the hell I may or may not do.  I firmly believe this.

I also firmly believe in giving people hell if they don’t do what they should do, which is pay at least SOME attention to the game.  Which is why, in the late innings of that game against the St. Louis Cardinals, I demanded from eight rows away that David Wright put his goddamn glove on.  This after seeming to forget the ball was about to be put in play and remaining flat on his feet.  He did, nodded at me, and I shouted a quick “Thank yo

Even that parasite shouting for more swag left before the ninth.  For that, I shouted “Thank you!” too.

I wonder what kind of pain I’ll make myself to everyone tonight at Two Boots.  We’ll see.

*By the way, there’s a thing tonight at Two Boots off Grand Street in Manhattan, hosted by the fine folks at Faith And Fear In Flushing.  For more on the event, click here.  And if you go here, you can read up on the rally cap with absolutely no idea as to the veracity of the material presented.  Enjoy.

If Mike Pelfrey gave David Wright a pep talk at some point
before Wright’s fifth appearance at the plate, it didn’t work. Sometimes
turnabout’s not always fair play, Pelf. If you licked your fingers and worked
the hide as you did it, then double whammy on you.

The Mets dropping one to the Baltimore Orioles (L, 6-4) doesn’t so much bother
me; fill in the usual injury excuses and add the fact that Toronto shook down
Philadelphia for six runs (net), and the fact that the team is three games off
the pace is not terrible to take.

What IS abysmal is to find the team, again, in a favorable bases loaded
position, and grab only one run off a walk-in. As I’ve stated, I’m not a stats
guy, so I don’t know why Fernando Tatis got to jump in instead of Fernando
Martinez, save that he’s shown ability to hit with runners in scoring position
(when he has a regular bench role), and hit two grand slams in a row once upon
a time.  Jerry Manuel makes a lineup change with bases loaded and one out,
and of course there was a double play.  Fine.

Where was David Wright, though? His average before the game suggested that out
of five times at the plate, he’d get almost two hits.  (Perhaps he’d’ve
had to share the second one with Carlos Beltran.) He didn’t work the count
when it appeared that would help. I thought that toss to first base to try and
get out… Nick Markakis? …wasn’t the sharpest.  Is this the case of
“heavy is the head”? Or “just one of those days”?  As
Homer Simpson once wailed: “We always have one good kid and one bad kid.
Why can’t BOTH our kids be good?”

It does feel as though there are only two Mets players on the field on any
given night, and I won’t even mention the pitcher for fear of having to
increase the size of his name in my tag cloud, for consistency’s sake. Let’s
just say that the man’s pitched six games and must, by now, have eighteen
middling, yawning, forgettable no-decisions. I used to call him The
Executioner, because I think I’m clever. Now I think I’ll call him Teflon Tim,
with a heavy dollop of annoyance.

No, let’s say the first player was Daniel Murphy, breaking out of his skid to
bring his average from “SUUUCK” to “suck.” For the home
run, the second guy should be Gary Sheffield. That’s a little cheap, though,
and no offense to Gary. But in 24 Orioles outs, Carlos Beltran had a full third
of them; Alex Cora also made a RIDICULOUS off-balance slurve of a shovel throw
to Castillo to catch Melvin Mora in the bottom of the seventh. Who knows what
kind of lead the Mets also couldn’t have overcome if he hadn’t made that play?
I’d best find it on web gems.  (UPDATE:
it’s #2, behind Brewers’ Bill Hall.  Web
Gems seems to enjoy the hurl from third-to-first; those aren’t all that awesome
to me.  Double plays, crazy throws,
off-balance stuff: those are gems.)

David Wright bats clean-up and goes 0 for 5.  Who gives the captain the
pep talk after that? Probably the guy whose absence everyone (including Keith
Hernandez) seemed to single out yesterday was the impetus for Wright taking a
firmer hand of the reins. A hint: he probably made some after-action notes in
his marble Mead about how the surgeon approached his torn labrum.

See what I did there?  With the titles?  Har.

I’m getting the sense that this blog is prep for my eventual transformation into Andy Rooney.  So be it.  This one’s on Mets baseball, indoors.

I can find plenty who will watch a ball game with me at a bar.  To some, I live at the figurative end of the earth, so watching at home with others is rare, but it happens.  Everyone is all hot to trot to actually GO to a game until it comes time to pay the piper, or get on the train, or both.

The phenomenon of going to a movie theater, to watch a ball game, that one could just as easily watch at home or a bar: this is a different beast altogether. 

People are intrigued, but confused.  But people are so easily confused.  People who go have a good time, but it can feel a little hokey; much like a grade-school assembly.  By the by, I’ll date myself by offering that, because my particular elementary school was woefully overcrowded, they couldn’t let us all out in the yard for recess at once.  So we went out in shifts; those who were inside watched ’80s era Alvin And The Chipmunks videos on the auditorium’s big screen.  (“My Pierre Cardin SOCKS!”)

Baseball’s an outside sport, unless you live in Toronto or lived in Montreal or live in Seattle during the seventeen months a year that it rains out there or live in Milwaukee when it’s hailing cheese… I guess there are a lot of retractable-roof stadiums and parks out there; too many to keep this joke going, at any rate.  Point is, baseball’s an outside sport.  The effect of watching inside can be a little deleterious.

The first time I attended a “Mets At The Movies” event, the technology was a little wonky and the electro-organ music was a bit forced.  It was a Phillies game in late summer 2007, so the heat was on literally and figuratively, and we all had a good time, I guess, until “Marvelous” Marlon Anderson made that headfirst slide at second and was called out to end the game, at which point, everyone was sad and livid and just about done. 

I didn’t go in 2008 because watching a Mets-Braves game or whatever it was at the Clearview Chelsea–your standard cineplex–didn’t appeal to me. 

Tonight, I’m watching the Mets play the Orioles, at the Ziegfeld.  And the Ziegfeld is a magical place for me.  I’ve had some of the best movie-going experiences of my life there.  Including watching Pleasantville with The Wife, back in high school (now further dating myself).

And yet… inside?  On a screen?  Sure, a huge screen; sure, getting the chance to laugh along with folks as Keith says something random to Gary; sure, Pepsi T-shirt whatever; sure, beer in a cushy seat.  Baseball was not meant to be this way.  I go because it’s the Mets, and it’s an experience, but it won’t really be like baseball.

I’d like a drive-in baseball game, if we’re going to continue going this route.  Or follow the example of HBO’s Bryant Park series or the Hudson River RiverFlicks series, and hold these things out in the open air, at a park or pier.  There has to be a way, logistically, to still charge an obscene $5 “service fee” on top of the $12 movie ticket.  If it rains, we’ll be S.O.L., but that’s baseball.

“That’s baseball.”  I guess I’m also practicing my Joe Morgan.

And speaking of Joes, I’m about ten seconds from going back home and watching that Artie Lange thing from Joe Buck Live.  Everyone keeps talking about it, and I thought we were done talking about Artie Lange.  Frankly, I thought he’d Belushied himself years ago before I heard he was going to be on.

(People should not be down on the phrase “Belushied himself.”  I know tons about the man; he’d laugh at it, I’m sure.)

At any rate, Artie Lange’s alive, Joe Buck got shanghaied, baseball should be outdoors but tonight it’s the Ziegfeld for me.  Time to warm up for my Tim Redding chant: “Redd-ing! Redd-ing! Redd-ing! Je-sus! Dear God! Stike zone! Strike zone!  Strike zone!”