Archives for the month of: October, 2009

Took five minutes out of a lunch hour I didn’t use to check my email for this blog. 

A bunch of messages about Steve Phillips.

This is separate from my personal email, wherein I have about twenty messages from a few friends who’ve gone back and forth.

The personal emails don’t solicit my opinion.  The blog emails do.

I have an opinion; I’m not sharing it.  Guy’s got a wife and kids, and a load of headaches right now.  I’m not a practicing Catholic, but my gut tells me something along the lines of “it’s not your business.”  So, as it’s not my business, I’ll be keeping my mouth shut on this public forum, and declining offers to respond from those who’ve found me through said forum.

So apologies to those who have asked questions.  However, some of you seem to be Phillies fans who are trying to rub my nose in… something.  He was the Mets’ GM about a bajillion years ago.  The apology does not extend to you.

Top of the fifth, and Mike Scoscia misses a classic opportunity for a justifiable meltdown.

The Angels fans are a bit back in the game as a result of third base umpire Tim McClellan’s quite apparent ineptitude.  But Scoscia should’ve blown up when only Jorge Posada was called out.
Really, this remarkably brief post is just an excuse to embed this video.  A classic that’s just as good the forty-fifth time as the first:

What amazes me is just how precise his “grenade throw” is.

Separately, the device I rigged to emit a high-pitched tone whenever Tim McCarver speaks has broken down.  Yes, Tim, it DOES look more like a salon than the Yankees dugout.

Seems like old times in Milwaukee for Rick Peterson, who joins up with Ken Macha and Willie Randolph again as the Brewers’ presumptive pitching coach.  Article from Corey Brock here, through the Brewers’ MLB site.

I like this comment, which appears right now at the top of the section, by “OldSchoolBallNGlove” (all you need is what’s emphasis mine):

Peterson sounds like a really good pitching coach and it seams like he is exactly what we
need, but I wonder why he was fired from the Mets?
Am excited, and I am looking forward to
him working with Parra.
Parra has the stuff, and can be lights out. He definitely will be an ace
if he can keep that bad a** attitude, and not worry so much when there are guys on base.
Hope he can tweak a couple of Gallardo’s pitches too. Gallardo definitely will be an ace too
if he can go deeper into games and keep that curve ball going for him on a regular basis.
I know sometimes he struggles with it, look at how good he is now, now just imagine when
he gets it all figured out as well. I’m willing to bet that he will be an ace really soon. So far
so good guys, we resigned Hoffman, now this guy. Keep up the Great work Mark and Doug!!

Oh, OldSchool, OldSchool, OldSchool.  Why did the Mets fire him? 

Well, why fire anybody, really? 

Some (not necessarily me) say that you could leave the equivalent of three oil drums in the dugout, hastily labeled “MANAGER,” “HITTING COACH,” and “PITCHING COACH,” and come out ahead, as the players at least would be able to vent frustration on these objects, and not the Gatorade machine.  I’ve skipped “BENCH COACH” because four oil drums in the dugout would make space a little tight.  The trainer’s useful, if locked into reality.

I can’t begin to attempt to answer the commenter’s question in an authoritative way.  But for any Brewers fans who’ve come upon this page due to a tag or a small stroke, I’ll try not to make it a complete waste of time.

I checked out on Rick Peterson after returning from Bennington and hearing rumblings of Scott Kazmir’s anticipation of walking papers.  Seemed criminal to me.  Further criminality came in the form of Peterson allegedly declaring he could fix Victor Zambrano in ten minutes.  Zambrano came to the Mets on July 30th, 2004.  Assuming the trade took effect at noon, it’s been about 2,747,410 minutes; I’ve stopped waiting.  Besides, Victor Zambrano is out of baseball anyway, and telling everyone he can find that he’s not related to the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano, further ruining any possible fun he can provide the general population.

Yes, it’s true.  I’m retiring the joke, along with any Sean Green/Shawn Green/”Special Ed” from Crank Yankers comparisons.  If you ever believed me, then walk right this way: I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

Peterson, by the way, is not alleged to have made claims re: Bartolome Fortunado, who also came over in the Kazmir trade, and pitched all of 21 2/3 innings in 2004 and 2006 (excluding ’05).  Twenty-one hits in those twenty-one innings and change.  This’ll show you the result of his last game.  See?  Everyone knocks Kazmir-for-Zambrano, but the real loogie in the face was Fortunado.

He couldn’t fix Heath Bell, who fell into the Church/Evans Hole in ’06 after a semi-lousy ’05.  I’ll presume nothing of Bell’s potential effectiveness in the NLCS that year; he was nowhere to be found.  The overall point is someone fixed Heath Bell, while not granting the premise that the guy had a problem in the first place.  Look at it this way: if Bell finds himself in 2006 the way he found himself with the Padres after being traded, and Duaner Sanchez gets hurt in that cab accident, do the Mets feel the pressure to trade Xavier Nady to the Pirates for Roberto Hernandez (no relation to Livan or Orlando) and Oliver Perez?

I’m not crowning Xavier Nady.  I’m trying hard to remember what Roberto Hernandez looks like, and expressing my extreme distaste for Oliver Perez.  The overall point is that a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon and the Mets get a headcase for two more years and $24 million remaining on his contract.

All of this fixing/not fixing aside, the man was either shell-shocked by his firing or doesn’t have much of an idea how to protect his image.  When he was booted by Omar Minaya on the West Coast in ’08, he had this to say (from the Times archive, way at the bottom):

”Homes go through renovations,” Peterson said. ”I’m the hardwood
floor that’s getting ripped off and they’re going to bring in the
Tuscany tile.”

Peterson, saying he will ”walk out in peace,”
added, ”Hopefully, the Tuscany tile will do a lot better than the
hardwood floor.”

Tuscany tile, hardwood floor.  Really, a matter of preference.  And it reads as/sounds magnanimous, but the guy didn’t do himself any favors. 

Tuscany tile’s a more lavish material.  I would want it in my kitchen; not my current one, because I rent, but the kitchen of whatever future home I own.

He’s been out of baseball for over a year.  One would hope that, should the unfortunate befall him again, he doesn’t make allusions to his being:

  • something you can walk all over;

  • something that’s less agreeable to the owners of a house interested in making an aesthetic renovation.

That’s just good business sense.

Anyway, good luck to the Brewers and best of luck to Rick Peterson.  I’d been holding out some hope that there’d be some sort of pseudo-reality TV series on MLB Network, involving Rick Peterson and Rickey Henderson driving around the country in a van, chasing ghosts or judging local beauty competitions, or something like that.  The dream continues.

**And hey, speaking of good business sense, check out what the Brewers’ assistant GM is doing.  Will gladly take references to the Mets running something even vaguely similar on here or at omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.

Reflections upon last night’s games are unavailable, as I was online all night searching StubHub for NONEXISTENT, COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE 2009 METS PLAYOFF TICKETS.  Most irritating email I’ve received all week.

Thin ice, StubHub.  Thin.  Ice.

Got a comment from “” that I didn’t see until today:

A new comment has been posted on your blog Section Five Twenty-Eight, on entry #1252431 (One Hundred And One Things You Didn’t Know About John Olerud: Part One).
You’re an idiot
Commenter name:
Commenter email address:
Commenter URL:
Commenter IP address:

Now, Dale from Oceanside, NY–ran a search on the IP address–is correct.  I am an idiot.  I’ve known for some time.  As a matter of fact, I declared as much to my fellow college seniors during our graduation dinner.  “I will graduate Bennington College in five days, secure in the knowledge that I am an idiot.”  There’s tape of this.

I figure part of what led Dale to call me an idiot is all this list-making, and while I won’t stop making the list (unless the Mets or John Olerud give me a call, but really, I feel it’s quite complimentary), I will refrain from listing the reasons why I’m an idiot.

What I will do is offer the same explanation I offered those at Bennington: I’m an idiot because I don’t know much about much.  I know how to write a screenplay; I’ve got that locked down.  I know how to perform various administrative tasks, ranging from the mundane to the complex and intricate. 

Contrary to popular belief, I know when to keep my mouth shut.  Some who know me well might disagree strongly.  Reality is I speak up in those moments when waiting will just be too tedious.

Your blogger knows how to play the flute and the harmonica.  He also knows the lyrics to hundreds of songs, including Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice.”

But there’s a whole world I don’t know about and can’t access.  Sabermetrics?  No dice.  I really want to understand it, though.  I have no idea what got into Hideki Kuroda last night, and I sort of don’t want to know–whatever he’s got, I don’t wanna catch.  I read and watched the saga of Jose Reyes, and I feel like an idiot because while I think I know what went on, I can’t say for certain.

This is becoming a list, and I promised I wouldn’t start listing.  Let’s just leave it at I don’t know much about much.

The beauty, as I explained to my fellow morons five and a half years ago, is that we can rely on each other to solve our idiocy.  While I still don’t want to know much about Kuroda and whatever his problem is, I can speak with others and come to an understanding of why one doctor said Reyes tore a tendon and another doctor said it was just the effect of a rough night of voodoo.  I can certainly seek out reference material drafted by bright, incisive minds, and come to understand how UZR is computed.

Note that I said “solve our idiocy.”  For as much as I’m an idiot, I’ll put dollars to doughnuts on the probability that Dale from Oceanside is a Class-A Fool as well.  The difference between us is some nuanced level of self-control–see comment left with little supporting data.  Perhaps it’s more incomplete or short-sighted than dumb to leave such a criticism without defending it, but this is a blog whose mission is to make me feel better, not provide much at all in the way of probing analysis.  Really, my point here is: why split hairs?

I don’t know what I can teach others about baseball besides the rules and some anecdotal history.  I’m compelled, in a search for more pervasive idiocy, to take a look at some of the things I’ve advocated: a Mets video program to coexist with a museum; the hiring of a sharp, savvy communications director to be the public face of the business; the nixing of sponsored fan giveaways in exchange for sponsored reductions in ticket prices.  I imagine this’ll happen during the off-season as well.

I’m still flummoxed by Kuroda, really.  How do you… well.  They can’t all be winners.  But stating that is, in part, what led to my being called an idiot in the first place.

Kudos, Dale.  Keep callin’ ’em as you see ’em.


Exhaustion leads one to do dumb things, like lose a draft of a pretty good blog entry.  Exhaustion is also caused by DOING dumb things, like watching the Yankees on GameCast while keeping a window open on Hulu and catching up on Fringe (I’m thrilled Kevin Corrigan’s getting work).

I don’t keep a television in the bedroom.  I don’t think I would’ve watched on television even if I did.  Something about a film about a boy and his imagination.  Who can turn television on after that?  Who can do nothing more than crawl into bed?

Seriously: an amazing movie.  It left me fully lacking in irony.  And I’m not big on kids, having been one in the past and knowing what an absolute pain they can be.  It broke me, a little bit.  I am somewhat broken.

Exhaustion.  Jerry Hairston, Jr.’s walk-off run on the poor throw by Maicer Itzuris was the sweat- and rain-drenched denouement to my hours-long struggle to balance irritation for anything not made of sticks and snow and creativity with hungering for a sport that’ll soon go back into the box.  The replays show them quite happy at the end.  The Angels, not so much. 

This may read as awfully trite and completely lacking in depth, but after having been stripped of irony, I wish both teams could’ve left the field as winners.  But the Angels leaving sixteen men left on base fully precludes such possibility, however unhelpful and impossible to begin with.  Dodgers-Phillies tonight.  If there’s any team that can bring back the outrage, it’s the Phillies.  So I should be fine by Monday.

**My thanks to Greg Prince for the hit on his post, re: Mets ’69 + 1.  An honor to be included amongst such great and talented people.  I felt underdressed.

Go see Where The Wild Things Are, if you haven’t.  Despite the belief of misanthropes, the books was done tremendous justice.  And it is a remarkable movie besides.  Truly well-crafted.

Back to work.

Last night, between slugs of some hideously bad house lager (I know) in a bar just off Broadway, I talked with a friend about how I would deejay his upcoming Halloween party and, in the back of my mind, considered how best to capitalize on the goodwill of TedQuarters and Amazin’ Avenue (found on the right-side blog roll in various sections), who linked to the growing John Olerud list yesterday and made my page views go home and slap their momma.

Something deep?  I have no depth; this week in day-job land has conspired to rob me of my Meaningful Remarks and Declarative Statements.

Something incisive?  I loudly applauded Shane Victorino’s being picked off first in yesterday’s NLCS Game One, and screamed some obscenity.  I can’t remember what it was now; I scream a lot of obscenities, all the time.  Besides, Raul Ibanez murdered sleep for the Dodgers; I learned this at 4a. 

(See, The Wife is back down in North Carolina and I’m back to my routine of setting a lengthy Arrested Development queue on Hulu, crashing hard at 11p, and waking up to some random, inaccurate group clucking in the middle of the night.  I checked ESPN, saw Phillies pictured on the front page, and went back to a fitful sleep.  That brings us up to speed; it’s 8a and FREEZING.)

Something humorous?  See “Something Deep.”  Or: dookie.  Sentence written in Awkward Ghetto Slang.  Run-on sentence.  Something written in Spanish.  Extended metaphor leading to… ellipsis mark, and joke about losing train of thought.  Meta-comment.

I do thank all who came and read, and I hope at least some of you stick around for more.  I started doing this because I was certain that if I got off my cloud and started commenting on everybody else’s blog, and hang the expense, I’d be at it for days and days on end.  And then I’d hang myself, because my points would be overly long and disjointed.  At least with this, I don’t have to remember that I went to Metsblog, then Metstradamus, then Brooklyn Met Fan, then then then, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs leading to the Hospital For Special Surgery, or in Jose Reyes’s case, a bunker somewhere outside Arlington, TX.  I’m a writer, and though I’ve only mildly published–and poems, at that–I prefer extended narratives.  A blog is a decent way to get that particular jolly out.  I prefer owning my work and my thoughts and in a way, having a public record accomplishes that. 

I DO do it for nothing because:

  • this is just about a sport, and one that should be cheaper and thus more accessible to all; and

  • as much as I would love to, I’m not very good at this yet, so I don’t presume that, at this juncture, I could possibly make a dime off it.

I’m a Mets fan.  I’m a solid Mets fan, and I’m thrilled that there are others out there who are Mets fans, and writers, and great writers, and photographers, and opinionated.  I link to those I have great respect for, whether it be because they’ve come up from nothing to be the go-to source, or because they’ve been at it diligently, like some Metsian Bob Graham, or they regularly make me laugh, or because they do their due diligence with a science I can barely understand but desperately want to. 

Take life.  Apply a filter.  You’ll still seek those you’re naturally interested in.  I could be all hot and bothered about ball bearings and seek out a blog titled: “Bearing Balls: A Guy’s Guide To Things That Are Large And Made Of Steel.”

That such a thing can happen is wonderful to me, in a way that goes past any love for the Mets or any frustration or anger toward them.  It’s heartening, especially during a week in which I’d like nothing more than to just do this.

As appreciation and acknowledgment that a good number of strangers now have a vague idea that I exist, I invite you all to go read someone else’s blog.

Greg Prince of Faith And Fear In Flushing was the first to link to Section Five Twenty-Eight after I covered his Metstock event at Two Boots Tavern down on Grand Street.  He correctly points out that today is the fortieth anniversary of Mets ’69; a day which should be a New York holiday. 

(Actually, if you want to go for a Twelve Days Of Mets kind of thing, the 16th can be bookended by the 27th.  “On the third day of Metsmas/My true love gave to me/Three general managers/Two torn hammies/And a ball club stuck in fourth place.”

Hmm.  Not very positive.)

So please visit Faith And Fear for thoughts on the Mets winning it all, forty years ago today.  And stick around for more insightful commentary.  You’ll be glad you did.

And lest you think I’m some empty-headed Joe Backslapper or Johnny Linkabout, let me say to Mr. Prince that I’m under 30 and have distinct memories of the Mets winning it all in 1986.  I remember my dad ordered pizza for almost every game; I sat and watched with him (my mom kept an ear open in the kitchen), and munched on a pepperoni slice. 

My strongest memory, by far, is how dejected he seemed near the end of Game Six; I thought he was going to cry, which was starting to make me cry.  Then Ray Knight hit his single to center.  He screamed, and jumped, and freaked me the hell out, but I was laughing. 

Then Bob Stanley uncorked the wild pitch and Kevin Mitchell scored.  He laughed; I laughed because he was laughing, and he explained what happened with a big grin on his face.

Then Mookie Wilson hit his grounder, and there was screaming, and screaming from across the courtyard in another apartment, and screaming down 38th Street in Brooklyn, and everyone was f***ing SCREAMING and the Mets had life and my dad shook me by the shoulders and I was crying by then, out of shock and happiness and fear at the noise and excitement.  My sister was two; I think she was just crying at the noise.

Oh, man.

Let’s go Mets.

My thanks to Ted Berg of SNY, through his blog TedQuarters, AND Joe Budd out at Amazin’ Avenue, for linking to this post and thus destroying the curve on my site analytics.  Cheers, Messrs. B, and a hearty “How ya doin’?” to the folks at Brookdale Senior Living, in Milwaukee, WI.

For those who’ve made their way here for the first time, click here for numbers 1-25, click here for numbers 51-75.  Keep reading; tell your friends.  Email me at omniality [at] gmail [dot] com if you think I should be hung by my toenails.

NEW: click here for numbers 76-101.

More on the upcoming League Championship Series, how the quest to complete the GQ photo spoof is going, and other assorted and sundry tonight.

But for now, numbers 26-50:

26. John Olerud enjoys the game of checkers.

27. John Olerud also knows these can’t all be winners.

28. Bo knows baseball.  Bo knows football.  John Olerud doesn’t claim to be an expert in anything.

29. John Olerud would never violate the sacred trust that is the HOV lane.

30. John Olerud sends Joe McIlvane a Christmas card every holiday season.

31. John Olerud’s fine with boneless Buffalo wings, if everyone else at the table is.

32. John Olerud applauds the platypus for its originality.

33. When he was nine, John Olerud built a tree house all by himself.  It included a laundry room.

34. John Olerud has a normal, everyday sneeze.

35. John Olerud reads his junk mail.  If they took the time to send it, he can take the time to read it.

36. There’s no “i” in “team.”  There’s also no “i” in “John Olerud.”

37. John Olerud needs only about six-point-seven hours of sleep per night.

38. Yes, John Olerud knows who Chuck Norris is.  He doesn’t get why you’re laughing, but he’s glad you’re happy.

39. John Olerud doesn’t understand why Geico insists on picking on cavemen.  They were a necessary step in Man’s evolution, and should be celebrated.

40. The first rule of John Olerud is “You do not talk about John Olerud.”
There is no second rule; he trusts you to get the message the first

41. Yes, John Olerud also knows who Matt Wieters is.  Now he’s really confused.

42. John Olerud is proud of his humility.

43. Boats aren’t for John Olerud.  Boats make waves.

44. If the answer is “John Olerud,” the question is probably, “Won’t anyone help me move this weekend?”

45. When John Olerud gets steamed–REALLY steamed–he could just hit something.

…But he doesn’t.

…And then the moment passes.

46. During Career Day at his son’s elementary school, John Olerud showed the kids how to turn a potato into a battery.

47. John Olerud pees standing up.

48. John Olerud wanted this list sorted into discrete categories, and indexed for reference.

49. Brown sugar on oatmeal?  Heck, John Olerud will try anything once.

50. John Olerud does have a pulse, but he appreciates the humor of the sentiment.  He would, however, not mind it if you unhooked him from the EKG machine.

I’ve read a few things, from several sources, about how October is a great month for sport.  I can understand it, but I can’t tap into it.

Given the choice between college football and nothing, I will watch college football.  But I went to a college where the only organized team–playing soccer–allowed a drum circle to break out on a corner of the playing field.  So understand, there was no NCAA affiliation.

I’ve never been much of a fan of hockey, and that’s my fault, not hockey’s.  I can’t get behind the three periods, the power plays.  Some of the rules seem beyond arbitrary.  I relished in the lockout a couple years back; also my fault.  But that was Dolan-related glee at misery; I figured with the Knicks gagging, the Rangers idle, and boxing losing ground by the yard to mixed martial arts, the Dolan family would soon back out of poor investments, and stick to duping people with their shoddy cable service.

I used to be a basketball guy.  I was a Bulls fan for twelve years, starting in 1988, and lost track of them and basketball when I went off to school.  (Friends of the blog will know that Bennington doesn’t provide rooms with cable hookups; antenna reception ranged from laughable to starkly impossible.)

I love football, and though I’ve made a pact to root for the Jets this year, I’m looking forward to being unaffiliated next year; I don’t know why I was fighting it–it’s the place to be.  However, football mainly occurs on Sundays, with a game played regularly on Mondays.

What the hell am I supposed to do with my Tuesday night?  Or my Wednesday night?

I sorely needed baseball tonight.  Making a creative breakthrough in the wee hours of the morning only to have to leave that work and spend the day digging through eighteen months of expense reports was enough to make me put my head through a brick wall; coming home to a corrupted DVR copy of an early episode of The X-Files and… well, that’s it.  That’s all I had for fresh entertainment.  I can’t sink into a movie after a frustrating day; that’s not where my mind goes.  My mind goes to athletic skill.  Plays at the plate.  Monstrous catches and cannon-fired relay throws to third.  Busting heads, in a manner more gentlemanly than hockey.

(Speaking of baseball and gentlemen, you know that remote Conan O’Brien did once upon a time, where he played at being an 1860s baseballer?  It was his all-time favorite bit for his old show, and he presented it again during the last week of Late Night With Conan O’Brien.  Remember the woman he was so fond of–Nell?  He called out her name before managing a hit?  I went to college with her.  Nell Stewart. 

It wasn’t an act.

So now, if I ever run into Conan O’Brien on the street, I have something to say.)

Baseball returns tomorrow, in the Russian nesting doll form of the League Championship Series.  Tonight, on the eve, I’m caught up in the anxiety of impending loss.  There’s this, then the World Series, then three or four months of The Barren Wastes.  This glass of scotch is helping, sure, but scotch is not an appropriate long-term coping mechanism.  Writing?  I’m red-lining on my maximum daily output as it is.  Holidays?  Bogus. 

I think I’m stuck, until the return of Lost and Chuck.  If I mix in a night out for dinner; I think I can cover the week quite nicely, until the return of warmer weather.

If you’ll all allow me another tangent, let me say that ABC’s Flash Forward is like heroin.  It makes me tired, disoriented, and violently sick to my stomach, and as much as I plead with my body to avoid it, I wind up back with it.  Dollhouse, at least, is like cocaine, in that for a couple of seconds each episode, it makes me feel sexy.

…That sound, by the way, was me losing half my audience.  If the remaining two persons would care to move to the front, I can turn off this microphone and keep from having to shout.

Your League Championship contenders are:

Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim
Los Angeles Dodgers
New York Yankees
Philadelphia Phillies

They are not only presented alphabetically by city, but in my general order of preference, descending. 

I need to see more of Torii Hunter to know why he’d be a bad idea for the Mets, or a good idea for the Mets, or a middling idea for the Mets, or a decent understudy to Jude Law in the umpteenth version of Hamlet, or the guy I want making guacamole out of those tasty Haas avocados I just picked up.  Mmm, Haas avocados…

Besides, if the Angels win, I say we get at least two made-for-TV movies out of it.  I demand casting against type. James Marsden as John Lackey!  Horatio Sanz as Scott Kazmir!  Danny Glover as Mike Scoscia!

Having watched most of the Dodgers-Cardinals series, I find the Dodgers have all of the fight and most of the skill of the Philadelphia Phillies, without the studiously obnoxious fan base and odious, miserable town-as-home.  I’ve made my feelings (scroll to near end) on the Phillies plain; as soon as they learn not to throw up their hands in despair but punch people in the back of the head as those hands come down, they will earn some measure of respect from me.

The Yankees are still New York and they were not the ones who hosed the Twins.  The Twins hosed the Twins, with a little assistance from Phil Cuzzi, who, as reported by Steve Politi of the Star Ledger, was “too close to the [Joe Mauer hit]” to call it right.

I’ve been too close to a burger before shoving it in my mouth, but I have years of training in food consumption.  I’ve always made split-second adjustments and brought medium-well beef, cheese, lettuce, onion, and bun to my chomp-chute without incident.  Even when there were more dinner guests around than usual.

I’ve said my piece about the Phillies.  I can only add that I implore their fan base to chill the hell out.  I would like not to have to think of this ridiculous rivalry anymore.  The Braves are the Mets’ legitimate extended rival in the division; I would like to go back to altering The Chop chant to suit my hilariously vulgar needs without twinges of nostalgia and good feeling.  I’d like to go back to thinking I’d sooner spit on Larry Jones’s grave than applaud him during his last at-bat ever.

…I actually will still applaud Larry Jones’s last at-bat ever.  Part of me will be sad to see him go: he’s been a workhorse for the Braves and for baseball, and quite the serviceable villain.  Part of me will be enormously glad that he’s gone.

(In the nesting doll tradition, let me speak to a certain thing about Larry Jones. It is perfectly acceptable to call the man “Larry” as loud and as often as possible.  It is not, as I’ve seen occur, proper cricket to call the man out for an affair he had over ten years ago.

I’ve been holding that admonition in since 2005.  Hopefully the fan I meant to chastise read this, and is sufficiently chastened.)

So there you are.  Postseason special.  I’ve programmed my television to emit a high-pitched whirring sound whenever Tim McCarver speaks.


As for this:

profilewright2.jpgI’m missing the appropriate tank, the sneakers, and the bat.  The bat I’m buying.  The sneakers I can borrow.  But the tank top?

I’d almost rather Reyes beat me with his bat.

I’m scarfing a sandwich between steps in a task I find deeply unfortunate and not at all fun.

Your blogger is fine and in no danger, but make no mistake, kids: if you figure out what it is you love in college, take advantage of those unpaid summer internships, where you work someplace cool but all you do is fetch coffee and make copies.  You’ll need the contacts.  Don’t wind up like me, sifting through Excel spreadsheets and hurriedly working phones, all the time wondering if you should really bother with adding a narrator to the screenplay you’re working on.  Woof.

Anyway, as Short Round would say: no time for love, Dr. Jones.  But before the sandwich ends and the day continues, allow me a bit of near-gallows humor, and some fun with Print Screen.

Just saw this to the side of the “Mets” section of MLBlogs:

not so much.jpgAllow me to offer a hearty and heartfelt “not so much” to Ol’ Razor.

After two less-than-successful live-blogging attempts, I’m unsure that I’ll try it again.  For National Poetry Month in 2001, I read poems on Bennington College’s radio station for twelve straight hours, and the live-blogging experience left me similarly incapable of saying something interesting about anything.  Took me a whole day of napping and watching the later Ralph Cifaretto episodes of The Sopranos before I could reliably string two intelligent sentences together.  Kind of like a marathon runner coming down from a race by mainlining caffeine and cramming down candy bars like they’ve got no gag reflex.  That’s how that works, right?

Anyway, I’m glad to have had the day off.

I am watching the Phillies-Rockies game, but it’s only vaguely interesting.  Regular sleep and recent venting about Philadelphia and its population will do that to you.  (The TBS crew just referenced Omar Minaya’s 2002 Bartolo Colon trade to Montreal, which included sending Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore, and Cliff Lee to Cleveland.  They did not mention Mr. Minaya’s name.)

But I read something about Tony La Russa’s future plans, and how they may or may not include the St. Louis Cardinals (uh-huh; sure), and it got me thinking of Bobby Valentine.  Latest word on Valentine here, from Ken Rosenthal.

I’ve stated on this site that I’m not for replacing a manager without the legitimate cover of a viable reason.  And this won’t even be a post about where I think Bobby Valentine should or shouldn’t go or what he should do with his life (I reserve the right to answer some rhetorical questions that may seem like I’m deciding for him; the line will be thin, but it will be walked).  Rather, for those not in the know who stumble upon this, I’d like to point out what the man has done with his life, so far.

Read this by Andrew Jenks, who was the force behind the documentary The Zen Of Bobby V.  If you’re reading while waiting for a Hot Pocket to go thermonuclear-hot in your microwave, here are the some of the more crucial passages:

“When Bobby took over in 2003, the Marines had not won in 31 years, most
of the seats at the home stadium were empty, and TV ratings were
abysmal. Within two years, Bobby resurrected a perennial loser into
national champions, winning the 2005 Japan Series and Asia Series. He
is the first foreign manager to win either. Since then, the atmosphere
has changed drastically in Chiba: many weekend games are nearly sold
out, a group of diehard fans travel to every game, and TV ratings are
improving. …

“Bobby still considers his work in Japan far from being finished.
Although many consider his prowess in Japan second to none, Bobby feels
as if he still fighting an uphill battle. For over a decade now, the
top players in Japan have been taking their skills Stateside. According
to Bobby, this exodus to America is slowly killing the game in Japan —
a game that he has come to respect and love. …

“So when Bobby is not coaching, he travels the country speaking to
corporations, colleges, newspapers, and anyone that will listen. His
message: Japan’s baseball officials need to wake up before they realize
that all of their players are no longer around. …”

If you watch the film, you’ll see Mr. Valentine busting hump to get Japan to build a strong minor league system, in an effort to mold the current league into something more than a distant AAA-outpost for MLB.  He managed a working agreement between the Chiba Lotte Marines and the Boston Red Sox, but beyond that, it’s not totally clear that he’s made his point to his satisfaction.

What motivates a fifty-nine year-old man, after all indications are that he lived and breathed a mission that he, by most measures, he did not succeed in, to what I’m sure is the disappointment of a community and–to a lesser extent, maybe–a nation, that worships him?

Put another way, would Bobby Valentine be at all satisfied with managing the Cleveland Indians–forgive me, Indians fans, most notably TribeTed, a frequent Sec. 528 commenter–or the St. Louis Cardinals, or the London Silly Nannies with such a job left undone?  I don’t believe so, obviously, and I don’t believe he’d want to come to the Mets for the same reason: lack of true fulfillment. 

American baseball’s got its business locked down, and it’s a fine business; I enjoy it.  Brooklyn Lager; “Lazy Mary”; jokes about Mike Lowell’s blackout van.  But rare is the game where the same kind of collective effervescence–read up on your Emile Durkheim or attend your next and nearest tent revival for an understanding–you see in Japanese baseball envelops the crowd at an American major league park.  Hell, the Mets can rarely time the “Let’s Go Mets!” chant to avoid dissonance; the Japanese unfurl banners in the stands seemingly miles long.  I’m watching the Rockies fans wave rally towels, and it’s the first time I’ve seen Colorado get collectively amped about anything.

I don’t think American baseball would have to take on the flavor and fervor of Japanese baseball before Bobby Valentine would coach in the majors again.  But not enough people are talking about this the way perhaps Mr. Valentine is thinking about it.  He’s seen what rabid fandom is like; to come back to a more relaxed, more laid back, perhaps even less-invested environment, I think he’d have to succeed somehow in what he’s left undone, make peace with the fact that he couldn’t get it done, or set it aside.

And think of his potential stateside employer: do you WANT a Bobby Valentine that’s professional, committed to win, but not striking that pay dirt of irreverent effervescence on a daily basis, because the crowd’s busy voting on what song they’d like to sing along to during the middle of the eighth, and not watching what’s happening on the field?

That’s a lot of long sentences.  A lot of rhetorical questions.

And a complete inability on my part to tie this up in a nice bow at the end.  I blame my puttering capacity for word-thingies seventeen minutes past my normal ice cream time. 

But baseball’s a livelihood, like any other; the endgame of personal fulfillment is by no means always dictated by the people who own the game.  Sometimes people see a way to happiness that has nothing to do with what we think should make them happy.

What would make Bobby happy?  If he knows, let him try for it; the man’s accomplished enough to earn the right.