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I’m going to ramble, spitball, and generalize.  Bad ways to start a post-2009 entry.  But I have very general, very nebulous things on the mind.

If you’re desperate for the punch line, scroll down until you see, in bold, “This brings us back to the banana peel.”  But I’m no short-order cook, and this is a long boil, so read it all for full flavor.

I’m hungry.

As is often the case, I’ll start with the Times, which I keep swearing I’ll stop reading for baseball purposes, but can’t seem to get away:

“Back to the 2009 Yankees: they are quite likable as a group. The
players are, anyway. Their owners and top management are all too often
defined by haughtiness, greed and entitlement. In that sense, the
Yankees embody New York, where hauteur, avarice and entitlement are
hardly unknown. The Mets are almost polar opposites. Their fans know in
their bones that even when things seem to be going well, someone is sure to throw a banana peel in their path
.”

Emphasis mine; find the piece here, written by Clyde Haberman.

I don’t want to be that kind of fan, though I know sometimes I can be.  I know plenty of Mets fans who are, and they range from the remarkably astute and articulate to the “could you perhaps try breathing with your nose and NOT your mouth?”

But perhaps more importantly, I would like to no longer be perceived as that kind of fan.  I’ve written on a few occasions (do your own search on “fandom;” too lazy this morning to dig for links, and you might enjoy sifting) about the schism between Mets and Yankees fans, the level of entitlement, of perceived entitlement, and how I conduct my business as one who enjoys baseball.

I don’t grant the premise that to be a Mets fan means to be long-suffering, though many have suffered greatly.  I don’t recall on any occasion, after scanning my ticket for entry, being handed a promotional cross to bear, sponsored by Church’s Chicken.

Yes, there’s a Church’s Chicken franchise in New York City.  It’s on the corner of 44th and Eighth.

I thought, and to an extent still do think, that right thought will lead to right action, which will lead to right perception.  And while I batter the Buddha to my own baseball aims, I see that I’m going to have remarkable trouble making baseball friends this way, or managing not to sound like a know-it-all, or a smarmy sort of patzer, peddling his nonsense to people who are genuinely distressed, getting them to think positively until something bigger bursts their bubble.  Misery and company, you see. 

And someone with such a profound dislike of Sean Green and a fear that he may, somehow, return, should not be butchering Eastern religion so that he may get everyone off the page of “Woe is me,” or “This bites,” and onto the page of “We forgive you, Mets organization, but we have a list of grievances we’d like to file, in a collectively calm and reasoned manner.”

Lots of talk yesterday from Mets leaders reviewed by Mets bloggers, which, unless Will Leitch has scooped my idea to use Metsblog as a resource once more, you can find:

–here (Jerry Manuel at Citi Field; Michael Baron, why the long face? Who hurt you?);

–here (Omar Minaya and Jeff Wilpon from Citi Field);

–here (Messrs. Minaya and Wilpon on WFAN; read this while watching Monday Night Football. Green Bay, you embarrassed yourselves);

–here (germane to recent one-sided conversations I’ve had);

–and here.

There is little to find remarkably newsworthy in the conferences and interviews held.  Note that I did not state there was remarkably little to find newsworthy.  A subtle yet important difference.

Luis Alicea, first base coach, is out.  Sandy Alomar, bench coach, shifts about if he wants, or else splits.  Razor Shines, third base coach, stays pending re-assignment.  Dan Warthen stays.  Howard Johnson stays.  Jerry Manuel stays.  Omar Minaya stays. 

Payroll unaffected by Bernie Madoff’s criminality, but maybe Mr. Minaya will find some cost savings.  There will be more Mets imagery in the ball park next year.  There will be a prominent Mets museum (I’m now nearly convinced this will be over by that massively empty space behind center; just give me my museum as video academy and I’ll ride into the sunset).

Daniel Murphy will get better.  Oliver Perez (Fauxhawk) will have a good year again.  Injuries plagued the team.  Johan’s feeling great.

That’s the gist.

It is news that they came out and said these things.  But none of these things rise to the level of bombshell, and the presentation–I have to point out Caryn Rose’s excoriation, posted on her blog, as a prime example of “Yoikes”–left a bit to be desired.

I’m not trying to pull punches here.  I don’t feel as angry about this as others do because my expectations of upper management are different.  To an extent, my expectations are lower, but that’s mainly with with regard to their notes regarding the product on the field. 

And no, I can’t believe I wrote that either, but my observation in 2009 revealed to me baseball players who are fundamentally unsound and prone to injury.  Those grievances I take to the manager and the trainers.  I don’t expect Messrs. Minaya or Wilpon to break the matter down for me like I’m watching MLB Roundtripper or Baseball Tonight or SNY’s SportsNite. 

Instead, I expect them to have some idea of what they’re doing when they retain Jerry Manuel, who is responsible for the product on the field, as presented to him by the general manager.  Here we have the first of what will be many points in this off-season where I stop to suggest a question I believe should be asked.  (That was almost a sentence.  As I said: rambling.)

If the reason given to keep Jerry Manuel on was because his performance this year could not be adequately judged, and 2010 will provide the opportunity for a more balanced assessment:

  • was it argued–when discussing his larger body of work–that the product on the field this year could have avoided some of the errors in performance that sometimes led directly to losses, and if so, what was the outcome of that line of discussion? and,

  • is there a plan in place to re-evaluate matters if the 2010 Mets experience the same level of physical breakdown?

There’s more news in the answer of those questions than in simply saying he’ll be back because 2009 was atrocious and as such not appropriate for evaluation. 

It’s also easy to perceive a contradiction in describing the year as “unacceptable.” By not defining a root cause beyond injury yet retaining the training staff, you’ve either ignored or eliminated injury as a cause.  No one hears about reviewing training protocols or warm-ups or weight training.  They hear “unacceptable” and they want something equally stark done about it right just now. 

My concern is that no one in the Mets organization’s said Word One about what happens if these players, or other players, break down again, even with revised protocols and regimens.

On the whole, the conferences themselves seemed a way of quelling debate among fans and the media that was sure to grow coarser if silence followed Sunday.  Where senior management failed was in properly framing the debate prior to heading out there. 

Now, much like with the communication of injuries over the course of the season, I could ask whether failing to frame the debate was intentional or accidental; whether the goal was always to get the media and the blogosphere–don’t know why I separate them, but there you go–spinning its wheels while working privately to fix matters, or whether the fall-out from the conferences and the interview was unexpected.  At this point, the evidence
indicates the latter.

However, it could also be that the thought of the aftermath never occurs, or seems secondary to the work that needs to be done to pull together a champion organization.  The thought on the latter here would be that if the team were winning and winning convincingly, there’d be little to grouse about: “Yes, Mets fans, we hear you.  But if we kept worrying about trying to get to the end of this hamster wheel you call frank and honest discourse about this team we own, we wouldn’t be focused on getting you a team that could make the postseason and win on a regular basis, thus slowing down said hamster wheel.”

This brings us back to the banana peel.

The 2009 season was a fine illustration of just how many ways that banana peel can come at the Mets fan, and if you grab the average one at a party and ask them just what they think about Tony Bernazard, or the terrible onslaught of injuries, or a bases-loaded walk issued to a rival with their own boorish, loudmouthed fans, that Mets fan is going to feel just awful.

If nothing else sticks from this post; if nothing else has an impact that can make it to someone who can make a difference about it, let it be this: the 2009 season, with all of its horror and histrionics, has made a good number of fans embarrassed to be fans.

That word “embarrassed” is overused, too, but consider what it means: people have invested time and money in an entertainment product, and now they are open to abuse about that product.  These are not people who work for the Mets.  These are not shareholders.  All they did was hook onto a team.  And right now they feel like garbage.

For whatever reason they might feel like garbage, that they feel so is a tremendous problem–one that not a #2 pitcher, a left fielder, a catcher, or any back-up shortstop will fix. 

Winning might soothe it, until the next time the GM makes headlines by calling out a local reporter, or a manager makes comments about a guy’s twin concussions, or an executive vice president of business operations tries to parse the definition of “obstructed,” and makes a hash of it.  Then that fan is back to defending his team at the bar or at work or at the gym.

Lord, I cannot stress how important it is to grasp this concept.  Crawl into it, sleep in it, walk around with it for a couple of days: people spent lots of money to have fun, and instead they’re working to avoid feeling AWFUL.

Who the hell wants to do that?  Who wants to do MORE work? They’re not paid in tickets; the free hot dog came and went, and only with purchase to the game.  It’s horrible

I’ve advocated taking a break from the Mets when taking a break from them is warranted.  There are many other fantastic things with which to occupy your time.  I feel bad in that my entertainment is gone for six months, and the future does not look promising for extending next year beyond the obligatory.  But the angry people matter, too.  The ones anticipating the banana peels matter a great deal, and there is certainly no hope for them beyond praying for a good team.

The cheapest, easiest, most responsible thing that can be done to make the life of the average Mets fan a little easier is to get hard and expansive control of the message.  Take the discipline of the Bush Administration and coat liberally with the grassroots embrace of technology and expansiveness of applicable detail of the Obama Administration, and come out with a communications arm that’s capable of taking some of the heat off the fans that act as the team’s ambassadors.

I’ll say again: of the things on the 2010 To-Do List, it’s gotta be the cheapest, easiest, most responsible thing.  Don’t need an open door policy; don’t need to give away the Colonel’s secret recipe (I obviously could stand for some fried chicken).

But what must be done is put in place a structure by which the daily slings and arrows can be taken gracefully, and fans’ opinions considered and given voice, so that when seasons like 2009 happen again–and let’s hope baseball and the Mets last long enough so that we can see what it’s like to have a successful dynasty followed by the inevitable lean years–the team is prepared.

Be prepared.  Don’t bundle and announce and assert and bungle, like yesterday.  Finding an effective press secretary isn’t like trying to find a power bat for first.  The market is over-saturated.  Grab someone good and experienced and unemployed, and get cracking.

The alternative is seeing the fan base slip as one generation passes into the other, and that’d spell disaster in the long term.  Plan for decades; reap the rewards now.

That’s it; that’s all I’ve got on that.

Many thanks to those who posted links to this list and are directly responsible for 95% of the traffic to this blog over the past month: Ted Berg of SNY and TedQuarters, Joe Budd of Amazin’ Avenue, and Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog

Stay classy, gentlemen, just like this guy right here:

17 Oct 1999:  John Olerud #5 of the New York Mets watches the ball as he hits a home run during the NLCS game four against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. The Mets defeated the Braves 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello  /Allsport

1. John Olerud lives life one day at a time.

2. John Olerud always tips twenty percent, and always gives one hundred percent.

3.
Smoked turkey is too fancy for John Olerud.  He’ll just have a
half-pound of the regular, at whatever thickness the slicer’s set to. 
Thanks.

4. John Olerud overpaid his taxes between the years 2002 and 2004.

5. John Olerud was kind and compassionate when urging Mr. Met to enter rehab for his Pepsi addiction.

6.
The trash at the Olerud house is put out the morning of pick-up, and
not the night before, so as not to obstruct the sidewalk for
pedestrians.

7. John Olerud has a pleasant singing voice.

8. John Olerud knows what time it is.  He also knows what time it isn’t.

9. If you’ve forgotten a birthday, don’t worry: John Olerud remembers.

10. John Olerud appreciates the complicated-yet-always-warm family dynamic portrayed in the ’80’s sitcom Family Ties.

11. John Olerud folds his socks.

12. Back in 1992, John Olerud had a white wine spritzer.

13. John Olerud loves his mother.

14.
John Olerud dabs off the excess oil on his pizza slices with a couple
of napkins.  He’s not shy–he’ll do the same for yours too, if you want.

15. John Olerud finds hilarious the fact that you think he has an evil, mustache-twirling twin named “Spencer.”

16. John Olerud holds the record for most puppies donated to loving, caring homes.

17. John Olerud was once featured on Hollywood Squares.  He was in the lower left corner, after trading with attention-starved Andy Dick for center.

18. John Olerud also loves his father.

19.
John Olerud didn’t beat his brain aneurysm; he had a frank and reasoned
discussion with the ailment, and it was mutually decided that it would
not trouble him further.

20. John Olerud collects bird houses.

21. John Olerud loves Seattle, but never got that whole “grunge” thing.  Flannels are meant to be functional, not fashionable.

22. Message left for John Rocker at hotel on October 17th, 1999:

“Hey,
John, it’s John, from last night.  Just want to tell you, y’know, no
hard feelings, about the bottom of the eighth, there.  Y’know, it’s
baseball.  Anyway, I know things have been rough for you and I know
it’s a tough town in general, to say nothing of when two big teams are
fighting to get to the Big Show… yeah.  Just wanted to say you should
keep your chin up.  Don’t–don’t let all the name calling get you
down.  It’s just all hot tops and nuts when it should be smiles and
high-fives, y’know?  All right–someone here needs to use the phone. 
Anyway, good luck later.  Good talk; keep truckin’.  It’s John Olerud,
by the way.  Okay.  Bye.”

23. The term “grand slam” doesn’t exist for John Olerud.  He prefers “four-run hit.”

24. John Olerud bought the third Saturn four-door ever made.  Matthew Broderick and Kenny Loggins bought the first two.

25.
John Olerud doesn’t mind being six-foot-five.  He’s just sorry he keeps
inconveniencing those helpful department store clerks trying to help
him find slacks.

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
time.

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.

51. During his playing years, John Olerud’s nickname was “John Garrett Olerud.”

52. John Olerud has no comment on blown post-season umpiring calls.  He won’t even grant the premise.

53. After games, John Olerud always insisted on doing his own laundry.  Occasionally, he would also do Edgardo Alfonzo’s.

54. John Olerud avoids using the word “moist,” because it sounds so inappropriate.

55. John Olerud isn’t really afraid of anything.  But spiders do kinda give him the creeps.

56.
Before each game, John Olerud always took some time to himself: a
steaming cup of cocoa, a slice of pound cake, and the “Arts &
Leisure” section.  He recommends this to “anyone looking for ways to,
uh, dominate.”

57. John Olerud enjoys the utility and versatility of the paper clip.

58. John Olerud placed third in the 1994 National Skip-It! Competition.

59. One word: boxers.

60. John Olerud splits a timeshare in Palm Harbor, Florida, with Joseph and Russell Simmons.

61. Like Keith Olbermann, John Olerud has six lumbar vertebrae and thus too much backbone.

62.
When the going gets tough, John Olerud develops a step-by-step action
plan to get going in a smart, straightforward, and efficacious manner.

63. Bobby Bonilla and John Olerud once had to share a hotel room.  Olerud woke up the following morning with a Spanish word scrawled on his forehead in black magic marker.  Bonilla maintains to this day that he was just submitting his breakfast order.

64.
There exists a Bizzaro John Olerud.  He’s a journeyman relief pitcher,
and closed out the year with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

65. John Olerud’s actually always found a pretty broad line between Love and Hate.

66.
In the past, John Olerud has been involved in several real-life dramas
seemingly pulled from the pages of an action-thriller screenplay. 
Once, he was trapped in an L.A. high-rise with a group of European
thieves pulling a high-stakes con and robbery.  He called the police
and informed them of the ruse in short order. 

All hostages
were released without incident.  The criminals are awaiting trial. 
John Olerud has since declined to ride in limousines driven by young
men named Argyle.

67. John Olerud can grow facial hair.  He just prefers not to.

68.
Someone once called John Olerud “the alpha and omega.” He replied, “I’d
rather be known as the Mu and the Nu.”  They didn’t get it.  [Hell, I
wrote it, and even I don’t get it.]

69. John Olerud invented toe socks.

70. John Olerud’s never had a cavity.  Separately: two years ago his dentist suffered a nervous breakdown.

71. John Olerud once experimented with putting his pants on both legs at
the same time.  It wasn’t for him.  He’s since returned to the
“one-leg-at-a-time” method.

72. Message left on Derek Jeter’s voice mail the morning of October 18th, 2004:

“Hey,
Derek, it’s John Olerud.  Been playing first base for the Yankees for a
while this year.  Listen, I know it’s kind of a shame that I hurt my
foot during Game Three, and Game Four wasn’t so hot.  But Tony’s gonna
get it done.  I’m… yeah, I’m actually pretty confident in Clark.  I
mean, I was no great shakes in Game Three.  And if he somehow doesn’t
get it done or Dougie doesn’t get it done, I’m sure Alex and Jorge and
Gary’ll provide some pop for you.  Anyway, no way that Game Four
business happens again.  With the batting and the fielding and the
pitching the team’s got, it’s golden.  Anyway, I know it’s three games
to one, but I don’t wanna count my chickens.  Here’s just hoping Game
Five’s a good one, right?

“Oh, heck: by the way, I didn’t see
Tom or Mariano at the hotel before I left.  Tell them I ran into
Esteban, and he’s looking not so hot, so they gotta lock it down.  Just
have a bad feeling; if it goes into extra innings, don’t count on him. 
Okay?  All right.  See you later.  It’s John Olerud, by the way. 
Okay.  Bye.”

73. John Olerud fills his car with mid-test gasoline.

74. John Olerud is an avid songwriter, publishing under the pseudonym Michael Bolton.

75. John Olerud is man enough to cry.

76. John Olerud never used pine tar on his bat. He preferred to hit “au naturel.”

77. John Olerud maintains that the best defense not only consists of a good offense, but also a sparkling defense.

78. For John Olerud, honesty is not the best policy.  It’s the ONLY policy.

79. John Olerud never hangs a picture without first sinking an anchor for safety.

80. The following textiles have not, nor will ever be, “with” John Olerud: burlap, denim, lace, silk, satin, or leather.

81.
John Olerud is a fierce competitor, but is glad he was never an Aztec
warrior.  Those guys drank the blood of their enemies, for Pete’s sake.

82. John Olerud has never told a “yo momma” joke.

83. John Olerud finds the capitalization rules of the German language straightforward and easy to comprehend.

84. Every night, John Olerud polishes his sneakers to a high shine.

85. For John Olerud, baseball is ninety percent mental; the other ten percent is physical.

86. John Olerud has never had “bed head.”

87. No, John Olerud knows exactly what you mean by “that thing with the
cherry stem.”  He’ll thank you not to do it, especially in this diner,
where there are families present.

88. John Olerud had his Achilles’ heel surgically removed in April, 1992.

89. John Olerud never check-raises; that’s bush league.  

90.
There are no skeletons in John Olerud’s closet; only things he keeps in
there are shirts, slacks, suits, and a replica Fonzie jacket someone
gave him as a joke for his thirtieth birthday.   

91. John Olerud asked that his third Gold Glove instead be dipped in less-ostentatious bronze.

92. Whenever asked to find a needle in a haystack, John Olerud breaks out his case of magnets.

93. John Olerud dots his “i”s with a baseball.

94. John Olerud eats his Pez with a fork.

95. John Olerud decorates his home for all major federal holidays, including Presidents Day.

96. Yes, John Olerud agrees: Greedo shoots first.  (If you say so.)

97.
John Olerud has never gone off half-cocked, fully-cocked, or any such
position on that scale.  This is like mentioning the thing with the
cherry stem, and he’s starting to get peeved.

98. John Olerud
never cancels without calling first to explain his situation, and offer
a rain check for a specific date and time.

99. John Olerud would never take a victory lap.  Victory is its own lap.

100.
John Olerud often sleeps the sleep of the satisfied.  Then there’s the
occasional Burrito Night, when he sleeps the sleep of the dyspeptic.

101. John Olerud hopes you’ve had a good time.  Now get the hell off his lawn.

The game has started out in Flushing, but I’m in the middle of waiting for some nonsense to wrap up at work.  So while I do, allow me to conduct a bit of business:

The Mets’ inaugural season at Citi Field is coming to a close and with it any lasting joy in wearing the “I’m Calling It Shea” T-shirt as a sign of impish protest.  While I love it both as a quality clothing item, its somewhat esoteric message, and its ability to make me instant friends with people at bars, I’ve come to think that announcing that via my profile pic in 2010 would be like making Kanye-storming-the-stage jokes sometime after the next forty-eight hours.

(My favorite one of those was, “Yo, Ernie Anastos, I’m really happy for ya, and I’ma let you finish, but Bill O’Reilly had one of the best F-bomb drops of all time!” …A local New York anchor dropped the F-bomb.  Search “Ernie Anastos chicken”; you’ll find it.)

I need a new profile pic–at least for the off-season–and it came to me while reading about various votes for Mets MVP that I should try for some similar audience participation.  Not for Mets MVP; I think that’s a bit silly this season, though I respect a desire for continuity by those who’ve been at it awhile.

Instead, I’m going to see if we can’t all speak to my lesser angels of grand delusion, and open up a vote on which Mets star I should try emulating in an off-season pic.

Here’s how this will work: 

  • I’m going to put up two photos each of Johan Santana, John Maine, Daniel Murphy, and David Wright.

  • You email me at omniality [at] gmail [dot] com and tell me which one you like.  

  • I will work between the end of the Mets regular season and November 1 to reproduce the image with me in the starring role (some will be easier than others).  Why those four?  I can make my hair do what’s required for those four.

  • Unless I’m taken to task or sued or ripped apart by wolves or whatever, the image will stay up until the 2010 season begins. 

There.  Isn’t that more fun than choosing between a shut-down Johan Santana, an achy John Maine, an ineffective Daniel Murphy, or a concussed David Wright?

Never mind.

Onward!

**Photos found through Google Image Search, all third-hand.  If there is a deep need for credit on one or more photos, I’ll be more than happy to kill myself trying to find the originals.

Santana A:

profilesantana1.jpgSantana B:

profilesantana2.jpg
Maine A:

profilemaine1.jpgMaine B:

profilemaine2.jpgMurphy A:

profilemurphy1.jpgMurphy B:

profilemurphy2.jpgWright A:

profilewright1.jpgWright B (he’s the one on the left):

profilewright2.jpg
There you are.  Voting is open through October 4th.  Send your choice to omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.

Let’s go Mets!

Letters.  I get letters. I get half a dozen letters.
 
Letters:

**These have been sanitized and edited, lightly, to keep my head from blowing off. There’s such a thing as a difference between a plural and a possessive, folks. 

If you’d like, email me at omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.
 

“Like your idea about the Mets Museum, but it’s just too small. 200,
300 people? That park holds THOUSANDS. Space is too small and they’ll
never do it. Even if, I could just see them ****ing it up like
everything else.”

 
Think I should work backward here:
 

  • I don’t grant the premise that the Mets **** up everything.

  • They either will or they won’t. I think space is the least of the concerns with the idea. Harder still is the thought that they’d be into putting together the workforce to produce these segments, to say nothing about handing over some editorial control to these guys.

  • Putting this together would appear to require a sea change in the way the ownership and management thinks about the team. It’s hard to put yourself in the position of teaching tool, showing your team’s great plays even if they came in a loss.  That’s before wrangling together all the permissions and partnerships.  That doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s worth it; that just means it’d be hard. Shouldn’t shy away from hard, though.

  • I think the viewing rooms should hold two to three hundred in aggregate. The museum itself (adding the Hall Of Fame stuff to it) could hold a hundred or a couple hundred more. I’ll take a look at the spot I posited again, but that was really just a general suggestion of where to put it, if on the current property.  I don’t think you want it any bigger than four hundred; that becomes a bear to evacuate in case of emergency. Additionally, people should be coming to see the game, not the museum. This should be a novelty.

 
There were a couple of other emails that fell into the same general category.  In fact, two were nearly identical:
 

“They’ll never go for it. Too expensive and Madoff Madeoff-ha-with too much of their $$.”

 
That Madoff/Madeoff thing is getting old. Guy’s in prison; it’s done.
 
But given what could be made on DVD compilations of the sets (“Watch May’s Mets Museum Series from the comfort of your own home! Only $15.99!”), and the uptick in concessions sales you’d see by getting people to the park a couple hours earlier, I think the trade-off is worthwhile.
 
What we’re really talking about is a way to get more people to the park, increase revenue and develop new streams of it, and changing the way people perceive ownership/management when it comes to handling the Mets’ image.
 
I’m not saying it’ll ever happen. I’m just saying it’s more interesting for me to think about than trying to gin up trade ideas. Not that I don’t do that, either. And on that note:
 

“Why don’t you ever talk about what the Mets need for next year? Your guys are in for a world of hurt”

 
Quickly? Left fielder, righty off the bench. Second, third starters. A way to get rid of Fauxhawk’s (Oliver Perez’s) contract. A legitimate first baseman. A quality backup infielder that’s SPEEDY.
 
A time machine for Fernando Tatis. A deal with the devil to lock Luis Castillo into his 2009 form. A cage in which to lock Sean Green whenever he’s been bad. A clue as to what to do with Bobby Parnell.
 
That’s for starters.
 
I think I mention it subtly. I don’t have their ear, and I don’t know diddly about what’s out there save for what I read on ESPN and MLB and various Mets blogs that suggest trade ideas. I’m trying to be original. Last time I ham-handedly thought a big trade was in the offing, I thought the move for Chowdah was the first step to getting Roy Halladay.
 
THAT… was incorrect.  And speaking of Chowdah:
 

“Like the blog! Good writing. Who the hell is Chowdah?”

 
Chowdah is Jeff Francoeur. Somewhere on this site is a clip from an episode of The Simpsons where Diamond Joe Quimby’s nephew berates a French waiter.
 
“Say it, Frenchy! Say ‘Chowdah’!”
 
And speaking of that:
 

“Ur a moron.”

True, but not for the reasons you may think, and not for anything listed above.

I once tried to get a friend to eat a sandwich that was just two slices of white bread and a huge honkin’ schmear of vegemite.  He said he would but we never got around to arranging a date and time to do this.  So, one lonely night, I decided I would.  And I did. And I nearly died.
 
Yet another shining example of why The Wife should wrap up grad school as soon as possible: I’m liable to kill myself if she’s away much longer.
 
I’m out to the game tonight, to catch the Mets playing the Washington Nationals in what I’m sure will be dubbed “The Blind Leading The Blind Bowl.” Seeing as how my camera is once again responding to external stimuli, but my laptop is now literally held together by duct tape, I can’t promise pictures and a recap right away.

But as the Mets are now only getting the AP and second-stringer treatment from the Times, perhaps everyone’s bar for coverage has been set a little lower.
 
Let’s go Mets!

Marty Noble writes about the Mets statement re: Jose Reyes, first word of which was circulated through the AP.

Zoe Rice of Pick Me Up Some Mets! reported–via Metsblog comment page–that today’s pre-game show announced a possible recovery time: spring training 2010.

(I’m not linking to the article with the comment because it’s in the middle of the page, and there’s a lot of rumor and innuendo and backbiting ahead of it and after it.  Nuts to that.)

I really want to get hot and bothered about all this.  But I can’t.  Cut the man open, take out the tendon, and put it on ice in case he develops an elbow problem later in his career.  I’ve got chicken drumsticks that have been in my freezer for more than two years.  They’re not freezer-burned.  Trust me, the tendon will keep.

Eww.

Meanwhile, the Mets and Cubs are playing a tidy little game in the land that masquerades as New York whenever Sam Raimi needs to explain an R train running aboveground.  They’ve just completed seven out in Wrigley.

After six full, Ted Lilly had thrown 81 pitches, 55 for strikes.  Misch had thrown 79, with the same number for strikes.

After seven full, the count was (I believe):

Misch: 98 pitches, 66 strikes
Lilly: 89 pitches, 63 strikes

Misch has walked two, one more than Lilly.  Otherwise the lines look much the same.

The Ringers are gettin’ feisty on getaway day.

Chowdah is 2-for-4 with two RBIs; Daniel Murphy is 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.

Score is 8-1, New York over the Florida Marlins, heading into the bottom of the 5th.  Anibal Sanchez is long gone and I suspect Cristhian Martinez won’t be too far behind.

Let’s go Mets!

Had a tremendously long occasion this morning, waiting for my BlackBerry to update some sort of firmware something and my laptop to run through its resource-hungry virus scan process, to sit in my bedroom’s armchair and stare out onto a cloudy morning.

Literally cloudy.  It was fairly overcast in New York, and I don’t think the mercury’s dropped this much below 70 degrees in weeks.

“There are less than two weeks left until Labor Day,” was my most striking thought.  I have the awful inability to experience time as running faster or slower on any given day or in any given occasion: at a party; in a waiting room; at work; watching pasta boil.  It’s all the same to me.  All long, but never longer or shorter: all the same to me.

Larbor Day has not snuck up on me but I’ve completely forgotten to make any sort of plan to duck out for the weekend or crank up the barbecue, or any of that business.  My next game at the ball park is the day after, so I don’t suppose I will go anywhere.  Besides, I usually take some time on Labor Day to update my resume–you should do this AT LEAST yearly, those new to the b.s. that is the adult labor market–and change the batteries on my smoke detector.

Somewhere between labor, qualifications, and going up in flames, I got back to thinking about the Mets.

I’ve added two links to the “I Need Help” section: first, to the Mets.com “40-Man Roster” page, which should see at least SOME movement come September 1st, and to the Mets section of Cot’s Baseball Contracts (there are other sources out there, but Cot’s seems easiest to navigate, and has itself a thorough blogroll of sources).

With the rotation the way it is, and the free agents piling up, there’s already plenty of chatter about what the team will look like in 2010.  A lot of it is not positive.  And there’s a reason for that, certainly.  It’s scary looking at this team as it’s constructed, look at the salary and talent departing, and wonder if the rumors of the Wilpons’ dire financial straits are true.

My hope is that as we all play fantasy GM this September and heading into the off-season, that we do it from a competent reference point.  No one likes it when a guy demands that “Carlos Delgado be traded straight-up for Carl Crawford,” when buddy, that can’t really happen.

Like Lastings Milledge to a ball park, I was later than I thought I’d be to Two Boots Tavern yesterday; unlike Lastings Milledge, I have no shards of face to lose or save.  Besides, I had an important software pickup to make.  And then, an important barge to drink beer on while staring out onto the Hudson (note two separate links there).
 
And to the cyclist in the salmon-pink shirt who thought I cut him off crossing Twelfth Avenue, two things: your responsibility at that crosswalk is to yield to me; also, you came out of nowhere.
 
Nevertheless, Two Boots was arrived at and Two Boots was had.  Below, your hosts.
 
jason fry and greg prince.jpgThat’s Jason Fry on the left and Greg Prince on the right, of Faith And Fear In Flushing.  Also in attendance were Caryn Rose of Metsgrrl and Dana Brand of the eponymous Mets fan blog.  Also in attendance, via satellite, were the New York Mets and the Florida Marlins (and repeated shots of the Marlins projected new home, which looks fine if a bit stout); some attendees; beer; the Larry Tate pizza.
 
Those who are unaware, take note: the Larry Tate is spinach, tomato, and mozzarella on a white (ricotta) pie.
 
As Greg Prince read his recent post about the friendly hazing/rousing welcome Andy Green received from the remaining dozens of Mets fans at Citi Field immediately PW (Post Wright), I noticed to my limp amusement that the SNY update zipper–that little doodad at the bottom of the screen showing sports scores–has a sponsor. Yesterday, its sponsor was the Rums Of Puerto Rico.
 
I’d only had two beers at the time, but when something like that grabs my attention, sober or some number of sheets to the wind, I tend to paint all things with the same brush.  So the piece Mr. Fry read, covering an almost-endless, anguished search for a Rich Sauveur card, was sponsored by Topps.  (The photo is mid-rant.)
 
jason fry.jpgMs. Rose’s piece, like much of her great work detailing games and her experience as a game-going fan, would’ve been sponsored by the Mets Fan Local 162, if such an entity indeed existed.
 
caryn rose reads.jpgAnd Mr. Brand’s piece (near as I can tell, it’s not on his site, so buy the book already) was sponsored by Citi, seeing as how they were somewhat responsible for one of the biggest laughs of the night.
 
dana brand reads.jpgHe read of his experience at Shea during the last game there (from his new book; go here to pre-order), and of the numbers ceremony at center field, which ended when Mr. Met pulled down the last numbered card to reveal the Citi logo; he should’ve reacted “like Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live” when the crowd remaining pelted him with boos.
 
I’ll take his word for it. I couldn’t get tickets to the last game so I hunkered down with a good friend (an Indians fan) and her sister (an Indians/Mets fan) at Mercury Bar in Hell’s Kitchen–there was some good juice left in that place then–and minutes after the end of the game we found ourselves at Rudy’s down the street. Good juice in that place, always.
 
In fact, that experience crystallized for me my current phase of Mets fandom: we split a pitcher of Rudy’s finest, and whereas I’d spent late September 2007 alone and charmless, I spent late September 2008 flush with new marriage and new jobness.  There was all the desire in the world to add another pitcher to the pile and yet, we didn’t, coming to the conclusion that this would be the day we each exercised some self control in the face of maddening loss.  We were adults.
 
So they went home. I went home. Folded laundry, I think. Watched some football, I know. Put baseball in a drawer for a couple days, then came back when my head was clearer.
 
Of course, as I was thinking about all this last night, in the flash of a matter of moments, I caught on the Two Boots flat screen this representation of the current state of my head:
 
paul's head feels like this.jpgClarity is relative based on your proximity to, or length of time away from, an anthropomorphic sponge.  That image brought to you by Nickelodeon.  

Johan’s done for 2009; J.J. Putz is done for 2009 and fairly gone afterward; Billy Wagner’s gone. Even he who throws three straight balls to Pedro Martinez and is taken out mid-count is in New York for an MRI. So the Mets pitching roster is brought to you by the Hospital For Special Surgery and Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc., which is no doubt working hard to secure rights to Wagner-Papelbon I: The Melee At Fenway.
 
When Bobby Parnell is a starter this late in the season, and he’s arrived because Jon Niese can do a split but he can only do it once, you wind up with Sean Green on the mound.  Green tried real hard to give the game completely away, too.  Last night’s episode of Sean, You Almost Hit A Coupla Guys And No, Sean, Omir Santos Is Not Set Up Nine Feet Off The Plate was sponsored by Tums and whatever keeps me from performing the matter-energy conversion needed to transport myself to wherever he is and shake him like a Bond martini.

That was a long sentence with a couple of genre cues dropped in there.  Thanks for hanging in.

Gary Sheffield needs some Icy-Hot and any Met batting in the late innings of a losing game always appears to need some Red Bull.  Reading about Omar Minaya’s press conference as I rode the subway over the Manhattan Bridge made it clear to me some brand of ginkgo biloba should be stocked in the front offices.  C’mon.  You don’t remember what was up with your star acquisition back in March and April?  Are you mad, man?

The game was over in under three hours (L, 2-1).  Never blessedly; perhaps, though, for the best.

**

Some things I came away with: I grow more convinced that deep-seated Yankees hatred is generational, like what I hear when talking to someone who grew up w
atching the Brooklyn Dodgers.  I just don’t know anyone in my age group in New York who hates the Yankees with the passion those older than I do. 

As I’ve said, I have no beef with anyone’s beef.  But I’m on about something else here.  I won’t quote anybody (because my eyes were fixed on the game after the readings, and I’m no reporter), nor will I name names of those I heard discussing a seemingly unrelated issue.  However, there was the question last night, and it’s relevant with just over a month left and the Mets pitching rotation Swiss cheese: why do Mets fans stay?  Why do they stay and watch, after Art Howe, and after 2006, 2007, 2008, and soon, 2009?  Why, after the blunders and miscommunication, after the obstructed views and the paltry giveaways and the Draconian, dunderheaded security policies?  Why, after the Aflac this and the Lincoln Mercury that and the Rums of Puerto Rico and Geico and Citi and Just For Men?

I suppose that’s four questions, at least.   But all the same theme.  The answer given last night was, essentially, who knows? 

I guess that’s fine, and if I write that, you know I don’t fully buy it. 

When I lie awake at night, thoughts are rarely about the Mets, as I don’t work for them or base my livelihood on their ability.  When they win big or lose bad, my thoughts may stray.  When they’re in the playoff hunt, sometimes I’ll do the sort of mathematical gymnastics that always put me to sleep when I’m horizontal.  They’re the Mets.  I don’t analyze my need to breathe and I don’t analyze my need to eat.  I try hard not to analyze my need to have fun, or why I have fun doing what it is I do.

Milton Green: “Jack, we’re having a catch!”
Jack Donaghy: “Don’t ruin it, Milton.”
Milton Green: “Just like father and son!”
Jack Donaghy: “Did you hear what I said?”

My answer is not “who knows,” but “who cares?” 

Your answer may vary.  And that’s okay.  It’s okay for us to have different reasons for doing what we do.  We’re each of us our own special flower, and most of us residing in the concrete-and-steel, garbage-soaked, noise-polluted halls of 2009 Mets fandom city of New York.  We have, each of us, our own stories about how we came here, what we need to get out of this, what would trigger our eject button.  And, holy crap, do we have opinions. 

Keep David Wright out for the rest of the year.  Let him play. 

Put Carlos Beltran in a straitjacket.  He could still run in one and catch fly balls with his teeth–I say let him. 

Let K cards be taped to the electronic zipper board (this wail brought to you by Utz).  But they’re covering the Wise Potato Chips ad (this retort brought to you by Wise).

Barring the creation of some Mets fan union, which would send a representative to the table for discussion and a vote on any and all decisions affecting Sterling Mets, LP, I don’t see Metsdom keeping a unified voice on anything past, “Yay! They’re winning!” or “Damn, they’re losing!”  That’s New York for you.

And yes, that can represent any number of other cities and towns as well, but having spent extended time in a few towns and cities, I can say with reasonable surety that New York does it with a special sort of schizophrenia.

This is the place where people will bemoan the lack of police presence when they’re mugged with one side of their mouth and bemoan the “Disney-fication” of Times Square with the other.

By extension, this is a place where, currently, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by five-to-one, yet a staunchly Republican mayor was elected twice.

Bringing it back to baseball matters, this is a place where people will say, over and over, “I’m done watching the Mets; I’m done going to the games: they treat their fans horribly and their management is a wreck…” and yet, they’re there. 

They’re there mixed in with kids who are maybe going to their first game or couples sharing their first game together.  Mixed in with die-hards who buy the special non-media guide scoring book.  Mixed in with visitors from other cities.  Mixed in with those who just need to get away please for the love of God. 

A blind family has tickets on the Friday plan; I see them all the time walking up the steps to Section 530.  At the other end of my row, there’s an older gentleman who’s been sporting jean shorts since the weather got warmer.  Keeps to himself, barely claps, but watches the field intently.  There’s Big Man.  There’s the group three or four rows up who’ve made T-shirts worrying more about beer than the performance on the field.

Some who cry for escape actually manage some level of backbone and split, and that’s their prerogative.  I think the best of that lot are those who don’t think themselves missionaries, come to spread the good word of Life Without Baseball. 

But if they want to, they’re within their rights.  That’s New York.  As long as you don’t break a law or force me to break a law (which is against the law in itself), you can do whatever damn fool thing you want: boycott, desert, hang in when it’s ludicrous, whine about the beer koozie you didn’t get, or push real hard for a refund when you realize your view must pierce alternating layers of Plexiglas and steel railing.  Again, with justifiable beef or not, you may also try and rally others to your cause.

Your success or failure may change things or not.  But full participation or full agreement is never assured.  I’m quite certain I’ve heard from a few people who thought Vince Coleman’s firecracker stunt was funny.

You know all this.  I’ve said all this, in one form or another, repeatedly in the short life of this blog. 

What you need to remember, readers, is the following: just because you don’t agree with someone out there doesn’t make you wrong, and just because you choose when and where to engage doesn’t make you a bad or lazy person.

This is New York.  The Mets are New York.  Feel privileged to be a part of it.

I will now take a Craftsman-brand hatchet to my soapbox.

He’s shipping off.

My regret, now, is I didn’t try to go see his first start after rehab.  Or his second, though I was with The Wife for the first (and unable to reasonably finagle a second ball park visit in the week) and delirious during the second, so really I can be excused.

Here’s what’s interesting about monitoring this: Wikipedia’s entry for Billy Wagner now shows he’s a pitcher for the Red Sox.  Meanwhile, I can barely get it together to find my belt fifteen minutes after putting on my pants. 

I can only hope that whomsoever’s got the time to update Wagner’s Wikipedia entry–within fifteen minutes of actual details of the deal being released–makes it their business to wear pants.  And while we’re at it, a clean shirt.

The man has committed his share of gaffes and no-nos.  But at present, he appears to be someone else’s problem, while the Mets have enough of their own.

I’ll toast Wagner tonight for the fun I had watching him, and move on.  Later tonight, I’ll consider lighting a votive for Johan.

Chowdah tore a ligament in his thumb on that catch yesterday.  Shades of Alex Cora.

Pat Misch has left the scene in exchange for Ken “The Executioner” Takahashi.

Johan Santana will miss tomorrow’s start because something’s up with his pitching elbow.  Where did I see this information? Everygoddamnedwhere, damn it.

21st century mural.jpgYou realize that now every one of the players visible on the above Nikon photo montage has SOMETHING wrong with them, yes?

At least Angel Pagan is a one-man pinball wizard versus the Phillies defense.  Jesus.

I’ve decided to build my own line-up.  I figure watching this group play ball until the first weekend in October would be just as–if not more–entertaining than what we’ll likely see.

SS: Jon Cryer.
1B: Madlib.
2B: Osbert (Snarf) from Thundercats.
3B: MacGyver.  Not Richard Dean Anderson from MacGyver or the guy Richard Dean Anderson played in MacGyver.  The SHOW, as entity.
LF: A 1977 Topps baseball card featuring Texas Rangers outfielder Jeff Burroughs. (For those who take issue, click here.)
CF: The disembodied mole of Carlos Beltran.
RF: Bob Capano. This does not constitute an endorsement of Bob Capano.  I’ve just seen his picture everywhere.
C: …

I will be tomorrow night’s starting pitcher, which means I must be off for the airport.  I throw left-handed.  If I do well, I might be signed to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

At least I hear that’s how that stuff goes.