Archives for posts with tag: fandom

This one’s too brilliant not to give over in full, and for that, my apologies to the Times and Mr. Wakefield, whose words are reproduced wholesale, here.

But generally, if you’re not going to the paper’s site every Monday to check out the “Metropolitan Diary,” you’re missing out.  Find the rest of this week’s here.

For those who’ll get to it later, however:

Dear Diary:

Flash back 40 years. The world champion Amazin’ Mets were the toast of the town.

My wife worked on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and I was always assigned a volunteer job of meeting a
limousine early Thanksgiving morning at my Chelsea apartment building,
and then picking up a celebrity for one of the floats.

That year, two limousines were dispatched; we went to Shea Stadium in a convoy, and picked up six Mets for a key float. Three of them were Tug McGraw,
Ron Swoboda and Ed Charles; I can’t remember who the other three were.
After dropping them off at the staging area on Broadway at 79th Street,
I hopped a subway to Herald Square and went to an upper floor, where
coffee and maybe a little Irish whiskey awaited.

When the parade
reached its final destination, some of the Mets joined workers and
Macy’s employees and their families for drinks and snacks. The son of a
Macy’s employee was observing his 9th birthday, and he told the Mets

Without so much as a word, but cackling, Swoboda picked him
up, turned him upside down, and McGraw smacked his bottom nine times. I
have never seen a 9-year-old with bigger eyes.

Dean M. Wakefield


I posted more recently than twenty-eight days ago, but talking about Chip Caray doesn’t count.

So what’d I miss?  Plenty.  And nothing.

Luis Castillo is gone.  No, he isn’t.  Yes, he is.  No, he isn’t.  Roy Halladay will be a Met.  No, he won’t.  Yes, he will.  Not unless the Mets pick up and move to the West Coast, and take their Dodger-esque ball park with them.  John Lackey’s a bigger wild card than It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s Charlie Kelly. (The preceding link is intended only for mature audiences.  Viewer discretion is advised.)

Alex Cora signed and Elmer Dessens either has or will very soon.  Brian Schneider, who was not on the radar, is completely off the radar, and Chris Coste is a Met, but he barely registered when he wasn’t, and I’m fine with keeping our relationship at that level.

So there.  That’s what’s transpired, it seems.  And a lot of maybes, coulds, and possiblies.  Enough to make me glad I’m not a sports journalist.  Not enough to make me stop daydreaming about it when I’m trying to calculate a company’s overhead, but enough nonetheless.

There’s vitriol, here.  Not seething; not yet.  But looking at my notes for the free agent starting pitchers posts that I either bailed on or got shanghaied away from (you choose your perspective), I’m dismayed by the prospects.  Todd Wellemeyer?  I was going to try and make a case for Todd Wellemeyer?

There’s more.  Oh, believe me, there’s more.

Ben Sheets’ only definitive, demonstrable use at this point would be as a prognosticator of rain delays.  Pay the man a token for his elbow, stick that by the home run apple in center, and designate the $10MM or $12MM that would’ve gone for the rest of him, for something else.

Hey, you know who’s a bajillion million trillion years old?  Bartolo Colon.

If Braden “Blooper” Looper, a former Met reliever, is considered for a spot in the team’s rotation, then I imagine Aaron Heilman’s head will explode.  And that might be reason alone to do it.  In an odd bit of confluence, Looper told Sporting News (you’ll click here for the report via Yahoo! Sports) that he’d be cool with signing with the Cubs.

And speaking of Cubs both potential and former, word is the Texas Rangers just paid $7.5 million for a year of Rich Harden.  Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times‘s Mariners Blog shows a northwesterner’s measured equanimity
in discussing the Mariners’ fortunes, in light of their NOT getting
their man.  I have a friend who called me up as the news was breaking. 
She sounded ready to throw a chair. 

I don’t know.  I’m with Baker.  Name a season in which Rich Harden’s thrown more than two hundred innings one hundred fifty innings.  …

An out below one hundred ninety in 2004.  He gave up five runs in one inning to the 2004 Reds, and Griffey had nothing to do with it.  Positively Perez-ish.

And speaking of that game? Justin Duchscherer replaced Harden during that inning.  Jerry Crasnick’s report from back in August may jog your memory re: Duchscherer.  I’m not pointing that out to say the guy couldn’t take the heat in New York or should have a strike against him as a result of his condition–far from it.  He’s either a competitor and should want to play where he can show he’s the best, or he should stop playing the game and do something else, which would be fine and great.  But he can’t come to the Mets after the Mets’ 2009 season, unless he’s literally made of steel.  Heavy-gauge steel.  Non-corrosive… you get the point.  A hip injury will lead to some kind of metal eventually, but certainly not now, and not in time to be a reasonable and inexpensive option.

And while I’m complaining about people with extended stays on the DL, I remain unconvinced that paying Erik Bedard anything more than a year, a plane ticket, and room and board is a good idea.  Bringing us back to the Seattle Times and Geoff Baker: word is he’ll already miss part of 2010.

Joel Piniero seems like a trap.  And Jayson Stark (as I read from Matt Cerrone’s redesigned Metsblog) is saying Piniero’s agent is worth more than a three-year, $10 million deal.  Expensive trap for a guy that just recently seemed to figure things out, at the Mets’ expense.

Noah Lowry hasn’t been right since 2007, and recently had a rib removed to help relieve a syndrome I’ve never even heard of.  And I once spent sixteen hours with Wikipedia, the complete Talking Heads discography, and a bottle of whiskey (a blizzard knocked out my cable).

Jarrod Washburn?  Uninspiring. 

And the only good thing about Brett Tomko, since at least 2005, has been Julia Schultz.

I can see Jon Garland as that aforementioned reasonable option in a typical off-season, but the dearth of real, electric talent means an inflated market for guys like Garland.  You don’t need me to tell you this; everyone’s shouting about it and, in this rare instance, it bears the rasp of scrutiny.  So Jon Garland’s $6.25 million in 2009 becomes 2010’s $10 million, or $6.25MM a year for multiple years, because the guy’s gotten tired of seeing his reaction to bad news caught by game cameras.

And that’s the thing.  There are two free agents out there who I’d hate to say anything bad about.  And I’ve had a rough four weeks, so I’m looking to say a bad word about any- and everyone I can.  And they will cost scads of cash.  SCADS, I tells ya.

First guy is Jason Marquis.  He’ll ask for A.J. Burnett numbers in cash if not years, and if you look at his 2009 quick line and Burnett’s 2009 quick line, they’re nearly identical (Marquis’s BAA is twenty points higher and his WHIP is two points lower).  So I think he’d have a solid case. 

Mostly, though, whenever I watch Jason Marquis pitch, I don’t get that knot in my stomach like I do when I watch A.J. Burnett.  Marquis doesn’t worry me.  I know his stats show a Romo-esque knack for fading down the stretch, but he doesn’t worry me.

So much of the conversation surrounding the 2010 Mets is going to be about peace of mind.  In the rotation, whoever follows Johan Santana has to inspire confidence.  That guy’s going to have to be a master craftsman, or a bulldog.

Or both, as the case may be.

I’ve made my feelings on John Lackey plain, at one point using the phrase “out of your gourd” to explain the mess that the 2010 rotation would look like given the numbers that were, then, kicking around about the man.  Five years, $80 million.  Six years, $100 million?  Who’s to say, besides his agent?

I forgot to mention that I’m writing not from the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis, but from my exceedingly cold bedroom.  I have no idea what Garland, Marquis, or Lackey are asking for, cash or years-wise.  The trend appears to be richer contracts for lesser talent.

Brinkmanship is another trend, one that’s come together as I’ve read snippets of, and heard on the radio, and watched while putting up my Christmas tree and repainting walls has been alarming.  Seems as though everybody’s screwed, and have pushed their clubs to the limit in fear of being caught as last guy screwed. 

Despite talk of restraint prior to the meetings, there’s been no restraint. (Picking through Ken Rosenthal’s reports here.) Three years and $15 million for Brandon Lyon does not constitute restraint.  Neither does the aforementioned Harden deal, some $9 million for the wisdom of Kevin Millwood, nearly $12 million for Andy Pettitte (that’s just galling), or three years and $30 million for Randy Wolf.  This, good people, is King Midas in reverse.

Does not bode well.  Maybe I’ve had my nose in projected budgets and vendors’ insurance quotes for too long recently to see any sign of brightness in people throwing money, like confetti, out the figurative window, but I don’t think so.  I’m quite concerned that those three guys–Garland, Marquis, and Lackey–will slip to a team with a GM even battier than Omar Minaya, and we’ll be watching a Spring Training full of Kelvim Escobars and Lenny DiNardo retreads.

On that unhappy note, I’m going to bed.

Greg Prince of Faith And Fear In Flushing points out:

Hi Paul,

Further investigation has revealed Keith’s photographer at Yankee
Stadium the other night was Sean Hannity, not Bill O’Reilly. The
principle holds, however. Ballparks make strange batfellows.

Cheers to Greg for catching my gaffe; it’s now corrected in the original post.  At this point in my blog development, I’d imagined a crack research squad at my beck and call.  Or, at the very least, that I’d be able to tell the difference between Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.  I’d like to chalk it up to sleep deprivation or the blessed lack of exposure to either O’Reilly or Hannity, but while both are true, I just loused up. 

Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays.  Oprah, Uma.  Guinness, Smithwick’s.

If you don’t read Faith And Fear In Flushing often, you should, and if you’re thinking about it now and have come to the conclusion that you really can’t spare the time, read this latest post by Greg’s blogmate, Jason Fry: it’s hilarity I tried hard to work in a reference to yesterday, but couldn’t.  So just read.  Their work is stellar and I have them to thank for making me feel that I’m not doing this in a vacuum.  Truly important when the chips are down and the choice is develop/write a piece, or sleep.  I’d always rather the Mets than sleep.

To that end, I don’t know who got some people all a-flutter on my piece re: a Mets museum (hello to folks out in Los Angeles, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Narragansett, Rhode Island; and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts in Toronto), but thanks for the push on that one over the weekend.  I worked hard on it, and I think it’d be important for someone to do.  Anyway, from your eyes to the Wilpons’ ears, I guess.

Two entries left in Better Know A First Baseman, and then we move on.  I think I’m in Stage Three of baseball withdrawal, wherein I consider again trying to rediscover my love for basketball, just to fill in the hours.  That’ll pass.

But between Stage Three and Stage Whatever, a pause for thorough acknowledgment that I should be more careful, and a gracious thank you to Mr. Prince for catching my slip-ups.  Greg, thanks for the kind words; I owe you an email.

But to the trained eye, I’m a keen and unobtrusive observer of human events.

Did I need to watch all of Game One of the World Series?  No; that would’ve been an exercise in excess.  Neither the Yankees, the Phillies, Major League Baseball, nor the FOX television network needed me to watch all of Game One of the World Series.  I won’t speak to Joe Buck’s or Tim McCarver’s need, but I get the feeling that as long as they’ve got each other, they’ve got the world spinnin’ right in their hands.

No, once I saw Jimmy Rollins push a bunt on the first pitch, I had this game pegged: hassle C.C. for the Phillies; outlast Cliff Lee for the Yankees.  From what I saw while flipping in and out and while talking over a video project with a friend, C.C. was behind all night and never got comfortable. 

Meanwhile, Cliff Lee lasted longer than expected, and the triumvirate of Cano, Swisher, and Cabrera were striking out and making weak contact most every time I caught a Yankee at-bat.  That was, literally, ninety-eight percent of my Yankee viewing experience.  The other two percent consisted of Derek Jeter hacking up a lung.  Get that man a lozenge.

Did not need to watch that whole game.  Not at all.  And I can also say with a straight face that spending this morning with Cartman’s rendition of “Poker Face” in my head is a lot better than trying to get McCarverisms out of there.

P-p-p-poker face.  P-p-p-poker face.

Adam Rubin’s calling Chip Hale, of the Arizona Hales, the Mets new third base coach, thus depriving the sports world of yet another paycheck-drawing, marginally-relevant Steve Smith (actually, the Giants’ Smith is not a bad wideout; I have no idea how Steve Smith of the Miami Heat has been doing and checking would be a bridge too far).  My baseball thoughts are less consumed with who’s at third base and more with who’ll be in left field, at first base, and whether Chowdah will learn not to swing at garbage.  But good luck, Chip.  Don’t get snookered into any half-baked Flash web promotions

aquafina2.jpgKeep your eye on the ball, Mr. Hale.


Something I thought about on the ride home last night, after finding, through Amazin’ Avenue and Mike Silva’s NY Baseball Digest, Andrew Marchand’s coverage of Jimmy Rollins’s World Series prediction: there’s no shortage of chutzpah or lack of forethought here.  From different groups on either side.

I’ve been extraordinarily critical of the Philadelphia fan base, so I’ll spread the wealth and the “What the what?” to Rollins.  Five games?  You’ll win in five? 

Who, then, do you think will be the weakest link on your team the night you lose?  The pitcher?  The fielders?  Do you get the sense that, in that loss, you guys won’t score enough runs, or that you’ll get jobbed by the umpires?  Will the mighty hand of Thor come down with his godly hammer, and wreck the team bus before it gets to the stadium?

Are these questions not obvious?

I don’t get it.  Either predict total domination, or enter a fantasy world where you’ve predicted your own triumph over adversity.  Better yet, make zero predictions and leave confessed neurotics (hand raised) alone with their spinning-wheel questions related to the apparent and baffling appeal of Ashton Kutcher.

And speaking of fantasy world: I’m sure that out of the four readers that I have, I alienated two last week in my steadfast rooting for the New York Yankees in this Series, ignoring the semantic talk of “rooting for” a team versus “rooting against” a team, and focusing solely on the need to stop dynasty talk in Philadelphia before it starts.  If they wander back to this particular post, this might perk them up.

Ran into a pack of folks heading to the game yesterday, and saw them on the uptown 4 platform as I waited for my train downtown.  A great many of them were wearing T-shirts announcing the Yankees’ twenty-six championships throughout their history, and declaring that to be the trump card in this year’s battle of the wills.  Loudly declaring.  Perhaps drunkenly declaring, but this site makes no judgment on that last point.  Would that I could’ve been so tanked yesterday.

Regardless, these gentlemen were/are in error.  The Yankees won three titles in the ’20s, five in the ’30s, four in the ’40s, six in the ’50s, two in the ’60s, two in the ’70s, and four in the ’90s (cheating here with the 2000 title for ease of discourse).

Now, if Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Spec Shea, Mickey Mantle, Tom Tresh, and Goose Gossage were some sort of immortal and joined the current ragtag group of intergalactic rebels, then certainly, a case could be made for Yankee history playing a part in a series win this year.

Otherwise, your team’s got a very talented group of players, but the institutional memory only goes back to 1996.  Thirteen years, four titles.  Not bad by any means, but think before speaking, and dial down the rhetoric.

Click here for numbers 1-25.  Click here for numbers 26-50.  Click here for numbers 51-75.

This week, numbers 76-101.

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.

Preparations for making myself look like a fool:

profilewright2.jpg…go quite slowly.  Even the photo shoot date is in jeopardy, as November 1st is not only the day after Halloween, but the day of the New York City Marathon, and the day The Wife returns to North Carolina after birthday celebrations.

So I may have to push this one, ladies and gents.  But trust me when I say you don’t want to see me in ANY kind of tank top.

I did mention that each of my “under construction” profile pictures held a short sports story, and now that the fourth one is up (and probably makes little sense), allow me to catch up while I wait, yet again, on the phone with Time Warner Cable.

That was Memorial Day, 2006.  My friend Nora came down from Boston.  We drank way too much over the course of the weekend.  A former roommate’s friend came to visit as well, and that previous night/that morning had enthusiastically hooked up with a hipster who “assumed the G train just went everywhere.”  He wasn’t kidding.

Anyway, that’s over in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, where the G train now stops, due to long-term construction.  The pitch I threw was low and outside.

This was taken shortly following the 2006 Mermaid Parade.

I’m fine with the razing of Coney Island.  The people who work there are far too obnoxious, or else will land on their feet elsewhere.  I’ve lived in Brooklyn my entire life (save for college), and I’ll tell you that anything holding any sort of historic or cultural relevance, Cyclone/Cyclones excluded, was destroyed decades ago.

And the Nathan’s.  The Nathan’s and the parachute drops are national treasures.

Nevertheless, I’m disappointed the mini golf course is gone.  While I can get mini golf in some fine places, I can’t get boardwalk, Nathan’s, beer, and mini golf all in one place, and all just a twenty minute train ride from my home.  (If memory serves, I was 2 under par.)

And finally:

This is me at a wedding in South Carolina, on August 27th (also 2006; good lord).  The Wife and I ran down that late morning, attended the wedding, attended the reception, slept four hours, then got on a plane back to New York.  I got to work at noon, and later that day got in trouble for cheering the Mets’ six-run third inning on the Phillies. 

The attitude at work re: baseball would change not long after that, to something a lot more friendly.

The Mets ended the day thirty-one games over .500.

And three years and change later, Time Warner has hung up on me.  ********.

**Way to censor yet again, MLBlogs robot.  Presume, folks, that I’ve just questioned the legitimacy of Time Warner’s parentage.

Somewhere around the seventh or eighth inning of the interminably long game at Yankee Stadium, a weekend of working and drinking and football and poker caught up with me, and I started nodding off.  Probably didn’t help that I took down a cheeseburger not twenty minutes before; probably didn’t help that I’d taken two pills to ease some unprecedented and unwelcome pain in my right leg–which in itself was the result of sitting on wooden chairs for something like fourteen hours over two days.

None of these things helped, but the drowsy sleep on my couch, while maintaining minor verticality… sweet.  I love the unintended nap.  Hell, the Saturday afternoon baseball game was made for the unintended nap, unless you’re at the game itself.

Having a DVR has killed the anxiety I used to feel over doing this, too.  And boy, howdy, anxiety.  I love television like I want it to be my job.  I’d feel so bad in the days before DVR and Hulu and iTunes, having napped through something I’d looked forward to watching all week.  DVR mitigates much of that sadness.

Tonight, as I met the physiological perfect storm, I tried to stay awake despite the poor baseball being played by the likes of Scott Kazmir and others not necessarily named Scott Kazmir.  I figured I had one more good Vladimir Guerrero joke rattling in my head, and it needed out.  But I couldn’t, so I didn’t, and I went from a close-up of a pitcher boot-quaking to a melee on the mound, and put two and two together there, excused myself to my roommates, and went to bed.

I may have mumbled some wonderment at that awful steel roll-down gate in Yankee Stadium, left of center field.  For all of Citi Field’s faults, bullpen tarps inclusive, it doesn’t have a gate just begging for Kuma Moose or Neck Face or Fray to come and “graffito-tag.”  It’s just an eyesore on television.

I didn’t need to rewind to see how they’d wound it up.  I’m not that desperate to watch a Yankee game.  A bit conversely, let it be known that while I’ve recently compared the New York Yankees to Stalinist Russia, I have no seething, boiling hatred for the Yankees, and am on record on this many times over.

I slept for about five hours, and woke up thirsty and annoyed at being awake.  I enjoy sleep, especially after a good weekend, and especially aware that this upcoming week will be a bear, and committing to deejay a Halloween party means my upcoming weekend will mean the death of sleep then, too.  You should be able to tell that this post is not the most hip or polished; the stones are rolling out in no particular order.  I’m here for something more than simple boredom, but in complete honesty, boredom is not a weak motivator for this post.

As the Series match-up is set, let me mention again my rooting preference, for the sake of neatness.  Find it here.  I’ll also make something like an apology, in fact, to Jason Fry over at Faith And Fear In Flushing, who wrote the post that essentially inspired mine.  I don’t apologize for feeling as strongly as I do, certainly.  But big old bold italicized type, and intimating a connection with appeasers to the most heinous regime in modern history? Probably not cool.  That’s the unfortunate business of Godwin’s Law, and while employing it made me laugh and all that, there’s a line somewhere no one should want to think about treading.  So mea culpa, mea culpa, turn three times and spit.

This Yankee hatred from Mets fans is a growing concern to me.  I’ve been close to violating a personal guideline, which at this early hour I’ll ham-fistedly define as, “Don’t argue against another person’s hatred.”  I get hate and on the proper occasion it can be useful, even as a catalyst for catharsis.  What’s prevented me from violating that guideline is the unofficial survey I’ve been running, whose data shows that Yankee hatred in Mets fans is breaking down along generational lines.  If your first generalized baseball memories are of late eighties Met dominance, you probably care less about the comings and goings of a team in a different league that plays by different rules.  You’d much rather glare and shout obscenities at noxious Braves fans, back when they were all snorts and brimstone, and not hiding in caves or whatever they’re doing now.  If you’re older, your chances of reviling the New York Baseball Highlanders more than holes in the ozone layer, wet socks, and Crystal Pepsi are probably higher.

Again, this is a purely unofficial survey; your mileage may vary.  I don’t root for hate, but I understand it and where it might come from, even though in most cases I don’t share it.

I want to stress my opinion here, though, and while I’ve apologized in one respect, I don’t want that to take the force out of my argument: there’s no sense rooting for the legitimization of a noxious fan base, especially if you believe another noxious fan base already exists and enjoys tormenting you.  There should be no reveling if the Phillies are swept out of the Series; there should be hard, direct conversations of what tools a great many of their fans are, and some effort made to come to an understanding.  There needn’t be love, but a cessation of outright hostilities is certainly called for.  I’d like to go to a Mets-Phillies game at Citi Field unmolested.  I’d like the extended fixation on how Mets players conduct their celebrations to stop.  Other things.  It’s late enough in the night that it’s early now, and you’ve certainly got your own list.

Justify rooting for the Phillies all you want: National League; Yankees beat us when, money spent hand over fist (despite the Mets having quite large hands and fists themselves).  John Sterling, for all his annoying hucksterism, never suggested a Met take “one in the neck.  If you need a reason besides that and Jimmy Rollins praising Johan Santana out one side of his mouth during their World Series celebration, I have more, but they won’t help you anyway.  Somewhere someone hurt you more, hurt you deeply.  This is fine if this is your motivation.

But you keep that.  Friends and I are gaming this out over the course of years to come, and the picture looks quite bleak when considering dual hegemonies: a local media darling to the north, and a smash-mouth gross team to the south; these taking different tacks and riding roughshod over Flushing.  These friends and I are not in favor of that.  One must be stopped, and the smash-mouthers to the south are more vocal, more seethingly creepy with their hate, when they hate, and that goes beyond baseball.  We’ll be rooting for them to be stopped.

Here’s something I’ll suggest as less of a thought experiment and more as a, “Hey, why not go ahead and do it, and tell me how it goes”: if you read this and are still convinced I don’t know my *** from a hole in the ground, get yourself a round trip Amtrak ticket to 30th Street Station in Philly, hail a cab there to Ninth and South Streets, find yourself a bar, and hunker down for one of the games.  Don’t forget your Mets cap.

**Related note: Mets fans who still do root for the Phillies are still real Mets fans, and stil real baseball fans.  I may consider them woefully, atrociously misguided, but they’re still fans.

I read a lot of Mets blogs, as I spend about an hour and a half on the phone each day waiting to be taken off hold for one thing or another.  There’s a sentiment broadcast on many that Mets fans who root for the Yankees are not real baseball fans, or not real Mets fans.  I mean this with all the head-shaking sarcasm I can muster

Oh, please.

My God, what a day.

**UPDATE: As always, deep thanks to Ted Berg of SNY and TedQuarters, and Joe Budd of Amazin’ Avenue for the link propers.  And no way!  I broke the Cerrone Barrier

Hell, I may have a beer with lunch!

Click here for numbers 1-25. Click here for numbers 26-50. 

NEW: Click here for numbers 76-101.

This week, numbers 51-75:

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.

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.