Archives for posts with tag: fandom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m breaking this up into parts; reading the whole list might kill you.

Click here for numbers 26-50; click here for numbers 51-75.

NEW: click here for numbers 76-101.

This week, numbers 1 through 25:

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.

As it’s been a slow news day and I’ve been on hold for the past thirty minutes, occasionally having to enter the same ten-digit code to ensure I keep my place in line, allow me to conduct a little more business.

Readers voted to select my off-season profile pic; the choices were presented here.  If you don’t like clicking, this was the winner:

profilewright2.jpg…with me standing in for David Wright.  I was hopeful the winner would be one of the Santana photos, or even the one where John Maine looks like he’s just about to, or has just finished, passing a kidney stone.  Let the record show that I don’t rig my own votes.

I gave myself until November 1 to reproduce the shot as best I can, and I stand by that; work is underway, including the effort to find a suitable (or suitably hilarious) stand-in for Jose Reyes.

In the interim, however, I needed a shot of myself that didn’t include the “I’m Calling It Shea” shirt, which as I’ve stated is a fine message for 2009 but not for any part after the 2009 season.  I’ve put together a series of vaguely sports-related shots to stand in, each with their own funny–and blessedly short–story.

The first one you see on the page (below “About Me”) was taken at Bennington College, sometime around March 17th, 2005, when I visited a friend for his birthday.  The time was roughly one-thirty in the morning; some time later, I found myself wandering around the campus, kicking a rock like a soccer ball. 

To this day, I am unsure as to whether I broke a couple of toes in the process.  It was cold.  My foot hurt the next morning.  A LOT.  I never went to the hospital.

The hat belonged to my friend’s now ex-girlfriend.

Success!  I’m being transferred to the next available representative.  Cable-speed internet access, here we come!

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.

I’ve little to say about yesterday’s loss, except that I didn’t see the thing at all.  I missed Frankie Rodriguez giving up the grand slam, and much like Luis Castillo’s dropped pop-up at Yankee Stadium (“The Play,” I’ve been calling it, for no other reason than I enjoy definite articles and initial caps), I don’t know that I ever want to see it.

I’ll vacillate, I’m sure.  No one who buys a ticket to a Mets game this late in the season doesn’t wonder if he must complete the circle of masochism by exposing himself to all sorts of baseball horror, like Jimmy Fallon’s character in Fever Pitch, sealing himself off in his apartment and watching tape of the end of Game 6 over and over again. 

“…behind the bag, and it gets through Buckner!” 

But for now, I’m excusing myself.  It’s in the past.

Jose Reyes has a torn hamstring, which completes that particular circle and starts a new one.  Won’t be verbally tearing anyone a new anything based on this news; I stated yesterday that we as fans need to start asking the right kind of pointed questions if we want to see changes made with this team.  I’ve no earthly idea what the right kind of question is re: Jose Reyes, and I don’t think I’ll work too hard to think about it today.  Again, excusing myself.

The Times sent Ben Shpigel to cover Jerry Manuel and someone there–whether Shpigel, his editor, or a merciful web tech–gave it the frame of Tuesday’s loss, not yesterday’s.  So they’re ignoring it, too.  Not shirking their responsibility, as they have repeatedly over the past few weeks, but ignoring what is too much pain.  With sardonic humor that makes me want to lie down and take a nap, too: check out the graphic.  “Finally, a Lead In the N.L. East.”  You can’t see it, but I’m making a rude gesture with my finger.

And yes, sure, fine, the Mets gave Mariano Rivera the pitching rubber from his five hundredth save, and I’m coming quickly to the belief that this will become the talking point on ownership ineptitude.  But for my money, the man can take whatever pitching rubbers the Mets want to give them, as long as the Mets learn to beat tough opponents and stomp on turkeys.

It’s the man’s 500th save; the Mets put the Yankees in the position of making it happen, and the game’s long since done.  Let’s not condemn people for trying to be good sports; let’s be smarter, healthier, and more productive with our ire.  Or let’s dump it entirely and go play some ultimate frisbee before it gets too cold out.

Truly, the only problem I have with the USA Today article, besides it being a product of USA Today, is the Pettitte quote:

“You guys haven’t changed from Day 1. Y’all deserve it,” Pettitte said.
“Obviously, we are so proud of y’all. It has been a privilege and an
honor to play alongside of y’all.”

He should’ve said, “Y’all haven’t changed from Day 1,” and cemented his legacy.

Smarter, healthier, more productive: this is my off-season mantra.  I refuse to be, figuratively or in practice, the guy who sits in his room and watches tape of awful play in garbage time, or gets hot and bothered about people doing things which are generally nice. 

There are a whole host of things to batter the Mets for.  Allowing that loss yesterday is something to take to the players.  Jose Reyes’s hamstring is something to take to the trainers, the doctors, and the front office. 

The stuff about the Times is something to take to the Times.  And the pitching rubber thing is something to let go.

Time to seize the day.

A hodgepodge: work is murder today and I’m typing this between bites of a chicken salad sandwich.  I think I’d be typing while eating a chicken salad sandwich even if I made money doing this–in fact, odds are sky-high that I would–but I’d also be hustling to get new information, too: do interviews, crunch stats.  As it stands, all you’ll get from me right now is snark.  Hastily drafted snark.

This from ESPN, on a game between the Colorado Rockies and the St. Louis Cardinals, which caught my eye because the writer employs the term “The Catch,” which is taken, thank you very much:

And at the very least, already taken, already.

In short, Clint Barmes caught a ball, or he didn’t.  But this is what Ryan Spilborghs had to say:

“It was a good play, that’s all it was,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter because the play’s over.”

But did he see the ball hit the ground?

“It’s more fun not to say whether I did or I didn’t,” Spilborghs retorted.

No, jerk-weed, it’s not.  I absolutely guarantee you that if Skip Schumaker hoses you like that to cost you a game, with the Rockies fighting for their playoff lives, you’re screaming bloody murder.  If you’re telling the press that it’s fun not to say whether it did or didn’t, then you’re getting a minor thrill out of an obfuscation of the game.  Not classy. 

Barmes’s language implies he’s trying to be honest without casting doubt on his team’s standing.  What last came out of your mouth doesn’t help him do that.  In fact, it makes me think you’re in need of a Cubs fan beer shower.

There: I’ve gone from Endy Chavez to Clint Barmes to Ryan Spilborghs to Shane Victorino in one sitting.  Checkmate.

I sound irritated not just because I’ve been concatenating in Excel like a fiend all morning, but because I see the writing on the off-season wall and it makes me wish I could unilaterally define blog topics.  I’d be a lot more specific than all this business today about Jerry Manuel.

We can only define Jerry Manuel’s job performance based on the available data, and I don’t even have a full idea of what that data set is, really. 

  1. Is there some organization keeping track of when he gives Luis Castillo the bunt sign and when he doesn’t?  When he asks for a hit-and-run?  These are actual–not rhetorical–questions.  If there is indeed a database for it, send the link over to omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.
  2. You can look at the starting line-ups day in and day out.  Ryan Church was MIA until he was gone.  Nick Evans has always been MIA.  Reasons for this are inscrutable, as given.
  3. Management of starters, relievers, and pinch-hitters during games has left little to be desired with me.  At this point, I’m quite accurately prognosticating various levels of defeat as his decisions are made, and at the hands of those decisions.  I don’t work in baseball.  I’m not psychic.  I should not be able to do that.
  4. Additionally, communication is atrocious on injury.  This is not solely Mr. Manuel’s province; I’ve been yelling about this on and off since I started this bad boy.  The injuries are not the issue; telling people what the hell’s going on is the issue.  But he shares the blame for the communication snafus by adding to the noise instead of displaying that he’s trying to get to the bottom of it.  Honestly, now: your star shortstop was danced about for months.  That makes you look like a man out of touch, not one who plays things close to the vest.

I can take reasons 3 and 4 and make a case for letting him go.  But I’m not a fan of reasoning that’s not air-tight (as much as the writing on this blog may point to the converse being true), and much like one can say, “You can’t fire Jerry Manuel after a year of a decimated line-up,” one can also say, “You can’t fire Jerry Manuel because Daniel Murphy can’t execute a hit-and-run, or because Sean Green is all thumbs.”  Quite true.

I’m of a mind, therefore, to not bother with the question at all, as I have no control over whether or not the man is retained, and my reasons for wanting him shipped off seem to boil down to “I can tell you how your Sophie’s Choice will blow up in your face, and why can’t you shoot straight with me about the guys who’ve left you with that choice to begin with?”

But everyone is bothering with the question, so let’s speak to it reasonably.  I believe “should he stay or should he go?” is short-sighted.  But IF he stays or if he goes, what could he do better?  I suggest that question.

I get the similarity, suggesting that the man who seeks teachable moments in defeat seek his own teachable moments, but that doesn’t make the need any less dire.  He can absolutely demand a reasonable communications strategy from all parties with a hand in his players’ availability, or else decry its lack.  Done right, that’s a guy I can get behind. 

He can work on avoiding the maze of “this situation” and “that player” and “in this instance” he gets into when speaking about awful in-game decisions.  That won’t stop the awful in-game decisions, necessarily; yet still I find that when I voice an error, I’m less likely to commit it later.

I don’t know what he can do about fan pressure to give a player a start besides starting him, or telling us all to shut the hell up.  I’m fine with either.

And maybe send someone in there to keep track of when he’s giving the green light to steal a base.  Put that guy in the room with a sabermetrician and make some magic.  I’m absolutely convinced a sabermetrician could shadow me for a week and tell me how best to lose five pounds, get two hours more sleep per night, and avoid screaming children on the subway (these are not necessarily mutually exclusive goals, or an admixture of ends and means).  In short, they’re sorcerers, and that’s awesome.  One of my goals this season is to fully comprehend PECOTA, or die trying.

Working smarter and working harder should be his goal; even without quantitative analysis we can say there’s room for improvement.  But our job, as fans of the Mets and fans of the game, should be to ask smart questions as often as possible.  We shouldn’t lose our passion, but we should make that passion useful.

We describe ourselves often as some of the game’s smartest fans.  But if we enter this off-season asking the same tired things of the same old people, or clamoring for change for the sole reason that novelty will trick us into firm belief of our team’s ability, then we’re merely loud and opinionated.

Game’s started.  Let’s go Mets.

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.

I’m now officially on the hook for two games of the three-game set against the Astros, on the last weekend of the season.

Here went my thinking: I was there for the first game played.  I was there for the Mets exhibition games, there for the Sunday workout following–under extraordinary circumstances: I had gone to the game Saturday, spent about six hours at a bar with friends, stayed up all night at a friend’s apartment listening to Radiohead and Bonnie “Prince” Billy, then rode out to Flushing once daylight was firmly secured.  Somehow between the Saturday game and my third hour at the park, I’d procured a turkey club in a diner take-out tin.  I have no recollection of how it came to be in my bag.

Indeed, The Wife will be in town starting Friday as well.  I skipped out on Parnell’s start against the Giants, about a month ago, to collect her from the airport.  Reasonably, I should be skipping out on this Friday’s tilt, as there is beyond nothing to play for against Houston, but it’s the last game with my two buddies, one a Yankees fan who is doubtful about re-upping; the other a Mets fan who won’t re-up unless the organization “shows [him] something” in the off-season.  Paraphrasing lightly: “I don’t think I wanna plunk down another three hundred dollars for suckitude and an inability to see balls hit down the left field line.”

So I can’t miss Friday’s game, especially since it seems John Maine and Wandy Rodriguez are going to swap teams for the day:

matchup.jpgI kid, Cerrone.  I kid because I love.  …Actually, given a choice between Rodriguez and Maine this season, I think I’m picking Rodriguez.

And The Wife has a good record at Mets games.  Provided the potential win doesn’t come with a blitzkrieg thunderstorm (…blitzkrieg thunderstorm?…) on Sunday afternoon, I think I’ll be quite pleased.

I’ve got to go to the last game there this season.  I absolutely must.  The ship is going down, having taken on far too many runners left stranded (see last night vs. Washington: L; 2-1) to stay afloat.  I boarded at Southampton, and have been dressed in my best; I’m prepared to go down that way. 

I don’t know what it says about my mentality that I’d buy a ticket to this Titanic metaphor for the missus; rest assured should the game get out of hand, I’ll tell her to save herself.

My Mets thoughts are consumed by the kind of thinking that’s making friends balk at buying into another season set of tickets.  What if they aren’t good next year?  What if the injuries sustained re-emerge?  Santana’s knee, Santana’s elbow.  John Maine’s shoulder.  Frankie Rodriguez’s back.  Jose Reyes’s legs.  David Wright’s cojones (or, as a Hungarian friend with short tendons likes to say: “cuh-Jones”).  I wonder if the MLBlog filter will pick up on either.

Make no mistake: we’re staring into a potential abyss here.  We shouldn’t be afraid of the abyss: baseball’s still fun; hope resides around every corner.  Technically, a team could open the season with eighty-one straight losses, follow that with an eighty-one game winning streak, and enter the record books with a not-impossible chance of making the playoffs. 

It’s the business side of things which futz with my head; if the tickets were free I’d be there every day.  But this is what one arrives at after six months of tickets and transit and beer and heatlamp chicken-and-fries baskets: it’s a lot of money.  And a lot of money spent watching a bad team hurts more than a lot of money watching a good team.

So along with controlling my profound dissatisfaction for certain relief pitchers and the decisions which lead them to holding the ball in pressure situations, I must spend the winter months squaring the circle on how much is too much to spend on the Mets.  Surely twenty dollars–the price I paid for two tickets in the Promenade level, roughly behind home plate, for the last game of the season, service rip and delivery rip (you EMAILED them to me) included–is not too much. 

And maybe a magical turkey club with cold, gummy fries will show up in my bag this time, too.

I developed a coping mechanism for Sean Green, by the way: when he showed up to pitch last night, I changed the channel and monitored my BlackBerry for general signs that the inning was over.  When it was, I flipped back.  I’m afraid I can’t apply that same method for the whole of the team.  Might as well stop breathing, while I’m at it.

I’ve stated repeatedly that when the game stops being fun to watch, one should stop watching the game. 

I took my own advice Friday night through Sunday, and missed the Mets comeback against the Marlins, John Maine & Co.’s implosion, and Misch’s complete game.  I don’t feel bad about that, considering I was ready to tear my house apart Friday night.

(And as to the questions regarding my last post: I was certainly not advocating any action be taken, least of all dismissing of management.  In fact, I was merely making a reference to a humorous and fictional account of arson. 

There; I’m glad that’s cleared up.)

I slept with my time off; tried out the new bed.  I stared out the window and felt the sweet kiss of not watching a frustrating team.  I had a dream about the Mets, sure–but who doesn’t dream about the Mets?–and when I awoke it was dark out.  The series was over; the Marlins had been officially eliminated from NL East contention, and I felt a happy twinge of schadenfreude. 

Better still, they’ve got six games left and are five off the pace for the wild card.  Colorado, Atlanta, and San Francisco would each have to take a powder to let Florida in.  The Marlins might take out one of those teams, but I don’t see them leapfrogging all three. 

More joy at misfortune.  Mind you–I spent some of my weekend reinforcing the leg of my desk chair, after slamming it into the floor a little bit.

There’s the right kind of passion and there’s the wrong kind of passion.  Going C. Zambrano on the furniture is the wrong kind of passion, especially since I don’t make a dime off it.  Evidence suggests the only thing that comes of getting so aggravated is the chance to miss complete game shut-outs by guys you definitely don’t want to see hanging around next year.

I would much rather be rooting for a fine finish than hoping against hope that Tim Redding doesn’t turn it on and thus pretend at being a viable option for 2010.  It’s a crummy feeling.  Didn’t think entertainment could do that to me.  I hate this product like it’s my job.

Anyway, something to work on in the offseason. 

Speaking of the end of the season, I’ll cement my Mets heresy by taking my hat off to the Yankees for clinching a division title.  No crosstown hatred as a general rule here at Sec. 528–only irritation at individual acts of idiocy and/or Brian Bruney-ness.  Someone this weekend asked via email where my rooting interests lay for the playoffs; I’ll dig my own grave a little more when all the spots are locked.

I hope all can tell that I’m a bit deflated here.  I will try and perk up for the morning, and see what my psychosis can dig up in terms of fun topics.

**For those who want to vote on what my off-season profile pic will be, check out the rules and options here and email your choice to omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.

I’ve been up since about 2a.  My electronics are cooperating; I watched a load of Miami Vice on Hulu and battled one of the few surviving mosquitoes in Bay Ridge.  The damn thing actually got me, among other places, on the pad of my middle finger.

I have NEVER been stung on the pad of a finger before.  It’s remarkably painful.
Throughout all this, I debated about putting up the following photo, taken near the end of Friday’s game against Washington (L; 6-5).  It’s up–you see it out of the lower corner of your eye, so you know it’s there.  Just understand that while it pained me terribly to see–I’ve never been stung on the pad of the finger, I’ve never seen this sort of business in person–it needed to be shown.  Shying away from images such as these would, for me, be like the Mets wrapping up the season at 81-81, in some alternate reality, and taking the argument that they weren’t SO bad.  I mean, .500 season’s got some merit.  They must’ve battled.
Nay, nein, nyet.  No battling here.  Only guys wearing paper bags over their head.
bagman.jpg
Guys wearing paper bags and chugging beer, with a guy who looked vaguely like John Olerud behind him.  
Observation and Interrogation revealed that it was not, in fact, John Olerud.  For one, John Olerud does not chug beer.  He drinks it, steadily. …There’s a “Facts About Chuck Norris” style bit in there, somewhere, about John Olerud.
John Olerud never “takes” a base.  He always asks permission.
John Olerud once drove over the speed limit.  Once.
John Olerud asked for an order of wheat toast at a diner.  He was given rye by mistake. He ate the toast anyway.
Other photos from that night, with limited commentary:
pelfrey warms up.jpg
That’s Mike Pelfrey.  He, along with chicks, digs the long ball.
giant head.jpg
I have a MASSIVE head.  And I think my face is getting thicker.  This can’t be good.
it's a standings board.jpg
That video board seen at the last game turned out to be a standings board, which until I saw it I’d not given a thought to.  Seems somewhat mocking, now, but one hopes it comes in handy next year.
The thing did suffer an attack of Mercury in retrograde as the game wore on:
board breakdown.jpg
That “M.L.” should say something about Boston being ahead of Texas not in the “M SEVENTH” but in the “A.L. WILD CARD.”  It was turned off eventually.  Better that way.
jerry dior.jpg
On the screen at center there, Jerry Dior, designer of the MLB logo (read this post for more).  I’m assuming he and his wife are wearing No. 40 in honor of the logo’s fortieth anniversary, and not in honor of Robinson Cancel or Tony Tarasco.  MAYBE Randy Niemann. …Wait.  No, not even Randy Niemann.
(Believe that’s MLB president and COO Bob DuPuy to Dior’s right/your left.)
From bagmen to batting helmets to beer, we all find our joys at the park where we can.  I think fans have to own it; we’ll get through this if we don’t run away from the misery and misanthropy.  Odd, though, that I’m known now in the section for not being a fan of Sean Green:
Me: (after Green throws a pitch gone wide of the strike zone) “Hey, Green!  The strike zone’s about three goddamn yards to your left!”
Fan Seated Four Rows Down: “What is it with you and Sean Green?  You’ve been on his case all year!”
Me: “He’s been horrible all year!”
Fan Seated Four Rows Down: “True, but jeez, man!  Ease up!”
I will ease up.  He’s not been horrible all year.  He’s been horrible MOST of the year.  The only thing I got out of the J.J. Putz trade was a few glorious nights of singing “Thunderstruck” at the top of my lungs and the mild competence of Jeremy Reed.
Vitriol feels good when you’ve been up for seven hours and the sun’s been up for two.
Tim Redding pitched an efficient gem yesterday (vs. Nationals: W; 3-2) while I followed via Gameday, too tired and irritated to stray from my bed until about 5p.  There are thirteen games left to play, and doubtless more feeling like this.  
As I am not John Olerud–who replaced all the incandescent light bulbs in his home with energy-saving fluorescents–I am sure I will get angrier before I get better.  I don’t wear paper bags; that is the province of those who laugh to keep from crying, and I’d forget to bring one anyway.  
But I appreciate the sentiment, and the desire to do so.  Misery, company, yada yada damned yada.
**Visit Jon Springer’s Mets By The Numbers to read his piece on the Top Ten Mets #6s Of All Time, which he read at last week’s Amazin’ Tuesday event over at Two Boots.  You can find my write-up on the whole event by clicking here.  My thanks to Greg Prince of Faith And Fear In Flushing for pushing my coverage of the event.  Hooray for page views!