Are you superstitious?  I am.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of anyway, here’s Ed:

Ed Kranepool.jpg

Still using the Gillette Foamy.  Nice to see.

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

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

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

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

There was the seventh-inning stretch:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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