Archives for posts with tag: Not Mets baseball

(The alternate title to this post was “VARGAS TO OVERUSED MEME: DROP DEAD.”)

Not that I have much of a readership, but I figured I should let the nine of you know that I’m about done here; no more Mets blogging—or much of any style of blogging, really—for me.  In a rambling list, I’ll explain why, but basically…

…I write all the time:

—My degree is in screenwriting, and I’ve been working since 2003 on an idea for a television show.  I’m fool enough to have decided to write the whole thing before peddling it. Mostly I took that on to get the idea out, but besides which it’s served as a self-imposed graduate school: five pages on the way to work, five pages on the way back, four days a week, forty weeks a year, for the past four years.  I broke for a year to work on other scripts, and I still do.  I must put out 200 ~ 225 pages a month, and that’s just A LOT.

—Not only do I write screenplays on the side, but I’ve horribly neglected a comedy side project on and off for the past three years.  It’s at alushinrio.com.  Since early 2010, I’ve been trying to get something going to create an independent pipeline of material, and it’s been absurdly difficult to do so.  This has sapped a bit of my motivation, really.  I think I’ll keep on, but I’m not completely sure I will.  Which makes the guy who spent hours on the college radio station (which had maybe seven total listeners in three years) really sad.

—Not only do I write a lot, and think about writing a lot of comedy and feel bad for not writing it all the time, but I write poetry.  BAD poetry, that nevertheless indulges my need to repeatedly alliterate the “s” sound.  So stupid are these stanzas that I post them under an assumed name.  Won’t even tell you what it is.  But if you’re a fan of language, and you write, I suggest writing poetry.  It’s a morning stretch or yawn: something involuntary that will make you feel fresher if you let it happen, and stulted if you don’t.  Blogging felt like that for me, too.  But I’ve neglected the brevity and simplicity of verse for the ponderous complications of an extended post.  Like I’ve been trying to recreate the plot of Inception writ-baseball.  Fuck that.

—Not only do I write a lot, and think about the comedy and try to write the poetry, but I also indulge some visual arts itch I’ve got, and ostensibly I actually do that for money.  Not a LOT of money, mind you, but some, and I could have more if I spent my time wisely and spruced up a portfolio I haven’t even published yet. It, too, sits on cinder blocks at seamussprague.com.  I can’t even remember how to log into it, and my old design PC with the saved login page kicked the bucket some months ago.  If I’m ever to upgrade from this used MacBook to something a little more stylish, with a bit more horsepower, I’ll have to start actually taking the jobs I’ve been offered.

—Not only do I do all of this stuff, but I do it with a unique perspective.  When I blog about anything, I fear I am not covering a unique perspective.  That’s important to me.  Color me dickish, but I prefer feeling exceptional.

…and I’m bored/irritated with what I read:

—I mean no disrespect to those who have promoted the scant material I’ve published or engage me in conversation for the sole fact that I once posted regularly, but man, can blogging act like an echo chamber.  I’m kinda done with it.

I’ve started and stopped eight different posts on how I still have no clue how to mate an interest with observation to a marked disinterest in saying absolutely nothing of value beyond, “Well, sample size is a bitch.”  I won’t finish them because I still don’t have a clue.  The last attempt, started yesterday, came upon hearing some sad relationship news about two friends.  I thought they were in it for the long haul, though I could always see a problem or two that might derail them.

It went from that to Bobby Fischer (tangentially, of course) to a throwing-open of the doors to doubt and observation.  I was going to go from the existence of a table to the existence of the Mets, and then I ran out of steam and fell asleep.  Two-thirty in the morning is no time to be pontificating about quantum mechanics, especially without a degree anywhere near mathematics.

I want to care about sample sizes.  I want to care about statistics that reduce observation bias.  I really, REALLY do.  Thing is, I want to watch baseball more.  And I like sleep, and I need to write on what I need to write about.

—I don’t begrudge those who write a lot of shrugging after analysis.  I find what I choose to read very entertaining, and on the occasions wherein those I like to read stray too far into tired schtick, I accept it.  Even Aaron Sorkin dropped a clunker of a West Wing episode every now and again.  But I’d rather just be a reader than a writer of the material, and yet I have felt compelled to respond to the overuse of “who knows?” as both a way to try and get it to stop, and to try and find material for a quick post.

And that LAST part is a shitty way to go about expressing oneself creatively.  I don’t want to spend what precious time I have allotted to thinking about a blog post trying to find something that makes me angry.  Lord—there’s enough to be angry about in life without looking for things just to mouth off.  That’s John Montone Land.  And I HATE John Montone.

(This is worthy of a slight digression: John Montone “works” for 1010 WINS news radio in New York. Usually he seeks quotes from people on the street about this or the other, and exposes how little people think when a microphone’s in their face [or perhaps how little they think in general], and signs off within a minute.  He’s a color analyst on the loose.  But he’s abysmal when getting reaction on a story announced by the anchor, worthless during his “Mouth Off To Montone” bits, and even worse when covering a Subway Series.

I blame 1010 WINS management for trying to report on some stories without actually reporting them, and NPR for being too slow to the point for my showers, and 880 for CONSTANTLY getting the weather report wrong, leaving me to suffer 1010 WINS in the first place.  But mostly I blame Montone.  Anyone with an iota more talent or a smidge more conscience would’ve left such a job long ago, perhaps to shovel manure uphill.)

Actually, that Montone digression allows for a more seamless transition to this:

—I DO begrudge those who repeatedly berate the people who are working and not the work.  John Montone is in and out in under a minute, and thus is worthy of the same amount of bashing.  If the man ever tried to interview me in the street, I’d tell him how I feel about him in PG-rated but no uncertain terms, and move on.  I’d feel no need to indulge in an attack.  I read too much of that, too, and want to respond.

And it feels like it’d be the same as trying to wrestle away two unknown toddlers from a fight in the supermarket.  They’re not your kids, but they’re engaged in this nonsense, when what they should be doing is playing.  So you pry them apart, and they both run to their moms and yell and scream, and their moms look disapprovingly on you, and you don’t have a leg to stand on, because they weren’t your kids to pry apart anyway.

Man, we’ve lost touch with civilty and common sense.  And my simile doesn’t even cut it anymore.  We’re anonymous enough online to beat the ever-loving SHIT out of each other, and say things we wouldn’t say to someone’s face; we’re quick to declare an invasion of space and privacy if common sense is shoved before us in person.  I’m guilty of it, too.  I’ve no business listening to my iPod as loud as I do.  But don’t you touch me gently on the shoulder to ask me to turn it down.

This is getting away from me.  My specific point is on some guy whose stuff I’ve never read but whose tweets I see mentioned.  Apparently, this guy sucks.  From the tweets (Lord) that I’ve read, his opinions blow.  That’s fine.  But he’s also a big guy, and that’s been used as a means of deriding him. 

And that’s poor.  Too poor to even suggest in jest that we use another meme and #BlameBeltran for it.  I’m not saying I don’t want to blog anymore because people make fun of this guy for being fat, but I don’t think it’s right.  And it just reminds me of how much is wrong with all of this.

…and I’m wrong for this kind of thing on my own.

I can’t do it as often as I want, and I certainly can’t do it if, whenever I sit down to write something, I’m distracted by vitriol I didn’t engender or am actively spewing.  I’ve got too much going on to feel guilty about not writing about how bizarrely irritated I feel.  Too many layers of nonsense, there. 

And I can’t do this small.  I’d want to be a MetsBlog or a FAFIF or a TedQuarters if this were the thing I most wanted to do.  But I don’t have the access, or the time to weave colorful narratives, or the same love of embarrassing pictures of Cole Hamels and sandwiches. 

(A hearty love for sandwiches, don’t get me wrong. I once made the Best Sandwich Ever, and its name is, in fact, Best Sandwich Ever. Just not a dedicated passion for me, the sandwich.  Scotch, maybe.  But awhile ago.)

My love for the Mets isn’t dampened, nor is my love for spectacle; if there’s a game I enjoy or an event I attend or something very specific I wish to say, I’m sure I’ll find a way to do it.  And if it’s something I want to publish, I’m sure I’ll find a way to get it out there.

I’ll keep this site because it’s an “omniality” joint, and “omniality” has been my internet handle for so long that I’m working on my third logo.  (Add another thing to the “I’m Really Busy” list: search “omniality” on Google and I’m the first thing that comes up—really MUST do something to cash in on that.)  Posts will remain here until Sunday, when I’ll have enough time to compile them and purge them.  From then on, I don’t know what I’ll do with this space, but I’ll do something.

Cheers, again, to those who’ve promoted my work on occasion.  Hope I get to run into the five or six of you and buy you each a pint.  Because just one pint and six straws would be a little cheap.

I’ll leave you with a thing.

Again, we’re all kicking around the Mets because something about the team drives us to do so.  Whether conferred by birthplace or passed on by birthright, those guys deserve our honest, unvarnished opinion of their performance because they themselves are engaged in some foolhardy business: throwing or hitting a ball before an audience of millions, for millions. The love can’t be the love if the threat of loss isn’t there. 

Theirs is a unique job which can’t be reduced to their performance, because their statistical performance stirs something in us that defies statistic, and thus brings us to part with our money and our time to watch them.  And we watch them BECAUSE we want them to do something that defies the stats in the lean years, and defies expectation in a miracle year, and sustains a run of greatness, however improbable that is to do in baseball, in the superlative years.

Their work is our fun.  And we want them to be better than their numbers are, so that we can have MORE fun.  Sport is unlike any other job you just DO.  So we owe them as much honesty as we can give them.  We owe them rallies on the Shea Bridge and t-shirts that harken to the Blitz.  We owe them our catcalls and our haranguing of their rivals.  We owe them our full-throated support of what being a baseball fan is, because without it their work is just work, and they’re anthropomorphized dice.

And we owe each other the room we want and need to get a handle on something that barely makes any damn sense: rooting for twenty-five freaks of nature over twenty-five other freaks of nature.  Without the stats, you couldn’t tell just how spectacular Jose Reyes has been this year, or how fantastic it feels for Jason Bay to make safe contact with a baseball.  And without feeling great or relieved, the stats would merit an eyebrow raise and a question as to whether a data point was collected correctly.

And we owe each other our reasoned, effective discourse.  For the sake of the future of humanity, we all should start getting better at talking to each other, and explaining more effectively why this guy or that woman or those people are out of their damned minds.  We should do it everywhere, but if we practice with sports, and get better at it, we can move on to things like social programs and the scale of tax revenue collected.  Stuff that keeps us healthy and in enough coin to enjoy the sport and the team we love so much.  Less, please, of the, “I don’t like this guy’s opinions, so let’s talk about how fat he is, and pretend that has something to do with why I think his particular impression is wrong.”

All I’m asking is for some honesty, some grace, and some common sense.  Let’s all be as amazing as the guys on the field.

Dillon Gee and the Mets go up against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers tonight.  I’d wish for some daylight for long-suffering Dodgers fans, but the Mets can do something they’ve never done before if they sweep this four-game set.

And I’m in it for the spectacle. 

Let’s go Mets!

Remember chemistry?  Remember physics?  I like to think I do, and I spend a great deal of time thinking about basic properties.  Systems guy, here.  I believe in systems, and replication of systems, voluntary or not, on macro scales.

I shall now proceed to ramble.  Or have already begun.

Heat from the sun is actually radiation. Particles of matter are under such intense pressure, as a result of the force of gravity, that a fusion reaction happens: nearby hydrogen atoms are excited (vibrate; shoot about) to the point of intense heat and sublimate into plasma; they lose their electrons and become hydrogen isotopes; their electrostatic charge is lost by the loss of their electrons; the leftover nuclei are then able to collide and form helium isotopes.  This happens many times over, with the fused isotope [singular] being LIGHTER than the sum of their parts [i.e. plural], and happens FAST. 

Energy is equivalent to mass times the square of the speed of light.  So the difference in weight between your “before” and “after” is expelled as energy.  Again, it needs to go somewhere, and Einstein would tell you that if it’s not coming out as mass, it will come out as energy.  Radiated (highly excited/vibrating) particles. 

Radiation.  Cuts through the sun’s core, passes through the layers of insanity wrapping around it (photosphere, chromosphere), and is ejected into space as various types of human-killing nonsense, as well as sunlight, which we generally enjoy when we’re not thinking of the UV radiation that gives us skin cancer.  The heat is the radiation: the atoms that comprise the mass of our bodies are affected by interaction with these highly-charged particles.

(Physics is awesome, but weird as hell.  The particles have no mass.  It’s just a wave coming at you.  But they also exist as point particles—i.e. the wave can display the same properties as discrete particles when you run experiments to isolate them as such, like tracking their momentum.

Physics is also awesome in that one may infer that in order for the physical world to exist as it does, we NEED photons to exist both as waves and particles.  It’s not a trick of science or a thought experiment; this shit is REAL.  But discussing that gets into quantum physics, and I’ve limited time before I fall asleep.)

When we don’t get that radiation, it gets cooler.  Happens in winter, when we’re tilted further away; happens when clouds block that radiation from getting to us with their radiation-absorbing mass.  Of course, if something should befall the sun in a permanently unfortunate way, we’d be screwed.  Fortunately, that appears unlikely for a good long while.  And if something did happen, we’d know it in about 8 minutes, and then it’ll have happened already.

The thing, though, is that reduction in radiation.  Sometimes the sun goes through periods where the internal reactions aren’t as frequent.  We can tell by recording sunspot activity: solar storms that are the result of particularly violent reactions within the clusterfuck that is plasma swirling about at millions of degrees Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin.  Fewer violent reactions mean less radiation coming our way—not calamitously less radiation, necessarily, but certainly inconvenient and, at times, approaching dire.

More radiation means more heat.  We plan on this; we build economies on this.  More than just a quick run out to St. Croix, or Six Flags for the roller coasters and water slides: we depend on fairly consistent weather patterns for food and textile crops.  Consistent summers, consistent winters.  Consistent rain.  When that doesn’t happen—when we don’t get consistency—that’s when things start going wrong.

So the sun having these periods of reduced activity can be difficult.  They’re called solar minimums, and are supposed to occur every 11 years or so.  Reduced activity for a couple years, then heightened activity, followed by a leveling-off to the tried and true solar belches that regularly put on a light show for those lucky bastards in Canada, and on occasion can muck up your cell or radio reception.

While the cause of the specific Year Without A Summer mentioned in the title is generally believed to be more frequent volcanic eruptions that obscured the atmostphere with ash in the year leading up to the one in question, 1816, it also occurred during the deep well of what is called the Dalton Minimum. 

John Dalton, a meteorologist and one of the fathers of atomic theory (that atoms exist), noted a 40-year period of reduced solar activity, culminating most drastically with the minimum he observed; average temperatures around the globe dropped about three degrees.  (One can tell by carbon-dating tree rings.  Not me. It’s been almost 15 years since I barely passed my high school carbon-dating experiment I couldn’t find a mass spectrometer with two hands and a flashlight.) 

Cold ruins crops.  On the most elemental level, the crops we sow for growth in the summer have plants with thin cell walls.  If the molecules forming the matter of those cell walls are not sufficiently excited by the radiation of the sun, they will slow, grow brittle, and keep the processes that keep a plant alive (intake of carbon dioxide, synthesis of oxygen) from happening.  In short, they will freeze, and then they’ll die.  That 40-year period of reduced activity with the double-dip occurring in 1816 is part of a macro cycle that occurs every 200 years.  So: our usual minimum was supposed to end around 2007 or 2008.  Instead, the reduced activity has not changed, and we may well be in a double-dip.

The same atomic process that gives birth to an amazingly powerful form of energy can, if not properly accessed, swing in the opposite direction and kill what we cultivate and ingest to provide a very manual sort of energy.  From deuterium to sprouted bread.

As humans, aside from some remarkable examples of banding together to face shared disaster, we suck at coordination.  Too often we’re petty, manipulative hosers who’d just as soon chuck a stick at you than share the last loaf of bread.  Even one of the phrases we use to breed fealty to the common good is some snarky, clever bullshit: “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’”  If you can’t spell “team,” you’ve got larger problems than trying to get on mine.  We’re individuals, not atoms or isotopes, and thus shouldn’t necessarily be entrusted as individuals with access to a similar level of power. 

So we exist in a delicate balance between Sun Tzu/Machiavelli/Smith/Nash, and governments that often do what they can to keep us from running at each other’s throats.  We’re much like the global climate and all that depends on it in this way: too hot or too cold, and we scorch or freeze.  The Year Without A Summer allowed folks in New York to ride sleighs from the tip of Manhattan to Governor’s Island over a frozen New York Bay, but it also killed tens of thousands in Europe and led to food riots, and the poverty that comes from a bushel of wheat taking an astronomical jump in price year-over-year.

I believe in systems, and the replication of systems, which is why I took a left turn in the paragraph above.  Whether the global climate improves or doesn’t, we’re going to have to find a way to rise above this particular system we’re locked in, and be of heartier constitution than a plant that could freeze in a cold snap. 

There are plenty of examples of constancy.  Gravity’s one.  We all like keeping our feet on the ground while conducting everyday activities.  Maybe we should follow gravity’s example, and realign our perspective.  Start from bedrock truths, rather than a suggestion that, as long as we remain in a sweet spot everything will be ducky.  Build from the strengths, not on a wing and a prayer.  That way, if the sun craps out, we won’t freak.

Or, in short: it’s been raining in New York since Saturday.  It will keep raining through next Saturday.  It’s cold, and my hands and feet are cold, and it’s making my prematurely arthritic joints ache.  I miss going out to ball games; I miss going out at all; I miss some people a whole hell of a lot.  And I miss the sun.  And it’s making me crabby and paranoid. 

But, I’m keeping my feet on the ground.  Getting stuff done.  And hopefully we’ll all catch a sunny break here or there.

And not fracture OUR FUCKING BACKS

GOD.

By @sixthfoul (Jeff Reguilon), retweeted (…God damn it.):

I wanted to gloat about the Lakers disaster, but then I read a fake Martin Luther King, Jr. quote and it totally turned me around.

That’s about right.

From April 29th through yesterday, there hasn’t been much time for baseball.  I watched a great deal of baseball, to be sure, but while monitoring/preparing for a whole host of events having little, if anything, to do with baseball.  This post will follow the same pattern.  Strap in.

**

I was asked by a friend from West Virginia how long it would be before we could make fun of a devastating national event on the day of said event.  Because I felt it was a wholly inappropriate time to ask, I told him, “Never.”  Of course, “Never” for me turned out to be about five hours, when I told a joke about how the events of the day had really taken “the heat off the sharks.”  (Let it be known: I told that joke first.  Not the guy quoted in the Times a couple weeks later, and not Stephen Colbert’s writers last week.  Me.  And it’s GOLD.)

I spend a great deal of time thinking about timing, and in fact have been working slowly to revive a venture dedicated to supporting comedians who are willing to help discover the boundaries of good humor.  The musty attic of that venture, A Lush In Rio, holds a trove of poorly-written yet well-meaning and hard-striving witticisms, chuckles, and giggles, with a few genuine explosions of glee.  The new face of it will more pointedly ask when it is okay to make fun of… anything.

I’m not seeking to kill humor.  I understand that the answer to the question “When is it okay to make fun of [person, place, or thing]?” is “It depends.”  But I believe that if we all took a bit more time to chart the edge of that border of appropriateness, at times going OVER the line so that we may know what that line is, we’d get along better.  Take yourself seriously, but understand why others might not take you as seriously.

“Never,” therefore, bothers me as a response that I was so certain about, it came from my mouth as soon as my friend had stopped speaking.  Yeah, it’s understandable I would have such a reaction.  But I’ve watched Kelly’s Heroes and laughed uproariously.  Is there anything funny about World War II?  Depends.  I reserve the right to laugh at Donald Sutherland as a hippie tank commander, even though I was born nearly forty years after the war’s end, because it’s fucking funny.  He barks; he conducts music blaring from a loudspeaker attached to the thing; he gives Gavin MacLeod a hard time the way only a hippie can.  Quoting Jimmy Valmer: “I mean, come on.”

The shorthand for all this might be declaring myself in pursuit of a sort-of “Voltaire’s Utopia,” defending the right of free speech for all.  But that’s actually glib.  I’m after humor as effective catharsis, as a means of pursuing and processing debate on the problems whose solutions will define us as a people.  I’m also after defusing the lazy charge that those who use humor as entry into discussion aren’t serious about the topics they choose to discuss.  And I’m after neutering the perception that some of the more hard-core humorists operating today are guilty of prejudice or bigotry. 

But neither am I looking to be soft on the funny.  An effective examination of the boundaries of good taste and humor requires a knowledge of the topic greater than simply a skimming; such research should and must be done so as to avoid being tagged a philistine.  (Which reminds me: I must start reading everything I can about Larry the Cable Guy.) 

I want people to read more.  I want them to seek understanding through reasoned discussion.  And instead of resorting to shouts and slings at the first sign of stress or conflict, I want jokes.  Jokes that highlight folly, and jokes that are pinpricks into overblown balloons.  I think that’s how we’ll be freed from an overabundance of people full of hot air.  And how we’ll know that our pain is real.

The night of May 1st, I watched the Mets-Phillies game on my laptop in my office, repairing shelves that had come down around me the night before.  Around 11pm, I checked the website of The New York Times and, a moment after I had, my mother called me.  A friend came over.  After one bourbon and three hours of news coverage, we left for a diner, but not before watching a YouTube clip of the opening to The A-Team.  Stirring.

After a grilled cheese sandwich and a goodbye to my friend for the night, I walked home, cried a little, and went to bed.

You probably know what I’m referring to on the basis of the date, and would be more certain if I told you I’m from New York (which you could possibly infer by my Mets fandom), or if you knew what year held “The Summer of the Shark.”  But change just a few things around here—and eliminate the reference to The A-Team, say—and I could be talking circuitously about any number of major news events.  The things I find funny are things you might not find funny if you’re closer to them.  But I defy you to carve out an existence wherein ANY joke about murder or poverty or disease or mislaid supremacism is considered in poor taste for all time.  If you have carved out such an existence, then you are, by brutal definition, merely existing.

So they found the man’s medicine cabinet held a bottle of Viagra.  I guess he really wasn’t packing heat…

::Rimshot.::

This actually made me LOL (laugh out loud).

And then, sadly, I began to consider the physics of dropping a 300 foot-wide, 100 foot-tall sheet of fabric with no draft flaps off the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, on the first Sunday in November (which is when the New York City Marathon is held, annually).  What would they have to do?

  • ensure the ties from the sheet to the bridge had some give to withstand the stress of the wind;
  • stop harbor traffic for the duration of the display;
  • control removal from the bay rather than from the bridge (I don’t see any wire guides to haul the thing back up, though a flexible wire weight at the bottom of the sheet would do wonders for its display);
  • come up with something less pointless to say than “grow.”

My sense of childhood wonder is officially dead.  Time to start investing in pale yellow short-sleeved button-down shirts and pocket protectors.

Starved for baseball, I settled in for a night of graphic design work and chat, some baked ziti dinner, and the Yankees-White Sox game. 

It’s been awhile since I willingly watched the Yankees on television, not because of the team so much as because I feel the broadcast partnership of Michael Kay and Ken Singleton should be banned by the Geneva Convention as a matter of course. 

But I heard Al Leiter’s voice, learned that Philip Humber (former Met and Johan Santana trade fodder) would be going for the White Sox, and found the Met Classic airing to be their turn against the Cubs in Japan in 2000, which I’ve seen any number of times.  And, likesay, I’d be spending my time with a home-cooked meal and Photoshop/Illustrator.  So I left it on.

What followed were seven spectacular innings from Philip Humber. 2 walks, a hit batsman (Russell Martin), and, occurring in the 7th, a lone hit.  The big talking point for Kay—I hope fed by his production team, who might also seem to think that the Mets played their first games in 1961 (a gaffe uttered by Kay in the 1st)—was Humber’s time with the Mets.  Never mind that Humber threw all of 5 games and NINE innings total for the Mets in 2006 and 2007 combined.  Humber was the former Met, traded for Johan Santana, pitching a gem.  And how many Mets have thrown no-hitters after leaving the Mets?  And Al, which is the sixth guy we missed?

Humber lost the no-hitter, and they figured out that Doc Gooden, in fact, was the Met they were missing.  Al, you threw yours BEFORE joining the Mets, so you don’t count.  Of course.

Since my eyes were trained on my screen, I had the misfortune—wholly self-inflicted, I grant—of listening without having the visual to distract.  I could’ve imagined Gary Cohen and Ron Darling dissecting the pitching strategy and the Yankees’ approach at the plate, fruitless as it was, if I could just look up and mute Kay’s insipid musings.  But I couldn’t look up.

The problem here, if I can be more than simply mordant, is that Michael Kay’s been a sports reporter for nearly THIRTY YEARS.  And he’s covered the Yankees since 1987.  He’s worked in newspapers, on the radio, on television for basketball and baseball.  He hosts that Centerstage program, whatever that’s supposed to be.  Can’t he think on his feet?  Can’t he provide some level of commentary more scintillating, more incisive, more clever than musing about the Mets because a guy who had a couple cups of coffee with them is on the mound totally dissecting an AL powerhouse?

No.  The answer is no, he can’t.  If ever he could, he’s been wholly incapable in the small number of games against varied opponents I’ve sampled in the past six years.

And I know I could’ve changed the channel and I know I could’ve shut the TV (projector, actually) off and I know I could’ve gone into my office and put on some music.  But I’m baseball-starved lately, trip to Citi Field on Thursday notwithstanding, and this is the best I could do without going to the freneticism of MLB Tonight Live, which I imagine is what Hell is like for meth burn-outs.

So Humber lost the no-hitter on a hit up the middle by Alex Rodriguez, Kay kept talking, and I kept being a masochist.  At some point though, I uttered to no one the phrase, “Michael Kay makes me want to jump out a window.”

So, being a child of the internets, I ran a Google Images search:

Which produced the following first-page result:

Allow me to draw your attention to the images that drew my attention:

I don’t have much to wrap up with.  But let it be known that searching Google Images for “Michael Kay makes me want to jump out a window” produces, among other results:

  • a screengrab from an episode of The Simpsons in which Bart is described by Prinicipal Skinner as a vortex of distraction;
  • Enterprise helm officer Hikaru Sulu;
  • a nun hitting a bong like Jesus’s life depended on it;
  • some dude with a bunch of cats;
  • two bionic humanoids gazing out onto what I can only presume is a dystopia of epic proportions.

Delving into any of these would’ve been more fulfilling than listening to Michael Kay. 

But then, I wouldn’t have discovered this cornucopia of What? without listening to Michael Kay. So let that bake your noodle.  As I mentioned at the beginning, my noodles were baked well before this whole business began.

I’ve been managing some brief family events and too quick a jaunt to western Massachusetts, which has made me scarce since Thursday, and in fact a little before.  But since I wrote this as a comment on TedQuarters, I figured I’d re-post the mini-review here.  The previous post will show you the burger in question…

“I had the Mex Burger on Thursday, bottom of the 7th. 

Maybe they were off their game after an entire evening of slinging meat, but I wasn’t impressed.  Cheddar wasn’t melted to the burger.  Jack cheese dropped unceremoniously atop.  Bacon had been marinating in its own grease since, seemingly, the Cashen administration (though it was still bacon and therefore awesome).  Jalapenos with no bite.  Guacamole and chipotle aioli would’ve been fine apart, but together as a lumpen pile of goo not altogether appetizing, and in fact heartburn-inducing when mingling with the bacon grease. 

All of this on a patty unfortunately not up to the task of supporting the toppings.  You need a half-pound of burger for such Herculean proportions of everything else.  (I intend to attempt to recreate the Mex Burger at Jackson Hole on the East Side someday.)

To top it off, the brioche bun was greasy, so the damn thing was sliding every which way.  There was no way to pin it all down and take a bite.

The experience wasn’t wholly negative.  The chips were tasty, and the Tootsie Roll pop a clever touch. 

I’ll try it again, but at the beginning of a game, and not after already having had a pulled pork sandwich.  And maybe with a beer sidecar, which would’ve helped digest the whole thing a little better.  Or not at all, but made me buzzed enough not to care.

—Paul”

It was pretty windy out, and those not braving the cold were huddled under the deck.  The chefs did seem beleaguered, and, like I said, I’d already had a pulled pork sandwich.  Which came after two Guinnesses to support Buy Tug A Beer Night, and before a hot chocolate.  That may sound like a ticking time bomb of awful, but I have quite the iron constitution when it comes to certain things.  Beer, pork, hot chocolate, yes.  Grease?  No.

Anyway, likesay, I will be trying the burger again on a fairer night for assessment.  And when I get a chance to sort through photos of Thursday’s game, I will post them. 

In the meantime, enjoy your off-day.

I don’t quite know where to begin…

I’d made the decision to rejoin the Kuiper Belt of Mets Periphery on Opening Day this year, but Mr. Greg Prince of Faith And Fear In Flushing forced gently nudged my hand when discussing the endgame for woeful left-hander Oliver Perez on Twitter.  I said I’d buy tickets for this season if Ollie were released. Mr. Prince replied:

@omniality Even better, revive Section 528 this season. I miss it.

Mr. Prince certainly isn’t responsible for what I’m about to write (though know my thoughts are forever positive toward you, sir; fear not).  As a writer, and a human who struggles mightily both with procrastination and excuses for same, I feel I should explain myself.  So forgive me for what’s to follow.  It will link to the Mets, I assure you, but certainly drips with Too Much Information.  I don’t care.  You’re either one of those people who slows down to investigate a car wreck across the median, or you shout at those who do, from within your Camry.  Or you drive a different car.

There should be a joke there.  Volkswagen, something about college and term papers.  That’s as far as I got.

**

I’ve been away from writing in a (semi) daily, blogging sense for quite awhile because I’ve been busy breaking up with my wife.  Difficulties began in April of ‘09, ten months into our marriage, and progressed; the last post I wrote was on Ike Davis’s first day as a Major-League Met, in April of 2010.

That’s notable only because the day following the evening when we called things off for good, I could only think to go to a Mets game.  It was the day after our two-year anniversary, and the game against the San Diego Padres was tied at 1 going into the 11th.  My sister—always a champ—stuck around with me, and the crowd in our particular section heard me loud and clear when I (rather drunkenly) announced: “Right here.  Right here.  Davis wins it right here.  Bomb over the Porch.” 

Sure enough.

When that ball was hit, I dropped to my knees on the concrete before my seat, and screamed.  Everybody was screaming; my sister and a few guys behind us were pounding me on the back.  At some point, she wound up on the shoulders of some stranger, and someone else tried to lift me up.  Pandemonium.

My sister is the one on the left; I’m the slovenly bastard on the right.  “Mike,” an events A/V consultant we met that night, is behind the camera and his forefinger mildly obscures the lower left-hand corner.

Eventually, June 8th, 2010 became June 9th, 2010, and I had to move on. 

Breaking up with a wife is… bizarre.  I’d had one live-in girlfriend before her, and that was difficult to end, but not impossible.  That it took as long as it did to finally break things off should demonstrate just how impossible it felt to me to be. 

Like the Mets last year, I had more bad days than good, but understand I was far from using the Mets to cope in any real way.  Maybe if they’d been better I’d’ve tried, but none of it seemed to have a point to me beyond a superficial soothe or container for rage.  When I felt like myself, I’d watch a game.  When I felt very much NOT like myself, which was often, I’d go running until my calves begged for release, or watch the same episode of Sports Night over and over (“Shoe Money Tonight,” if interested), or—and this did no one any real favors—go out and get drunk.  Or stay in and get drunk.  Or get drunk, then run, or stay in, watch Sports Night, and get drunk, or mix in all three with a healthy dose of going somewhere to spend as much on two pints as I could on a six-pack.  And games were incidental.

Now: I am not to be pitied.  The remarkable safety valve of my particular procrastination is designed to make me lazy in all respects.  I kept myself alive, but by expending the least energy possible.  Did the job I work for pay.  Came home.  Made a sandwich.  Any beer in the fridge?  Drank that.  That Sports Night disc in the player?  Turned that on.  When the cold cuts or bread ran out, or the beer ran out, or the disc had been replaced by Down By Law, I spent the least amount of energy possible to keep me marginally sustained.  Nine times out of ten, this meant my walking only a block and a half to a newish and delightful Welsh pub, and they took care of me.  If I lived in a different neighborhood—hell, even a different part of Bay Ridge, such as where I am now, closer to the Verrazano—I’d’ve gotten into a fistfight at some point.  I’m not to be pitied.  I’m to be thought of as really fucking lucky.

(Sidebar: this blog has moved in part because MLBlogs, for all their positives, doesn’t allow profanity.  It’s stifling, especially when writing about the Mets.  And I appreciate well-timed cussin’.  If this remains on Tumblr or goes someplace else, expect a smattering or an occasional explosion of same.)

This all came upon me gradually.  Bad days mixing in with good from April of 2009 until it was really that the good days were mixing with the bad.  For about three weeks, though, from late August through mid-September last year, I will admit the wheels came off. 

I remember most nights but not all.  I’m fairly certain I let more than one carton of milk slide past its expiration date.  Again, I was fucking lucky: the people whose company I kept were close and aware, and kept me from doing half the silly shit I really wanted to do.  The other half amounted to: let him stay out late.  Let him talk ‘til he’s hoarse.  It was the non-boxing equivalent of punching oneself out.   

Again: breaking up with a wife is bizarre.  The things I thought I should’ve changed about myself are things I either fixated on sadly, or lionized.  I was the one to revive her Mets fandom.  We’d gone to Opening Days.  We’d watched and napped on weekends before she left the state for school, and after that, we’d watched when she was in town.  So I would either watch Mets games with a lump in my throat, or watch them with pride and a snide quiet comment about how she never understood the damn game, anyway.  (Which is not true.  She does understand the game, even if she needed Baseball For Dummies to supplement her knowledge.  She knows enough to hate Joe Morgan’s blessedly-departed commentary.)

I barely noticed the departure of baseball.  I moved on to football, a sport that seems to demand bingeing of some kind or another, whether it’s on food or drink or noise or commentary.   I moved on to Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez and Darrelle Revis and everybody that was against them as they attempted to get that 42 year-old monkey off their collective back. 

In a messy situation, borders are rarely defined and there are few red-letter days.  I remember the final breakup conversation.  I remember Ike’s home run.  I remember the last time I woke up beside my toilet.  I remember the Jets winning in the last seconds of overtime more times than I thought I could handle.  And there’s no one day when I sat up and said to myself, “Well, shit.  You should probably clean up, make sure everything about you is in one piece, and then see what you can do about living within the conventional bounds of society again.”  The hangover from those weeks in August and September lasted a month or more, and digging out from under all the foolish things I said and planned to do took some time as well.  I had a weeklong relapse of idiocy when my father took ill (he’s now fine), and tacked that recovery onto the principal.

Yes, borders are rarely defined and there are few red-letter days.  I can’t tell you whether I felt like myself at the end of November or the beginning of December; I can’t tell you if everything clicked when I finally got out of the city for a couple days or when the decorations went up for Christmas.  Jesus—I’m not sure I can tell you everything’s absolutely fine.  Some parts certainly aren’t: I have such a blind spot for a specific television project I’ve been working on since 2003 that in describing it for the first time to someone last night, I briefly froze.  Do I tell her?  Will she stomp all over it?

When I was married, most things didn’t bother me, and when I stopped being married, most things bothered the hell out of me.  And the difference isn’t the absence of a “good woman”; it’s the crippling realization that a break-up of that sort fixes what was more wrong than it was right.  I’m glad no one was waiting for me to wake up and declare I was fine, because I’d’ve blown the hell out of the deadline.

I simply grew secure in talking about all this, and secure in the knowledge that what was mine was mine, and what we shared I had just as much a right to, whether it originated from me or my wants, or hers.  It happened too late to prevent some things said in haste.  But, despite my momentary hesitations, it has happened in time to really appreciate what I have.

And I have more than enough to count myself as a lucky bastard.  Despite the terribly foggy nights I’ve lived through recently, I’ve got a clean bill of health.  Moved to a gorgeous new apartment in my still-amazing neighborhood, and have a home office to boot.  Work has settled, and indeed I have more and new opportunities to do good things.  While we don’t talk often, my ex-wife and I exchange occasional messages and, when I’m in her neck of the woods—she’s still out-of-state—we’ll have a meal.  Other aspects of moving on proceed delightfully apace.

I don’t know that I could have done all this, or become who I am at present, without the 2010 Mets being as lousy as they were.  I mean that.  If they’d’ve been better, chances are good that I would’ve missed it, or hitched my wagon too closely to their star.  As September turned to October, if the Mets were in the postseason, I’d’ve tacked several more years onto my liver.  If the Mets achieved the playoffs only to lose, I’d’ve hit a tailspin.  Instead, while baseball is an important part of my life, I now believe I can do without it.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d be the poorer for not having it.  Baseball is a remarkable part of our society; a great diversion most of the time and great to get lost in whenever it won’t just cause you more harm.  There is nothing wrong with getting heated about things in a space where the consequences aren’t thermonuclear war or a theological schism or the separation, for good, of all dogs and all cats.  But if I didn’t exactly know where I end and baseball begins, I certainly do now.  And I’m grateful for that.  I now know what the hell I’m doing.

I have to thank the Mets for making sure I missed very little last season.  In a way, their mediocrity saved me from myself.  I hope your experiences differ greatly: that in 2010, you lived an interesting and satisfying life, and the Mets made you want to tear your hair out or throw something at the TV, or check in on NASCAR and soccer instead.  (Maybe not NASCAR.)  (Maybe not soccer.)  I had to go for awhile.  Now I’m back.

And oh, buddy, do I wanna have some fun.