Archives for posts with tag: Section Five Twenty-Eight

Watched the Battle Of The Facial Hair yesterday.
 
I didn’t even know I was watching it until about the fifth inning. But after the house’s supply of Olde Tyme Baseballer Jokes at Brendan Ryan’s expense had been depleted, it was time to widen the field.
 
Clayton Kershaw? It’s like he gathered the hair in the shower room sinks and pasted it on his face.  Adam Wainwright? Getting close, but unable to commit.  Casey Blake? Now THERE’S a beard.  And Ryan Franklin?

Hoo boy.

I think he came to the mound expecting to be done in time for the barn raising.

The St. Louis Team Bus was followed to Dodger Stadium by the Ryan Franklin Horse And Buggy.

Ryan Franklin’s endorsement deal isn’t with Mennen; it’s with Mennonite.
 
These are the jokes, folks.
 
Odd what one finds oneself watching when one’s team isn’t in the playoffs. I watched St. Louis at Los Angeles with an eye towards parts.
 
No one on Los Angeles, really. I get the sense everyone there likes being there, or is out to lunch. The latter category includes Manny Ramirez and Ronnie Belliard–who, to his credit, had one of two legitimate hits in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
 
St. Louis’s top possible is, of course, Matt Holliday, and his homer to start the limited scoring was delightful. His error at the end of the game was less so. But maybe it’s nerves, and maybe if St. Louis goes quietly in three, the focus will be on his error, and his price point will take a small hit. Clue me in: how does St. Louis deal with pariahs? Do they even make pariahs down in St. Louis?
 
Beyond that, very few baseball-related thoughts. I promised myself I’d watch at least most of one game of each division series match; I’ve got Colorado-Philadelphia and Anaheim-Boston to go.
 
No mailbag today; busy up in the hills of Vargasville, with The Wife in town and an early start to this particular day.  But I will provide a public service announcement:
 
Go see Zombieland.  The trailer, as unreal as it was, did NOT do its hilarity justice.  And given the movie’s events, it’s clear to me that not enough of the populace has gone to see it. Otherwise, I’d’ve overheard something to spoil it by now, and been thrown into the red as a result. 
 
See it, because next week belongs to Where The Wild Things Are, which given Disney’s ownership of the Muppets will be the closest thing we’ll get to anything like Labyrinth for a long, long time; you know this, and after it, Zombieland will fade from your consciousness.
 
This concludes my public service announcement. Go Twins/Yankees, Dodgers, Rockies, and Red Sox.

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!

So after fifteen games of screaming for Section Five Twenty-Eight, and chugging more beers than should be anatomically possible, Mets security chose the top of the eighth on Friday to have a conversation about Big Man’s antics, and the top of the ninth–with the score 7-1, mind you, to try and remove him from the premises.
 
You gotta be kidding me.
 
Fortunately, Big Man’s either a silver-tongued devil or the crew came to its senses, because he was allowed to stay. 

end of plan.jpg
They may have assumed that leaving him to witness Sean Green’s performance would be punishment enough, but to everyone’s abject shock, Green pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
 
walk off.jpgCongratulations, Sean, you’ve graduated. Way to pitch to contact against a swing-happy basement-dwelling team that’s not your own.  Now kindly leave the stage, and never come back, you miserable… So and so. You miserable so-and-so.

the blase family.jpg

Friday night felt like the last day of school, from the slap-happy vendors, to the single folks with roving eyes, to those in the stands taking last pictures with their plan mates. If for no reason than this kind of camaraderie, there’s logic behind re-upping for next year. 
 
citi end of game.jpgRegardless (or “regahdless,” as it came out of my mouth late), there’s got to be hope for the next season of Mets baseball. If Chowdah can learn to pick up the ball better out of the glove, and Murphy can find a solid stroke, and some protection can be found for Wright and Beltran in the line-up, then the Mets will only have pitching and defense to worry about.
 
My hat’s off to John Maine, who pitched seven very solid innings in front of a crowd of dozens. I am truly excited for today, and Lord, was I not excited for Friday night.
 
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.

This’ll be a short one; I burned most of my time this morning watching ABC’s Flash Forward, mainly because I had quite a similar idea I put pen to paper on about six years ago.  Not that I enjoy dumping on ABC, but man, am I glad I was convinced not to pursue it. 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a television show that’s turned me off completely before its first commercial break.  Premise is fine… -ish, but within ten minutes you’ve got me questioning whether your two lead actors are supposed to be British or doing a horrible job of getting rid of their accents; you’ve shown me a vision of one of those cliched “big case” boards, complete with red strings tied every which way, and crime scene photos, and scrawled notes underlined desperately; you’ve played the “kid says something creepy” card.

Worst of all, you’ve firmly placed Kenny Rogers’ and Dolly Parton’s “Islands In The Stream” in my head.  And on a Friday, that thing ain’t goin’ nowhere.

And what was Seth MacFarlane doing there?  I know he’s a big Star Trek fan and perhaps he’s tight with Brannon Braga (who worked on Star Trek variations for years with diminishing returns), but come on; did he lose a bet?

Enough.

Eight fleshed out emails worth speaking to, six of which are notes of appreciation for the blog.  I thank you all kindly.

This one, about 2010:

“What do you think about Zambrano for #2 pitcher?”

I’ll put it as plainly as I can: one Zambrano was enough. 

One Hernandez brother was enough, too, though if somehow they could have taken the best from El Duque and the best from Livan Hernandez, and melded the leftovers together–now THAT would’ve been a sight.  Tubby guy with a high leg kick; slap a uniform and a giant foam baseball head on him, and you’re golden.

Perhaps Carlos Zambrano is the Michael to Victor’s Fredo, but the point is to get a front-line pitcher with some staying power.  Fire in the belly doesn’t erase two trips to the disabled list and a suspension this year.  Something’s been up with him for awhile, and the team doesn’t need another headcase.

I know that’s not a statistical analysis, and I know I’ve argued for the entertainment value of the whackadoo in the past.  Sometimes you go with your gut, and thank God you’re not in the business of making roster moves.

And this, which is surprisingly the only email vote about the off-season profile pic that wasn’t just “Murphy A” or “Santana B”; remarkable considering the number of wise-guys I know to be out there:

“Obviously [y]ou need to use the GQ shot of Wright.”

Lots of people want this one, though I think some of the votes are gags: I got a cluster of them, poorly-worded and profane (“f***in Wright with the bat”), around the same time my visit tracking account showed a blitz of traffic from a college out West.  I miss college.

The next highest vote-getter is Santana A, and he’s a distant second.

I’m down with the high-tops and the hair gel, but as I’ve told most of you already, the search is on for someone to stand in as Jose Reyes.  We don’t need anyone exact, or even close; if a septugenarian is willing to dud up as the Mets starting shortstop, I think it’d be hilarious.

**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’m in the middle of lunch at present, but I’ve just read something I’m sure I’ll want to talk about this evening.

So head over to ESPN and read a piece by Peter Gammons on expanding the baseball postseason by two teams.

And then, for a fun and informative graphic, check out work by Craig Robinson of Flip Flop Flyball, noting the best records in baseball since the start of the wild card era, along with division winners, wild card winners, league champions, and World Series winners.  (This was also linked to by Amazin’ Avenue in today’s “Applesauce.”  Fantastic.)

So read, get the knee-jerk vitriolic reaction out of your system, then come back here and get my take sometime tonight, before the Night Man grabs hold of me.

Honestly, the cooling-off period applies to me, too.  I had an immediate reaction, then thought to myself, “Why are you getting so worked up?”  Growth, my friends.  Personal growth.

Anyway, read, and then we’ll talk.

(ERRANT UPDATE: Been tracking the Times‘s fecklessness with regard to the Mets for a couple weeks now, not so much because they’re perceived to have a bias, but because they have a responsibility to cover Things Which Happen In New York, and they’re simply not doing that.

I didn’t want to point it out in the morning when I saw it because I wanted to give them a chance to fix it, but as I spend my thirtieth minute on hold with a credit card company, I’d like to point out that their Sports page incorrectly states the score of last night’s game [ignore what’s grayed out]:

nytimes.jpgI don’t know that I’d feel better if:

  • the article were written by a staffer (it’s the AP wire story), or 

  • if the headline of the article, after the jump, got the score wrong, too (it doesn’t), or 

  • if this hadn’t stayed this way for OVER SIXTEEN HOURS, or 

  • some combination of those, or all three.

This is unconscionably lame.  I know for certain the sports guys aren’t busy covering President Obama and his trip through the city.  The U.S. Open is over.  The Yankees have been guaranteed a playoff berth since about 12:30a this morning.

You’re telling me the guy in charge of making sure the sports board’s legit can’t find five seconds to get the score right on the link?

Next time I read a piece in the Times about Mets players’ lack of fundamentals, I’m going to mail the paper a box of baseballs wrapped in examples of their incompetence.

Thirty-five minutes on hold.  That’s it.  I’m hanging up.

By the way: yes, I’m still upset.)

**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.

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how this will work: 

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

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

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

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

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

Never mind.

Onward!

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

Santana A:

profilesantana1.jpgSantana B:

profilesantana2.jpg
Maine A:

profilemaine1.jpgMaine B:

profilemaine2.jpgMurphy A:

profilemurphy1.jpgMurphy B:

profilemurphy2.jpgWright A:

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

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

Let’s go Mets!

I may be setting myself up for punishment, but I’m no stranger to punishment.

So please note that my email address is now listed in the right sidebar, underneath the “Archives” section.

This should help those who might wish to leave a comment or question but don’t have a MLBlogs account, and thus can’t.

I look forward to reading good things.  I don’t look forward to reading bad things.  But I will kindly take either.

**

Fine, fine: the address is omniality [at] gmail [dot] com.  Come and get me, crazy Nigerian princes and chain letters.

“Their season is over.”

“It’s not over.”

“What are you talking about?  They’re out of it.”

“They’re not out of it.”

“Paul, they’re out of it.”

“They haven’t been mathematically eliminated.”

“…Yes, that’s true…

deserted stands.jpg…they haven’t been mathematically eliminated.”

Whether due to the weather or the emptiness of the ball park or the fact that I rode home alone the whole way–7 train to N train to R train–I felt pretty damned surly all last night and into the wee hours today.  My usual Mets batterymate was also not in attendance.  So the balance was shifted towards Yankee fans, with his seat taken by the girlfriend of the third member of our usual party.

It’s either too early or I’m too disinterested in rehashing the thought to make that clear.  Suffice it to say I sat next to two people who could give a damn about the game, and so I felt like a third wheel most of the time.  I didn’t know one could spend $300 on six months’ worth of a fan experience and still feel like a third wheel.

Maybe I just needed a second set of ribs.

deserted shake shack.jpgI walked up to the Blue Smoke counter and ordered, and so was in and out of the center field concourse within two minutes.  This is dangerous; if Mets games are to be this poorly-attended from here on out, I’ll need to do my damnedest to fill up before the game and stick to the beer, which is considerably less expensive.  Speaking of:

t-shirts 01.jpgThat’s the one that just makes me look like a goob’.  THIS one:

t-shirts 02.jpgShould please The Wife no end.

“Please to note”: I don’t know any of their names.  I’m not even kidding.  I have no clue.  We’re all dressed alike; we all enjoy beer.  That’s all I need to know, really.

They have a Facebook page.  I don’t have a Facebook anything, so I can’t check this.

Last night’s game against the Marlins (L; 4-2) leaves five or six nails left for the coffin, depending on your perspective; either you nail the coffin in five and bury, or you seal the coffin with the sixth and burial is incidental.

What’s been running through my head, though, besides wild ideas of how the Mets can save themselves from a losing season (think their competition turning into reverse vampires that can’t play night games and thus have to forfeit), is some light calculus on just what kind of record makes, generally, a playoff-bound team.

Example of what I mean:

  • in one hundred sixty-two (162) games,
  • a team can alternate wins and losses for seventy-six (76) games,
  • earning them a record of 38-38,
  • then run off a ten-game winning streak,
  • earning them a record of 48-38,
  • then return to alternating wins and losses for seventy-six games,
  • coming out of the season with a record of 86-76.

The 2008 Mets had a ten-game winning streak and ended with a record of 89-73.  Look where that got them.

“Dominance,” at least of a division as currently woeful as the NL East, would be a record of 96-66.  Which would be like:

  • staring down the barrel of 162 games,
  • alternating wins and losses for 44 games (22-22),
  • breaking off a ten-game winning streak (32-22),
  • alternating again for 44 games (54-44),
  • managing another ten game winning streak (64-44),
  • alternating AGAIN for 44 games (86-66),
  • then wrapping up with a final ten-gamer (96-66).

My point with all this nonsense?  Baseball is MUCH harder than it looks. 

Take a ball most people can fit decently within the palm of their hand. 

Try and hit it with a wooden bat as it’s hurled at you really fast. 

Then, if you hit it, try and make it three hundred sixty feet back to where you started, without anyone taking that ball and tagging you with it, which is entirely possible unless you manage to whack that thing safely out of bounds, which, if you ask Angel Pagan after last night, must take something like nine offerings to Ba’al and a carton of smokes to whomever decides where the fences should be.

Now get nine guys together who can do this over the course of three hours, almost every day, for six months.

Make sure they don’t get hurt, or if they do, that you have someone good enough to replace them.

And do it well enough to win as much as you lose, except for those instances wherein you play a team so bad or so not on their game that you can manage to steal a few.  Have as many of those instances as you possibly can.

Do all this well enough to do it over again when it starts to get really cold, except with more scrutiny, increased pressure to perform, and absurdly late start times (because it’s SO important to cater to people who would gladly watch at 7p or are upset that you’re preempting their programming anyway).

And do this with the expectation that, win or lose, if you got this far you’d better come back better, faster, and stronger, else some numbskull–raising my hand here–will label you forever a bum, who has no business doing any of the above.

I’m not saying it’s not worth it; I’m not saying these guys don’t get paid to do just this job.  I’m just saying, like one stops to really notice a bed of tulips on the first warm afternoon or really appreciates sleeping in their bed after a long day of work or really gets how good a perfectly charred burger tastes, it’s REALLY hard.

And that Carlos Beltran worked hard to get back to this life, in the face of not-yet-mathematically-impossible odds…

beltran in the lineup.jpg…that earns some REAL appreciation from me.

Even if he did go 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

betran prepping.jpgbeltran timing.jpg

beltran citi at the plate.jpg
Pictures of David Wright’s hitlessness are unavailable, due to the author’s desire not to screw up this stiff-upper-lip thing he’s got going on.  Hell, I’ve even got a sarcastic shot of Brian Stokes’s winning “Pitcher Of The Month,” but I’m not even in the mood.

I’m in the mood to watch Josh Thole stalk away from the plate in slow-motion after tagging out Dan Uggla.  I could watch that plenty.

Speaking of Uggla: in front of us last night sat a couple who seemed fairly even-tempered, until it was learned that the duo’s better half was combining her rabid hatred of Dan Uggla (which I enjoyed and stoked) with surreptitiously scrap-booking a Mets Program Guide and furiously doodling on a green-and-black Marlins cap (which I guess was promotional).

Now, Dan Uggla’s crimes against the National League are the stuff of legend: three errors, three strikeouts and a ground-into-double-play during an All-Star Game that the NL could’ve won if he’d’ve gotten his head together.  But it was as if she’d left an evil spirit after her departure.  The air felt colder in that seat.

Or, to quote and summarize from my friends, who were closer to her: “Yo, that girl was bats*** CRAZY.”  Fair enough.

I’ve little else to say, so I’ll leave with this:

a new board.jpg…which is the Mets Out-Of-Town Scoreboard.  Usually there’s some ad on the far left.  Last time I was there, it was an ad for MLB Network.  However:

a new board enhanced.jpgI believe this is the last of the game-action screens to go up.  Either that, or they’re planning for the next time a team scores twenty runs and the general board is not up to the task.  Either way, if it’s to someone’s benefit, I’m for it.

Next game for me is September 18th; I may try and stick a visit to the Bronx somewhere between that and October 2nd, versus the Astros, but I’ve been trying like hell to get out to Chicago all year, and if it’s between the Miracle Mile and River Avenue, I’m picking the Miracle Mile.

Adios, adieu, and away.