Thursday, November 5, 2015

Losin' in Amazin' Fashion

(I just got internet in my new apartment today, Thursday, November 5. This was written on Tuesday while on the B train heading into the city from Brooklyn.)

On Monday, I treated everything that had happened on Sunday night as a New Orleans-type 2015 New York Mets funeral, marching around Brooklyn in my new Orange and Blue Mets 2015 World Series cap, my Mets Mitchell & Ness Jacket, and my Green Jets shirt. Neither team had played well the day before, though no one had anything at all to say about the football team.

"Yo, what happened last night, man?" Said a man in a Brooklyn Nets hat as I passed New York Avenue and Snyder Avenue.

"We didn't get it done, but it's alright. We'll be more athletic next year and beyond."

"We need to get a closer that can shut it down!"

"It's not Jeurys' fault (Other than the one quick pitch too many in the 1st game.) We need to make plays behind him! It's alright, we're gonna take it all next year!"

"Hey, man. They could go back next year. Gotta get it done."

I passed a group of 5 school kids somewhere between Rogers and Bedford Avenues, probably somewhere between the ages of 7 and 12.

"The Mets are not winning the World Series, bro."

"That is now officially true."

I should have added "...smartass," to the little twerp. All in good fun.

I got to a Staples Print Center, and while waiting on line for a computer, a middle aged man with very heavy bushes of hair in his ears sat on a chair off to the side. I asked him if he was on line, he just pointed at the computer and muttered something. I didn't really understand what he said, but I understood his next words.

"What happened last night, man."

The conversation continued and so on and so forth.

On Church Avenue, next to the old Dutch Church, a man in a Yankee hat of some New Era nature stuck his head out the passenger's side of a moving car.

"What happened, man?"

"Wait Til Next Year!"

And that's all I could think of after the Murph and Clippard debacle from Game 4; the parallels to another young National League team of this region, whose old adage, "Wait Till Next Year" kept their faithful sane and warm through the winter. I hoped it wouldn't be the case the next night, but unfortunately, Game 5 became even more devastating than the 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers parallels I had started drawing up.

You see, the 1941 Brooklyn National League Baseball Club hadn't been to the big show since 1920 and had never won a championship in the World Series era.  After just inching out the Cardinals for the pennant, the young team was poised, at home in Ebbets Field on Bedford Avenue and Sullivan Place in Flatbush, to tie the experienced North Neighbor Yankees 2-2 in the series. Up 4-3 with no one on, 2 out and a 2-strike count to Tommy Hendrich, Hugh Casey unleashed a curveball that was swung on and missed, but ate up catcher Mickey Owen, allowing Hendrich to reach 1st base. The Yankees rallied from there and won 7-4.

Unlike OUR Game 5, the Yankees controlled that one throughout, where the Bombers' Tiny Bonham outpitched Brooklyn's Whit Wyatt and New York (A.L.) won 4 games to 1.

What's even spookier for a series that was played on Halloween was that Ebbets Field, whose facade was mirrored by our Citi, also saw it's home team lose 4 games to 1 in its inaugural World Series in 1916, against the Boston Red Sox, although, oddly, Game 5 was back in Boston back then.

So, after marching around happily mournful yesterday (attempting to let the belief that the Mets are about to get more athletic as the Minaya position players start fading away keep me smilin') Tuesday is a different story. Combined with the fact it's unseasonably 70 today, I left my hat and jacket at home, only dressed in jeans and an orange Knicks shirt. I didn't want to talk about it anymore. I just wanted to write about it.

This season started with me heading down to Washington on a Megabus at 5 in the morning to catch the afternoon game between the Nats and the Mets. It brought me back down to Washington in September for one of the greatest times I've ever had watching this team on the road. It brought me to work at Citi Field for Two Boots from Mid-September all the way through the last game of the year, which turned out to be in November and turned out to be the WORLD SERIES. It may not have turned out the way we wanted to, but I can't say I didn't have fun.

I had the time of my life, but now I've got work to do. I've got an new apartment that I OWN to get together and a life to attend to.

But I'll have the Mets on my mind the entire time.

Wait till Next Year indeed.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Once in a Lifetime

A year ago, somewhere out in the webosphere, whether it be Facebook or twitter or to an email chain, I said congratulations to the Giants on winning that Orange and Blue World Series, and said here's to Orange and Blue being only on ONE side of the equation next year.

Though the same blue on the American League side of things is still Royal, the marriage of Orange and Blue is only happening on the National League side in the form of their Metropolitan Baseball Club.

And let's be glad there's no red anywhere to be found.

I just bought a place today. Closed on it and everything. A one-bedroom in East Flatbush. The main reason I was able to do this is because I had a grandpa who worked for Buena Vista Distribution, loved his grandchildren, and got them some Disney stock when they were born. That stuff just opened up some once I turned 30. 

The apartment is a couple blocks from Holy Cross Cemetery, which was another inadvertent move on my part to near a Brooklyn Dodgers landmark, the other couple times in my life just bringing me to near the land of Ebbets Field. This time, however, it's not just a Dodgers connection, but the final resting place of the greatest manager the Mets have ever had, Gil Hodges. I took one more look at the apartment today early before the scheduled closing time, and naturally, knew I had to go see his grave. On a day like today, it only made sense.

My realtor, who is a Mets fan as well, walked over with me to take a look. Having directions from the Brooklyn Trolley Blogger Mike Lecolant ("Go in the main gate on Brooklyn Ave. It's just off to the left....not far from the perimeter gate at all.  Obviously, look for the only headstone with pebbles on top of it") we ventured forward. Right after we walked in, a sanitation worker in a regular car drove through the gate. When he got out of the car, I asked, "Do you know where Gil Hodges' plot is?" "No, I didn't even know he was in here till now. Great jacket, by the way." "Thanks." We headed off and soon found out that it was as easy to find as Mike said; A shiny Orange tombstone with a faded Brooklyn Dodgers hat on top being held down by one of those stones Mike was talking about. It was a bittersweet moment; Gil died much too soon at age 49. 

The sanitation worker came over to take a look, and it turns out his name is Andrew and he's a huge Mets fan, as can be seen by his Instagram. He's friends with Darren Meenan of the 7 Line as well as Keith Blacknick of Mets Police, and he also knows a Mets pin guy, who had recently sold him a few. He offered to give each of us a Mets pin, since he had already purchased them anyway. We graciously accepted, as I yielded a full Mets logo for this Mets logo on a city shield. I had recently read about World Series press pins, and so I felt as if I had just been handed my very own World Series pin. Thanks, Andrew, and as you said, serendipitous indeed.

(I also got a real kick from these Delgado and O'Shea tombstones next to each other.)

I did not leave anything on top of the tombstone, as I later thought I maybe should have done, to pay respects as well as add a little Metsian flare with the Brooklyn hat the only item. I thought later on, I should have left the Mets pin, but in the moment, it didn't feel like the thing to do. Adding an extra Mets badge to my Mets jacket felt right after I had been presented with a gift. I have thought that when I get another chance, I'll go leave a Mets Orange rally towel, and a part of me wishes I already had before game 1. But I've also said my superstition this year is that there are no superstitions. I think the visit alone on the day I closed on my first owned property in Brooklyn on the day the Mets play their first World Series game in the history of my full-on Mets fandom that is also the day 29 years ago they won their 2nd World Series is omen enough. 

I sure hope so, 'cause these last few days have me on such a surreal high that I want it to continue with the Mets truly adding the cherry on top. 

3 is a good number.
Let us make it so.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Back to the Present

I have a feeling, if I were to look hard enough, I'd have already found that headline out there about what the Mets have just done to the Cubbies. Not only did I not look hard enough, I didn't look at all. No need. 'Cause that's how I feel. Welcome to the present, baby.

Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
My favorite part about this is the camaraderie in the city, the landscape covered in a hue of Orange and Blue, and the focus on actual baseball.

Since mid-September, I have been working Two Boots Pizza in center field at Citi. Besides my initial few days coinciding with the worst home stretch of the year for the Mets, I noticed that there was generally a crowd on line throughout the entire game, or at least before the 7th. The Yankees series had the most people, and was basically split down the middle Yankees/Mets fans buying pizza. The Washington series had some folks on Sunday, the 1-0 90th win, since Saturday, the doubleheader, was just a miserable weather day, though there was a rather sizable contingent to witness the 2nd no-hitter thrown against the Mets in the year. Anyway, my point is, from a concessions standpoint, none of us, fans and Citi Field workers alike, knew what to expect when it came to playoff baseball at this place. 'Cause it hadn't existed yet.

And here's how you gauge what's most important in the playoffs.

We open around 5:30 for these 8 o clock starts, and from about 6:30 on, the pizza line doesn't stop flowing. Once the game starts, however, it completely dries up, and I loved it. Once the game started, everyone's focus was on the Mets playing baseball. Occasionally, they'd trickle in for more pizza and beer, but those moments were timed around breaks in the action. Because you can't miss the Mets baseball being played.

We're not talking about payroll, or whether a player is on the coach's badside, or whether they should pick up an option, or a confrontation at a press conference, or Ponzi, or Jason Bay and his contract (though I did watch a highlight reel of Jason as a Met on youtube recently...yes, there were enough moments to put that together...)

We're talking about the Mets playing World Series baseball this October.

4 more to go...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday First, But a Tuesday Guaranteed

No matter what we think about Saturday's ugly and league-shaking situation, that's done and over with, and guaranteed 2 games at Citi Field. I'll take that any day. Or two. And I'm guaranteed to be there working at Two Boots Center Field. With the Center Field big screen always in my view.

Regarding the slide, I'm done, I've been ranting and debating it for 2 days now, and it looks like for dramatic purposes, Chase Utley will be there tonight, introductions and all, to bask in the Mets fans' venom. Remember, this is someone who once told the Yankee Stadium All-Star crowd, "Boo? Fuck you," before the TV feed quickly cut away. He'll flip the finger right back.

So, it's go time, with none other than Matt Harvey on the mound, just the way he scripted it all those endless nights when he sat at his typewriter while he couldn't pitch, furiously banging at the keyboard till the sun came up and he woke up drooling on the greatest screenplay ever written. This is what he has wanted. This is what WE have wanted. And we get to do it to those dirty, good for nothin', low-down stinkin' bums who deserted these here parts those many years ago.

Well, that brought on a new era, a new world, a New Breed. And the newest of that new breed gets their first crack at letting the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club know their rooting in the stands.

Step right up. And...

Friday, October 9, 2015



In October 2006, in the living room of a friend of mine not into baseball at all, I watched Endy Chavez make an incredible catch...and subsequently Aaron Heilman, Carlos Beltran, and a nasty curveball that absolutely pissed me off.

In September 2007, my friend Ted, a huge Phillies fan I've discussed on here before (in fact, first) texted me something I can vaguely remember now, but my response might have straight up been, "What are you talking about?"

To which he responded...

"Do you know what's going on?"

He had snapped me out of a season-long credit-card-max-out-inducing vinyl disc binge I had been going on, and I got back just in time to watch the 1st inning (or 1/3 of...) of Tom Gl%£¥ne's non-devastating 7 run performance. I vowed to never NOT follow the Mets daily again.

In September 2008, in a White Plains bar, I watched the bullpen put a bow on a very exciting yet uneven, odd and bittersweet last season of Shea Stadium baseball. About a week before that, I watched on the SNY Plaza monitor Daniel Murphy, who led off with a triple, get stranded on 3rd in the 9th inning against the Cubs. A disgruntled fan, with as thick of a New York accent as you can imagine, walked away, exclaiming, "Dey Stink!" Luis Alaya blew it right thereafter. I shook my head at Lee Mazzilli.

I got myself to Shea Stadium the next night, my last time ever in the building, and the Mets walked off on the Cubs in what everybody knew was an evening too late.

In October 2009, after the worst season, still to this day, I ever experienced as a baseball fan, I watched the Yankees take on the Phillies. I rooted for the Phillies...eesh.

October 2010, I watched Sandy Alderson introduce himself.

October 2011...

October 2012...




In August, I found out that the friend whose house I watched 2006's Game 7 at, whom I hadn't really seen since 2009, overdosed back in April and passed away. Besides being the first person my age (30) to die that I once spent a lot of time with, he died, unbeknownst to me till August, while I was in the middle of writing the 1st draft of a screenplay that takes place during the time I knew him. 

Now, I don't mention this to bring the mood down, but my point is how long 9 years really is. A lot can change in that matter of time. And I, and we, have been through a lot as Mets fans in that time.

I thought about my former fandom some as I watched the Yankees and their fans go down in 1 game. I have an interesting perspective as having been raised in the Yankees world in my initial baseball years, then coming of age and becoming a Mets fan as an adult (the way I see it, I was born again, and now have been thoroughly raised in Mets fandom.) While Mets fans can sit in their anxieties that the other shoe will eventually drop, Yankee fans are cocky about the ghosts eventually emerging and swinging things the navy pinstripes' way, or at least that was the attitude till 2004. 11 years of a different world where the Yankees no longer dominate the Red Sox and have only been to and won only 1 World Series might have quelled that inevitable feeling for those fans, but while watching that Wild Card game, I couldn't have felt farther removed from the Yankee fan mindset.

I stopped having fun in my Yankee fandom. I have, including during my time rooting first and foremost for the Yanks, never not had fun rooting for the Mets.

We New Yorkers are lucky.

Unlike other towns, where the only flags you see flapping are Phillies flags, or Indians flags, or Red Sox, or Cardinals, or Brewers, etc. you see not only the local baseball flavor worn here, but basically every other team in all of human sports accounted for, since New York is a domestic and global phenomenon. In the 4 major U.S. sports, we have 9 local sports teams to mix and match with.

And in baseball, over here, we choose the Mets. In reality though, the Mets chose us.

And it doesn't matter how shallow or deep our playoff run ends up being.

After 9 years, I am about to have the time of my life.


(Thanks to Greg Prince of FAFIF for the song selection. Only one that makes sense.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We Finally Go to 12

I have just been driving through the night from Chicago to New York, so I am exhausted and ready for more than the hour I got at a rest area in Pennsylvania, but I had to chime in before I went to sleep about last night's game...

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
I was on the road while listening, and when we went down 7-2, it didn't even occur to me that, once again, the potential for 12 games over .500 was in jeopardy, though the whole thing had been on my mind earlier in the day and after the last game in Colorado. It didn't cross my mind in the moment at all. I, in some ways, had forgotten of that fact. In FACT, I was at ease. I don't know whether I was at ease about the potential for a loss or at ease because I knew, or...echem...excuse me...BELIEVED...this team would come back. Maybe it was just the peacefulness of the road at sunset heading east, but whatever it was...

...isn't it a weird feeling?

I've been monitoring this whole 12 games over thing for a long time. I remember we had a chance against the Yankees in the Bronx in 2010, and lost 5-3.

The 2012 team didn't make it above 8, which they hit 2 days after the no-hitter on Sunday ESPN baseball in the black with a 6-1 win. Things felt pretty awesome that evening. The win put the Mets, Nats and Marlins in a 3-way tie for 1st. We lost the next day to the Cards 5-4.

We had a chance this year heading into Yankee Stadium to rake off 12 wins in a row, which at the time, would have brought us to 11 over. I didn't think about the correlation either last night, but deGrom got roughed up and we lost 6-1. Did something tell me it would be different this time? Maybe it was still the elation of Wright's comeback home run hanging in the air, giving it a free feeling of no worry. Or maybe it's because the 2015 New York Mets is the team that's supposed to turn the knob higher. There's no point in making 10 louder. The volume should always go to a greater plain of numbers.

At this point, though, the only number that matters is 5 1/2 games up. And whatever that number is at the end of the year, as long as it still involves the word "up" and not "back."

There is only one sentence "back" should be used in....
Alright, time for bed. Happy to be BACK in the City ⚾️

PUSH⚾️ PAST⚾️ 13⚾️