Thursday, December 28, 2006
Barry Zito is staying in the Bay Area with the San Francisco Giants.
Sources told ESPN's Peter Gammons that Zito will receive a seven-year contract from the Giants, with the deal averaging approximately $18 million per season. Zito will be formally introduced by the Giants this afternoon.
Gammons reports that Zito picked the Giants over the Rangers, Mets, Yankees and Mariners. In additon, sources told Gammons that the Yankees never made a formal offer.
I guess Omar Minaya will have to start working the phones in January.
And now I can't wait for the Mets fans who call The FAN to freakout for weeks upon end. In the end, it's pretty simple--Zito is not worth that much financial and time commitment. Let's see what the kids can do.
Friday, November 24, 2006
--Tom Glavine still doesn't know if he wants to come back to the Mets or go back to Atlanta.
Glavine wants to be home with his kids, which is perfectly good reason. But does he really think he'll get those 10 wins needed for 300 with the Braves quicker than he would with the Mets? Come on.
--The Mets new left fielder is Moises Alou.
If this was for the upcoming 1997 season I might be excited. But it's not. On the plus side, the guy willing to talk about pissing on his hands.
--Lasting Milledge might be on the trading block.
After all the negative whispers in the press, going somewhere else might be a good idea for Mr. High Five. But I would miss the Lastings Milledge Facts site.
--Heath Bell and Royce Ring were traded to the Padres.
Damn. I so was looking forward to more Ring my Bell jokes. Apparently this outfielder Ben Johnson the Mets received has some good potential. Hey, it worked with the X-Man.
--Jose Valentin and Orlando Hernandez were both re-signed and utilityman Damien Easly was signed.
In related news, stock for the makers of Ben Gay went up.
--Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and David Wright all made the Top 10 in the MVP voting.
One of these three will win at some point in their careers.
--3rd base coach Manny Acta took the job as the Nationals manager.
I bet he does well--but I hope he is unsuccessful 19 times next season.
--I got my Faith and Fear in Flushing shirt.
Jason from that blog swung by one of my gigs to drop it off. And the next day when I wore it at work two people figured out what the numbers meant in less that 15 seconds. I like working with Mets fans.
--The Mets bid 38-million for that Japanese pitcher, D-Mat.
And yet they lost to the Red Sox 51-million. 51-million? I wonder if the Mets bid had anything to do with my next item..
--The Mets new stadium will be called CitiField, bringing in 20-million a year for naming rights.
It could be a lot worse, it could be better. All I care is that the team is winning when the stadium opens.
--The Mets want to sign Barry Zito.
I don't know how I feel about this. I really don't. I know we need pitching, but Zito looked like crap against the Tigers...who got pounded by the Cards. Hmm.
I think that's about it for this season (there was some trade with the Marlins, but it seems kind of minor at this point). I predict Omar Minaya will make a couple of major moves between now and Christmas. And I hope they pay off next year.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Hmm, I always wondered why Guillermo Mota suddenly was able to pitch after sucking for an entire season. And now we know.
Of course, he must have stopped taking whatever it was in the post-season. And perhaps Aaron Heilman won't be trade bait now.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
"During the champagne celebration in their clubhouse, players gathered around several times and chanted "Jo-se, Jose, Jose, Jose," mocking the popular chant Mets fans crow when Reyes comes to the plate."
Oh, how I hope the Tigers kill them. I want to see Scott Rolen's arm actually fall off when he tries to slide into home plate.
Fuck them and that arch that looks like, well, think dirty and you could probably come up with the insult I won't dare write. Next year (I promised I wouldn't write that today dammit) New York is going to rip them apart.
Okay, that felt better. And this makes me feel better too:
Monday or Tuesday I'll get around to digesting the whole season, and look ahead to 2007.
The Most Expensive Ticket I've (Actually) Paid for a Baseball Game: $110
The Most Exciting Catch I've Ever Seen: Endy Chavez in the 6th.
The Most Painful Home Run I've Ever Seen: Well, that fucking .216 catcher guy. Fuck him and his fucking sunglasses-wearing asshole of a manager team.
The Most Amount of Free Giveaways Used at a Ballgame: 55,000 of those Let's Go Mets Towels.
The Most Amount of Items Thrown or Dropped at a Game: 34,456 of those same towels after A CALLED STRIKE THREE! ARGH!
The Most Amount of Complaints heard About the Mets Lack of Hitting: The long walk to the 7 train tonight in the rain.
The Most Painful Loss of My Life: Duh.
Ah, I can't go on. Thank goodness I'm going away for the weekend, so I won't have to hash this loss over and over again for 48 hours. 1999 and 2000 hurt, but this one was so much worse because I was there. I was high-fiving the guy next to me in the 6th, thinking we definitely had a win coming out way.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
You ain't a beauty, but hey, you're alright."
I haven't written a post this late (1:43 a.m.) ever for Zisk, but as I sit here with my 2006 Shea Stadium cup filled with some iced tea and a box of Cheez-It within arm's reach, I feel like I should write down some thoughts about being at tonight's game. (And I'm also waiting for my headache for all the noise to subside.)
--Even though my friend Jocelyn was nervous throughout (and threatened bodily harm to Billy Wagner in the 9th), I knew we would win after two moments. When John Maine got out of the bases-loaded jam in the top of the 1st, and Jose Reyes clubbed that leadoff home run. I could feel the upper deck shaking. And not just a little bit, I mean A LOT. It felt as though Shea could could have been on the San Andreas Fault. WOW.
--John Maine is my new hero. The ovation he got when came out was amazing. Oh, and you can ask Jocelyn (oh, and thank you AGAIN for the tix) that I predicted Maine would go 5 and 1/3, and that the final score would be 4-2 at 7:45 last night. Seriously, ask her.
--Some St. Louis fan was trying to heckle our section throughout the game, and when Paul Lo Duca got that hit (A HIT WITH 2 OUTS!), that Pujols wearing joker quietly slipped out.
--Seriously, is the post-season making Billy Wagner worse each game?
--Finally, the Irish night '98 hat is still undefeated, so I will wear it to Shea in less than 18 hours from now.
More to come later today; I need to rest up for my first ever, in person, Game 7.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Prior to my wife's candid comments (which followed Albert Pujols' post-double "stop and point to the sky" routine), I was skeptical about tonight's game, reluctant to open up and give this team another chance. (These recent games have truly taken their toll.) But when Allie took Albert to task I fell right in line. Screw him and every one of LaRussa 's Redbirds. John Maine, on the other hand, is the man, the unheralded kid who's going to get the Mets into game seven, the guy who nudges this wonderful season to the next level.
Side note on Prince Albert...his comments about Glavine not being good hardly merit a controversy. Aren't you tired of the endless parade of false respect across teams? I'd much rather have players engage in dumbass gamemanship, openly expressing their dislike for opponents, outwardly trying to antagonize each other. Nothing unites a team like a common enemy. Plus, there's something to Albert's assertion. It goes back to a comment, Otto, the custodian at my school shared with me: when Glavine gets the outside corner, like he did in his first start against the Cardinals, he, Glavine, is very effective. (I find Otto to be effective regardless of how an ump calls a game.) When Glavine doesn't get those calls, as was the case last night, hitters hammer him. But, you know what? To hell with Pujols. Until he's ready to sign a free agent deal with our beloved Metropolitans--I'm thinking years from now, after King Carlos has finished out his fantastic run at first--Prince Albert remains a cad and a loudmouth and an overrated hack (one skinny little RBI in five games?).
--Shawn Green is moving as fast as me in right field.
--David Wright misses having Cliff Floyd bat behind him, or he's distracted that the Mets Triple A affiliate will no longer be in Norfolk, because he has reverted to that slump he had in August.
--No one on the roster seems to be able to hit with 2 outs.
--John Maine is no Chris Carpenter.
--Chris Carpenter could be the Chris Carpenter tonight.
--That day of rest paid off for the Card bullpen more than it did for Tom "Maybe This Goatee Was a Bad Idea" Glavine.
--Albert Pujols started smiling--and hitting--again.But there is one important reason to not give up: You Gotta Believe.
I can't give up on this team (unlike some fans in my office). They have taken me on a great ride this season. And this ride I have enjoyed more than I ever did in 1986 (because I never got to see any games, only read about them), 1988 (because I didn't pay attention to sports) and 1999 and 2000 because I've been able to write down how I felt about it every day in this blog. At times it's been rather hard to nail down an entry, but it's been worth it wracking my brain 5 to 6 days a week.
And if nothing else comes out of this year, the Mets still got further in the playoffs than the Evil Empire. Ha!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
In another note about the dreaded Game 3, I guess everyone associated with the Mets hates Steve Trachsel now. This article by Bob Klapisch sheds some interesting light on the whole situation.
I still say Mets in 6.
Monday, October 16, 2006
1) Injury-filled outing.
2) Gutless outing.
3) Last outing in a Mets uni.
4) All of the above.
I didn't see a single pitch of the game, so I can't comment at all. But when people who I respect blog that "Steve Trachsel sucks. End of story. May he live a long and happy life somewhere else and not take up flying. Bon voy-ah-jee, uh-reev-a-doy-chee, get out of St. Louie screwy," I know it wasn't pretty.
So when I sat down for Sunday night's game, I did something I rarely do while watching a Mets game--I got dressed up. I figured with Oliver Perez on the mound this team needed all the karma it could get, so I wore my Brooklyn Cyclones shirt from the very first game they ever played (which has seen its share of comebacks over the years) and my 1998 Irish night green cap (which has an undefeated record). I also put the Mets 2006 Postseason Rally sign on the chair next to my kitchen (I used that for Glavine's Game 1 start, and it worked well). I also put away the first WFAN/SNY Fandini I got at the last home game of the regular season. The Mets lost that game--and I had that fandini in my pocket Saturday night in case it got really cold. Therefore, it must be cursed. I even switched to my lounge chair, since the Mets lost Game 2 of this series while I sat on my futon.
Boy, I was glad all that stuff worked. If there isn't a rainout tonight, I'm going to up the karma some more by going to the laundromat. The Mets have a .857 winning percentage during games I listened to while washing my clothes this year.
Playoff baseball might kill us all.
UPDATE (6:00 p.m.) As expected, tonight's game has been been rained out. I think I'll still do laundry though, as rain is in our forecast tomorrow night.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Two last thoughts on Thursday's game: Albert Pujols is turning into an asshole, and Tom Glavine is without a doubt a big game pitcher.
Friday the 13th came in all sort of forms for the Mets--John Maine not having control of the strike zone, Shawn Green missing a catch at the right field wall, two other errors in the game; and Billy Wagner becoming human again for the first time since the All-Star break. So it's 1-1 heading to St. Louis tonight, which is okay. I expected the Mets to lose the one Chris Carpenter start. They did win 8 in a row--now I expect a new streak of 3 in a row to begin.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
This guy posted all nine innings of this battle for the ages. Amazing. I won't give away who wins, but you can watch the 9th inning below if you care:
Monday, October 09, 2006
And then it happened.
And it was.
I could barely get to sleep Saturday night I was so excited. In fact, I woke up at 4:00 a.m., heard the Joe Torre rumors on WFAN, and then listened to all Yankee fans complain over and over again. They were using words such as "ashamed" and "embarrassed" followed up with "to be a Yankee fan." And all I could think was, I've never been embarrassed to be a Mets fan. Disgutsed? Sure. Annoyed? Yup. In physical pain? Oh yeah. But never embarrassed or ashamed. Being a Mets fan, you get used to a team choking (in Atlanta usually) and overall failure. I guess Yankee fans forgot the choke jobs of the past two years, or just wanted to forget.
Of course, the Yankees plight will cover the sports pages until Wednesday when the NLCS gets underway at Shea. Hopefully then the Mets will then get their due. Many sports folks "in the know" had written off the comeback kids from Flushing after the Pedro and El Duque injuries. But after seeing the passion this team displayed throughout this sweep, I have no doubt that they'll be going all the way...unless they only get three innings apiece from Maine, Trachsel and (shudder) Perez and the bullpen gets wore down. Then the offense may need to score 10 runs per game to win.
Lastly, one more comment about Yankee fans in this city of ours. It seems like there are three camps of fans in the wake of this losses. One camp feels that the World Series is their birthright, conveniently forgetting the Mattingly years (yes, the Mattingly curse is still in effect), and shows nothing but disgust for the Mets. (Yankee kiss-ass Mike Fatsesca is definitely in this camp. Sunday morning on what was supposed to be his NFL only show he just took call about the Yankees loss, and one point interrupting the 20/20 update when they played a clip of Gary Cohen calling Paul Lo Duca's go ahead hit. He interjected after the clip, saying, "Was that a home run? Geez, could he calm down a little?" What a prick that guy is.)
The second camp is heartbroken, but remembers how bad things were, and could care less about the Mets. The third (and very small camp) are the Yankee fans who remember the bad days and are people who who want New York teams to do well. These are people I can stand-- people like my friends Alli and Leya, who are heartbroken, but have wished the Mets well and hope they make it to the series. I must admit, I would not be that generous if the situation was reversed.
8 more to go.
Friday, October 06, 2006
"Tonight was probably the most relaxed I've been all year long. I don't know why. I was pretty nervous and anxious driving in today with [Billy Wagner.]" --Tom "I'm Also Terrific" Glavine
This morning my co-worker Doug summed it up best out of all the analysis I heard and read about last night's sterling performance: "At times I thought I was watching Glavine and Lo Duca play catch." Even though I was in left field directly under the scoreboard (more on my good luck later) I could tell that Glavine was on very earlier tonight. The way the Dodgers hitters flailed around reminded me of all the times Glavine pissed me off when he was pitching with the Braves. And after reading how poorly Glavine pitched during his last playoff series in 2002 (0-2 with a 15.26 ERA, gulp), I could understand why he was so candid in the postgame interview of WFAN about how nervous he was when he woke up yesterday morning.
What was also very satisfying about the win last night was the Mets not relying on a home run to get runs across (even though David Wright and Cliff Floyd came close). Singles, sac bunts, sac flies and heady baserunning drove the offense tonight. Some AL fans might like a more "bash 'em up" kind of game, but I'll take a well pitched game like this one any day.
Now for my good luck in getting into Shea. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that my friend Jocelyn has gotten me into some cool places at Shea through her connection at WFAN. She rang me up 90 minutes before the game was about to start and said she had an extra ticket, and they might be on the field level. I must admit , I said no at first because I was SO exhausted from the gig the night before, but then I realized I should, nay, needed to rally and get my ass on a train to Flushing. So I went, we got the tix from a great guy at MLB and sat in these amazing seats under the left field scoreboard. The season ticket holders next to us were very friendly and nice people and were the kind of folks I could see becoming good friends with over 82 games. And we were close enough to the "dream seats" to look at the TV's built into them to check out close replays.
Alas, there always have to be some morons at a playoff game. As soon as we sat down, I could tell these two drunken idiots two rows in front of us were going to be trouble. They yelled unnecessary vulgar insults at a random Dodger fans in our section and kept spilling beer in the aisle when they went EVERY HALF-INNING to get more. Then things got weird, when one guy took his two shirts (and BATTING GLOVES?) off in the 7th, waving one shirt around...and then started slapping his buddy's ass.
And then he did it over and over again.
One of the season ticket holders sitting next to me got her camera out and said to me, "I can't wait to catch them making out." Oh I laughed.
I can't wait for tomorrow night. A sweep would be, well, sweet.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
1) They'll be broadcasting Game 2 of the NLDS between the Mets and Dodgers, so I won't have to listen to those morons Buck and McCarver. I get to listen to Howie Rose spinning his magic, Tom McCarthy providing some solid play by play and Gary Cohen popping in for two innings to reunite the best radio team of this century.
2) After the game, Steve Somers will not doubt be taking more calls about A-Rod's dismal performance today. (I can't imagine what the Yankee fans are saying now on Mike and the Mad Dog.) What a joy to be able to catch much of the game from my desk at work. Every K raised my spirits just a bit more. And now there will at least be three games on Saturday, which makes my lounge chair anxious for some quality TV time.
How about 6 and 2/3 tonight Tom? That would be nice.
Yes, that's right, Carlos Delgado played in 1,711 regular season games waiting for a shot in the post-season. Mets fans probably expected one Carlos to get hot in the playoff--it's just that they chose the wrong one. In a season of watching Delgado, I've never seen the man looked so pumped to be on a baseball field. His shot--no, pardon me, I need to use caps here to appropriately describe it--SHOT to center field was the longest home run I have ever seen in a playoff game. When they start laying the foundation for the new Shea (or as I like to call it, Gil Hodges Stadium), I do believe they will find that ball buried 10 feet into the ground where third base is supposed to go. Move over Captain Intangible--Delgado is here to push you off the back pages.
Alas, I missed Guillermo Mota hitting with the bases loaded as Mike mentioned, as I was already at the private party gig we had in Chelsea. I had to stop listening when it was 4-4, so my friend Erik text messaged whenever the score changed. I was never so happy to step up to the mic as when I announced to the folks slinging back the free drinks that the Mets had won 6-5. I've tried to keep my October schedule clear with the playoffs in mind (I've turned down tickets to five concerts in October so far), but when someone wants to book the band for private gigs, it's good to take them because usually one private party can lead to another private gig, and so on and so on. Fortunately our regular Thursday Brooklyn gig is at a Mets bar and features a huge projection screen. (And Mets beer too!)
Okay, back to a few random thoughts about the game:
--John Maine did a great job, but that look on his face after he was taken out said it all. "I could have gotten those two guys out. Pleeeeaaase give me a chance."
--David Wright obviously knows how to raise his game as well.
--Cliff Floyd might be the poster child for cortisone by the end of the playoffs.
--Guillermo Mota obviously should only pitch one inning per game. That one inning is usually damn good, and that's all we should need.
--I did get to hear most of Gary Cohen back on the radio, and the guy hasn't missed a step from being on TV. His one-inning reunion with Howie Rose gave me that same feeling of excitement and comfort that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band did the first time I saw them on their 1999 reunion tour. I hope they go all the way to World series just so I can hear more of them together.
--Lastly, for the best article about the play everyone is talking about, check out this gem from Jason Stark.
Get us six good innings tonight Tom. And let's not have a repeat of September 8th with this guy on the mound.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
All right folks, the Mets took game one and I've got a bottle of McSorleys coursing through me. Mood: festive. Let's get to it...
Steve, don't punch any walls. And, just out of curiosity, are you swiping titles from the Henny Youngman joke book? ("I had a lengthy essay" ?? It's suggestive, that's all I'm saying.)
Willie, bases loaded? Two outs? Pitcher due up? PINCH HIT!
That bears repeating.
My god, man, pour it on! Get greedy! I trust the Mets bullpen too, but notice how that 4-1 lead barely yielded a 6-5 win? Please don't let Mota come to the plate like that again. Grab all the runs you can, my good man. And congratulations on your first playoff win.
Let's not speak of El Duque's injury and subsequent removal from the playoff picture. Raise a glass in honor of John Maine, savor game one, and bring on game two.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Yanks in 3
Twins in 5
Mets in 4
Padres in 4
Twins in 7
Mets in 6
Mets in 6
And now I will go punch a wall cursing this team's bad luck of the past six weeks
Monday, October 02, 2006
A) Cliff Floyd was batting leadoff to get him more an extra at bat or two during the game to see how his ankle was holding up after the cortisone shot.
B) The original plan was for Oliver Perez to only pitch three innings so all of the team's playoff roster bound relievers (besides Darren Oliver, who pitched Saturday night) could get an inning's worth of work. Randolph actually let Perez stay in an inning longer because he was doing a decent job.
Hmm--Maybe defend is too string of a term. Perhaps I should say clarify.
So at the beginning of the blogging season I chose to focus on David Wright and Victor Zambrano. Well, Zambrano didn't stay around long enough for me to write enough insults about him. So I wrote a great deal about David Wright. And that was a damn good choice. The second full year of his career was another magnificent one. He bowed on the national stage with shocking run at the Home Run Derby crown, and then followed it up with a home run in the All-Star game. He cemented his legend amongst Mets fans with a walkoff hit against the Evil Empire. He once again hit over .300, drove in over 100 runs and had 25 home runs, even with a month-long slump this summer. And he's only 23. Four or five years from now, how good will our third basemen be? It's almost too scary to think about.
So for the rest of the post-season (here's hoping it goes into a double digit numbers of games for the Mets), I will no longer using The Wright and Wrong Report moniker. It's back to titles I think of off the top of my head.
Tuesday the Mets postseason rally is happening directly across the street from my office--if I witness anything stupid on the street, I will notate it here. Also tomorrow we'll have my postseason-preview, which I will probably look back upon on October 29th and laugh heartily--or cry.
I'm excited--hopefully good baseball every night this week, and the season debut of Lost. This is why I love the fall.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
To paraphrase Phil Collins (and it pains me to do that), if you don't care anymore, then I don't care anymore. Since the magic number for clinching was reduced to one on September 13th, you've played as if the path to the World Series was already a given. It's as if you bought into your own hype coming from the media and moronic fans. The lack of focus and trying on the field has made me think I've been watching the Art Howe Mets. And since you obviously don't care and feel like you can just turn it on when you need to, I will be turning you off. The fact that I have to work during the next three games and won't be able to watch them makes that decision much easier. Sunday afternoon I think I will catch up on some DVDs and TV I taped over the past few weeks.
Thank you for all the effort you've given this season, but fuck you for acting all high and mighty these last two plus weeks. With this kind of attitude, you deserve to be upset in the division series round. (Not that I'm wishing for that to happen, but I will not be surprised if it does.)
Once again, fuck you.
PS: In case you want to see how a team playing out a string can still play with passion, watch a tape of last night's Nationals-Phillies game. I did after the trio of Gary, Keith and Ron couldn't come up with anymore funny things to say during the thrashing you took lying down, like a bunch of pansies.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Just checked the score again (I'm kind of like Charlie Brown and the football with this damn team) and I'm pretty sure that the current tally, 13-1, only solidifies my argument.
(Okay, the ranting is over.)
I was at Monday's debacle, my first loss all season. Still, I went 9-1 this year (12-1 if you count a Cyclones win and two Yankee losses), which is a mark I am sure will be hard to top. As I sat in my seat in the upper deck, I started getting that melancholy feeling I get when the end of the baseball season is upon us, dreading those nights right after Halloween when I go home and there are no games on. They're aren't enough episodes of Lost on to help me shake that feeling. Guess I'll have to watch my 1986 World Series DVD to get me through until Thanksgiving.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
We found the trophy in the right field field level food court, got our picture taken and then tried to figure out how much it was going to cost to get it printed (more on that later). As we decided to watch an inning behind the disabled viewing area, Nancy casually mentioned that she had touched the trophy even though they specifically said not to do so. In that instant in the bottom of the 5th, the Mets bats came to life. Shawn Green celebrated the New Year with a double, and the team rolled from there. We had made it back to our seats in time to see the horrific collision between the Nats' Nick Johnson and Austin Kearns. At the time we had no idea if he was paralyzed or what, so it's safe to say that both of us had a queasy feeling in our stomachs. (A broken femur is very bad, but at least Johnson's career isn't over.)
After a night of rock and booze throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, I came into the office today to do a couple of work-related things. I took the time to find our photo with the trophy--and then just about spit out my water when I found out the cheapest price to get the photo was the Mets Holiday card for $6.99. What a ripoff! A regular 5" by 7" print is 12 bucks. Damn, I got angry. So I did a bit of hacking:
I don't care that is says "proof" in the middle--I'm not paying 7 bucks for it.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Wow, we are going to miss him in the post-season. I swear he didn't care at all about the game tonight. Amazing.
That lackadaisical attitude will change this weekend, as I am going to Saturday's game with my friend from D.C. Dr. Nancy, who is a new school Nats fan (and occasional Zisk contributor) and an old school Yankees fan. (She remembers the Don Mattingly era!) I've also got ticket for Monday night, which is the last home game of the year before the playoffs. If they win both games, the Mets will have gone 10-0 with me at the ballpark.
They should make me Mr. Met for the entire World Series, that's how lucky I have been.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
To our contributors, issue # 14 is set to come out the first week of April 2007. Email myself or Mike if you have story pitches. We'd like to shoot for a bigger issue in the spring.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled Mets blogging below.
If the Mets go 8-4 the rest of the way, they'll get 100 wins, which I think would a) look good in the paper and b) show that this team didn't have a letdown from clinching so early.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Note to Paul LoDuca: in conjunction with your pitchers decide who's going to jump and who's going to catch when it comes time for the "run into each other's arms" ritual. Last night you and Billy Wagner looked indecisive and awkward when you settled for that anti-climatic hug. This isn't a Thanksgiving greeting for Aunt Marge, this is playoff time.
My favorite post-game highlights...
(Off-camera question posed to Cliff Floyd who caught the final out) Where's the ball?
Cliff: Right here. (Translation: Nobody's getting their mitts on this ball.)
21-year-old Lastings Milledge, facitiously yet innocently dropping his guard as he pointed to a half-empty bottle of champagne: This is my first drink.
Finally, our boys deserve even better beer (Bud Light? I turn my nose up at the stuff even when it's free) and a better soundtrack (BTO's "Takin' Care of Business"? What's in store for the division series, "Brown Eyed Girl"? "American Pie"? Let's steer clear of cliche. The less like a freshman kegger, the better.)
Now let's get back to business. How about a) 100 wins. b) A new Mets record for home runs and RBI by Mr. Beltran and c) 11 post season wins.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
I realize these metaphors are corny, but they pale compared to what was streaming through my mind last night just before game time. I was amped up. It had been a good day at school. Maggie, now all of seven weeks old, was awake and content, and the Mets were going to raise a glass and hoist a flag.
Then the Pirates crushed the Mets. Easily. Pittsburgh starter Pat Maholm breezed through the Mets line up and the Pirates jumped on Pedro for four runs in three innings, literally reducing the guy to tears.
Sure, the Mets are still going to win the division (and may in fact have already done so, I didn't stay up to catch the Phillies/Astros score), but losing that way to that team and watching Pedro crumble against a second-rate offense, well, it's simply not the way it was supposed to be.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Now, do they have 100 wins in the tank?
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Seriously, I could listen to these kind of conversations for an entire game.
Alas, the Mets will not clinch before I go on vacation on Thusrday, so Mike you'll have to describe to me what happens.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
The Mets won both games I was at.
I am now 7-0 this season.
If I had only gone to 4 more games, the Mets could have clinched today. As it is, they have a slim chance of clinching before I go away on vacation to Austin. If they sweep the Marlins, and Philadelphia loses one game against Atlanta, they'll do it. It's a tall order to ask, but a man's gotta have his dreams.
Friday, September 08, 2006
I'm not really sure what to write after last night's game. I was fortunate enough to be at Shea to witness Jose Reyes' sprint around the bases. I don't think baseball gets more exciting than that.
This is one special season. I am very glad Mike and I decide to blog it, as I hope that in future years I will look back on the entire year as magical and be happy I have a very detailed account of it.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Apparently Shawn Green decided that is was time for another "Turn Back the Clock" promotional day at Shea. Home runs in each end of the doubleheader, 6 for 8 for the afternoon. If Green starts playing like he's in L.A. circa '01-'02, this lineup could be truly scary.
And how about Dave Williams and Oliver Perez? Williams turned in another solid start, while Perez--who is the latest Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde on the mound--threw a complete game shutout. I'd hate to have to make the decision about which pitchers get left off the post-season roster in four weeks.
Can you believe that it took me until now to mention that this was a sweep against the Braves? Remember that team we all hated for so damn long? It's a team that is now 20.5 games back in the NL East, seven games under .500 and 6.5 games back in the Wild Card standings. It's the most impressive destruction of Atlanta since the days of General Sherman. And how great was it to hear the remaining fans in the stadium doing a parody of the tomahawk chop.
Beautiful, just beautiful.
9 to go.
UPDATE: Thanks to the Astros, the number is now 8. Even better. I predict the clincher will be September 17th.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Then came the track fire.
After the lengthy delay I got home more than an hour later than I expected, turned on the TV, found the channel that had the Sox-Sox matchup...and saw that it was already in the 8th inning. 8th inning? It was only 9:05--no A.L. game goes that quickly these days! Then I discovered the Astros-Phillies game was rained out, which led me back to SNY to see what Mets Classic they had programmed for the rainout. The '88 division clincher? Perfect...until Fran Healy's voice came in after I was watching for maybe 10 minutes at most.
I guess I can't watch any Mets classic because of that knucklehead. Dammit.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
If it's another one-hitter tonight, then I'll start to worry. Until then, I will watch this clip over and over again:
Damn, I love YouTube!
Friday, September 01, 2006
I needed a pitcher to start last night for my fantasy team, and I took a shot on Oliver Perez.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Perez performed just as well as the rest of my fantasy team--that is to say, really fucking shitty. I am only 2 games ahead in the race for last, but I am sure to sink there after this week. Thank goodness that season is over. But for the Mets, the real season is only beginning.
And wouldn't it be sweet to beat up on the Astros and knock that fuckhead Roger Clemens out of the playoff chase? That might be an even better feeling than carving that number down to 12 this weekend.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
"All the cats wanna dance with/Sweet Little Sixteen..."
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Okay, pardon the Ray Parker Jr. reference, but I am happy that David Wright seemed to coming out of his slump last night by going 3 for 4 night with 3 runs batted in. And since Steve Trachsel was on the mound, the Mets had to score tons of runs, allowing some of Keith Hernandez's craziness to rub off on Gary Cohen in the mile high city. I barely had time to scribble down all the gems that rolled by on SNY:
1) "They were those red you-know-what umpires." -- Keith on certain umpires who were hotheads
2) "I'd thought you'd have one first -- you know, you're Keith Hernandez." -- Gary, making a Seinfeld reference when asking Keith about the new CW11 shirts they got for when channel 11 makes the switch to their new network.
3) KH: "You gotta pay attention to me and Ronnie when we're in the booth."
GC: "I do--TOO much, that's my problem."
4) GC: "Pittsburgh is an underrated place."
KH: "For you!!!!"
5) KH: "Is the lighter air getting to you?"
GC: "Are you suggesting my mind is going?"
6) KH: "His follow through looks like a karate kick."
GC: "Well, Byung-Hyun Kim's father was a martial arts instructor. And Kim does have a black belt in Tae Kwan Do."
KH: "With the stronger players today, If I was a pitcher I would take karate so I could drop them."
7) KH: "Did you work out a little too hard today?"
GC: "I might have -- I'm just trying to fill the time between pitches you know."
And lastly, 8) Gary hummed the Jeopardy theme during the 9th inning while Keith looked for some stat.
Bring on more crazy! And 17 more wins!
Monday, August 28, 2006
The magic number is really 18? That's amazing. Onto the home of Kaz next.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Cooperstown by Andrew Mendillo
A History of Cheating in Baseball by John Shiffert
The Cleveland Indians by William J. Hughes
The Pretty Girl Says Yes! by Kip Yates
"I'm Krazy Keith Hernandez" by Steve Reynolds
Sox in the City: A Zisk Book Review by Jake Austen
(The Cincinnati Reds Have) Strong Dominicans By Shawn Abnoxious
Who Isn't Always Looking to Score? by Steve Reynolds
Not too long ago, my two brothers, Matt and Nick, my father Butch, and I, went for a road trip to the baseball capital of the world, Cooperstown, New York. This place is heaven to any true fan of America’s pastime. Within the small upstate town are the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and Doubleday Field, in honor of Abner Doubleday, the supposed creator of the sport.
Wonderfully, the local residents of Cooperstown have embraced the tourist attraction they call home by aptly tagging their local businesses with baseball themed names. When driving down Main Street, any long haired homerun hitting hippie can have their hair cut at the Grand Slam Hair Salon, or the Triple Play Barber Shop, where the Triple Play Special consisting of a shampoo, shave and cut costs only $15!
Now using baseball lexicon to name an establishment is adorable, but there is nothing clever about those two names because extra base hits have little to do with hair grooming. However, if you pay close attention to other Cooperstown storefronts and businesses, you will see some fairly interesting names. I was particularly fond of the Hit by Pitch and Putt, and the Strike Out the Side Walling. And I am positive all Cooperstownsmen and women fulfill there broom and mop needs at the Series Sweep Broom Hut.
If I were to suggest a place to grab a pint, head over to the Short Hops Brewery. Don’t drink alcohol? Then cool off with a raspberry smoothie at the Suicide Squeeze Juice Bar. Here, a lovely, busty brunette named Amy will serve you with a warm smile.
These institutions—along with the glut of batting cages and souvenir shops—make Cooperstown a fantastic sports getaway. But if you stay long enough, you begin to notice the cute baseball motif turning into a worrisome, yet manageable fixation.
In Cooperstown, send your unloved ones to the Extra Innings Nursing Home. And when they finally die, bury them at the beautiful and historic Long Gone Cemetery. Does your family have a crazy, World Series obsessing McMurphy that you feel needs mental help? Easy, commit him/her to the Off the Wall Insane Asylum. If your vagina is what’s driving you nuts, then set up an appointment at Batters Box Gynecology.
On a vacation by yourself and looking for some excitement? Rent a DVD at the Pop Up Porn Shoppe. Or for more one on one interaction, call the Into the Gap Escort Service. Don’t you worry if you accidentally knock up a Hall of Fame Hooker, because the Dug Out Abortion Clinic has two easy to find locations.
In case you do not want to get someone you know pregnant, feel free to take a load off at the Foul Ball Sperm Bank, where you can earn some extra cash. With all that extra money, make a reservation to see a local play put on by the No Balls Theater Repertory. Inside tip: the cast has their after parties across the street at the Cum From Behind Bar.
Cooperstown may seem crazy to an un-American baseball hater, but to a fan such as myself, I take pleasure in their community’s love for the National Pastime.
Andrew Mendillo is a comedian originally from Rhode Island. He proudly covers his receding hairline with a Red Sox hat.
Opening day, Cleveland Stadium. The Indians were there to protest the Cleveland Indians, with their Aunt Jemima, watermelon, Indian logo. That was a quote from a syndicated columnist.
The Indians stood in a circle, a hoop, heavy coats against the spring chill. The signs they carried spoke of racism, disrespect, and shame. The ball team’s logo. Other tribes were in Atlanta doing the same.
The early arriving fans filed in past the Indians, more curious than hostile. Opening day would be a somber one, the Cleveland fans still in mourning for the three team members killed in the Florida boat accident.
“Hey, hey what are we doing there?” a beefy security guard watching over the Indians wanted to know.
Two of the Indians, a man and a woman, were tying something to the chain link fence.
Now two beefy security guards wanted to know what was going on.
Each Indian was tying a short leather pouch, braided with bright beads and white feathers, onto the fence.
Two local news channels focused their cameras on the fence. An anchorwoman got a microphone near the Indian man and the security guard.
“What’s this?” the security guard demanded.
“These are medicine bags. For the spirit. For the three young men who died in the boat crash. We wish to send them safely along on their journey.”
“Oh.” None of that in the security guard handbook, so he got on his walkie-talkie.
“You say they are spirit symbols?” the anchorwoman asked.
“Yes,” was her answer.
“For the players who died?” she asked.
“Yes, a peace offering.”
The anchorwoman didn’t quite know what that meant.
The lead security guard got an answer on his walkie-talkie. He turned and looked up at the stadium’s office windows. Someone was on their way.
That someone, in gray slacks and a blue blazer, with the team logo on the pocket, came jogging across from the stadium’s lower level. He was younger, thinner than the security guards.
A few clumps of fans stopped to watch what was going on, the rest of the crowd filing past them.
The young man in the blue blazer wanted to know. He asked the much older Indian. “What are you hanging there?”—interest in his question.
“Peace offering.” Directly to the point. “A message for the other life.”
The big security guard spoke at the young man’s ear.
“Yes, yes, I understand.” Irritated. He spoke on the walkie-talkie. He looked up at the stadium’s office windows. He waited, he explained. He waited.
“Yes?” walkie-talkie at his ear. “Yes, yes, I see. Yes, I understand. Yes, yes, I’ll make sure of it.”
The young man was in charge. “That’s it, everything stays. Have one of the men make sure that no one disturbs anything. Got it?”
The young man nodded his head. The Indian man understood. The young man hustled back to the stadium. The Indians reformed the hoop, a hand held drum keeping an ancient beat.
(Epilogue: The Indians finished fourth in their division that season. The medicine bags stayed. So did the logo.)
William J. Hughes is a freelance writer living in Sacramento, CA. He has written five novels to date, including the novella Bottom of the Ninth. He is currently working on a story about American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War.
I had seen the Astros reach the threshold of playing in the Fall Classic many other times before—1980, 1986, 2004. They had come close. So close you could taste it, smell it, but each time they somehow managed to lose it. Monumentally lose it I might add. Three outs away in 1980 before the Phillies stormed back to win the decisive final game of the NLCS. Again three outs away from sending Mike Scott, a.k.a. the Met Killer, to the mound in the 7th game of the NLCS in 1986 only to see the game tied and then won in an epic 16 innings. One win away in 2004, needing one victory in two chances to beat the Cardinals and win the NLCS. They lost both.
In the fall of 2005, the Astros went into game 5 with a 3-1 lead. I let down my guard and believed that a series clinching game at home was possible. But it was also chest numbing. If they lost this game then they would find themselves in the same position as the year before, having to win just one out of two in St. Louis. This was a frightening thought. If you are a Yankees fan, A’s fan or even a Marlins fan, you don’t have many fears when your team is in this position. That is because your team has a history of taking care of business. If they have a 3-1 series lead and playing a series clinching game at home with their closer, one of the most dominating closers in the league, on the mound, then it is never a matter of “if.” It is only a matter of “when” (2004 Yankees excepted). However, Astros fans, much like Red Sox fans (2004 Red Sox excepted) sit in silence waiting for the other shoe to drop.
My wife Jamie had already kissed me goodnight and gave me a “looks like they’re gonna win” boost of confidence. I should have known right then, THEY’RE GONNA LOSE. So it was not a surprise when Albert Pujols launched a rocket 3-run blast that is still traveling through the upper stratosphere to give the Cardinals a game 5 win and cut short the long overdue celebration. To be honest with you, I cannot recall the ball ever landing, perhaps because I had already stumbled back to the bedroom in a stupor to announce, stepford-like in a monosyllabic tone, “It’s happening again!” Jamie talked me down from the imaginary cliff I was standing on with the false hope that they could still win it in the bottom of the 9th. Yeah right! I walked like a zombie back into the living room to watch another post season nightmare materialize.
I did not watch the news, listen to the radio, or read anything sports related for the next two days. I just didn’t want to hear it anymore. Instead, I listened to The Bravery all day long and noted how each song somehow mirrored Astros personnel. (Ed note: See Bravery-Astros players below)
Quite simply, I was going mad.
I waited the two days between games and never once let myself get pulled in until the evening of the game. One of the Astros best pitchers, Roy Oswalt, was on the mound for game 6 and if we lost, Roger Clemens was ready to go in game 7. For the first time since Pujols’ blast, I liked our chances. I admit I did not watch the entire game. My heart would have exploded by the fifth inning if I had. Instead, Jamie called me twice with updates. I knew the Astros were winning because she had promised to call only with good news. I checked the score from time to time but I just could not bring myself to watch. I guess I had seen enough and did not care to see how this one would play out. I cut the strings that had long manipulated my emotions and made me punch newsstand kiosks, cry myself to sleep, and sit emotionless in soul draining stupors over this team. They weren’t going to get me again.
Oswalt pitched superb and the game was closed by Dan Wheeler. The last out of the game landed in Lane’s glove. The ball innocently went up; he got under it and caught the ball with exaggerated joy, the kind of joy I had imagined a moment like this would conjure. Replays show that Lane almost closed his glove too soon, but if you ask me, that pennant winning catch could not have happened soon enough. After a quarter century of waiting, my baseball team won the right to represent the National League in the World Series.
I sit in here in July of the following season watching the Astros and the Cardinals play a meaningful mid-summer four game series. Four games separate the two teams. The Astros were swept in the 2005 World Series by the Chicago White Sox. The hitters still struggle at the plate. Clemens just rejoined the team a few weeks ago. Andy Pettitte is a shell of his former self. Some way, somehow it is different this year. It does not seem to matter as much anymore. I am still a huge fan but a huge burden as a long time fan was lifted by the 2005 team. They played in the World Series. Though they were swept, they were in every single game and a few breaks here or there and they sweep the Sox. The games were not viewed by many but were highly competitive. Well pitched by both teams with bullpens being the difference. The White Sox pen was outstanding and the Astros pen was less than stellar. C’est la vie! The pretty girl finally agreed to go to the dance with you and it didn’t matter if you got lucky that night. What mattered is that you danced. You danced, baby. You danced.
Bravery Songs Astros Equivalent
“An Honest Mistake” Brad Lidge (for his pitch to Pujols)
“No Brakes” Craig Biggio (just put me out of my isery)
“Fearless” Roy Oswalt (this is when I started to “believe”, a term my Mets fan friends overuse in abundance)
“Tyrant” Jim Hickey
“Give In” Jason Lane (for his propensity for striking out)
“Swollen in Summer” Morgan Ensberg
“Public Service Announcement” Lance Berkman
“Out of Line” Roger Clemens
“Unconditional” Adam Everett
“The Ring Song” Jeff Bagwell
“Rites of Spring” (Dear Brad… I love you! Love Albert)
Kip Yates is the father of River and (baby in October) and husband of Jamie. He is a lifelong Astros fan who's dream of watching his team play in the World Series came true last October. Being an Astros fan, Kip understands how important baby steps are for the franchise and hopes that it does not take another 40 years to win the pennant and that when they do, they get that long awaited World Series game win. Is it too much to be crowned champions even? Or will an older River or a yet to be named sibling tearfully place an Astros hat on Kip's grave 60 years from now in recognition that they finally won or “broke a curse.” As Jamie is prone to say out loud sometimes, “Just win the damn thing already.”
I was at a White Sox game where the team’s furry mascot was suspended for making an obscene gesture with a baseball bat. I was there when the Sox first baseman had a surprise pre-game epileptic seizure. I was in attendance when a trained frisbee-catching dog pooped in centerfield between games of a doubleheader. I was at a Sox blowout where a player made a meaningless throw to the plate so that the fans (who were chanting “Pizza, Pizza, Pizza…”) could win the Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas that were free with ticket stubs from shutouts.
I’m including my Sox Fan resume here because that’s the way Richard Roeper opens his new book, Sox and the City (Chicago Review Press). I can’t pretend to be the superfan Roeper is (he boasts of attending 1,000 games, I’ve only been to about 400), but I did feel that I was hardcore enough that probably nothing he had to say about Sox devotion would be a revelation to me. I was wrong. The book, ostensibly a nostalgic look back at the writer’s forty years as a Sox rooter, framed by his accounts of the homestretch of the Sox’ 2005 World Series championship season, elicited some unexpected feelings in my southside heart.
What I never realized before reading this book was that I was born a decade too late to catch the Sox years that I would have dug most. Basically, Roeper lived an ideal Sox fan life. In utero during the White Sox disappointing 1959 World Series loss, Roeper was born into a household of southside Sox fanatics and spent the 60s rooting for interesting, sometimes competitive teams. As he was hitting puberty the Sox fielded his all time favorite squad, the 1972 team that was anchored by the outrageous, ultra-talented slugger Dick Allen.
I grew up with the legend of Allen well ingrained in my consciousness (“Who was the first black manager in baseball,” a co-worker once joked, “Dick Allen—he ran the White Sox for three years!”), but as a toddler I have no genuine memory of the 1972 season. More importantly, when I began to attend games in the mid-70s the park was filled with teenagers and longhaired kids in their early twenties. The back rows of the upper deck were thick with mysterious sweet smelling smoke and the place felt more like a rock concert or a bar than a ballpark. Roeper was a teen during those years—he was at Disco Demolition, he was sneaking in gallon jugs of beer, and he genuinely understood the bizarre ways that in Chicago rock & roll and sports are allowed to intersect. The 70s, with revered peg-legged Bill Veeck at the helm and Zisks, Fisks and 3 foot afro-wearing Chet Lemons on the field, were a golden age of Soxdom, and being a teen during those years was paradise, as this book ably relates.
Sox In the City may be the best White Sox book that doesn’t prominently feature Shoeless Joe Jackson as a protagonist. That is not saying much, however, as unlike storied franchises like the Yankees and Red Sox, the Pale Hose have inspired only a handful of books. Roeper is a better writer than most die-hards, and he’s certainly better than most ex-athletes (reading a near-illiterate autobiography by my favorite player Ron Kittle was a devastating experience). Though the book is aimed towards Sox fans, the earnest devotion and love he has for his team would probably ring true with any sports fan. I can attest that Roeper’s detailed descriptions of games he attended in the sixties drew me in even though I knew nothing about his obscure favorite players. The book includes the obligatory, but heartfelt, tales of father and son bonding over baseball. It is chockfull of sidebars and special sections containing trivia and nuttiness (including a detailed description of the all time best highlight film clip—the time Carlton Fisk brutally tagged out two Yankees at home plate simultaneously). It also deliciously features plenty of excerpts from “longtime Sox watcher” Jay Marrioti’s doomsaying 2005 columns where he continuously declared the Sox dead to rights. Sometimes the author is a little too proud of his cleverness (he coins the phrase “bi-soxual” for fans who claim to like both the Cubs and Sox) but for the most part this is a solid read.
Roeper is an interesting figure because he’s primarily defined by who he isn’t. As a regular-guy Chicago newspaper columnist, comparisons to Mike Royko are inevitable, but to Roeper’s credit he is the least blatant Royko impersonator of the bunch. For one, he isn’t a rabble rouser (he goes easy on the Daley clan). More significantly, unlike Royko-esque, hard drinking, hard-living newspapermen of yore, Roeper is unashamed to be a bit of a nerd. When Allen, his favorite player, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated smoking a cigarette and juggling, clean-cut adolescent Roeper continued to shun tobacco—but took up juggling!
Roeper’s national profile is defined by him not being Gene Siskel, the late film critic he replaced on the syndicated movie review TV show that is now called Ebert & Roeper. Roeper is certainly a better writer than Siskel (Siskel was never even the best film critic at the Tribune), and he’s far more pleasant, clever, and personable. However, much of Siskel’s appeal was the course, bitter manner in which he would disagree with his hefty co-host. The arrogant, dour-faced Siskel was exciting to watch because he was not slick, which made the tension between the two critics seem real, like a deeply troubled marriage. Thus, despite being a better wordsmith and a more professional broadcaster, Roeper will always be branded Not-Siskel.
But Roeper’s Sox fanaticism is a realm where he can be his own man. Sure Siskel engaged in predictable Jordan-era Bulls boosterism, but that’s incomparable with being a devotee of Sox “greats” Cisco Carlos or Bobby Knoop. However, Roeper does lose me a little with his inability to separate his trade as a Hollywood hype man with the unglamorous world of 35th and Shields. Roeper obviously loves showbiz gossip, celebrity culture, and watching The Insider, and too often it seeps into his Soxuality.
It seems kosher for any writer to allude to cultural milestones like The Wizard of Oz, Gone With The Wind and John Wayne, but Roeper casually (and sometimes cryptically) drops references to movies like Dodgeball and Deuce Bigelow Male Gigolo, and he actually mentions Kevin Federline twice in this book.
Occasionally his pop culture references sublimely capture a moment in White Sox history (“Dick Allen was Fonzie before anyone had heard of Fonzie”), but more often they read as annoying, bordering on blasphemous (“Veeck— more of a maverick than Shrek”).
Here’s a sampling of some of Roeper’s Us Weekly-type references: “Those last games against the Twins? I figured they’d be about as meaningful as a third date with Wilmer Valderrama.” “Marte threw a 58-footer that would have been too low for Verne Troyer in a crouch.” “No hitters — they’re extremely rare, like quality Paul Walker movies.” (For those of you who don’t, or want to pretend you don’t, watch Entertainment Tonight, Valderrama was on actor on That 70s Show who dated a lot of starlets, Verne Troyer is the dwarf who played “Mini-Me” in the Austin Powers films, and I have no idea who Paul Walker is.) [Ed. note: Paul Walker starred in the first two The Fast and the Furious films. They were on cable, and I was bored.—SR]
The problem with these E! Network moments is that they don’t really jibe with the Old Style-swilling South Side Irish Sox fan aesthetic. Though, like all Sox fans this season, I’m certainly aware that references to a Sun Times columnists’ manliness can lead to mandatory sensitivity training, I have to say there’s something kind of prissy about these passages. I can’t quite close the gap between teenage Roeper sneaking gallon jugs of hooch into a rowdy Comiskey Park with a dude who compares a playoff race to an American Idol audition, including imaginary quotes from Simon, Paula and Randy.
But ultimately it’s Roeper’s southside roots and not his Tinseltown traipsings that ground this book. As he describes being on the field during the World Series pre-game (since there are few celebrity Sox fans he was the best the network could come up with) he isn’t arrogantly displaying a sense of entitlement. He’s relating the boyish wonder, and sense of disbelief he had while experiencing these unbelievable circumstances. He’s giving his fellow Sox fans a feeling of what it was like, because he knows we all deserved to be down there.
But on that point I have no envy of Roeper. V.I.P. treatment is nice, I’m sure, but I wouldn’t trade my World Series experience way up in section 548 for all the Bud in Wrigley.
Jake Austen publishes Roctober magazine and helps produce the public access children's dance show Chic-A-Go-Go.
I tried to help them figure out a band name from their earliest news that they were, in fact, a band. That fragile, new time, when everything is fresh and new and exciting and open. I cannot remember the rather extensive list of names that I ended up running in an article for The Neus Subjex, except one. It was one they liked.
It was Crime Spree. Or was it Crime Wave? I can’t remember now, but they ended up calling themselves The Cincinnati Suds. This was in homage to a “professional” softball team that existed in Cincinnati at one time or other. Early fliers for the band played on the whole “suds” ethic of the band. Lots of big breasted and big assed women in tubs of soap suds with captions like “It’s bath time.” They were pretty funny. I was close to the band then, as I am close to the band now. One time, while taking some pictures of them on a hot summer day, in the basement of a place they called The Red Alamo, I saw a 12 pack of beer move across the floor by itself, unassisted by any worldly means. Odd, unexplainable forces at work. It was something. Really something.
Like I said, I am close to the band. Somewhere along the line, even though they were supposedly named after a softball team, the use of the Cincinnati Reds logo played into their whole game. Adam, a guitarist and main vocal contributor of the band got a tattoo of the Reds “C” logo and where it would normally say “Reds” he had it spell out “Suds.” He wears a Reds hat while he plays, at every show. There's a local guy who will replace Adam’s hat with a Yankee hat at times throughout any Suds performance. I hate when this happens and refuse to take any pictures or show any form of acknowledgment when Adam is wearing that fucking Yankees hat. I see any baseball fan as either a Yankees or Red Sox fan (as well as their home team, first and foremost, of course) and that being said, I’m more Red Sox. So that means, I cannot endorse the Yankees thing. Instantly though, Adams tattoo, it was a fucking hit. I remember an evening when I was visiting him, he had just arrived from Louisville (where he lives) for a Suds appearance at a local Cincinnati dive. Me, him, and Grandaddy (drums, secondary vocal contributor to The Suds), his wife Angela (who I refer to as “Fair Angela”) and two other locals were sitting around talking baseball and the dreams of the Reds making it past the regular season (which we agreed would happen) and the totally insane dreams of them making it past the playoffs to the World Series (which we all realized was an even more impossible dream). Adam had just gotten the tattoo in question and Fair Angela was giving him all kinds of shit about it, about it being stupid. And her, doing this while a pork chop was on the roof, just outside the window, as an experiment maybe, I’m not sure, but ants were all over the discarded piece of meat, a whole story above the ground level of the residence. It was a perfect setting. A place of marvel.
Some one calls Aaron Harang “The Harang-a-tang” and everyone in the room laughs. Well, everyone except Angela who is still accosting Adam for his new tattoo.
They are all Dominicans. And I love them all. They have the gusto, all of them, and are happy to be playing the game. When the sign of the cross is made on their chest, just before they bat, and after they adjust their cups. It means something big will happen.
And my dad, captain of the Cincinnati Reds, was in bad shape. Lying in the hospital bed, the prospects of open heart surgery were not looking good. In fact, just a few hours later, after an angioplasty, the hopes of any form of open heart surgery were squashed. His heart was too damaged in the wrong places. They put in a stint, and he got as ok as a guy who had three heart attacks would get. He now leads my mom in the heart attack series 3-2. And he is close to death and taking about the Reds to me while hooked up to oxygen and IV’s and all that hospital shit. He talked about me getting a Reds hat to wear at a game that my brother and I had promised to take him to earlier, before this latest attack of the heart. To diffuse the seriousness of the situation, I joke. I tell him that I want one of the fitted ones, the kind you get at the mall, and I want his number embroidered on the back, the number he would have used if he had become a Cincinnati Red, and become their captain, as he said. He said he would have used the number nine.
Humble. I appreciate the humbleness of the Dominicans. Just happy to be there. I am not ashamed to admit that I first learned about the term “humble” from watching the animated movie Charlotte’s Web and Wilbur, but I most associate it now with Jesus Christ who along with Wilbur is a prime example of humility. Did I mention that our Dominicans are strong? Because they are.
And here we are in right field. My brother, me, and my dad, captain of the Cincinnati Reds. I’m wearing an adjustable Reds hat, like the ones they wear when playing at home, and I bought it for $4.97 from Value City. It’s about a week and half until I leave for Florida to get married. This night at the ballpark is sort of my bachelor night out. My dad marvels me by reading the players on the field, telling me how they are feeling and how they are standing in all the wrong spots. Well, mostly players from the Rockies are standing in the wrong spots. Maybe that’s why the Reds won that night, or that's what he said. One of the Rockies eats M&M’s in-between batters and this infuriates me, despite him being on the team that I want to be defeated. It just looks bad. And my dad agrees. My brother, DeWayne, has a great time and watches a family three rows up from us eat nachos with hot peppers and cheese. We get up at the seventh inning to walk around the ballpark. We check in on the bullpen, I buy hot dogs for all of us. We get yelled at from stadium security for standing in all the wrong spots and can’t find a drinking fountain anywhere, which forces us to take another loan out for sodas. My brother tells me to cherish the coke and sip on it slowly, ‘cause he put his house up as collateral for his snack-loan.
I appreciate them for their unfriendly-jersey names. The Dominicans. Encarnacion. Lopez. Freel. Phillips. Griffey. Aurilia. Dunn. Harang. Coffey, all of them Dominicans. My Dominicans—and I declare them strong. I love each of them. In the end, though, I realize that the Dominicans will decide the World Series, them and their brothers. The boys of summer. It will be the team with the strongest Dominicans that will rule the day. That, mien friends, is my prediction, and afterwards they will go shopping at the malls with their brothers and sisters.
Shawn Abnoxious is the editor of The Neus Subjex. You can contact him at MySpace.com/ShawnAbnoxious and at TheNeusSubjex.com. Check out the Cincinnati Suds at MySpace.com/CincinnatiSuds.