Catch The Wave

Lots of catching up to do. Been a helluva week…

ITEM #1–…Got a soft machine.

I cannot stand the Dallas Cowboys.

There.

I said it out loud.

Since I was a little kid, I always thought that Dallas got an unfair advantage in the games I saw — which was every Sunday, basically, since the Giants & Jets were both crap back then. If they were losing by a touchdown or less late in a game, you could be sure that Drew Pearson or Golden Richards would be the beneficiary of a phantom pass interference call. I was sure that GM Tex Schramm and coach Tom Landry had every ref in their respective pockets. Every break, every call, every fumble seemed to go their way. And Landry would stand there in that stupid fedora, looking like Washington on Mt. Rushmore. Not a smile, not a frown. A hole in the Stadium’s roof? “Why, that’s so God can watch his favorite team.”

BARF!

As a Giant fan, I don’t care if the NYG goes 2-14 as long as those 2 wins are over Dallas.

So this past Sunday’s game pained to no end. 33-20 — and it wasn’t even that close. The alarm went off a wee bit prematurely.

And to top it all off, Michael (“Dog-Eat-Dog”) Vick had a performance for the ages and the Philadelphia Thugs…errr…Eagles have climbed into a tie with the Giants atop the NFC East. And guess who the NYGs play on Sunday night? Grrrrrr…

ITEM #2 — Not A GASGASGAS 

So driving to work on Tuesday morning in my Heaven Blue Metallic 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle, I ran out of gas in the middle lane on Route 46, just before the George Washington Bridge. Whattafool…

Item #3 — 4-Way Street

The Mets’ managerial search got pared from 10 mostly uninspiring choices to 4 mostly uninspiring choices:  Bob Melvin, Chip Hale, Wally Backman and Terry Collins.  Backman is the popular choice, but only because the other 3 could use some Mrs. Dash to overcome the blandness.  Presser on Tuesday at the Citi to introduce the new Alder-Man.

The Met fan community has gotten a little testy waiting for the man to be named.  I can’t tell if this is natural apprehension on our part — our skin is extra crispy, we’ve been burned so often — or what, but I’ve heard even  the most level-headed among us take issue with Sandy Alderson’s choices and/or timetable.

I just wish the most non-level-headed among us weren’t so damn loud.

Also, belated condolences go out the Mets’ new GM on the loss of his father.  Been there, know what it feels like…

ITEM #4 — Playing to the tide…

Felix Hernandez won the AL Cy Young award. This has been hailed far and wide as a triumph for the sabermetric community. Rightly so. I think this finally put the skewer into the notion that wins — as an indicator of a pitcher’s ability – mean a single damn thing.  The cro-magnons among the MSM are having apoplexy and that rumbling sound you hear is Dick Young rolling over in his grave.  A new tide is rising; I’m happy to be a part of it.

Crazy couple of weeks coming up.  I’ll check in sporadically.

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Thanks.

To all the men & women who have ever served in our country’s armed forces, thank you for safeguarding all the freedoms we enjoy.

(PS — The day off doesn’t suck, either.)

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Waiting for the alarm.

In 2000, the football Giants made a great mid-season run and won themselves the NFC East and got a first round bye, improbably. They beat the Eagles handily in their initial playoff game, then welcomed Minnesota into Giants Stadium for the NFC Championship.

That game was the blowout of all blowouts, you might recall. At half-time, the score was 34-0 (en route to a 41-0 final). I was there and I was a smoker back then, so I headed for the spirals to pollute myself. I was standing next to another addict — a stranger — who turned to me and said “I’m just waiting for the alarm to go off, ’cause I must be dreamin’.” We both laughed.

I’m feeling similarly buoyant these days on a couple of fronts. The Giants are steamrolling the division once again (and schadenfreude rears its head as the Dallas Cowboys find themselves in a 1-7 quagmire and have just fired their coach.) There are rumbling of at least 1 New York team in the Super Bowl (question for Roger Goodell: if both New York teams find themselves in their respective Conference Championship games, who plays where when? But that’s a question for a later time…) Life is good if you’re a New York fan following the League where they play… … … … … for pay.

The other developments that make me sanguine about the future is the recently amped up brain wattage of the Citi Field front office. The hirings of J. P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta are such a sudden 360 from previous regimes, I’m getting vertigo. The Mets will have intelligent, reasoned, thoughtful and strategic voices in the back rooms, rather than the reactionary, atavistic, craven mob we’ve had the past decade. It seems they’ve vaulted from the Flintstones to the Jetsons in the space of a month & a half. It’s a beautiful autumn in New York, all-in-all.

BUT

The alarm might sound in the form of the Charlie Samuels scandal. For those not as maniacally Met-minded as I, Charlie Samuels was an equipment manager/travelling secretary for the Mets since the mid-80′s. Revelations have come to light that he’s been betting on football & baseball to the extent that he’s under investigation by the Feds for what his activities are and with whom he’s been associating. Needless to say, the Mets jettisoned him as quickly as they could have, but there will be questions surrounding his relationships with certain players, tips he’s received from certain players for whichever services might have been performed, even his living arrangements — he invited Francisco Rodriguez to stay with him in the aftermath of his punching out his girlfriend’s father and the resulting restraining order from said girlfriend. It’s all under scrutiny and I fear the facts as they come out. Suffice to say, this could make Kirk Radomsky/Brian McNamee look like a traffic ticket.

If it’s as bad as I fear, I may have to hit snooze…

Posted in 2010 Season, 2011 season, Giants, History, Mets | 3 Comments

A Voice Is Actually Heard (An Appreciation Of Howard Megdal)

Has anyone else noticed the surfeit of e-mails from the Mets lately?

I don’t mean the usual end-of-the-season mea culpas from Fred/Jeff/Saul/Dave Howard [translation]– “Dear Met Fan, I know we weren’t as successful as we’d hoped to be this year [We can't deny we stunk: 79 wins is 79 wins]. This is unacceptable [but we won't do anything about it]. We are hard at work to make sure this doesn’t happen again [We're reading the News and the Post everyday to see who the writers think we should sign in the off-season]. We hope the —- [fill in the blank] season brings us the pennant you fans deserve [Please renew your tickets for the ---- season]. With the talent we have in place, if everyone remains healthy, we’ll be playing in October [Prettyplease renew your tickets for the ---- season].”

Not this time.

Instead we got update after update on the search for a new GM — one a week at first, then every day as the landing of Alderson got closer. We’ve also had a missive pretty much on a daily basis since Sandy got here. We’re in the loop!

This was one key component of the plan Howard Megdal laid out as part of his campaign for that very same GM position. Though many poopoohed the idea of a talented writer running for a position for which you cannot run, I thought his “campaign” was just the right megaphone for the rest of us fans. This was the vehicle akin to the football Giants-fans 1979 airplane. This was our “WE’VE HAD ENOUGH!” Howard shouted what we were all thinking. What he wanted was what we wanted: Logic, Transparency and Passion.

Point 1 was handled by the Alderson hiring, and the subsequent hires he’s made.
Point 2 is allll those e-mails.
Point 3 still to be seen, but I’m confident we’ll see it.

Bravo, Howard. And thanks!

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Would Ws Lead to Ws?

Hmmmm…

I was scanning a list of potential free agents yesterday, bemoaning the probability that not a single one will end up in Queens. However, I did see a couple of names that might catch our new GM’s fancy.

Our new GM, Mr. Alderson, is quite famous — and rightly so — for being able to exploit “market inefficiencies.” A fancy way of saying that he sees something nobody else does. That comes with the territory of being the smartest one in the room most of the time. Anyway, a current MI might be injured, formerly awesome starting pitchers. In fact, he inherited one, Johan the (erstwhile) Magnificent. Arizona is apparently cutting ties with Brandon Webb, who has been brilliant when not injured. Perhaps a 1-year, incentive-laden pact might do the trick? It’s a pretty neat risk/reward scenario.

The other name is an obvious one, Philadelphia outfielder Jayson Werth. I’ve made no secret of my desire to see Mr. Werth patrolling Citi Field’s right field. I’ve been pining for the fjords since 2007.

I would be very happy if Sandy would lock up Webb & Werth, then call it a day.

But that’s just me…

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I’d Like To Think…

The World Series is over and the San Francisco Giants have brought a championship to their half of the Bay for the first time ever.

Congratulations! Sincere and heartfelt. The Giants are the dark horse I had my money on since the last week in August. People I’d talk to would say, “Wow, the Phillies are strong. It’ll be a rematch of last year, probably.” Last year. UGH! Last year, when I was rooting for Endtimes, rather than see either the Phillies or the Yankees hoist that trophy with all the flags stuck in it. When anybody said that, I’d retort with, “Don’t go to sleep on the Giants. They can match the Phillies’ pitching, if it gets to that point. I don’t know if they can win the whole thing — they probably can’t match the Yanks — but the Giants will be fun to watch.”

It’s fun to be right, for once.

Historically and vocally, the Red Sox have been my second favorite team. Always a distant second, but they were my next stop once the Mets disappointed me/pissed me off. For ages, I had an affinity with our northern brethren and their hatred for all things Steinbrennerian. We were comrades under the skin. I enjoyed watching the Lynns, Rices, Fisks, Yastrzemskis and Torrezes fight valiantly, if futiley against superior forces: my own personal Light Brigade. 1986 did little to shift that. I thought it was cute that “we” were playing the Red Sox, as I had supreme confidence — with a couple of ripples, I’ll grant you — that the Mets would win. So even after a head-to-head conflict, the soft spot in my heart remained for the Sawx. When they finally broke their “Curse” in ’04, I was as happy as any Backbay stalwart.

Until the Red Sox became insufferable.

They almost immediately became “Yankees North.” All those put-upon New Englanders suddenly became the obnoxious front-runners we were used to in the Bronx. All the literary darlings became the sneering, smirking mob that demanded blood every October. The Sox was dead.

Enter the Giants.

In case you hadn’t heard, the Giants used to play in New York, up in Harlem in a mythical park called the Polo Grounds — at which polo was never played — across the River from Yankee Stadium. In fact, there only is a “Yankee Stadium” because of the New York Giants. The football Giants still have the word “Football” in their corporate name, so as to avoid any confusion. So I have the New York Baseball Giants in my bloodlines. My grandfather — a bootlegger when that profession was fairly commonplace: I keep listening for his name in Boardwalk Empire — lived and died with John McGraw’s squads of the ’10s and 20′s. Despite working for the brewery owned by the owner of the Yankees. He was a die-hard, for sure. My Dad — and most of his 10 siblings — were Yankee fans, probably just to be “different” from Pop. Well, no, I take that back: my aunts were Yankee fans because they thought Joe DiMaggio was cute. But my Dad went into the Army in ’43, came back at the end of the War and got himself a college degree and a bank position, which came with access to Giants/Yankees/Dodgers tickets. Many’s the summer afternoon that his desk phone would ring and the gravelly paternal voice on the other end would say, “Can you sneak uptown with your tickets and meet me at the game?” More often than not, than answer was “yes.”

Until 1957, of course. There has been enough ink and pixels spilled over the events that ripped National League baseball from New York to cover the Atlantic twice over, so I won’t add any more here. The Giants lit out for San Francisco as the Dodgers went to the southern end of the state. Pop was adrift and the Yankee fans had their long-desired metropolitan hegemony. Dad remained one.

Until the Yankees fired Casey Stengel after the 1960 season. That’s when my Dad finally saw the light and abandoned the Pinstripers forever. “Casey got a raw deal. Screw you, Topping,” was the sentiment directed at the Bronxian ownership of the day. The Mets were born, Dad went NL and 5 years later, I went with him. The rest is history.

But let’s say 1957 never happened. Let’s pretend the GiaOdgers stayed put and there were no “Mets”. Willie Mays never left the Polo Grounds and New York got to see McCovey, Marichal and Cepeda up close. Jack Clark made his mark in New York well before signing with the Yankees in ’87. Vida Blue landed in Harlem once the A’s couldn’t afford him. Will Clark, Matt Williams, and yes, Barry Bonds all launched missiles into the PG bleachers and the funny clubhouse in centerfield remained standing.

I’d like to think I’d have been a Giants fan. Seeing as I grew up in northern NJ, they’d certainly have been geographically desirable. I probably would have chosen them as mild form of rebellion against dear ol’ Dad. I would have been at home in the Polo Grounds with the pigeons.

I’d certainly like to think that, today.

But, things are what they are, so LET’S GO METS!

Posted in 2010 Season, CharlieH, History, Mets | Leave a comment

Jesse Owens Part II

Hey, gang.

A quick note to say we’re moving my mother-in-law to rehab for hip #2 today, so I’ll be inccomunicado.

Ciao!

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