Don't know who was playing the Bowery Ballroom, but if it was Joe Cocker, I hope you gave Sloanie, presumably following the tour in a van, our regards. I doubt he's any more amenable to interruptions in person than he is via phone, pager or text.
AREN'T YOU PAYING ATTENTION? HIS BABY SHE WROTE HIM A LETTER! SAID SHE COULDN'T LIVE WITHOUT HIM NO MORE! AND YOU WANT TO TALK BASEBALL? DUDE, IT'S FREEZING OUTSIDE!
If that's not exactly what happened, don't tell me it's not.
Ah, the Parallel Universe. Our heads should be out of those PU clouds what with spring training in full swing, but since it snowed all day and the snow blew all night (snow blows anytime), I can see where the celestial static might screw with the reception.
I'm listening to some of our many triumphs from the past two decades right now, replayed in the annual March Metness loop they do without fail on 660 AM, K-METS. As you know, they changed the call letters from WFAN around 1993 when they went to the all-Met format, since that was all anybody in New York, sports fan or otherwise, wanted to talk about. Really, Mayor Backman set the tone for that with his inaugural address. (Makes you wonder why more candidates don't run on the drag bunt platform. Worked for him.)
Speaking of rewriting history to suit one's pathetic fantasies, Gary Carter nearly blew a happy and peppy and bursting-with-love gasket when asked by FAN's afternoon hosts about the 16th inning in Houston and the legendary option menu that Keith Hernandez gave him: fastballs or fighting. It's so legendary that even Francesa and Russo have heard of it. The Kid said Keith is full of beans. It never happened. I'm the catcher. I call the pitches. Love me.
Having listened to Keith do games these last several years with stunning clarity regarding strategy and player's frame of mind but also absolute muddledness in terms of past events, I don't know who to believe. Yeah, I do. I believe Keith. I believe every story that reflects poorly on the '86 team's professionalism because it reflects that much better on their humanity.
Cripes — Doc and Darryl, Mex and Kid. It's 2005, why are we dwelling on them still? Oh yeah, tradition. Tradition Field. (That is, despite my insistence that 44 years of history is highly tangible, kind of funny.) Did anybody ever think to soothe Thomas J. White's feelings over tearing his name off of what was his stadium? And what about Al Lang? Our former St. Petersburg spring training home, now occupied by the Devil Rays, is called Progress Energy Park, Home of Al Lang Field. I hope the kin of Al Lang demand removal of their blessed patriarch's identity from that travesty. And I doubt the concept of progress is terribly pleased at being associated with the Devil Rays.
In the present, it's the season of the New Mets. Then again, it's always the season of the New Mets. Go through your Books and you should find there were 29 New Mets last year. That's more than a whole roster. All told, there were 52 different players who played in a Mets uniform (including Tom Wilson and Jose Parra who each played one game in the wrong Mets uniform) in 2004. New Mets outnumbered Old Mets, 56%-44%. So what's the Mets' marketing strategy this year? Forget about last year, we've got New Mets!
As for the future, I don't dream about David Wright's 5 going up on the left field wall. I don't dream about the sun coming up tomorrow, either. I just assume both will happen. What does tickle me, though, is your implicit definitiveness that the same left field wall we stare at today will be in use for its 60th season come '23. Along the lines of Andres Galarraga being older than dirt, the hills and Kevin Elster to name three, consider that our beautiful Shea Stadium, which I know you love so deeply, is catching up with New York's National League antiquities in terms of service time.
Ebbets Field hosted its boys for 45 summers. The Polo Grounds in its final incarnation (there were four of 'em) opened for business in 1911, meaning 1957 was its 47th and final season as the land of the Giants. Shea in 2005 will enter its 42nd year. Although O'Malley and Stoneham should be dug up, brought back to life and shot (rinse, repeat) for ever absconding with the civic jewels, I've read more than I haven't that both ballparks were in dire need of replacement at or before the time of their abandonment. Wanna bet municipally built and tended Shea outtenures them? Combined?
Ah, PU …
After Mayor Backman gave way to Mayor Jefferies — they overcame a rocky start to become great pals — the new and old Hizzoners came together to cut the ribbon on Strawberry Field, the grandest ballpark in the majors, befitting the stature of its team and the all-time home run king for whom it is named. The brilliant waterfront design by young and upcoming architect Jeff Wilpon — who admitted he'd never seen a baseball game because he'd been too busy working his way through art school — spurred all kinds of redevelopment in what we now know as Goodentown, formerly Flushing. It's a showplace for all of New York and all of baseball. Even games against the lowly Braves are standing room only. Wasn't it something the way beloved Doctor K, fresh from announcing his cure for cancer (remember when we thought “Doc” was just a nickname?) came out of retirement to start the Mets' first game there in 2005? Of course he pitched a no-hitter. Old habits are hard to break.