- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

G(r)eek Chorus, Part I

To avoid competing lists, I'll yield the field to you, keeping my 100

greatest Mets in my back pocket for a rainy day, which is all our team

seems to get these days. Funny how I never thought much of Steve

Trachsel (beyond “Why isn't that man throwing the baseball yet?”) until

back troubles turned him into Matt Ginter. Ulp!

Anyway, while the Greatest 100 unfold, I'm going to play the easy role

of G(r)eek Chorus, making appreciative comments about (and taking occasional pot

shots at) the players on your list.

My pot shots will not begin with Marvelous Marv,

however: Parking him at #100 is genius. In our old Bethesda, Md., group

house, the line “We was gonna give you a piece of cake, but we wuz

afraid you would drop it” got adopted as an all-purpose putdown, with

various nouns subbed for “piece of cake.” That's fame of a sort, ain't

it? Among the innumerable legends you didn't mention, my favorite is

how Marv had to pay taxes on his cabin cruiser because he won it for

hitting a sign, which was considered a test of skill, while Richie

Ashburn's cabin cruiser was tax-free because he got it for being named

the team MVP, which wasn't a test of skill because it was voted on by

others. Or something. Ashburn tied his boat up in a river and it sank.

Marv gets extra points because he'd been a Yankee. It was nice of the

Fates to provide us with an almost-mystically clear example of the

difference between the two teams so early: Marv's ineptitude was a

source of embarrassment and disgust for Yankee fans but made him

beloved by Met fans. Baseball is an imperfect affair; if you can't

laugh at it, well…you're a Yankee fan.

I can't abide the idea that Lenny Harris

is on any list of ours.  Nothing against Lenny, who by all

accounts is a prince among men, but he embodies the Neanderthal

conservatism of baseball front offices: In any sane world, such a

profoundly limited player would have lost his job to rookies seasons

ago. But Lenny keeps rolling on and on — he must be in camp somewhere

— adding to his pointless pinch-hitting record. And considering he's a

stone-handed, slow singles hitter, he's not even one-dimensional —

he's half-dimensional. Lest we think Steve Phillips never did anything

for us, the sturm und drang over his secretarial sojourns did keep Lenny from cluttering up a roster spot. Until we reacquired him. Grrr.

Similarly, I must withhold my endorsement of Duke Snider.

While I understand and appreciate the nod to our blue and orange

history, Joan Payson's insistence on stockpiling decrepit Giants and

Dodgers hamstrung this franchise into the 1970s, with Willie Mays the

ultimate vanity pick. But at least Willie played in a World Series and

had some memorable plays. Duke did nothing but be old and sulky, and he

gets docked additional points for going out as a Giant — Jackie

Robinson opted to put his feet up on a desk at Chock Full o' Nuts

rather than do that. Gil Hodges would fall into this category too, were

it not for leading us to The Promised Land as a skipper.

I'll always associate Carl Everett's

Met career with my beloved Motorola SportsTrax, a lovely gift from my

in-laws that kept me connected during innumerable unavoidable weekend

and night events during which a radio would have been frowned upon. I

was still breaking in the SportsTrax when I was forced to spend the

bulk of a nice spring Saturday at a management retreat at a downtown

hotel. During a break I was showing off the device and turned the sound

on in hopes of getting a beep or two that I might be able to translate.

The second I did this the thing went apeshit, whistling and beeping so

euphorically that we all backed away from it as if it were a hand grenade.

“I think that's the grand-slam noise!” I said happily after looking at the score. It was. And it was Carl Everett.

The other SportsTrax Everett Event was the game against the Expos

you've mentioned. I was attending a ludicrously swanky wedding in

Newport, R.I., that I knew would turn into a grisly boozefest, so I

left the SportsTrax in the motel room along with everything else I

didn't want to lose. (What the hell, it was 6-0.) When I returned at 5

a.m., half-blind with drink, covered with grass stains and missing

significant tux components (it was a good wedding), I looked at the

final score in disbelief and concluded the SportsTrax was

malfunctioning. Nope. Carl Everett had malfunctioned the Expos.

I'd type more about Clobberin' Carl, but an Allosaurus [1]

just wandered into the apartment looking for carrion, so I think I

better hide in a closet or something. Carl may not believe in them, but

I'm taking no chances.