Welcome back to these parts. And thanks for bringing home whatever victory dust they were selling on the coast. We needed all the help we could get.
Leave Rusty alone, man. Let him go. You've gotten more Rusty than most people will ever have in a lifetime, though I understand that if you hang around the Upper East Side enough, you'll see him fairly frequently. I have a buddy who shares a dry cleaner with Rusty. He saw his suit hanging behind the counter once and it was almost as thrilling as your many chance meetings. He saw Rusty in a diner, too. Rusty was enjoying a chicken. A whole chicken. On a Super Bowl Sunday. Don't know which Super Bowl it was but the chicken didn't cover the point spread. Never had a chance against Rusty. He moves quickly for a big man.
I had a Rusty encounter once, though it was a little more sanctioned. It was that MLB Alumni Dinner I've mentioned here before, the one that I lucked into given a relationship I had with one of the sponsors. The driving force behind the event was Le Grand Orange (it is a requirement of all anecdotes regarding Daniel Joseph Staub that he be referred to as Le Grand Orange at least once). Laurie and I had just gotten through pestering Tug McGraw and Keith Hernandez for autographs when out of the blue (and Orange) appeared Rusty. As the unofficial host, Rusty's attention was divided six ways, but we grabbed just enough of it to garner his signature. Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra, Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson among many other greats were also on hand, but once I got those three Mets lefties on one ball, that was enough for me.
Not much of a Rusty story per se, but the kicker was his coming around to our table to say hello a little later. It was like he was the father of the Bar Mitzvah boy checking on everybody, making sure they were having a good time. “Well, Rus', the roast beef's a little dry, but earlier I was telling Tug McGraw how I used his autobiography Screwball for three separate book reports when I was a kid, and Tug McGraw told me, 'you're scarin' me, man,' so I'm gonna let it go.”
I didn't say that to Rusty but Tug did say that to me, so yes, we were having a very good time.
As we were in Florida Thursday night, I guess. The rain delay lulled me into dreamland. When I woke up, we were playing and winning by a lot. If the Mets need me to resort to a rally nap every night for the rest of the season, I'll start popping melatonin every afternoon.