The day portion of our day-night magic number watch has scratched another notch off the countin’ wall. I won’t exactly say, “thanks Braves,” but, uh…never mind. A digit is a digit. This afternoon’s Phillies loss means we have but 13 left, at least until evening.
13.01: Fonzie. Until we started growing great Mets in the Dominican Republic and the Old Dominion State, was Edgardo Alfonzo the greatest homegrown everyday Met in team history? Using the handy guide provided by The Hundred Greatest Mets of the First Forty Years, only Buddy Harrelson (ranked 8th) and Darryl Strawberry (4th) are ahead of Fonzie, who’s in 9th. But Buddy didn’t hit much and Darryl was known to take it easy now and then. Fonzie, No. 13, did some of everything and most of it extraordinarily well. Maybe not the greatest homegrown everyday Met as a matter of Met lore, but probably the soundest. Even if we never see him in his rightful colors or number again, he remains secure in my personal holy trinity: Tom-Doc-Fonzie.
13.02: Anderson Hernandez Can’t Hit. I know he’s not the Edgardo of the Valentine Years, but he is experienced, righthanded and, if I’ve been reading the Tides stats correctly, not completely washed up. Seems like a good guy to have around as long as there’s a big, stretchy roster to enjoy. Has Omar just forgotten that he signed him? Can’t we bump some suspect off the 40-man? No. 13 doesn’t deserve to end his season, maybe his career, wearing No. 9 in Norfolk. Bring him up. Now.
13.03: Precedent! Theretofore washed-up scrubeenie Lee Mazzilli was brought up from Tidewater in August 1986, donned No. 13 and contributed to a world championship drive. Say, anybody know why the Tides started being Norfolk and stopped being Tidewater? I think it was around ’93. You can tell the old-timers by their insistence on calling it Tidewater. Bob Dole referred to the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1996 and came off as out of it. I imagine he got Fred Wilpon’s vote.
13.04: Tornado Warning. The geography of the Dodgers came up in the first place for Dole because he was trying to make a cheap political point on the back of future Met Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter in Coors Field, still — pre-humidor (or “humididor” as Keith would say) — one of the remarkable feats in pitching. I saw the Mets score 13 runs against the Rockies in 1995, but that was at Shea.
13.05: My Opponent Has Nothing To Say. Once upon a time, Channel 13 wasn’t public television but a commercial outlet broadcasting in New Jersey. On the eve of the 1957 governor’s race, each candidate bought an hour of time, one at 10 o’clock, one at 11 o’clock. The one who spoke first finished with a playing of the national anthem and an airing of the test pattern. Viewers thought that meant the broadcasting day was over and clicked off their sets. The one who spoke second ended up talking to himself and losing. That candidate was zillionaire Malcolm Forbes, so it’s hard to say he didn’t wind up winning in the long run.
13.06: This Seat is Taken Of course should my Alfoznorian dreams come true, he’ll have to grab another number. I don’t think Billy Wagner is giving up 13. If he had a sense of Mets history, he would, but Billy Wagner’s not about that.
13.07: Every Ninth Inning is Christmas. I, like my co-blogger, asked Santa to slip No. 13 onto Billy Wagner’s torso for us. That was after I decided Aaron Heilman wouldn’t be the best option as long as the fireballing lefty was out there. Remember how great Heilman was last September, though? Him and Bert and Juan Padilla? Would have been interesting to see if that would have worked. Moot now, and not just because Padilla is off on the 60- or 600-day DL. A year after we got all funked up by Shingo Takatsu, I’m not giving back Billy Wagner.
13.08: He Loves Bulletin Boards. One thing that makes me alternately fond of and nervous about Billy Wags is the way he speaks his mind regarding the teams for whom he used to wear 13. Earlier in the year, he wasn’t shy about sharing his opinion of what a bunch of losers the Phillies were. I read this morning he took extra glee in retiring the Astros last night. He’s still sore at Drayton McLane for letting him go. I feel ya, bro.
13.09: Would You Trade Billy Wagner for Albert Pujols? Not a real tight analogy but close enough: The Mets sent their closer, No. 13, Neil Allen to the Cardinals for their all-world first baseman Keith Hernandez in 1983. Hernandez seemed so reluctant to come here that Joel and I imagined him saying, well, just give me my Mets uniform with my number, 37, and I’ll see how it fits…you can do THAT much for me, can’t you? You can’t? God, I hate the Stems.
13.10: Going Up? A lot of buildings avoid 13th floors, which is a good way to perpetuate fear and belief in dark magic. A company I worked for had its executive offices on the 13th floor. They perpetuated fear and a belief in dark magic.
13.11: Don’t Blame Felix Millan and Kenny Rogers. The Mets have played two postseason games on October 13. They lost the first game of the 1973 World Series and the second game of the 1999 National League Championship Series. October 13 this year falls on a Friday during the NLCS. There may or may not be a game scheduled. I’d rather be eligible to play on October 13 than stay home and avoid ladders and mirrors.
13.12: The Dark Ages, Indeed. Roger Craig wore No. 13 in order to break a losing streak in 1963. Roger Craig taught Mike Scott how to scuff a baseball. Rain postponed Game 5 of the 1986 NLCS, slated for October 13. Anthony Young never stopped wearing No. 19. AY’s 12th consecutive loss in his string of 27 came on September 13, 1992.
13.13: Pushing It. I don’t believe there’s anything unlucky about 13. But I’d hate to think saluting the current magic number while there’s a Met game and a Phillie game yet to be played this Saturday gets in the way of immediate good fortune. See you later…I hope.