Since there's no law against him driving there, or buying a ticket afterwards, I imagine that's what some overly friendly local might say this summer, seeing a certain former New York Mets slugger waddling through the parking lot of baseball's Hall of Fame.
At least that's the only way Bobby Bonilla is going to Cooperstown. No, he was not elected to the Hall of Fame yesterday, meaning I'm not entering Day Two of my killing spree. (Or, more likely, just Day Two of ranting and raving a lot.) You probably guessed as much yesterday, when New York City didn't see the rising of a sackcloth moon, the eruption of active volcanoes, or suffer visions of devils skating around in Hell. (The real one, not Met Hell — the Seventh Circle of which is forever occupied by Bobby Bonilla and his slightly older, fatter self.)
But you might have noticed a whiff of brimstone yesterday, and assumed it was just a continuation of whatever the heck was going on the day before, with the talk of natural gas and the mercaptan and what-not.
It wasn't. I have it on good authority that the brief Tuesday stink was a smidgen of sulphur released from Hades to acknowledge the fact that Bobby Bonilla, that surly, despicable, card-playing embodiment of Met horrors past, somehow got two Hall of Fame votes. Two!
Just stare at this next sentence and turn it over in your mind for a moment.
Two sportswriters voted to enshrine Bobby Bonilla in the Hall of Fame.
Bobby Bonilla. Who swore New York could never wipe the smile off his face, and then proceeded to wipe the smile off Met fans' faces. Oh, how I hated him then. Oh, how I hate him now. Oh, how I shall hate him with some portion of my final breath.
I was in the stands along with my old pal Chris, aka the Human Fight, when that suety gasbag returned to Shea as a Marlin. There were maybe 20,000 there. Half were the diehards who'd come to Shea in a blizzard; the other half were there to boo Bobby Bo. When the moment finally came, the noise was astonishing — not for its volume (John Rocker, among others, heard far greater) but for the per capita effort. As well as for the utter chaos of it — each person had his or her own idea of what Bobby Bo deserved, and had decided in advance whether to jeer or boo or hiss or howl or scream obscenities, and so all of the above erupted from all points of the stadium at once. It was impressive, but that level of venom isn't sustainable, and when it died down, Bonilla was still there, at the plate, more or less unperturbed.
He hit a long foul ball down the line, where nobody was sitting, and a fan ran several sections to pick it up — then hurled it onto the field. That was good. But better was what happened after the booing and hissing and insults died away. The crowd lapsed into a surly silence for a bit, found that unsatisfying, and finally got together on a hooting chant.
you SUCK you SUCK you SUCK you SUCK you SUCK you SUCK
It wasn't particularly loud. In fact, it was a bit resigned as all involved accepted that Bonilla would not be driven from the stadium by malice alone. But it kept going for an impressively long time, until Bonilla's at-bat finally ended, and the Human Fight turned to me, shook his head, and said, “That was the purest expression of hatred I've ever seen.”
Two votes. Amazing. Two more than I expected, or than he deserved. The only way I'd ever vote for Bobby Bonilla for anything would be if we were on the same plane (a horrifying enough thought), it crashed in the mountains, and we had to decide which of the survivors to eat first.