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Invest Your Sbarro Money Elsewhere

As noted in passing Monday [1], the pizza at Shea is terrible and obscenely overpriced. You don’t go to a ballgame for the pizza, but how tough is it in New York to serve up something remotely appetizing for your money? As my partner put it characteristically accurately [2] two years ago, Shea used to offer “dispiriting but edible DiGiorno” personal pies and then replaced those with “a lank, oddly colored slice of something”. That was Cascarino’s, which may or not have been a severe step down from DiGiorno (both of which, in my estimation, lagged behind previous rights holder Pizza Hut…which is Pizza Hut, for crissake), but at least it was local [3]. When in doubt, Discover Queens.

Alas, Cascarino’s slices have apparently gone the way of Kahn’s Hot Dogs and Breyers Ice Cream’s chocolate-vanilla cups and the short-lived but lovingly recalled Rusty’s barbecue sandwich stand down the right field line. Unless things are different elsewhere from the way they are on the third base side of mezzanine (and I wouldn’t dismiss that possibility, Shea operating as it does across at least three psychic time zones), if you want pizza at the ballpark in 2007, you will pony up $5.25 for a square of Sbarro.

Sbarro. As in Sbarro from the mall food court. As in Sbarro where the Fat Boys dined in Krush Groove. As in Sbarro, Eric “E” Murphy’s previous employment prior to managing his movie star pal Vince’s career in Entourage.

As in Sbarro makes terrible pizza that is obscenely overpriced at Shea.

Five dollars and twenty-five cents! For a square…a small square shoved into a triangular box so when you open it you are dismally surprised by how little you’re getting for your 42 bits. (Aramark must have been up against it as a child when asked to hammer certain-shaped blocks into particular-shaped holes.)
Word to the wise: Take your Sbarro money and reinvest it. I won’t tell you what to eat or from where to bring it; you can figure that out for yourself. But I would like to advise you to squirrel away those Sbarrobucks so you can buy a couple of better things.

For the price of fewer than four Sbarro squares, you can buy the Mets 2007 Media Guide. Twenty bucks well spent. I found it in the 42nd Street clubhouse shop a couple of weeks ago and snapped it up. Though we decry the modern-day yearbook as a charmless marketing tool when compared to its home-baked ancestor [4], one must give props to the media guide which, despite the occasional nagging and inexcusable errors [5] that somehow got into print, is way more infopacked than its predecessors. It’s 556 pages thick and just about every page contains some nugget that will fascinate you to Kingman come.
Examples?

• Jonathan Hurst, who pitched in seven undistinguished games a Met, and Dan Murray, who logged a single appearance in 1999, are both pitching coaches to our minor leaguers, imparting wisdom in Savannah and Kingsport, respectively.
• The Mets haven’t swept the Dodgers a doubleheader since 1971.
• Lastings Milledge tied for third among N.L. rookies in outfield assists last year.
• Billy Wagner reached or topped 100 miles per hour five times in 2006, more than any other National League pitcher (Jorge Julio did it twice).
• The Blue Jays haven’t traded with the Mets since swapping John Olerud for Robert Person in 1996.
• Vince Coleman is still one of the top ten all-time Mets base stealers — and Ed Kranepool still ranks ninth in team triples.

This is all public domain info and probably attainable via the Web, but if your procrastinatory gene isn’t kicking full-force, you probably won’t make the time to find this stuff. The media guide is a worthwhile alternative and an ideal trivia-spouting companion.

Don’t want 500-plus pages of Mets trivia at your fingertips (you weirdo)? Then for a little more than three squares of Shea Sbarro, you can buy The Team. The Time. The 2006 Mets. DVD just released by Shout! Factory [6]. We only get one of these when make the postseason and it’s a pretty nice reward (though I for one miss the highlight films that played up 99-loss campaigns as landmark learning experiences if not the 99-loss campaigns themselves).

Don’t want to give away the ending, but let’s say this disc glosses over certain unpleasant developments (what Called Strike Three?) and accentuates the positive, the positive, the positive. The likes of Cliff Floyd and Steve Trachsel and others among the departed [7] appear only incidentally but there’s so much Reyes and Wright and Beltran (et al) that the show will be almost over before you notice the historical revisionism. All the great plays are in here. Want to watch Endy demonstrate the strength to be there [8] again and again and again on your big-screen TV? That privilege alone is worth the price of admission.

It may be propaganda, but it’s our propaganda. Tim Robbins narrates with a seriousness usually reserved for play-by-play of The Rapture. Carlos Delgado is keeping kids in school. And that trip to Japan is far more significant than you would have dreamed. In other words, this is the DVD for us.

Want something cool and your awful pizza, too? (Don’t worry, the Sbarro is plenty cool by the time you open it.) There’s always your buddies at the blogs who don’t charge you nothin’ but your time. It’s my pleasure to note a new one from an old friend. Please check out Metsie! Metsie! [9] by recent FAFIF regular Andee. It’s a uniquely left coast look at our favorite team from a heckuva southpaw writer. With Metsie! Metsie!, The Ballclub [10] and Blastings Thrilledge [11] up and at ’em among many worthy newcomers, Joe Smith’s not the only promising rookie on the Met prowl this April.

Sbarro, on the other hand, should be left to the Sand Gnats.