Quick take on re-inking Oliver Perez: He's the devil we know.
He's also shy of his 28th birthday and left-handed. It's far from unprecedented for guys matching that description to harness their gifts and their natural southpawness in their late twenties and become pitchers for whom you thank your lucky stars while fans of previous employers gnash their teeth. Granted, there are also plenty of flaky lefties who harness nothing and become old flaky lefties. But I'm happy to accept Oliver's not-so-bad floor and dream about his ceiling. Ben Sheets was fun to dream about too, but Sheets-related dreams tend to turn into DL-related nightmares, Randy Wolf was Randy Wolf, and Jake Peavy … well, I covered that already.
The real issue is, again, the year is shaping up to feature lots of sixth-inning appearances by Met relievers. Maine has battled physical problems and bouts of Leiteritis (defined by medical professionals as suddenly forgetting how to pitch for an inning), Pelfrey is coming off an unprecedented workload, Oliver has far too many games where he spontaneously combusts into a vaporous cloud of walks and hit batsmen, and the fifth starter is the fifth starter. Even JHN (that's the way his name is spelled by the devout) will be coming off knee surgery. The '09 bullpen looks much better, but it's going to be asked to do quite a lot.
But hey, at least we have a starting four plus one TBD to grapple with. And now Omar can get back to trying to exile Luis Castillo and/or ponder one of the mashers still available to play a corner outfield spot. Because he's still going to do that, right?
And now back to the seats. Yes, the seats ordered while I was unemployed and possibly mildly insane have arrived — actually, they showed up during President Obama's inauguration speech, along with Fresh Direct. (Why must everything of import happen at the exact same time?)
As you can see, they're mezzanine seats — that was where I usually sat at Shea, not to mention it's the only color of Shea seat generally found in nature. And I was pleased by the pairing of 16 and 17, which is pretty iconic as far as consecutive numbers go in Met lore. (OK, there's 17 and 18, but 18 tries to cheap-shot 17 when it's time to take their picture.)
Less pleasant was that the seats arrived dirty — not dirty as in warehouse dust settling in a box, but dirty as in “I ain't sitting on that until it's scrubbed.” Which was the first WTF moment to creep into the experience. I decided it was the accumulation of detritus from all the rags wielded by surly, extortionist ushers over the years, which actually made me laugh for a moment. Until unboxing the seats revealed the second WTF moment — a loose bolt, as well as long bolts sticking out from the backs of the seats instead of being sawn down, leaving passing elbows and hips at risk. The third WTF moment was that the bolts attaching the seats to their L brackets (needed so the seats can sit on the floor instead of being affixed to the concrete of the row behind them) were put on with the bolt heads to the rear of the seats. (To be fair, the L brackets are very good quality.) The fourth WTF moment? The letter included with the seats didn't say what section or row they were from. I wanted to know — just like I assume anyone who cared enough to buy two seats from a former stadium would have wanted to know.
By my count, for nearly $1,000 that's four WTF moments too many.
Anyway, they're clean now. They'll be installed in the backyard when it gets warmer and I can con my father into coming up so the job gets done competently. When we bolt them to the deck we'll saw down the bolts and reattach the L brackets. It'll be awesome. It'll be exactly what I'd hoped for. And the 16 and 17 will always make me happy.
You can go round and round over the reasons why the seats arrived dirty, not assembled the way you would have expected and missing items that would have made them a lot nicer, just as Greg and I used to go round and round over why a day at Shea was frequently so much less than it should have been. Was the problem the accumulated decrepitude of the park, the incompetence of the outside agency that was supposed to keep the place up, or disdain on the part of the Mets for their paying customers? You got me. All I know is I paid a lot of money for something that should have been very special, and instead that something wound up only mostly special because someone, somewhere did a half-assed job. But you know what? It fits. My final relic from Shea Stadium turns out to sum up the Shea experience perfectly.