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May 9 and Life to Go

I should be a Mets fan. I identify with their culture. I appreciate how deep into the Bachman-Turner Overdrive canon the Shea Stadium deejay can dig. I have bitten my palm, Squiggy-style, over the throngs of big-haired women who have the Mets logo airbrushed on their nails.
—Joel Stein, Time [1], 2000

There were good reasons Sebastian Bach of Skid Row performed before Saturday’s game against the Pirates. There were good reasons Gary Dell’Abate, a.k.a. Boy Gary/Bababooey from the Howard Stern show, threw out the first ball. Very good reasons [2], actually, having to do with the Mets holding Autism Awareness Day [3]. Bach and Dell’Abate (the latter a huge Mets fan) are supporters of a great cause, and it is to their credit that they would use their celebrity to raise awareness, just as the Mets are doing a fine thing publicizing such a fight.

That said…the lead singer from Skid Row…Howard Stern’s punching bag of a producer…the Mets. The spirit of Shea Stadium lives. I mean, really, Sebastian Bach, with the hair and the metal and I assume a reality show to plug. And Gary from Uniondale. There is nothing majestic about having these as your celebrities on a Saturday afternoon. There is nothing sacred. There is nothing prim or proper. There is something very much Mets about it.

To which, I say hot damn, bring on the Sebastian Bachs and the Gary Dell’Abates (hell, their stand-ins are usually riding my train anyway) and let’s be Mets about this. Let’s be Shea about this. Let’s bite our palms as Squiggy would at this six-game winning streak and these new places of ours: Citi Field and first, respectively.

Citi Field? Needs work, still. Never mind the blind spots (none of which bothered me from Mezzanine 1…I mean Promenade 414) and the lack of Mookieabilia. It needs to be louder or somehow dirtier without becoming filthy. It needs some Shea to it. In the top of the second, my friend Jeff, he of [friggin’] fantasy camp correspondent [4] fame, read my mind and asked, “Is it quiet here?” We indeed could have been studying for our PSATs when it was a mere 1-0. As it grew into 5-0 and all the other delightful scores until it was finally 10-1, it got louder and maybe a little Sheaish. Needs work in that respect, but on the occasion of my seventh game, I came away with no other complaints, not from the game, not from the park, not even from the overpriced cheeseburger stand beyond center that I finally bore down and tried (good, not great; get a Steak ‘N’ Shake up in here and we’ll talk).

First-place Mets? I want to exult and luxuriate, but I seem to recall being in first place in some other recent seasons and…well, you know. Nevertheless, there are five places available in your National League East, and the one we occupy as a result of our win [5] and the Phillies’ loss is the best to have, so let’s have it. Let’s keep it, too. Let’s not let up. But it’s May 9 and 29 games in. To paraphrase the great philosopher Howie Rose, the last 133 are the toughest. But this is a better look to the Mets than what constant viewers saw a little more than a week ago. And the sound of “first-place Mets” is, with all due respect to Mr. Bach’s charitable impulses, better than “18 and Life [6]” at its loudest and clearest.

Unless 18 refers to Jeremy Reed, who could have pitched for all it mattered by the ninth. Which would have been pretty awesome.

Fuckin’ A it woulda been.

Two inquiring minds wanted to know more about Faith and Fear: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, thus we have two Q&A interviews it is our pleasure to share, this one [7] with Tad Richards of the NY Writing Careers Examiner and this one [8] with Regis Courtemanche of MetsBlog. My thanks to both for their interest and inquiry. The book they ask about is available from Amazon [9], Barnes & Noble [10] or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook [11].