Despite the various commercial entreaties of Branden, Alexa and Christina, I can think of no worse place to take my dad for Father’s Day than Citi Field. Also, I can think of no worse place to take your dad. Or anybody’s dad, son, brother, uncle, grandpa, cousin or in-law. I wouldn’t jump to take anybody to Citi Field at this moment unless he — or she — was a 50 Cent fanatic, and apparently that ship has finally sailed.
Of course if somebody’s close relation really wanted to see a ballgame and understood the consequences — accepting a ticket to a Mets game right now is akin to signing a waiver forfeiting all rights to satisfaction — then I’d renounce my better instincts and graciously escort that theoretical family member if the logistical stars aligned. I mean if you can’t get me to go to a Mets game with you, you probably can’t get anyone to go to a Mets game with you.
But not this particular Sunday. I realize that for all the events and occasions for which I’ve planted myself inside Shea Stadium and its relentlessly disappointing successor facility, I’ve never been to a Mets game on Father’s Day. My father doesn’t really like baseball, so it never entered the familial thought process when I was growing up. Other plans were always made and other plans continue to be made. The third Sunday in June is one of the handful of dates when I automatically tell anybody who asks that I can’t go to the game. Come to think of it, it may be the only date that I absolutely know is a no-go.
That’s OK. I’ve got 80 other opportunities during seasons when I’m not turned off by the idea of joining the Mets for a few hours and I’ve got an 85-year-old dad who remains available for other plans. We lost my mother on Father’s Day when he was 61 and she was 60, so parental longevity is something I’m not taking for granted this past quarter-century.
Dad may not have passed along much in the way of baseball wisdom when I was growing up, but he did give me a phrase that pretty well covers the state of the Mets at the moment. It’s something he says when one of our conversational topics reaches the ellipsis stage, when neither of us can express a solution to a given issue.
“What can I tell ya?”
I guess “What can I tell ya?” is an older sibling of a phrase I’ve long disliked, “It is what it is,” but I find “What can I tell ya?” more elegant and less abdicative of responsibility. “You” have told me all there is to tell “me”…let’s move on to the next thing.
I can deal with that. I can deal with that better than I can deal with contemplating all that so distresses and disturbs modern-day Metsopotamia.
The Mets lost to the heretofore punchless Padres Saturday. They were completely rolled by starting pitcher Jesse Hahn, presumably the progeny of Jesse Orosco and Don Hahn. The youngster was making his second career start and, with no track record to speak of — certainly no practice at going deep into a game at any professional level — he stifled the Mets on one hit over six innings. Maybe the one hit was an error. Maybe the error was thinking Jesse Hahn was going to have a problem with a Met lineup predisposed to amateur performance.
Three relievers followed Hahn and gave up one hit among them. The 5-0 final was a nice synergistic nod to 50 Cent, but I doubt that was the idea. David Wright has gone from #FaceOfMLB to #OMG and #WTF during almost every #AB. Chris Young struck out four times and played a little of the emotional victim card afterward, joining the chorus of Mets past and present who discover heat every time they venture into the lukewarm Flushing kitchen and thus wish to scurry out ASAP. Young was characteristically crummy and was instinctively jeered by the first sizable home crowd the Mets have attempted to entertain in weeks. I’ve never been one for booing members of my favorite team, but if you’re modeling the golden sombrero during La Fiesta de Nada, don’t necessarily expect the rousing reception the Mets green-screen into their propagandistic recruiting films to materialize in a live-action setting.
I don’t mean to pick on Young. I don’t mean to pick on Wright. The Mets didn’t mean to pick on Hahn and they stayed true to their meaning. But here we are again, same nothingness gaining traction; same competitive void expanding out into the universe; same “we’re close” claptrap condescended down from on high; same dampening of expectations; same suffocation of aspirations. Except on Saturday, there was a postgame concert, and on Sunday, dads and kids get a cap.
The Mets aren’t very good these days…
What can I tell ya?
Other than — per the immortal words of the physically absent yet spiritually present paterfamilias of the Ralph Kiner Television Booth at Citi Field — happy birthday to all the fathers out there.