April 2008

Fair Weather Fans

Was this an expression of youthful exuberance

(and the release of pent-up anxiety surrounding a hitting slump)

after hitting the first of two home runs

in today’s game at Shea…


…or the face Carlos
Delgado would like to have made at those fans who had so recently been shamelessly booing him when he was called upon by the Shea (UN) Faithful to make a curtain call following the homer?

I can’t say I blame Carlos for his reluctance to indulge the fans.  I, for one, am frankly ashamed at the blatant lack of support for him and for other Mets players by some impatient Mets fans at Shea so early in what is a LONG season.


La Bête Rouge

• bête noire •

amd_ericbruntlett.jpgPronunciation: bet nwah(r) Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A threat, something feared and to be avoided, a bane, something that makes life miserable for an individual or organization.

Notes: Today’s word is good for representing any distasteful threat. Because it is actually a French phrase, it has no relatives in English with one possible exception. Some people, with good reason, refer to the red bug, sometimes called a chigger or jigger (the larval Thrombidium), that causes relentless itching, a true bête rouge “red beast”. In A Handful of Dust, Evelyn Waugh wrote, “He had picked up bêtes rouges in the bush and they were crawling and burrowing under his skin.”


amd_mikepelfrey_1.jpgAnd, boy, were the Mets itching to end that nine-game losing streak against their bête noir:  the Phillies.

The Phillies practically gift-wrapped the end of the Mets’ losing streak.

Even if the Mets couldn’t seem to get any hits, Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick awarded innumerable walks.  The Mets left the bases loaded, though, in each of the first two innings.

With a good showing by Mets starter Mike Pelfrey, and the bust-out offense in the bottom of the third inning, though, The Beast–red, black, or otherwise–was slain…

…well, at least for the night. 


          The adversaries meet again tonight for the rubber game.   

Same Song, Second Verse

RollinsRadames.jpgYesterday afternoon in Queens, the curtain went up on a new season–what is to be the last season in this house.  Both expectations and hopes were high.

Although the setting itself was the same as many previous performances, striking new sets of CitiField–the work of union construction workers–almost made it seem as if we the audience were due to see a new production.  Not only  that, but there were also a few additional cast members as well. 

But with the exception of the minor cast and set changes, yesterday’s matinee bore a striking resemblance to many of last year’s performances of this same show.

The Mets opened with a predictable and somewhat routine performance of the Overture of the Shea Bouquet.

In Act I itself, Mets pitcher Oliver Perez found himself in some sticky situations but was able, through some timely counseling by newcomer Brian Schneider, to settle himself down and keep the Phillies scoreless through 5.2 innings.

As Act II began and the bullpen entered, one began to feel the tension mount in the stands as well as on the field.

And, at the conclusion of Act III, the starting pitcher’s well-pitched game and the initial runs scored by the Mets did not prove to be enough to withstand the onslaught of the Phillies. 

The curtain fell, following a bracing rendition of the closing aria, “Rittorno vincitor!”, sung with much bravado by Jimmy Rollins.

I’d really like to exchange my tickets for future performances…I’ve seen this show SO MANY TIMES BEFORE.

Not the Bates Motel, but…

PsychoTomahawk.jpgO.K.  So I’ve now seen the Mets play at the ball park of every team in their division.

I do not wish to comment on the specifics of the two games I saw this past weekend in Atlanta other than to say that as obnoxious as I find that tomahawk chop watching a game at Turner Field on TV, trust me, it is WAY more annoying live and in person. 

And, by the way, I did not find much in the form of southern hospitality OUTSIDE the ball park either. 

AND the weather sucked.

040508.01.jpgDO highly recommend the Atlanta Aquarium.  Particularly noteworthy are its whale sharks and beluga whales. 

And going to the MLK Visitor Center and National Historic Site was definitely time well spent while in Atlanta.

I wish the Mets’ time at Turner Field had been time well spent.


After Sunday afternoon’s game, my family and I drove from the stadium south of town to the area near the airport.  We had previously checked out of the hotel we had stayed at the previous two days, located in the downtown area.  Because we had a very early flight out of Atlanta on Monday morning, we had made arrangements to stay in a hotel near the airport for our final night in the Atlanta area.

After checking into this airport hotel, we did some research on nearby eating establishments and, although we found the results somewhat limited and not altogether tantalizing, we managed to find something decent.

In order to expedite getting to our morning flight, we then drove to the airport and returned our rental car and took the hotel shuttle back to the hotel.

It was over a somewhat bland Mexican dinner in a slightly run-down, vintage-1970’s decor restaurant on some forgotten byway inhabitated by people who seemed to be having far too good of a time on this Sunday night than the surroundings warranted that I hit upon it and said it aloud to my family:

“What IS it about airport hotels and the surrounding area that is SO depressing?!”

This immediately resonated with my family.  For the sake of convenience, we had found ourselves in this scenario more than a few times, and I guess I was just the first one to articulate what we had all been feeling.

There’s something about the staff at these hotels.  It’s like they don’t really care.  This particular hotel had a pool that was being fixed…sometime.  They had a Business Center that was totally taken over by young children in bathing suits yelling to one another. They were playing host to some seemingly unorganized convention of some small gathering of people belonging to some sort of group with some sort of seemingly ambiguous agenda that seemed rather like an excuse to get together at a hotel airport, jam the lobbies and elevator, and drink, eat and talk excessively.

But the sort of people who work in local establishments are also often somewhat detached or unhurried or uncommitted or something as are the area clientele.

And then, because of most airports’ location on the outskirts of town, almost every airport hotel’s surroundings look like another’s:  you could be anywhere. 


My husband said it reminded him of how Norman Bates mentioned how after “the highway” was built, no one travelled the backroads to the Bates Motel anymore.


So, while the weather certainly didn’t cooperate, the first game was postponed, we suffered that painful Kelly Johnson pinch-hit grand slam and Mets loss on Saturday, and on Sunday couldn’t get enough hitting to support the awesome pitching of Santana and lost that game as well, perhaps my family and I have discovered something about road trips and travel.

Next time, regardless of whatever else happens, at least we know we can arrange to have our final night’s stay a “winner”!



“The Road Leads Back to You…”

“…Georgia, Georgia”

More specifically, Atlanta’s Turner Field. 


TurnerField.gifYes, eventually, the Mets must always return to what has become for them something of a House of Pain. 
But this season, we’re armed with Johan. 

And they have?  Tom Glavine.


I’m headed south early tomorrow to see our guys in their first three games with the Braves this season. 

I’m hoping for good weather, more awesome stuff from Santana and Maine, a much-needed good outing from Pelfrey in his outing against Glavine, and a little bit o’ Southern hospitality thrown in would be most welcome as well.

Be back for the last Opening Day at Shea!

Prescription for an Injured Hamstring

photo07.jpgFirst, anesthetize the opposing line-up with first-rate pitching by your next-in-line starter. 

A shut-out? 

All the better. 

That would be JUST what the doctor ordered. 

Continue the regimen over six innings. 

Follow-up treatment with similarly paralyzing relief pitching is advised.




photo03.jpgIntersperse numbing defensive treatment with aggressive offensive regimen as needed.  A dosage of several homers, three or four doubles, seventeen some hits, and, say, thirteen runs should suffice and allow for full healing and recovery.

Continue therapy as often as possible, preferably for four to six weeks. 

However, the therapeutic benefits of continuing said regimen throughout an entire season cannot be understated or underestimated.

Singing the Blues

picasso_old_guitarist.jpgHow soon the thrill of opening day has vanished. 

My husband, though just as shaken by Pedro Martinez’s sudden departure from his first start with an injured hamstring as I am, has tried to comfort me by telling me it could be worse:  it could be Wright.  Or Reyes.  He reminds me that injuries are part of the game.

I guess.

But why did it have to figure into the game so early in the season? 

This doesn’t seem fair.


I’m trying not be melodramatic (although I DO work in an opera house after all), but I am already getting tearful seeing these images in my mind of Pedro and Johan together in St. Lucie, arm in arm, hugging each other.  

Is our One-Two Punch not meant to be?

Lest anyone was fearful that Santana’s arrival was going to be perceived as a threat to Pedro, he came out on record with a hardy welcome for the ace. 

alg_martinez-santana.jpgHe also later stated that Santana should get the opening day start. 

 Basically, he went out of his way to make it clear that in his mind there was room enough for the two distinct, separate pitching “artists” on the roster.  Underscoring his own designation of “artist”, Pedro even admonished Rick Peterson for addressing him as “Pedro”, stating that he preferred instead to be called “Picasso”.

I have no doubt whatsoever that what Pedro was throwing in Spring Training was every bit as impressive as Ramon Castro and others thought it was. 

But unless that MRI Pedro’s scheduled to get here in New York today shows something extremely favorable, I have a very bad feeling that Picasso–along with me and countless Mets fans–will unfortunately be re-entering his so-called “Blue Period”.





01rhoden_1_190.jpg…and how good did that feel to walk into work last night and get to boast to all of the resident Yankee fans who had not gotten their opener in the previous night because of rain! 

Everything was right with the world:  baseball had returned, a brand new season full of hope and possibility was underway with a Mets win, a Santana win, and nothing on the Daily News back page the next morning to take away the Mets’ thunder for a change!