July 2009

Obama in the All-Star locker room

Ah, the best moment by far in the All-Star game coverage. Ichiro Suzuki’s expression alone is worth the video post. Also, sorry, but Derek Jeter pulled the classic “I’m trying to seem less nervous than I am” move of just repeating what Obama said to him. Obama: “Congratulations.” Jeter: “Congratulations to you.” For what, Jeter, the presidency? Little late on that one? It’s like when someone tells you, “Have a good trip,” and you’re like “You too!” and of course the other person’s going nowhere…

Boo on Fox for not showing our David Wright shaking hands with Barack Obama. You know he was grinning like a puppy, ear to ear.

No matter whom he’s greeting, though, Barack Obama is so super cool. I love that later on he wore the jacket of his team, the White Sox, unabashedly. And then admitted he likes that his wife thinks he looks cute in it. I agree with Michelle!

Taking the bad with the good but mostly bad…

Fresh after ending a big freelance project, I am temping today. Temping is sometimes fine and boring, and rarely excruciating and boring, but my agency folks are very good to me, so I can’t complain. But for this very moment, with my personal email unavailable and my pricey temp skills not needed, all I have to do is think…and blog.

So about them Mets. We’re in a valley. Not a crevice, mind you! Just a valley. But let’s take it for what it’s worth–another moment in Mets lore, another obstacle for us fans to overcome that will make our bonds and our narrative stronger in the end. For instance, I became a Mets fan in 2003. Remember 2003? The Mets sucked. Piazza wasn’t even playing much, with his groin all old and cranky. We had Uncle Cliffy, whom I loved, but really who else is worth mentioning? Still, when I tell people when I became a Mets fan, they all get the same look. “Really? Oh, we sucked then.” And I get a pat on the back–I became a fan when we weren’t anything near frontrunners. Because if there’s anything a Mets fan hates…it’s a frontrunner. A fair weather fan. A…well usually…a Yankees fan.

For a while there, we had hope. Tons of hope, lasting all season! Only to be dashed at the end. And yes, that’s harder than having no hope at all. But look where we are now! Measured expectations! We’re suddenly marginally satisfied by mediocre play instead of really crappy play. It’s still a punch in the gut when steady-Freddy Livan Hernandez amasses an ERA of about 30 over his last 3 starts. It’s still an “oomf” moment when K-Rod nearly gives up a save, and trust me, I’m going to swat a hand at the TV every time Ollie walks a batter. And yes, we still yell with exasperation when each Met gets his turn to drop a pop up. But in five years, we’ll be saying, “Remember 2009? With the injuries and the complete lack of fundamentals? Oh, that was a toughie. But we made it.” We’ll react to 2009 the way people react now to 2003 when I tell them my Mets fan origin story. And things will get better.

Even in 2005 we would have taken our current position, 5.5 games back at the All-Star break-ish, with a nod of–if not acceptance, at least not of despair. We’re 4 games below .500. We’re not a good team right now. But there’s still time to come back! There really is! Every non-Nationals team in the NL East is still in the running. And here we are still in the running with mediocre expectations. So maybe we’ll be surprised? Maybe the worst has passed? And they’ll get their acts together? And maybe sooner rather than later–maybe in September!–we can pat each other on the back again and say, “Man, remember the first half of the season? That sure sucked. But we’re still here!”

I haven’t given up on 2009 yet. At best, our lowered expectations will pay off with surprise gutsy wins. And at worst, we’ll have a year to commiserate over in the future. We’re Mets fans. As I’ve learned, that’s what we do.



Transcript: Gary and Keith talk about the Furry Convention, with pic from Kevin!

Okay, this is more fun because the blown save didn’t cost us the game (phew!) but Mets’ announcers Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez’s broadcast exchange about Anthrocon ’09 was not to be missed (unlike Tim Redding’s pitching performance).

Last night Kevin Burkhardt (@KBurkhardtSNY) tweeted, to my delight: “Our hotel in Pitt
is overrun by people dressed up as animals. Anthrocon? And they act as
animals. I have seen it all and I am freaked out.” That’s right. Along with the Mets, a certain hotel in Pittsburgh was also hosting Anthrocon, a convention of thousands of people who like to dress up…as furry stuffed animals. And do…well, I don’t want to know what, actually.

kevin furry.jpg

Thankfully, this…unusual…gathering didn’t miss the Mets broadcast the next day, when Gary and Keith got to have a bit of fun with the furries, spurred on by a camera shot of the Pirate Parrot.

Here’s the transcript, just to make sure you didn’t miss it.

Gary (of the Parrot): One of many animal figures in town today.

Keith: We saw a few of them in the hotel, didn’t we?

Gary: The strangest convention I’ve ever seen is at our hotel here in Pittsburgh. You know you travel around the country and see parts of society and our culture that you never would have encountered anywhere else. There’s a group of people about 4,000 strong convening in Pittsburgh this week–people who dress up as stuffed animals.

Keith: They’re cuddly bears. They like to cuddle.

Gary: There’s birds, and dogs and wolves.

Keith: What are they called, ferriers? Alls I know is I got in the elevator with four of ’em, and the odor was horrific.

Gary: Not the Pirate Parrot, he’s an actual mascot.

Keith: I had to get off. I’m not lying. I got on at the 17th floor, going down. I had to jump off at the 10th floor. I almost passed out.

Gary: Guess those costumes don’t breathe very well…But it was something. We walked into the hotel last night, coming from Milwaukee, and there was a person in a wolf costume. And there was another person in a dog costume.

Keith: I saw a guy with his pet beaver. He had it in his hand. He was stroking it, he was petting it. I’m serious! It was like a stuffed animal, and he was comforting it. Very bizarre.

Gary: It’s a different world.