Sunday, September 23, 2007

Phils, corn, Live, caps and other mysteries of the summer

It’s been a pretty freaky summer, with a lot of things that I just can’t figure out. This is the kind of stuff that just keeps me up all night.

Aaron hangs his head in shame. And he should.

Mystery: Why can’t we beat the Phreaking Phillies?

So, we are the best team in the league.

Our MVP candidate, David Wright, is hotter than Rachel Ray, reaching the magical status of 30 steals and 30 homers. Our now-sorta-healthy left fielder, Moises Alou, is even hotter – Rachel Ray in a sauna? – as he charges to the team’s longest-ever hitting streak. And our ace, Pedro Martinez, is back and proving to be the Pedro of recent healthy times if not the studly Zimmer-tossing Pedro of old.

The second-place team rolls up, having recently reached the milestone of their 10,000th loss as a franchise. It’s main slugger, Ryan Howard, is headed toward setting the all-time single-season record for strikeouts.

You’d think it would be time to start unpacking the N.L. Eastern Division Champs t-shirts in the team shop.

So how can we possibly get swept not once, but twice by these guys?

It’s not like our boys are getting their butts kicked. We’re losing because of late-inning reliever meltdowns and freaky stuff like game-ending interference calls.

How can the Mets play like the champs we know they are against the once-vile Braves and then play like the Mets of ‘93 against the Phillies? It’s a mystery.

Mystery: Who is the intended market for this?

I stumbled across this cap, part of New Era’s new “MLB Twisted” line. It looked like the official and classy blue Mets cap, except instead of the stylish interlocking NY that the Mets don, it’s got that goofy NY that the bleeping Yankees wear on their caps.

First, did you every notice that interlocking NY on their caps is different than the interlocking NY on their jerseys, which is different than the interlocking NY on their batting helmets?

You’d think since it’s the only element on their uniforms they wouldn’t have too much trouble getting them to match. Point this out to a Yankee fan and they’ll respond with, “Well, Derek Jeter should have been the MVP last year instead of that guy on the Twins.” So don’t waste your time.

But I digress.

After recoiling in complete horror, I had to wonder just who exactly New Era thinks would buy a cap like this?

Certainly not a Mets fan. As if.

Not the hip-hoppers, who are the apparent intended market for most of New Era’s “fashion” caps, since these designs are too plain.

Not the gang-bangers, the alleged intended audience of some recently recalled New Era caps.

No, I’m thinking these are aimed at Yankee fans who deep down feel guilty about rooting for the Evil Empire, and want to cross over to our more wholesome Metsies but aren’t quite ready to take that full step to renounce all things Yankee.

They might not even wear a cap like this out in public. They might wear it around the house and wait for some basic truths come their way. Stuff like “Maybe it isn’t really fair that we can spend more on one player than the Rays spend on their entire roster,” and “Suzyn Waldman was a tad hysterical when she saw Roger Clemens in Steinbrenner’s box.”

Then one day, they might think, “You know, the Home Run Apple is really pretty cool,” and “That Mr. Met is a damn good mascot,” and then, “Having jets fly 30 feet above the upper deck is really kind of cool.”

Then soon, the faux-Mets cap goes in the trash and the reformed Yankee fan runs down to Roosevelt Field and walks out with the real thing.

Mystery: Just how bad was Flint radio?

We had two interns working with us at the paper this summer, and I think I learned more from them than they learned from us.

One day we were discussing my love of Christian rock and Jenna said, “Well, you must really like Live.” I confessed I had heard only a handful of the band’s newer songs, and that was just a couple years ago.

Jenna resisted rolling her eyes, and politely wrote me a list of songs I should check out, and I promptly You Tubed “Lightening Crashes,” “Overcome,” “Selling the Drama,” and “I, Alone.”

Needless to say, I spent the next couple days rounding up all the band’s CDs from my public library or iTunes and telling anyone who would listen about how great this band is.

Then I told my buddy Will about my discovery, and he said something along the lines of “No kidding. Where were you in the 1990s when all this stuff came out?”

And there’s the problem. I spent all but a couple months of the 1990s living in Flint, Mich. which I always suspected was a cultural black hole. Now I see that Flint radio was even worse than I thought.

Here’s a typical hour of Flint radio circa 1993:

A “double shot” of two Bob Seger songs.
ZZ Top’s “Legs.”
Something from Rod Stewart’s Spandex soccer-ball-kicking era.
A “Three play” of three Bob Seger songs.
Two ads from any of Flint’s 25 topless bars.
An anecdote from the DJ about meeting Flint-natives Grand Funk Railroad when he was 16, but not actually playing a Grand Funk Railroad song.
Anything from Hootie and the Blowfish.
Anything from the Spin Doctors.
A “Blast from the Past,” which was always something from Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” album.

I wish I were kidding.

This wasn’t a shock to Will, who also lived in Flint for a while, and has spent the last year educating me about another band I just discovered. They’re called Pearl Jam.

Mystery: Why is there corn growing in my flower garden?

One day in late July I walked out of the house and saw what appeared to be a corn stalk rising from my hostas and black-eyed Susans.

Now, we tried growing corn in a small vegetable garden a couple of years ago with absolutely no luck at all.

And now, this stalk is at least 6 feet tall and appears to have several ears sprouting at various points.

I’m fairly confident that one morning I’m going to go off to work and find Shoeless Joe Jackson playing catch on my front lawn.

I certainly didn’t plant this. So who did? Everyone seems to have a theory.

A common one is that some bird ate the seed and, well, it made its way through the digestive tract. But I’ve seen corn seeds and they’re pretty big, and most of the birds around here seem pretty small.

So we’ve either had a sparrow with a really sore butt or an eagle that made a rare appearance on my front porch, admired the hostas, took care of some business and was never seen again. Neither seems likely.

Maybe some Johnny Cornseed type walked the neighborhood tossing seeds and convincing people that ethanol is the way to go. But if that were the case, there would be stalks rising up and down the block.

This one has me stumped. But I'm kind of looking forward to some corn on the cob.

Mystery: Where and how many?

No, the mystery is which room my wife will consent to have it displayed.

I don’t want to go overboard. Baseball room, living room, family room, sun room, maybe tucked in the corner of the dining area — it’s all good. Maybe we could even have a couple around the house.

Then you have the other mystery. Do we also request the Yankee version?

I suppose the product should be used as advertised. I’d take it out to the backyard and practice pitching.

Of course, with the Yankee version, we’d slap a No. 2 on its greasy back and vent some frustration by going Don Drysdale on the inflatable Jeter. I’d wear the thing out by New Year’s Day!

Heck, when the Yankees find out about these things, they’ll probably try to sneak one out there on defense. Inflatable Derek’s range has got to be slightly better than the real thing.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Dave,
I can't resist.
Over the past ten years,
Jets 15 wins, Dolphins 6
No question who dominates this rivalry!!
Go Jets!!
Have a nice day at work tomorrow Mike.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Out Jets really needed that win, too!

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna have nightmares about that hat.

Anonymous said...

I can answer the corn question - wind. The cap is a complete mystery; I don't even want to touch the inflatable batting partner (literally and figuratively). If you put that in your house I will have a team of ninja's have it destroyed faster than you can say "Seaver was traded where???" and … well you get the picture. You constantly amaze me with your attention to detail, I never noticed the NY was different on all of the Evil Empire's uniform items (see George doesn’t understand the meaning: uniform = same, etc). I think in light of certain on-going events, I am so glad I didn't name any of my children George, especially Jacquelyn. Sorry, I can't stay away from obvious politics!!!

Mets Guy in Michigan said...


My wife says ninjas won't be necessary -- I don't think she likes the inflatable Met!

And her theory on the corn is that a chipmunk dropped the seed. We had a lot of chipmunks this year.

And shockingly, the Olde English D on the Tigers' cap? Yup, it's different than the one on the jersey. Why can't teams get this right?

Mike said...


I have to tip my hat to Gang Green. They do dominate the match up in the recent years.

However, there was alot of silence in "Giants" Stadium during the 4th quarter. At least they made it close.

Oh and I am glad that Pennington managed to finish the game.

I would hate to have heard all those Jets fans cheering again while their starting QB drags himself off the field.


Anonymous said...

If you are going to tip your hat, do it, but, you tip it while stabbing away at the back. So I think it lacks sincerity. No worries, I didn’t really expect sincerity from you. If you want to hear quite, watch the game in December and listen how quite the fish fans get. ;)
P.S. At least we have a quarterback!!
P.S.S. I think I saw tears in Danny Boy's eyes this week!!

Tony Hartsfield said...

The answer is simple, if a bit sinister: you have a corn stalker in your neighborhood.

Rickey Henderson said...

How does anyone lot like an inflatible met? They're far preferable to the real Mets on tv these days....

Will said...

In another 10 years, Dave might be ready for Radiohead, ya think? ;-)