Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Paulie's metldown and other scary Mets moments

Paul Lo Duca during his meltdown as depicted in pumpkin form.

I’m pretty down on Halloween.

I didn’t mind the cartoon-like ghosts and pumpkins. But decorations have just become too realistic. It would be nice to be able to walk down an aisle of my supermarket without seeing assorted plastic severed heads in states of decay in the spots that previously held Ritz crackers with Rachel Ray on the boxes.

I even had an unpleasant moment in The Store That Has No Faults, otherwise known as Costco. Walking past the snacks I saw one of those life-sized witches holding a ball containing yet another severed head.

I didn’t realize it was one of those robotic things with motion sensors, and jumped so high that I almost dropped my Sweet and Salty granola bar sample. The cashiers were all laughing as I was clutching my chest. I went back for another round of samples because, well, I earned them.

Of course, as Mets fans, we are not strangers to scary moments.

My Halloween pumpkin design each year typically salutes some aspect of the Mets or the Homeland. This confuses the neighbors.

This year’s abrupt end to the season inspired a horrifying design, and that would be catcher Paul Lo Duca’s complete meltdown and ejection after disagreeing with balls and strike calls in a close game.

Paulie in real life.

Paulie’s contorted face showed his rage as Willie tried to drag him back to the dugout. Clearly a Met completely out of control. It probably made the front office to decide to find another catcher for next season. We'll have to see.

Alas, the Mets short history is just full of tales twisted and terrorizing.

Here are the five scariest moments in Mets history, not counting Tom Galvine’s first-inning disaster in the last game, which I’m not over yet.

Watch the video -- if you dare.

Suzyan Waldman’s Tom Seaver tribute.

Look, I like Seaver as much as the next Mets fan. OK, maybe a little more. There’s a chance Seaver would seek a restraining order if he ever saw the shrines – you’ll note the plural – in my baseball room.

But even I was close to hiding under my seat at Shea in 1988 at Tom Seaver Day. At the conclusion of the ceremony where Tom’s No. 41 was forever retired, the team directed our attention to the Jumbotron for a video tribute by Waldman, who at that point was still pretending to be an unbiased sports reporter.

It started with scenes of Shea, then a twinkling piano with Waldman breaking out with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Bad enough, to be sure. But then she started warbling modified lyrics intended to pay tribute but were so grossly over the top that even I was cringing.

I realize there is bad, and then there is Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park So-Bad-That-it’s-Good bad.

But by the time Waldman got to the 300th win mothers were covering the ears of their crying children to protect them from further trauma. I’m very sure that had there been even one more verse most of the upper deck would have hurled themselves into the box seats.


The most frightening moment in Mets history.

Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron collide on Aug. 11, 2005

Nothing funny about this one. A ball fell in between center and right in San Diego and both players dove, striking head-to-head.

Beltran, in his first season with the Mets, slowly rose to his knees, but Cameron barely moved and was removed on a stretcher. He fractured of both cheekbones and broke his nose.

Many baseball observers said it was the worst collision they had ever seen. Luckily, both recovered.

Bad costumes.

The 1993 “Wardrobe of Failure”

Even in their darkest days, the Mets could always say they looked good. The classy script Mets across the front of the jerseys was an established and proud look that was virtually unchanged from 1962 even as the team added sleeve stripes and collars, removed and restored buttons and tinkered slightly with the blue in the uniform.

So I nearly went into shock during a 1993 spring training game when I flipped through the program and found a photo of players modeling new uniforms with a thick, floppy tail underlining the team name.

Yup, they were going to discard the style worn by Hodges and Ashburn, Seaver and Mays, and Doc and the Kid and replace it with something that looked like it was rejected by a softball team sponsored by a bar.

Of course the team went into a tailspin and finished in the standings below the expansion Marlins, who, even wearing teal, could say they both played and looked better than our boys.

As the brilliant Metstradamas branded it, the uniforms were the wardrobe of failure. Very scary costumes, indeed.

Vince Coleman hurts kids

Among the bad things to happen during the tailed-uniform era was Vince Coleman, whose everyday play was frightening enough.

But following a game at Dodger Stadium on July 24, 1993, Vince allegedly thought it would be funny to toss a lit firecracker at fans from a car after the game, harming two children and a woman. He was charged with endangerment and sentenced to 200 hours of community service.

The thing I don’t understand is how he found Dodger fans after a game, since everyone knows the stadium empties out after the seventh inning.

Anna, the under-dressed elf

With stores starting to put Christmas decorations on display in mid-October, it’s easy to see how some people might confuse the holidays.

Kris Benson was known as much for his outrageous wife as his mediocre pitching.

And in 2006 the team decided to ask him to play Santa Claus at the annual Christmas party, where little kids are invited to sit on Santa’s lap and bask in the glory of all things Mets.

Anna decided to come to the party to help Kris distribute presents. But she apparently got the whole Christmas party/costume party thing all confused. I’m guessing Anna couldn’t decide whether she wanted to dress up like a naughty stripper or an elf – so she decided to do both.

A lot of kids – and grown-ups, too – had long lists that they wanted to share with Santa and his helper.

But Mets management was so frightened by the stunt that they banished both Bensons to the House of Horrors known as the Orioles before Opening Day.

Someone was a very naughty girl.


G-Fafif said...

Suzyn Waldman should have been charged with endangerment and sentenced to 200 hours of community service for that dreck.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

If Waldman did that for Seaver, a guy on a team she doesn't even like, can you imagine what she has in store for when Derek F. Jeter finally decides to hang 'em up? Shudder!

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, your blog was getting me all bummed out. Those uniforms almost had me going for a glass cutter (I can't open my window, no worries; the best I would manage if I jumped from the second floor is a really stupid explanation and a sprained foot). But, then happily I scrolled down and I noticed that great picture of Santa. What a way to brighten up a guy's day!! I haven't seen Santa look that good regardless of who he kicking it with. Yes Mr. S is one lucky man, funny, the plywood elves we put out on the yard when I was a kid never looked that healthy. In fact they, er I mean he, looks real, which makes it that much better. So here's to healthy elves and a new season!!
Both baseball and otherwise!! Your devoted Blog reader,

Anonymous said...

I don’t mean to be too wordy. You know me; I barely say a peep in public. But after studying your latest blog for several hours, I realized that my favorite Blogger is not much different than SI. Sorry to go there but hear me out. What does SI do during a lull in sports;... bring out the T&A baby. In their much heralded and extremely well reported swimsuit issue. What sport year would be complete if we (men) didn’t know what was available in the beach wear department? So last night, when I’m trying to figure out if they, er Santa, were/was real or not again. It dawned on me. My faithful, (only the facts blogger) stooped down to the SI level. It’s all about ratings! I know it now, another little piece of me just grew up. By the time I’m 80 I should be well on by way to adulthood.


Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Busted! I must now wallow in my shame! SI? I'm gonna have to let Verdicci write a guest column.

As for the question about Anna's assets and their realness, I don't think I have an answer to that on!