I was pretty excited after the Mets dispatched the vile ones last weekend, even if it meant sitting through Joe Morgan on ESPN. Then, with rest of us, I was plunged into depression after the bleeping Braves slapped us around, sweeping four. Been that kind of week.
Luckily we have a special Memorial Day Deezo Friday Five to carry is through.
1) I’m blaming my bat for my hitting woes of last year.
It routinely failed me in clutch situations. I was fine with the bases empty. But several times I came up with the bases loaded — one time down by a run with two outs in the bottom of the last inning — and hit weak-assed infield pop-ups.
But in our second game this year I came up with the bases loaded, two outs and the game tied. So I borrowed a friend’s brand new bat and promptly hit a triple over the center-fielder’s head that gave us the victory. I was thrown out at the plate trying to stretch it into a grand slam, but I can’t blame the bat for bad base-running.
So off I went to the local sporting goods store for a new weapon to call my own. Shockingly, there are bats that cost $400. I can’t imagine what a $400 bat could possibly do, except inflict serious pain upon my noggin if my wife thought I bought one.
Needless to say, I was looking in the much, much, much cheaper section, and took advantage of a half-off sale.
Picking out a new bat is difficult. It’s not like you can take cuts there in the store, and they all have assorted mean and dangerous-sounding names.
Then, like Excalibur, I pulled a DeMarini "Nitro" from the Dunham’s sale rack and knew that life would be different form here on out.
I boldly strode to the plate and promptly walked in my first at-bat. The pitcher obviously feared the Nitro, its painted red flames glistening as it waved above my head. Then hit a sweet double in my second time in the box.
Finally, in the bottom of the last inning, we were down by three runs and had two outs when I stepped up with runners on second and third. Normally, the person keeping score would just start writing "pop-up to short" in the book while I was still on deck.
But with the mighty Nitro in my hands, I had no fear. On the second pitch I launched another double, and scored the tying run when our next batter drove a walk-off blast.
2) Someone at Sports Illustrated is going to be fired this week. The latest edition to land in my box features an article by Yankee-hack Tom Verducci talking about how this is a bizarro season because the Rays are at or near the top of the standings and his lowly Yankees are bouncing around the bottom, where they belong.
The cover is a comic-book style painting, with Bizarro Superman, who we know exists in a backward universe, watching as an unnamed Rays player is casting Derek F. Jeter over his head.
The first problem is that they painted Jeter’s name on the back of his jersey, and we know the Yankees think they are above such things. Whatever.
The second issue is that we don’t quite know where the Rays’ player has his hand. It looks like it’s in kind of an icky place.
You just know that Verducci got one look at the cover and flipped out.
It’s one thing to show Robinson Cano or Melky Cabrera or some other fringe Yankee getting tossed around like a piece of Mike Piazza’s broken bat.
But St. Derek the Intangible is off-limits. I’m still recovering from the obscene fawning that Joe Morgan bestowed on Jeter during last Sunday’s broadcast.
I imagine that ‘Ducci was in there arguing that even in bizarro world, players stand in awe at Jeter and his amazing abilities because he’s Just. That. Good.
3) I found an amazing baseball card blog — The Ugly Baseball Card Blog — that both celebrates and pokes fun at glorious cards of the past. I was all sad when I saw the 1980 O-Pee-Chee card of Freddie Patek and saw the writing on the photo. I didn’t even know he died.
Oh, the California Angels. Nevermind.
4) We all know that Mike Piazza retired this week, two days shy of the 10th anniversary of his trade to the Mets, otherwise known as the Best Day Steve Phillips’ Career as GM.
I saw a column by Ray McNulty saying that Piazza should go into the Hall of Fame as a Dodger. I’m assuming that Verducci is preparing one saying Piazza should go in as a Yankee, "Because that’s the way Mike probably wants to be remembered." But then, he’s still distraught over the who bizarro Jeter thing.
To me, it’s a no-brainer. Of course he wears a Mets logo on his plaque. And the Mets should hastily arrange a "Mike Piazza Day" where they induct him into the Mets Hall of Fame and rise No. 31 to the outfield wall so he can forever be linked with Casey, Gil, Tom, and Jackie.
5) This week’s hidden iPod gem almost didn’t even make it to the iPod. I bought a 45 of "Starry Eyes" by The Records back in 1979 and always thought it was a great song. It’s British power pop at its finest, though I can’t figure out what’s going on in the lyrics. It almost sounds like they’re singing about a bandmate who is too busy goofing off at the beach when the rest of them are taking care of business. Doesn’t matter, the song is fun and the chorus sticks in your head. And it remained in my head when I moved on to the CD era and couldn’t find the song anywhere. Then one day I was flipping through the discs in the Grand Rapids Public Library, and came across a compilation called "Poptopia" and saw some off-beat selections like Bram Tchaikovsky’s "Girl of My Dreams." Then I started doing the trademarked "Yes-Yes" dance when I saw that track 11 was the lost-lost "Starry Eyes." Enjoy.