Flush the Superbowl, It’s Almost Kinda Baseball Season

OK, the Super freakin’ Bowl is done. It’s time for football to crawl away on it’s steroid-induced, muscle-bound hands and knees and leave us to find other another source for televised concussions. Time for the Circus Maximus to pack up the dead bodies, close the gates to the Collosseum and start saving fresh Christians for next year’s festivities. The sound and the fury has signified nothing.

(I’m actually a big Giants fan. I also love my children. But how funny is that?)

It’s time to bring back the game where you can see the player’s faces, where no one except Pete Rose has a bet on the game, where the only cautionary piece of equipment necessary is a jockstrap. The game that makes boys dream of being men and makes men act like boys. The game of the short-hop, the sacrifice fly, the double-play, the basket catch, the double in the gap, the southpaw, the grand salami. I’m talking of course about tennis.

No, not tennis! It’s officially almost baseball season! The dark, dank days of February are dwindling fewer and fewer, along with the Sportcenter highlights of yawn-inducing slam dunks and breakaways. Sometime soon we’ll be talking about pitchers, catchers, the new Topps baseball card design, the weather in Florida, whether R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball is still floatin’, who’s the Yankees fifth pitcher. In no other sport do its fans keep a vigil until it’s time to practice. Baseball’s like an old friend who visits when the weather just starts to turn toward green and warmth, then disappears when it starts to become cold and blue again. Every team is in first place and hope is a cheap, abundant commodity.

Being a Mets fan has undoubtedly caused me more heartache than joy over the years. When I was in grade school the only good player on the team was Lee Mazzili. This was the age of the Yankees dynasty, with Reggie, Munson, Nettles, Piniella, Guidry and Goose. Bucky F’ing Dent was hitting homers over the Green Monster while we had talented players like Dyar Miller, who looked like he got his first pair of shoes when he entered the clubhouse. We traded Tom Seaver, who went to the Reds and promptly threw a no hitter. The Mets haven’t had a no hitter, before or since. But it’s OK, because we got back Doug Flynn who was a great fielding 2nd baseman. He should have tried to hit with his glove though, because he could barely keep his batting average over .210. Anytime you got a Yankee in a pack of baseball cards you kept it like it was a gold bullion, even if it was Ron Davis or Eric Rasmussen. The Mets All-Star was John Stearns, who was best known for slamming his chin every time he slid headfirst. Word is he was the inspiration for the first bobble-head.

The kids in school were relentless. I was a loser because I rooted for a loser. They called my team the Mutts. I was the only idiot in 3rd grade who would give up good cards for lousy Mets. Neil Allen, Ed Kranepool, Rick Porcello (whose hat flew off after EVERY pitch), Steve Henderson (who hit the only game winning home run I can remember from that team, a three-run shot against the Giants), Pat Zachary (a pitcher who looked like a mean Jesus, who torpedoed his only winning season with the Mets by kicking a batting helmet and breaking his foot), Craig Swan (who won an ERA crown, then was hurt for a Biblical seven years straight), Dan Norman (who wore his socks up to his thighs), Ron Hodges (the ugliest man in baseball)–if it had the Mets insignia on it I could be had. I think I loved them BECAUSE they were bad, because even back then I was a sucker for an underdog longshot. I’d spend an entire futile Saturday watching both ends of a doubleheader against the hated Phillies, they of Rose, Schmidt, Luzinski and Bowa, who weren’t happy unless they beat you by at least nine runs.

I had my time in 1986, when I was sixteen. I was rooting for the most arrogant bunch of so and sos ever assembled in one stadium. Kid, Mex, Straw, Doc, Ray Knight taking a cheap shot at Eric Davis, Backman, Dykstra with balm on his prepubescent lips looking like he just ate a glazed doughnut, Mook, Bill Robinson (a coach!) shoving an opposing pitcher, Roger McDowell starting hotfoots on the bench, Buckner between the legs and Orosco throwing his mitt in the air. Good stuff. Now I’m back in loserville. In 2006, the Mets came within a run of the World Series, then they were knocked out of the playoffs on the last day in 2007 AND 2008. The worst chokers in the HISTORY of the game. They’ve been playing since the late 1800s. Then the “other team” won it all in 2009, the dirty Skankees, the Spankees, the Yankers. Derek Jeter is such a punk. And he’s funny looking. So there.

 But none of that matters now. Now is the time for pre-season dreaming. Santana will be back by June, better than ever. Bay will have 30 dingers by the All-Star break. Beltran will recover completely and be leading the league in hitting when they trade him at the deadline for two can’t-miss pitching prospects. Reyes will get his legs back. I’d throw a ball around with the kids right now, if it wouldn’t get lost in three feet of snow. Baseball is almost about to just about be here. Any day now.

    • Joel Flowers
    • February 8th, 2011

    OK, I’m confused. You mean the Superbowl is not about baseball? Huh?

  1. I think I may be losing my audience with this one…

    • Kae
    • February 8th, 2011

    Porcello’s hat flew off after every pitch! I love it!

  2. Kae, if you remember that you have suffered. Those were the worst teams in Met history. What they lacked in talent they made up for in lack of personality.

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