MLB

Women And Children “First?” No, Not Really

donald-reilly-women-and-children-first-i-mean-come-on-new-yorker-cartoonI was involved in an abusive relationship.  Two, actually.

Possibly more if you think about the emotional abuse I’ve endured being in a relationship with a person who is not so secure within themselves that they take it out on someone they allegedly “love” by using their words which can hurt just as much as open fists at times.

For arguments sake, let’s just say I can contribute a thing or two about the #WhyIStayed hashtag.  When it happened, though, there is a bit of Stockholm Syndrome, and defense mechanisms coming into play.  When I really think about #WhyIStayed, I think the defense mechanisms go back to possibly prehistoric caveman times.  Any moment of weakness would make you prey, would make you a target.  Telling people to mind their own business or push people away who truly care happen because you do start to believe the hype.  You start to believe the things you are told, that you are worthless, a pathetic little shit, ugly, fat, no one will believe you/want you/love you as much as I do.

Though you may see me on Twitter or social media forums making fun of my teams and taking out frustrations by using expletives; in general, I am a pretty happy person.  I have my moments, but a lot of it has to do a lot with limiting beliefs that we are conditioned to believe by our loved ones.  For better or for worse, we are taught to believe stuff for our “own good.”

Though I think every single person I know can add something of value to this discussion, the statistics show it is overwhelmingly women who are taught this.  Perhaps it’s because we are associated with more “emotion” in our rationale, our thinking with our hearts rather than our heads (which, by the way, is complete bullshit, there is something to be said about using your “female intuition.”  Which by the way, has only failed me because my survival defense mechanisms talk me out of what is normally always the right thing for myself).

Statistics also show that in an abusive relationship, it takes women especially seven attempts to either leave or ask for help before doing it for good.

Studies show that when women “recant,” it’s not because they’ve “lied” or are “looking for attention,” but rather they are sweet talked out of it by their significant others, because they do not want to see their loved one or children’s father or whomever to be in trouble.  How many times do we hear “He’ll never do it again,” or “it was just this once,” when it rarely ever is?

I suggest we give up this ignorant and arrogant thinking that all she has to do is leave.

It’s more complicated than that.

I’m sure by now, you’ve seen the articles, many opinions and the video of former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee/now-wife Janay in an elevator, knocking her unconscious.  We’ll hear the apologists who saw the video of the entire incident ask, “Well, she pushed him.” Or, “She might have **said** something to provoke him?”  “What did she DO to provoke him?”

The victim who was knocked unconscious and APOLOGIZED for “her role” in it has to also play defense for her very visible, beloved by many, public figure of a husband.  Who by all accounts is this super/wonderful/straight up good guy who would never ever do something like this, ever.

Well, guess what? He did.  And while we do not know what goes on behind closed doors, I can give you the story right here.  And it may or may not describe the tenure of their relationship, since I do not pretend to know what goes on behind their specific closed doors, but I can assure you of this.

(Mostly) Women (I do know that men can be abused too) involved in physically abusive relationships have nowhere to turn.  If you look at a public figure who seems to have everything going for then — fortune, fame, name recognition, respect for their contributions to society — you also have to believe that there are other factors involved.

I stayed in a seven year emotionally abusive and exhausting relationship because it was bigger than myself.  There were many other factors than myself.  I figured, if I could just “get through this one thing, then we can move on with our lives and be happy again,” seems misinformed and bullshit right now.  But I can tell you at the time, it made perfect sense.  It wasn’t about me.  There were other factors involved.  Luckily, I didn’t have children.  Oh and the second he was unhappy with how I looked or with how I was spending my time socially, he was the one who left.

But that was emotional.  And I found someone who adores me and doesn’t keep me isolated from my friends who bring out the best in me.  Believe me, no one appreciates having a healthy relationship that we actually enjoy each others company.

In situations like this, I can presume — and I could be very wrong — that Janay Rice probably is scared to leave, or fears her husband might do something to her or keep her away from her child.  Since he has the money and means to do so.  This is how abusers draw people in.  They control their money, they control their friends, but have an impact of being charming and drawing people in as well.  This is why we have a culture of abuse.  We are not supposed to talk about it, and people think that if they work with someone or see someone in a public setting or have an image they project, that this is the person they are being presented with.

It’s time to start talking about it.  And it’s time to start having a real discourse about it, and realize it’s not as simple as, “Well, it can’t be *that* bad if she hasn’t left him yet.”

Trust me.  Like life, it is hell of a lot more complicated than that.

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I grew up in an era where it was okay to spank your children.

I’m not sure if it was “okay,” per se.  Ask any child who grew up with one Italian parent, or an Italian grandparent, and they’ll talk about the “wooden spoon.”  Most of us chuckle and nod in agreement.  I was about 10 years old though, when my mother literally chased me into my bedroom to spank me for doing something, I told her to count to ten before laying a finger on me.  She never spanked me again.

I’m not gonna say, “Well I grew up just fine, and I was beaten.  There’s a sense of entitlement in this generatio and damned you whipper snappers and blah blah blah.”   But I’m gonna ask, with the news of Adrian Peterson using a switch to beat his two year old child…

On what planet does a child, at any age, let alone a TODDLER, deserves to get their pants taken down, and beaten on bare skin his private parts, backside and mostly his entire body?  None.  Absolutely not.

In fact, short of gutting an animal alive (which in that case, the child is a sociopath and needs to be institutionalized, immediately), no child deserves that.   Not only physical wounds but emotional trust issues to deal with his entire life.  The people who are supposed to be protecting him are doing this for his “own good.”

Yes, I grew up in an era where spanking your child for discipline was considered okay.  Adrian Peterson is nine years younger than I am.  How, exactly, was he raised that he has so much anger…towards a two year old?

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For years and years, the general public has turned a blind eye to child abuse and domestic violence either accusations or flat-out proof that it has occurred.  This is not a sports and entertainment specific thing.  It’s a cultural thing.  We are conditioned to never talk about it.  The victims are afraid to speak.  One writer I know through social media channels, Julie DiCaro, has written some definitive posts on domestic violence, in response to arrests and suspensions and public outcry when it happens with beloved and respected sports figures.  A few days ago, as a former lawyer dealing with domestic violence victims, she wrote a post targeting the NFL Commissioner and what she wanted him to know about domestic violence.  It’s an important topic to discuss.  But also to listen to.

I was in an abusive relationship.  And even after my high school sweetheart, who beat me with his hands and his words regularly, I could only extricate myself from when he decided to find a new girlfriend.  And even when I tried to move on from all that pain and anguish, he STILL managed to call me a slut and a whore and damage my reputation when I wanted to see other people.

Thank goodness I was able to go away to college and get out of that fishbowl of high school.

Amplify those feelings by about a million when you are dealing with being in a relationship with a person adored by millions.  A person, by the way, who has control over finances, has lawyers and agents and more backup than his significant other could even imagine.  Try getting out of that.  Especially if there is a money control factor.  Who is going to feed my child?  How am I going to make a living?

DiCaro’s post detailed what five things that one needs to consider in cases like this.  The most important part to consider in the post is that once abuse happens in a public setting, IT HAS ALREADY OCCURRED MULTIPLE TIMES BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

Amplify that by the fact that probably she is protecting her child, and protecting herself.  How do we know he hasn’t told her that if she leaves, he’ll kill her or find her and take away her kids?  Again, I don’t know the intimate details of their relationship.

All we know is that in domestic violence cases, the victim is typically isolated, and charmed into making the situation go away with law enforcement officials.

It’s arrogant of us to think it’s just as simple as “just leaving.”  It’s not.

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My friend Rebecca has brought up an interesting talking point about what correlation is there between being in a “violent” sport and abuse situations.  This past week, we have had two incredibly public figures involved in legal situations where a woman or child has been abused with proof to back up the allegations.  This is not just a talking point in American sports, like football or baseball (Mets fans may remember when former Phillies pitcher Brett Myers punched his wife with a closed fist on the street in Boston).  This is a pervasive element of American culture that needs to be discussed.  We are no longer in caveman culture or prehistoric times that any sign of weakness meant a predator was going to take your food or shelter or eat your young.  We live in a civilized society that still brushes it away.

Perhaps figures like Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson or Brett Myers may cause us to point and laugh, say they are nothing but a piece of shit for beating a woman or child.  But what exactly is being done about the millions of other women and children or anyone being abused on a regular basis?  These incidences may bring up the discussion, but until we realize that domestic violence or child abuse is just NOT OKAY and it is NOT NORMAL AT ALL, this is still going on behind closed doors.

It is not as simple as “just leaving.” There is years of mind control, and just control in general over human interactions, financial.

Women like Janay Rice need our support.  I had a friend ask me, “How do YOU know she doesn’t have any one to turn to?”  Well, she has me there, I don’t know.  But based on what Julie DiCaro as a lawyer who represented domestic violence victims, and repeated behaviors, I’m going to guess that she’s trying to keep things together for the sake of other things.  Or perhaps, she has been conditioned to fear what she doesn’t know, that staying in what she DOES know is easier.

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I am not beating a feminist drum.  Yet, I am just so shocked that we live in a day and age where still women are portrayed to be stupid and dependent on men and treated with arrogance by other women.

This week, a story hit the wires (that I had talked about extensively on my podcast) about the Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales for the New York Mets, Leigh Castergine, has sued the Mets and most specifically Jeff Wilpon (part of the Sterling Equities group that owns the Mets, along with his father, Fred, and Uncle Saul Katz).  Why?  Well, it wasn’t for underperformance.  I can tell you right off that her team was almost literally selling ice to eskimos.  Mostly in part because the inept ownership built the team on false profits and lack of understanding Ponzi schemes.

The lawsuit alleges she was discriminated against because she was unmarried and pregnant.  Complete with Mr. Wilpon making comments about her not being married, and telling her with witnesses in the room that she could make more money if she was only married.

Someone told me, “Nobody is that dumb.”  Yet, people who have met Jeff Wilpon do say, he’s fucking clueless.

I guess I don’t want to reinvent the wheel here, but goddamn it, when will it just be okay to live your fucking personal life and not have your superiors at work use it as an excuse to get rid of you?  No matter what Castergine did (and I can tell you – I never felt more valued as a season ticket holder than under her leadership, so thank you for that, Leigh), she was pissing in the wind.  Season ticket holders were being bled, people were downgrading their ticket plans, and in general weren’t going to Mets games.  Why?  BECAUSE THE OWNERS HAVE DONE SHIT TO IMPROVE THE TEAM.

So the fallguy is now a single mom who was targeted as such.  Give me a break.  What fucking year is this?

I worked in banking.  Women who have taken time off to attend to themselves and their children after giving birth, one of the most traumatic things a woman can do, are unfairly targeted and find that their jobs are divvied up and changed when they return in 90 days or so.

Legend had it at one bank I worked at, a woman was promoted to a senior facing role in a leadership team.  She apparently knew she was pregnant but hid it while she built a team.  It was evident though after a few months, and she was literally going into a C-Section surgery, while on a conference call, telling her team, “Okay, I will call back in a few hours.”

This is what women have to do.  Sacrifice one thing for another.  And before you tell me, “Well, isn’t it dedication to her craft? Maybe more women should be like her.”  Remember that if a dude was getting hernia surgery or ball surgery or a colonsocopy, I’m sure he’d milk that shit for what it’s worth.

The good news is that perhaps this law suit will force the Wilpons to sell the team.  All I want is for Leigh Castergine to have her job back.  Nothing but class acts under her leadership.  More than I can say for our fucking owners.

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When Titanic hit the fateful iceberg, the mantra was “Women and children first.”  John Jacob Astor, the richest man on the voyage, went down with the ship but his wife and unborn child were spared.  He offered to pay the hand to go with her.  He was denied.  Instead, he sacrificed himself for his wife and child to survive.

We’ve gone from men holding doors open for women, offering their seats on the train to being “good manners” and a proper way to handle themselves, to women declaring that they “don’t need feminism.”  Which is ironic because I realize that without feminism, I would not be able to share my views in an open forum.

Perhaps the first step in having this discussion is HAVING the discussion.  To have abuse and domestic violence not be taboo but ugly parts of real life.  To realize that life for victims is not as simple as “taking your shit and leaving,” but rather multiple layers that have to do with protecting themselves and their loved ones.

Yes we’ve gone from knowing domestic violence and abuse is wrong, but we still have women apologizing for their part in it.

That’s not “conditioning” to fear your attacker?

Give me a break.

Don’t Get Over It: A Very Special Mets Lounge Podcast TONIGHT!

Were you around the last time the Mets won a championship?  Were you a child, young or old?  Do you enjoy baseball history?  Do you like listening to broads talk about baseball?

Then tonight’s Mets Lounge podcast is for YOU!!!

Please join me in the lounge at a different time (9:30 pm ET) with special Heather Quinlan, the filmmaker behind the 1986 Mets Movie kickstarter campaign.

Join us in the chat room, or be sure to send us questions on Twitter beforehand!

Dancin’ In The Streets

PNC Park  Mazeroski Way

I visited PNC Park for the first time in 2010.  I had just gotten married; hubby and I went on five baseball road trips that year.  This was the only stadium I hadn’t been to at least one other time. The game was a rain shortened yet official game; the Mets won.  It was also a Jonathon Niese start (this Saturday I was there, it was also a JJN start).  The series this year was a four game variety.  Mets lost three of them.

I didn’t get the full effect that year.  Since 2011, though, it’s been tough for us to do a trip, whether the series fell during the week or a time that we already had a conflict.  We were both eager to get out there for this weekend.  However, what we didn’t expect was life to get in the way.  My husband’s family sold their house that’s been in the family for over 40 years.  As a result, he had been taking some time off from work to deal with moving things out of the house.  Before he knew it, it was month end.  When your job function has to deal with closing out books for month end and year end, chances are a quick getaway only ends up with more work involved.

Before I knew it, it was decided that I’d be going solo.  I had some friends who were going, so it was like I was alone.  I had a lot of stuff to do.

I found that Pittsburgh is a very underrated city.  Clean, pretty.  You definitely feel Americana at its best when you’re there.  PNC Park is also easily my favorite stadium thus far out of the 20 I have seen.  I’m guessing Target Field, from people have told me, will give it a run for its money.  Food, ambience, fan involvement, views.  All the little things they got right in Pittsburgh’s park.

What I really took away from my weekend in Pittsburgh’s PNC Park was the attention to the little things to make the fan experience better. Friday and Saturday (perhaps Sunday, too, but I wasn’t there for it) featured a block party down Sixth Street, which is where the Roberto Clemente Bridge runs through, where partygoers could go to bars that lined the streets with drink and food specials, if you didn’t want to be beholden to the ballpark for food. Prior to these Block Parties, they featured some Pirates alumni (in this case, Omar Moreno of the famed We Are Family 1979 Pirates team), and $4 beers.

 

Block Part Beers Summer Shandy

Just let that one sink in. I got a Leinenkugel summer shandy for $4. Prices went up, slightly, in the park.  I know there’s a lot of pricing to the area (I know New York City has a higher cost of living…but it’s still not “cheap” to go to a ballgame, I just make it a priority).

But I got to thinking, how could the Mets do something like this to entice fans? All the energy from outside of the park did translate inside the park.

I realize that a lot of New York laws might not allow open containers. ‘Tis true, due to the many tailgates I’ve attended and have had to “cop” my beers in red Solo cups. We’ve never had to toss anything, or have had any troubles with the law

I’m sure if it came to a rowdy game (like a playoff game), I could see some crack downs. But if you can be served on a sidewalk, chances are, CitiField premises could apply for some sort of area as a drinking establishment, where you are permitted to drink outdoors. Maybe by McFadden’s.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Like I said, I left PNC with a sense of Pirates history, pride and fun. It’s been awhile since we’ve had collective fun at CitiField. There have been some moments. And the Mets **do** try, by having alumni there from time to time. It’s great to see guys like Edgardo Alfonzo, John Franco, hell even Matt Franco. But these Block Parties really make me see that the fan experience is something else that’s sorely missing from Mets home games. They try. It just falls off the mark. Whether it’s the actual “buzz,” whether it’s fan disenchantment (could very well be that), I’m not sure. All I know is that if there were parties like this, I could be enticed to show up earlier to the ballpark to do some cheap drinking and partying.

There was also an emphasis on history. Not just Pirates history, which is rich and unique in and of itself. But Negro Leagues were included too.

Clemente Statue Cool Papa Bell Mazeroski Kiner's Hands

I’ve never been one of those folks who subscribed to the idea that the Mets needed statues outside of CitiField, or even inside. I never felt strongly about it either way. I felt like the Museum and Hall of Fame was well-done, although I felt that the Rotunda could use some other acknowledgement of New York baseball history, not just Jackie Robinson.

After seeing the statues at PNC Park, of Honus Wagner, Bill Mazeroski and Ralph Kiner’s hand cast, I had a strong reaction. I wanted our own shit in CitiField.

A Jesse Orosco statue, doing his YES pose after striking out Marty Barrett to win the World Series. Cleon Jones with his catch to end the 1969 World Series. Mike Piazza hitting a home run. Whatever. There are so many great things that could make the fan experience better at CitiField. I’m not sure if they’re doing as much as they could.

They say that when the Brooklyn Dodgers finally won a World Series in 1955, beating the hated Yankees, fans had a party down Flatbush Avenue that rivaled Mardi Gras.

I was 10 years old when the Mets last won a World Series. I got drenched in a beer and champagne waterfall. I also remember that in 1988, when the Mets simply clinched the NL East, there was a dude who was a passenger in a passing vehicle waving his pants around out the window as his friend drove by Shea Stadium, in celebration.

I was 18 years old when the Rangers won a Stanley Cup after a 54 year drought. People were climbing up on lamp posts whilst naked.

Although I’ve been rooting for them for two years, and we were not in their home city when they won a championship, Seahawks fans took the Times Square to celebrate their Super Bowl victory last February.

Sometimes, summer doesn’t have to be right for dancin’ in the streets. Or maybe when you’re in Pittsburgh, it warrants a party each weekend. A block party, if you will.

The gentleman you see dancing in the video to old school R&B was someone who quite frankly danced like no one was watching. But plenty of people were. What surprised me though was just in a few years time, the Pirates, who always had tickets available, many comments were made about how the Pirates had such a nice park, but no one went to see them play.

It just shows that after a few years, some exciting play, and even a playoff run, can change a fan base around. It may take time, but Mets fans, we can only wish to be dancing in the streets at some point.

A Podcast Doubleheader!

The Mets aren’t the only people to have a doubleheader this week!

I’ll be a guest on the Rising Apple podcast, at 8 pm ET TONIGHT.

Alternatively, Sam Maxwell, the “Converted Mets Fan,” and cohost of the Rising Apple podcast, will join me on MY show – the Mets Lounge – at 9 pm-ish ET.

I’ll be drinking a Raz-ber-rita…what’s in your glass?

Talk to you soon!

GTFO

“Don’t boo your own team.”

I hear this mantra repeated over and over for the fans in Flushing.  This is hardly unique to the area; it’s a New York thing, for sure.  But I think even St. Louis Cardinals fans, you know the “Best Fans in Baseball,” have booed their own players, contrary to popular belief.

Look at hockey.  I am a Rangers fan, and the fans are BRUTAL.  I challenge any baseball player who has butthurt feelings to play hockey in an intense town like New York City.  They’ll be running home to their mommies, crying and sucking their thumbs.

So to boo or not to boo, that is the question.  I think when I was a kid, I used to think it was funny that players would get booed.  But when I was eight or nine years old, I thought the players were superhuman.  They could handle the cheers, the boos, any distractions.  Even the airplanes that flew consistently overhead.

It wasn’t until I was much older (probably older than I care to admit) that I realized that these were people who were coming up to bat.  People who were pitching, throwing the ball.  What other industry or job can one have that you can have a 70% failure rate and be GOOD at it?

Yet, here we are, with the age old question: “To boo or not to boo?”

According to former Mets hitting coach, Dave Hudgens, booing is a BIG problem at home.  (Mind you, I’m sure the team hears boos on the road…and they play just fine there).

“I really just think guys tried too hard at home,” Hudgens told MLB.com after his firing. “I think the fans are really tough on the guys at home. How can you boo Curtis Granderson? They have no idea how hard this guy works and how he goes about doing his business, doing his job. He gets off to a slow start and they’re booing him? Come on. It’s tougher at home to play than it is on the road, there’s no doubt about it. And they’re trying really hard at home.”

Wow.  I mean.  Just WOW.

Of all the things I’ve heard my team blame their poor play on…the fans are all of a sudden “the problem.”

From not going to enough games, to voicing displeasure, to not being loud enough.  I’m just at a loss.  I have no idea how to even broach this topic anymore.

I’ve been a Mets fan for 30 years.  I’ve been through more down years than up.  Never have I felt more condescended to by the ownership, front office and team in my life.  And this is after two ginormous collapses in 2007 and 2008, then sub-.500 years in CitiField.  All of a sudden…it’s the fans who are the problem.  Yes, that’s the one constant.

In the parlance of my time…#SMH.

And then, I have to hear the self-righteousness of the people who claim to never “boo” their own team.  And I mean, I might applaud fans booing, and yell a sarcastic, “Lets go METS” every now and then.  The only people I suppose I’m hurting, would be the players themselves.  Players, by the way, that get paid a shitload of money to listen to a few people boo IF THEY CHOOSE TO DO SO.  Because at this point, I’m sorry to admit, the laundry is going to get the brunt of the discontent here.  I mean, the ownership doesn’t take the field.  (And if they did, I’d probably cheer Saul Katz for the sheer news that he’d sell his shares of the Mets).  There is a larger picture here.

But over the years, I’ve thought of players who have been loathed by their own fans.  And I mean, I can think of at least a dozen players that Mets fans CANNOT STAND.  Two pop into my head, actually.

And I got to thinking…if everyone is claiming, “I don’t boo my own players.” Then those players are subsequently booed…who’s doing it?

It’s like the rhetorical question (that was literally translated) by Sally Albright, when she told Harry Burns most women fake orgasms at one point in their lifetime.

If most women have done it, chances are, they’ve done it with him.

And chances are, you’ve done it too.

I admit, I’ve been particularly harsh with Curtis Granderson.  I heckle him in the appropriate fashion: via social media.  But here’s the kicker: I want him to do well.  But I can’t fathom why anyone would think a guy who hit home runs at Yankee Stadium is all of a sudden “surprised” that this same guy hits long fly ball outs at CitiField.

Here’s a thought.  And it’s always been this.

It’s not CitiField.

It’s never been about the fucking walls, despite numerous attempts to make it about that.

It’s not about the coaches.

And it’s certainly not about the fucking fans and whether they voice displeasure every now and then.

GET BETTER PLAYERS.

Maybe they need to talk to guys like Troy Tulowitzki or Chase Utley (Utley’s corner, anyone?) and see why they manage to hit well at CitiField.

You know why?
They don’t make excuses.  And excuses, if you remember, are like assholes.  Everyone has one…and they ALL stink.

A Special Mets Lounge Podcast TONIGHT!

Think you might need a Subway Series break tonight?  You won’t want to miss tonight’s special Mets Lounge podcast.  And if you’re a cool kid, you’ll certainly find a place here.

My special guest tonight will be Albert Dabah, owner of Simba Productions, and we’ll talk about his passion for baseball, and his pre-production feature film Extra Innings.

We’ll be airing live at 9 pm. Dial in for my pre-interview Mets rants (which is actually a bit happier than normal days).

…And Strawberry Sundaes For All

My Halloween costume from 1983, the year I became a Mets fan

My Halloween costume from 1983, the year I became a Mets fan

I’m guessing it was around June 1983.  The school year was winding down.  It was first grade, for me.  One of our parting assignments was to write about our favorite things (mine included: cats and chocolate and English muffins…still true to this very day, actually).  I forget what my mom’s were (probably chocolate as well…one thing she and I were agreeable on).  My dad was simple: he liked the Mets.

Being seven, I can’t say I knew what “Mets” actually were.  But I’m guessing that it must have been around or just after June 15, 1983.  Because all of a sudden the Mets were on ALL THE TIME.  And Dad couldn’t stop talking about a guy named “Keith.”  (Note: Keith Hernandez was traded to the Mets on June 15, 1983…ironically, my husband’s first Mets game was the day he was traded).  I think I was also aware of the Mets that year because my parents had gone to Opening Day (Tom Seaver returned), and my grandma told me she watched the game to see if she could see my mom.

My dad was rooting for the guys with METS written in script on the front of their uniform.  Well, then, that’s who I was rooting for too.

I started to ask my dad questions about baseball.  Mostly, how to play.  I was an awkward kid, and had two left feet when it came to anything physical.  I never took dance lessons, and I certainly wasn’t picked for sporting teams.  I wanted to learn something, and baseball looked kinda easy.  I guess.

So he’d pitch me meatballs, and I’d practice swinging.  All with him yelling, “KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL!!!!”  (As he took a swig of a Budweiser).

As history has told us, my parents tried to take me to my first Mets game on June 15, 1980.  You may remember the date as the day game after what became the legendary “Hendu Cando walkoff” game.  It was, as history remembered, an unmitigated disaster.  We never made it to the park that day.  And as Matt Silverman has told us in many write ups on the day after, that walkups were discouraged because there were literally no seats in the Upper Deck of Shea Stadium to sit, due to renovations.

Less than four years later, I would be heading back to Shea.  This time, I suppose, with better directions than in 1980.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.  My dad kept calling it, “Shea,” yet in my head, since I was in second grade in 1984, I was learning about phonics and shit, and I kept thinking of the Long “A” that we’d use to pronounce.  But I was surprised, for some reason, that it was spelled the way it is.

I remember the way it looked.  So colorful.  So tall.  I think this was also the age that I discovered that I was indeed afraid of heights.  I asked my dad to not get me the “red seats.”  We sat in what I found out was the Loge, the blue seats.  I was mesmerized by the colors.  I was also wondering just what the hell that smell was (yes, I can still smell Shea Stadium).

The day was a blur.  The date was May 6, 1984.  It was a Sunday game against the Houston Astros, who wore those putrid orange/red/yellow colored uniforms.

The starting pitcher for the Astros that day was a gentleman by the name of Nolan Ryan.  I’m trying to remember if Dad told me that he used to be a Met, or if I found that out later.  I would bet on “later,” because I also was not entirely schooled on the whole “World Series” and “1969” thing either.

nolan-ryan-astros

The starting pitcher for the Mets that day, ironically, was a young phenom named Dwight Gooden.

My dad bought a program.  It turns out that I spent a lot of time reading it because the Astros scored EIGHT RUNS in the third inning. Looking at the box score, it was a bunch of singles.  Single after single after single turned into run after run after run.

I read the program cover to cover.  Had nothing better to do after that inning , I remember the Pabst Blue Ribbon advertisement.  The hot dogs that looked plump and delicious.  Cigarette ads, which I don’t think I thought much about as an eight year old, but find them so odd now.

I also memorized the Shea diagram. Though I sat in them in later years, and I decided to never ever sit in Upper Deck that year

I also memorized the Shea diagram. Though I sat in them in later years, and I decided to never ever sit in Upper Deck that year

The program had write ups on the visiting teams.  I remember asking why Jose Cruz’s name was pronounced “Hoe-ZAY” as opposed to “Josie.”  I may still call him that (and anyone else named “Jose”).  I also remember weird stuff from that day.  The smell of the hot dogs from the vendors.  The taste of the RC Cola.  The awful bathrooms.  My mom agreeing to get me Crunch N Munch, then “forgetting.”  The ginormous Budweiser ad that beckoned fans to drink.

This is the Bud ad I remember from 1984, though I'm sure some Shea historian will tell me otherwise

This is the Bud ad I remember from 1984, though I’m sure this pic is from 1988 or thereabouts (the bigger scoreboard)

Awestruck by the enormity of it all, really.

While going through the program, I also noticed that just a few days prior, had been a date called “Strawberry Sundae.”  A promotion sponsored by Carvel, fans attending a game honoring 1983 Rookie of the Year Darryl Strawberry received a strawberry sundae.  Well, dadgummit.

I don’t remember there being a lot of excitement.  Besides the barrage of singles and subsequent runs scored by the Astros, Doctor K had barely recorded an out in the third before being relieved by Craig Swan.  Swan didn’t yield a run.  Of course he didn’t.

docgoodensheaBut Doc Gooden ultimately became the reason why I was a Mets fan, or rather became one.

I take pride in having gone to one of his very few losses in his rookie year campaign, one where he ultimately won the ROY.

But I had no idea what rookies were or what an award was at that point.  All I know is…I was pretty pissed off that I missed free ice cream at Strawberry Sundae Night.

I still am.

So when I read the upcoming giveaways at that horrific game on May 6, I saw that sports bag day was on Memorial Day (which was Monday, May 28, an afternoon game).  Though the Mets were losing pretty bad, I knew I wanted to come back.  I asked Dad if we could go.  I think we got our tickets that day.

I also remember what it was like to leave before the game ended.  It was a blowout, and we had to go back to Jersey.  It was a long day already.  I do remember that I had dozed off in the car, and there was traffic heading out of the stadium.  That part has not changed, even if Shea is no longer around.  The radio was on, and I suppose the postgame was on too.  I asked if the Mets had won.  (I even knew that ya gotta believe, at such a young age).  No.  The Astros had tacked on two more runs.

10-1 Astros was the final score that day.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 9.40.34 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 9.40.49 PM

I’ll always remember Shea in all her majesty. At Closing Day in 2008, my dad turned to me after the ceremony and said, “You grew up here.” Now, at that point, I hadn’t shed a tear. I had let Shea go in my mind. I was ready for a new stadium, and mostly ready to embrace change (something the Mets desperately needed to do after 2007 and 2008…though I didn’t think it would be, “GET WORSE”).

But my one regret with Shea Stadium is that I never got a strawberry sundae.  Now, that shit still pisses me off.

The irony of the Mets is that I always expected friends in the deal, but I never thought I’d gain a husband out of it.  He went to his first game on June 15, 1983, and that was probably when I first started paying attention to the Mets.  I was also supposed to have had a link to June 15, 1980, and was supposed to go to the game originally on June 16, 1980.

And I got married on May 5, 2010.  And my first game May 6, 1984.

How about that for some shit?

Don’t Mean Nothin’

...till you sign it on the dotted line?

…till you sign it on the dotted line?

I vowed that I wouldn’t comment on the Mets open letter “True New Yorker” marketing campaign.

But when it’s been basically a week since and people are STILL bitching about it (or joking about it), I finally had enough ammo to write something about it.

I was telling someone earlier today that when I first got the letter, I was kind of like, “Whatever,” for me.  I knew, once again, that it was a misguided attempt at trying to “connect” with the fans.  And of course, I cringed at the thought of what the reaction would be like on Twitter.  Because I knew that a shitstorm would be a-brewin’ before I knew it.

I didn’t sign it.  I guess I’m taking the route of Randall “Pink” Floyd in not signing the oath of not drinking or drugging while training for football.  I wasn’t angry about it…I was apathetic.

I’m a season ticket holder.  I not only go to a lot of home games, I go to many road games.  I’m a fan.  I don’t need to sign it on the dotted line.

The open letter, as Richard Marx once eloquently said, “don’t mean nothin’.”

(And please, spare me the grammar double-negative police…if you grew up in the ’80s, you knew exactly what Dick Marx was saying.)

And you’ll be surprised at what riles me up about the whole thing.

That goddamn “True New Yorker” business.

Yes. I do realize it’s mostly metaphoric.  You’re talking to the broad who was told by The Naked Cowboy (who wears a cowboy hat, boots and tighty whiteys in Times Square) that just because he’s not truly naked, doesn’t mean that he’s not. “Naked is just a metaphor, honey.”  Those were his words.

But again, the whole letter and idea of it shows how disconnected the team’s marketing department is from their fan base.

1) You don’t have to be “from” New York to be a Mets fan.

Try telling that whole New Yorker business to my friends in San Antonio, Texas; San Marcos, California; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (to name a few…) that they couldn’t possibly be “true Mets fans” because they are not “true New Yorkers.”  I realize this is kind of a solidarity oath.  Think when the Boston Marathon bombings occurred.  Lots of memes about “We are all from Boston.”  But that was in the name of humanity overcoming the worst of disasters to show support for a city grieving.

We are not grieving.  We are Mets fans — we suffer enough without being condescended to.

2) If you are from New York, root for whoever you goddamn feel like it.

My husband is from the Bronx.  You couldn’t pay him enough money to root for the Yankees (unless he could do it for enough money to reinvest as partial owner of the Mets…actually that’s why I would ever root for the Yankees, if I could make enough money for that…moving right along…).  He is also a Seattle Seahawks fan since 1983 and a Utah Jazz fan since 1988.  He’d never rooted for a local team in either sport.  He became a Rangers fan in hockey simply because I was.

And hey, because I am from New Jersey (and believe you me…I am JerZ TO THE BONE), I get asked all the time about why I am not a Devils fan.  Easy…my dad was a Broadway Blues fan, and the NJ Scums didn’t exist until much later.

But if fandom dictated several things, there would be no Mets fan who was a New York Giants fan, or a fan from the Philadelphia metro area who was not an Eagles nor Phillies fan.

Sure, sometimes I don’t get why there would be someone who grew up mere doors away from Flushing, and was not a Mets fan.  But being a sports fan is a deeply personal thing.  Curtis Granderson in saying true New Yorkers are Mets fans.  (and by the way, I’m pretty sure the reason why people made such a big deal about it is because he played for the Yankees too.)

I guess to some extent Granderson is right.  I mean, most Yankees fans are tourists.  As Metstradamus once said, “You do not love the Yankees…you love SOUVENIRS!”

I know a fellow from New England who is a Buffalo Bills fan (he knew a coach when he was a kid).  Just goes to show that geography doesn’t necessarily dictate your fandom. But trust me, plenty of New Yorkers either don’t give a shit about local professional sports, or root for family interests.

3) Yet another disingenuous attempt at connecting with fans.

“The Magic Is Back.”

teamtimemets

 

 

 

 

 

 

And who can forget this gem from the 2007 collapse?

From Mets COO Jeff Wilpon:
To Mets Fans:

“All of us at the Mets are bitterly disappointed in failing to achieve our collective goal of building upon last year’s success.  We did not meet our organization’s expectations – or yours.  Everyone at Shea feels the same range of emotions as you – our loyal fans – and we know we have let you down.  We wanted to thank you for your record-breaking support of our team this year…

“Equally important, Ownership will continue its commitment in providing the resources necessary to field a championship team. Omar will be meeting with Ownership shortly to present his plan on addressing our shortcomings so that we can achieve our goal of winning championships in 2008 and beyond…

“You deserve better results…

“Many thanks again for your record-breaking support.

Remember the marketing campaign from that year? “Your Season Has Come?”

Oy.

Prior to the 2007 season, the Mets capitalized on a marketing campaign, spending $2mm with celebrity talent.  Though I will admit, at the time, it made sense: they were within their reach of the World Series the year before.  And within two years, they’d need to fatten their populace in a brand new shiny field.

Fans WANTED to spend their money, though.  The economy was also better.

Now?  Apples to oranges.  Sure, 15 wins on a monthly average would net 90 wins total for the season.  And that’s how they started April.  But can you help it if fans are WARY of any performance in April?  I was Suzy Sunshine in my last post, channeling my inner Russell Wilson.  But I think was just feeling good because the Rangers had won.  It might have clouded my inner skeptic.

But just like 2007, and with this sad open letter, it misses the mark completely, and does what the Mets marketing department has always done best, no matter who is in charge, and that’s putting the cart before the horse.

Look at baseball as a business.  Let’s say I am Joe Schmoe business owner, and I sell widgets.  And my widgets suck.  Quality isn’t good, service is questionable.  My clients are not going to do business with me out of loyalty.  They’re going to want to see results.  And in the real business world, signing a letter is basically what Richard Marx says – once you sign on the dotted line, it’s official.

Where in the world can you get a gullible consumer to sign basically what amounts to a purity pledge to stand by our men?

Mets fans are loyal, but also remember that in the middle of 2006, a person who identified himself as a Yankee fan told me that “He liked the Mets now because they were winning.”

No.  Really.  SOMEONE SAID THIS TO ME.

Winning brings out the best and worst in all fanbases.  Losing loses the real fans.  You put a product we believe in out there, trust me, they will come.

Boom.

4) Why the FUCK would I sign a petition anyway?

Photo Credit to Michael Baron of Metsblog

Photo Credit to Michael Baron of Metsblog

I was named the Season Ticket Holder of the game on a Monday night game in April. In Queens. In the cold.

Trust me, guys.  I don’t need no stinkin’ petition.  Nor any badgers.

5) In the end, this is all just more overblown LOLMets stuff.

There was a shitload more stuff we could have paid attention to last week.  A faux controversy, if you will.

At first, I couldn’t care less.  I still don’t, though I managed to write a 1,000 word post on how much I don’t care.

Signing a petition, going to games, owning every single Mets shirt, rattling stats of Mets history.  It doesn’t mean shit.  Everyone is a fan in their own way.

Whether you go to 162 games a year.  Whether you go to zero.  Whether you listen to every game on the radio while you live in the North Pole.   It doesn’t fucking matter.  If you’re a “true fan,” it shows.

Now get the FUCK OFF MY LAWN!!!!!!

Why Not Us?

This meme always cracks me up.

This meme always cracks me up.

I’m relatively new to the whole Seattle Seahawks #12thMan thing, but I did happen to note that Russell Wilson had become America’s sweetheart within a few short weeks late last year and early this year.  His guts and positivity got the Hawks to the big game, and subsequently won it.

See, I’m not used to that shit.  I’m so used to my teams getting my hopes up to the very last possible point, then the shoe dropping and that’s it.  #WipesHands

This year was strange.  A team I adopted, and genuinely *liked* (trust me – I’ve hated MANY of my teams a lot of the time…a little too much, actually) went the distance.  But it was the big heart of the small quarterback Russell Carrington Wilson who said, “Why not us?”

It was no secret that Wilson’s dad passed away several years ago.  And it was his dad’s advice that he claims got him to go to the distance, by asking his team, “Why not us?”

Why not you, Russ?

So it got me thinking – why not us?

And by “us,” I mean my other teams, the Mets and New York Rangers.

Let’s take a look at April.

Sandy Alderson — and not facetiously, mind you —  said that there was a chance the Mets could win 90 games this year.

Once we all stopped rolling our eyes and chuckling — and we did, don’t be that fan that is all self-righteous about loving your team more and supporting them through or think other fans suck if they don’t 100% believe in the team — the Mets started the season 0-3.  And lost their closer on Opening Day.  And didn’t have their star young stud pitcher at all.  Seemed like more of the same.   When they won a game, myself and many others joked and said, “89 more to go!”  (That was facetious, by the way)

Till they started to win.  And started to get good and quality starts from their pitchers.  Except for the guy they kinda expected to be consistent.  But whatever.  The ways they won, and how many games they won (15) in April made us sit up and pay attention.  To the tune of tweets like this.

Why not us?

If you look at that pace, it could theoretically be a 90 win season, if they continue on average winning 15 games a month.

We’ve seen weirder.  Of course, that might not be enough to win the NL East.

And trust me, I don’t like getting ahead of myself.  I even told my husband the other night the famous, “It’s only APRIL” excuse.  Doesn’t mean anything.  The only April or the averaging 15 wins a month to get to a 90 total win season.

Why not us, Russ?

As I sit here writing, I’m watching the Rangers play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.  It’s very rare that I actually have a good feeling with ANYTHING remotely regarding the Rangers in the playoffs.  I spend most of my time tweeting about how much the team tortures me, makes me want to poop on MSG center ice or how much I hate them.

But I love them.  I really don’t know what I’d do without the Rangers.  Or if they weren’t in the playoffs.

Two years ago, I was having a rough year, and the one thing that kept me riding high was the fact that the Rangers were playing so well. Then they lost, but the Los Angeles Kings brought me out of hell, and I got over that Quick (see what I did there?).

I said that unless you live in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, or are a bitter Devils fan, chances are most of America is rooting for the Rangers in this series.  NO ONE likes the Penguins.  They’re almost as dirty as Philly, and there are more crybabies than the Capitals.

So it’s good to like to good guys for once…but play better, for fuck’s sake.

It’s been a weird year, what with teams I’ve wanted to win are actually, you know, WINNING.  Or have won.  Whatever.

The Rangers beat the Penguins in OT, 3-2.  We know that OT isn’t exactly ideal, and especially in Pittsburgh.

So why not them?  Or us?

Those who say, “Wait Till Next Year,” will ultimately say, “It IS next year?”

And that’s probably going to be the first and last remotely positive thing you’ll EVER see me posting on this site.

Shhhh…don’t tell anyone.