Day: September 9, 2011

My Second Language

I am a born storyteller.  I don’t just like talking about stuff that’s happened to me, but I have a photographic memory (sometimes anyway) and if you tell me something that is not prefaced by “You cannot tell a single SOUL about what I am going to tell you,” then consider me a proxy for repeating your information.

Baseball is a language that has shaped my narrative of a lot of these stories.  In fact, that’s me to the left, speaking at an event hosted by Greg Prince of Faith and Fear in Flushing and Jon Springer of Mets by the Numbers called “Amazin’ Tuesdays,” where the baseball literati congregated once a month and we did some readings from our respective blogs or books (sometimes both…in my case, just my blog, My Summer Family).  I have been a lifelong Mets fan, but my stories are baseball-wide.  I’m a little pitcher with large ears (no pun intended, with that “pitcher” thing), and I’ve borne witness to many funny stories over the years just by observing not only what’s going on with the field, but in the stands as well.

That very night at the gathering, I spoke of how I would yell, “Just Forfeit!” when an undesirable pitcher would come in for middle relief with a six run lead (shows you how much faith I’d have in whoever that was).  This was borrowed from a gentleman I sat next to in Baltimore in 1998.  The Orioles were playing the Seattle Mariners, and the game went into extra innings.  Former Met Jesse Orosco came into a tied game, and I believe there were men on base.  But when the dude in back of me started yelling, “Just forfeit! Just forfeit!” while throwing his hands in the air in futility, I knew I had to take that line as my own.  (PS The Orioles actually won that game)

I also told the story of how my friends whom I called the “Woodside Crew” (Frank, Tommy and Kim) would be done with the Mets in 2002, in their own exercise in futility, and in the 6th inning, Frank would stand up, and say, “Fuck these guys, I’m goin’ to Donovan’s.  Who’s comin’?”  Donovan’s is a famous pub in Woodside, right off the 7 line and the LIRR of the same stop, with a great burger.  My team can drive me to drink sometimes.  Donovan’s was a great watering hole.

The guy behind me in Mezzanine 22, Richie, would say things like “Hey, it’s the bottom of the 5th, we’re down 6-0.  WE GOT ‘EM RIGHT WHERE WE WANT ‘EM.”  Not even a hint of irony in his voice.  Meanwhile, my dad and I will STILL call or text each other at times during games where similar situations have occurred.  Ten years or so later, it’s still as funny as it once was.

This site is new.  I had my own blog for four years, and I write for several other Mets blogs still, trying to craft my voice and how I wanted to tell my stories.  However, it’s tough to share my experiences with different focal points who want to flog a certain player or just want to disagree with how the team is being operated.  I started doing podcasts because I wanted to get my sense of humor back.  I had lost the reason WHY I followed these teams, why I root for them and why I am a fan.  Sometimes, you need to laugh, and get back to our roots as to why we enjoy it.  It hasn’t been easy for us in the last few years.

Then I thought, wait a minute.  I also like to talk about hockey and football.  Baseball is my first language, so I may have a few broken sayings here and there as I write about hockey and football.  Especially football.  I have a feeling though, there’s going to be a lot of passion driving that narrative this year.

This is why I have started a new site, after staunch refusals and saying “NEVER. AGAIN.”  I have many stories to share, and I hope you enjoy reading/listening to them as much as I like telling them.