baseball

As Seasons Roll On By

Summer nights and long warm days
Are stolen as the old moon falls
My mirror shows another face
Another place to hide it all
Another place to hide it all
Sunday, May 21, 2017.  We are well into the Eastern Conference Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  I’m sure most of you are well aware that my team, the New York Rangers, did not make it past the second round.  I wasn’t going to write about it, make it all “okay” or anything typical of what you are to see here on Gal For All Seasons.  I kind of did the Five Stages of Grief, but backwards.  I let everyone know that once the Rangers lost Game Five, after gutting out two wins on home ice to get the series against Ottawa 2-2, that I had made peace with the outcome.  And late into the game, it appeared as though that outcome was a loss.  And it was.
Then literally the next day, I had sadness, and anger came and went.  As I said, I did my five stages in my own unique way.
So once again, I see a team that is not mine playing for a trophy that each season that passes, seems more and more unlikely that I will see this generation win a Stanley Cup.  I don’t want to get peaceful about it and say it’s all good, because it’s not.  As I was saying to NotJeff and Will the night they were eliminated, we will be the same assholes next year who watch and don’t see another championship.  Because I can pretty much guarantee that they won’t do right by Henrik Lundqvist and won’t win while he is on the team.
That, my friends, is acceptance.
Sleeping with a full moon blanket
Sand and feathers for my head
Dreams have never been the answer
And dreams have never made my bed
Dreams have never made my bed
Yet, this time of the year, while baseball is in full swing, I get nostalgic.  If you have been following this site as long as I’ve had it up and running, you will know that the Pet Shop Boys hold a place near and dear to my heart when it comes to watching Rangers playoff hockey.  Which is odd because I highly doubt when they wrote and produced the album “Very,” they had an 18 year old hockey fan in mind.
But mostly, I get to thinking.  Not so much nostalgia, but what my life was like as a fan of a team that won a title.  Sure, the Seahawks won one not too long ago.  But I felt as though I was on the peripheral, that I hadn’t yet quite paid my dues.  And when the Mets won in 1986, I was 10 years old.  I had only been a fan three years at that point, sure.  But I certainly had no idea that to be a Mets fan, there is usually a lot of pain involved in the process.
With the Rangers though, it’s more an exercise in futility really.
I’ve been thinking a lot about 1994 lately, and it has nothing to do with the Rangers.  Certainly, that was a significant event in my life that year, including graduating from high school and going away to college.  A coming of age process for sure, and the Pet Shop Boys were a huge soundtrack in my life then.
Now I wanna fly above the storm
But you can’t grow feathers in the rain
And the naked floor is cold as hell
This naked floor reminds me
Oh the naked floor reminds me

And then there’s Soundgarden and the Seattle “sound” of the ’90s.  I disliked Nirvana, but I loved the other significant bands that grew out of that era.  That summer, Soundgarden’s Superunknown was a significant portion of my playlist (before I even knew it was a term).

Black Hole Sun.  Day I Tried To Live.  Fell On Black Days.  Some of it very dark, dreary (much like the weather that inspires the Seattle 1990s sound).  Heavy.  I’d belt that shit out as I drove like no one’s business.
I went through a lot that year, personally.  My high school sweetheart and I called it quits after being together since freshman year, I was going through some home turmoil because I was leaving to go to school,

I also had great joy.  The Rangers won a championship.  I had a new set of friends.  I dated a lot of cute boys.  I went to a lot of concerts. I borrowed my mom’s car (without permission) to go to Woodstock.  Now, that was a fun summer.  Two dark albums though got to the heart of my conflicting feelings, feelings in dealing with the inevitable changes that were happening in my life whether I liked it or not.  The Crow soundtrack still makes me sit and listen, which was a biggie that year.  And there was Superunknown, through several moves and maybe someone “borrowing” and never returning it, it’s been misplaced.  I haven’t listened to it in years, unfortunately.

But I loved Chris Cornell’s voice.  I still have a copy of Singles, the quintessential early ’90s movie soundtrack that was required listening of Generation X.
When I heard about the death of Chris Cornell last week, I thought of several things.  Of course, the first thought was loss, and my own regret of having never seen him or Soundgarden live when I had the chance.  (Note to self: your rock gods do indeed pass away at some point).
I thought about that summer when I really started to listen to different music and go to different shows.  And I realize I always tie in my love of sports and music together.

My next thought was sadness.  While it’s always sad to lose a rock icon, you can’t help but think due to his age, that he still had more to do and more to say in this lifetime.  His music catalog is what remains, his art will live on and blah blah blah.

I couldn’t help but feel connected to a song that die hard Cornell fans would know about, but also one that struck me at a very poignant time in my life.

If I should be short on words
And long on things to say
Could you crawl into my world
And take me worlds away?
Should I be beside myself
And not even stay

Three years ago, the Rangers made it to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since that fateful 1993-94 season.  I was at a weird spot in my life, professionally.  I was building a business, participating in the “sharing” economy, and not very sure of what my next steps were.  Huge difference from when I was 18 years old, ready to face the world and pretty much thought I knew everything.  (Spoiler alert: I didn’t).  Though they were down in the series 3-0, I had a chance to jump at discounted tickets (in the sense that they were nearly a grand less than they were before game three).  I went with my friend Joanne, and they won their only game, a home game.  Even though I had a lot of tumult in my professional life (and subsequent personal life), I just knew I had to go to that game.  Mostly because I was pushing 20 the last time they made it, and I was then pushing 40.  I didn’t want to be 60 the next time they made it, regretful I didn’t take my shot in 2014 to see them play live in a Stanley Cup Final.
In the hot late spring of ’94, I spent a lot of time traveling to the city to watch the Stanley Cup Final games with my dad.  On my way home, I’d listen to bands like Rage Against The Machine, Violent Femmes, Live, Pet Shop Boys, Mother Love Bone, Green Day.  Different styles, yet they totally made sense to me.
Each year, I think about the pain and agony that ultimately succumbed to absolute joy, only to have things change so dramatically by leaving home and starting school.  Basically, I went from comfort to not knowing shit.  But I’d get in the car, put on some Pearl Jam or Soundgarden, and I was ready to get introspective.
I think about that time, and wonder if I’ll ever have that payoff again with my team.  Any of my teams.  Which is why I turn to that year (1994) a lot in my writing.  Basically because it’s something I have.  But it was also a year that I grew, as a person, and the Rangers and music made me that way.
And I’m lost behind
Words I’ll never find
And I’m left behind
As seasons roll on by
Chris Cornell, Seasons
Another sports season has come and gone in the life of the Gal For All Seasons.  I spend 365 days a year obsessed about where and how I will watch my games, or figure out a way to get to find out what’s happening.  One of the struggles I had with being a blogger who followed sports was thinking about my angle for when I would write about it.  I spent a few days after the Rangers were eliminated wondering if I would ever want to talk about it.
I thought about how I can think about football season and when my next trip to Seattle will be.  While some people may wonder how it was easy to jump ship at a later age to a different team and city, it wasn’t difficult for me.  I often say I was born to be a Mets and Rangers fan.  But I was meant to be a Seattle Seahawks fan because of my ties to a city I didnt know I had.
A big part of that why is my association with music and sports is so closely intertwined.  One of my first thoughts on hearing Chris Cornell’s death was how my Seattle friends would feel, and what the city would do to honor one of their sons who put the city on the map, musically.
Seasons change, and people change and grow.  Chris Cornell’s “Seasons” changed me in ways I had no idea how, until today.  It was a song on the Singles soundtrack, and believe me, if you’ve made it this far, you can wonder how I can be “short on words and long on things to say.”
Every year that I am reflecting on a season that could’ve been, I will think of potential of years, time and people lost.  I’ll think of thought processes I’ve shed that make me evolve and not exist.  How my life has changed dramatically in ways in 10 years, let alone since I was 18 years old.  It’s not good or bad, just different from what I expected.  And that’s okay.
Music and sports though, that’s the one constant I can rely on.  Sure, each year I shake off losses, but as I get older, I realize how finite our time is here on Earth.  And wonder if I’ll get that euphoric feeling again of sharing in that moment of a great win.  And the seasons get harder to pass, and I’m not getting any younger.  But it makes me feel as though the journey will ultimately make it worthwhile.
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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).

Mascots, Road Trips and Baseball – Oh My!

Please join me for the Gal For All Seasons podcast tonight!  I have a very special guest, my friend Amanda Rykoff from ESPNW (and Twitter personality) joining me tonight.

We plan to discuss her recent ventures in running for President (no, not that kind…the Presidential Race at Nationals Park) and her obsession with team mascots (we stalked the Oriole Bird ourselves), plus her thoughts on the MLB Fan Cave.  I’m sure our talk will turn to the upcoming baseball season and road trips!

We’ll be on live at 7 pm ET, so please log into the chat room then!

 

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.