a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Some of My Distractions Are Happy Ones

I've been a New York Mets fan since I was a wee lad growing up on Long Island. My dad used to take me and a half-dozen friends for my birthday every year; we'd pile into the car, and battle traffic through Queens to the game.

Being a Mets fan has often been a painful process; for most of the 1990s they were horrible, and since 2000 they haven't been very good either.

Until this year.

When I lived in Manhattan in the 1990s, I used to go to about a dozen games a year, taking the subway out. Often I brought my glove, even as an adult chasing the elusive dream of catching a foul ball. I never did, though I was with two people who were able to snag balls (one happily tearing out the knees of his suit pants in the process).

I did catch an overthrow during pre-game infield practice, an old, scuffed ball; it doesn't really count, but somehow it still does, because one can imagine the game life the ball might have had before it was retired to fielding drills.

(I just picked it up, and squeezed it. As someone who used to play a lot of softball, I'm always surprised how small baseballs are).

I was at the playoff game in 1973 when Pete Rose and Buddy Harrelson got into the fight on the field, and where Rose was showered with debris when he trotted out to left field for the bottom of the inning. The ticket stub is framed on my wall.

I also remember the game, years later, when Rose hit three home runs in one game against the Mets -- an amazing feat for a non-power hitter in a tough ballpark to hit home runs in.

It's tough being a Mets fan in Los Angeles, because unless they are playing the Dodgers or the Braves (on superstation TBS) there just aren't many games on TV; maybe a random Wednesday night or Sunday night game here and there.

The Internet is a godsend, because there are several sites that do live pitch-by-pitch descriptions of games, which are particularly handy because I can do some work, and click over every few minutes and see what I missed.

Anyhow, the playoffs start this week, and the Mets are playing the Dodgers, which always seems appropriate, with the Mets created after the Dodgers and Giants fled to the West Coast in the late 1950s. In fact, the Mets' colors, blue and orange, are in tribute to the Dodgers blue and the Giants' orange.

I only went to one Mets game this year, and ironically it was the only game they lost (out of three they played) at Dodgers Stadium. For you Dodgers fans, it was the only game that Eric Gagne saved all season, and he looked great. Unfortunately, he was still hurting, and never pitched again all year.

I've become something of a Dodgers fan, but still the blue I bleed is Mets' blue. The Mets have finally put together a team of young players, crafty veterans, and even (rare for the Mets) an actual player (Carlos Beltran) who is in his prime. The Mets' starting pitching is a bit shaky (don't expect a lot of 1-0 games in this series), but their bullpen is strong, their bats have pop, and hell, it's just nice for the Mets to be playing in October.

And by all accounts they are good guys, who all get along well, and have been busting their butts all year. No divas, no whiners, just hard-working team guys. Can't beat that.

Delta Airlines even just named an airplane after amiable young third baseman David Wright.

So as I juggle reading work, and my rewrite, and my $60 notes offer (which I thought I had shut down but which continues to bring in scripts), and paying attention to my wife, and the premiere of Lost, there's the Mets. The Mets. The Mets.

So if you flip around the channels this week, and spot the game, hover for a second, and look at the green of the field, and how pitches defy logic and gravity to spin and rise over the plate.

And hopefully the Mets are in front.

And if anyone finds themselves with an extra Dodger Stadium ticket this weekend, give me a shout.


At 1:05 PM, Blogger Shawn said...

The Mets should make it to the series, though the Padres are looking mighty good as of late. The Dodgers won't survive and the Cardinals just aren't the same team.

That said, Lets Go Yankees!

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

As an Astros fan, my hatred of the Mets goes back to 1986. So, Go Padres (since the weak Astros only came close to the playoffs in a weak division).

Actually, hate is too strong a word. That Game 6 at the Dome was one of the most exciting (and longest) games I've ever seen. Hated to be on the losing end of it, but still an incredible game.

At 3:22 PM, Blogger jefe said...

I don't think the Mets have the pitching to make it to the Series. They will be lucky to get to the 2nd round.

It's Oakland's turn, dammit. And Good Lord willing, they'll get to thrash the accursed Dodgers to win it.


At 4:15 PM, Blogger Chesher Cat said...

I caught a foul ball at a Mariners/Angels game in the Seattle Kingdome. My kid was 8. I had his glove on while he was porking out on concession garbage. It was an almost line drive down the right field line. We were in the first row behind the pitcher's bench (no real bull pen at the Kingdome). Tim Salmon was running for the ball. I stood up, reached my gloved left hand over Troy Percival's head and backhanded the ball. The crowd cheered and I was replayed on the jumbotron. One minute of fame, 14 to go.

And my kid later played on a club team with Pete Rose's youngest son, but that's a whole other story.

At 11:01 PM, Blogger Formerly, The Dude Spoke said...

this is our year, Scott. After years of false starts, this is it.

And we're gonna kick the Yankee's ass in the series. But it'll go to all 7 games.

At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Dave R said...

The Mets have and always will be the other team in NY. They can do what they like, but the Yankees will stomp them out in the series like they did last time.

At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Joe Unidos said...

As long as somebody beats the Yankees, I'll be happy.

-Joe U.

At 7:21 AM, Blogger Shawn said...

I stand corrected on my original comment: The Mets will probably have a tough time making the series -- their starting pitching is in dire straits, now that El Duque is on the bench with Pedro. And the Cardinals looked like their old selves yesterday -- great pitching from Carpenter and Pujols jacking bombs.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: Let's Go Yankees!

At 7:31 AM, Blogger Tom said...

The Mets starting pitching has been dicey all year, and sometimes it bites them in the can, but their offense has been golden, their bullpen is beyond solid, they've got genuine All-Star talent and there are several guys that can drag the rest of them over the plate if necessary.

Of course it's never a slamdunk with the Mets, they congenitally have to make it interesting, and there's always some shortcoming everyone points out, even with the 1986 Mets, who were superior to most other teams (as long as Mike Scott wasn't pitching), their cockiness was what everyone picked at. This team is ready, they've been on a great run, they're confident yet humble and it is their year.

At 7:13 PM, Blogger Webs said...

Scott, you have got to get MLB TV next year. The Gameday stuff is nice, but it's not baseball. WIth MLB TV, you can watch every game.

The last year we still had the Expos, I took my eldest daughter to a game, her fourth ever.

Jeff Bagwell hit a pop foul into the row behind us. I set up for the rebound - I'd never grabbed a ball before. The bounce glances off my forearm and hits my daughter in the chest and she holds on to it.

In her fourth game.

I hate her.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger Brett said...

I was **at** Mike Scott's 1986 no-hitter where the 'Stros clinched the division against the Giants. I and a buddy had looked at the sports section before lunch, saw Scotty was due to pitch in a possible clincher, and we suddenly decided that our college professors didn't really need us that day, so we piled into a car and drove 120 miles to Houston to catch the game.

It was rather exciting.

For the 1986 NLCS and for Billy Wagner and for Carlos Beltran, to hell with the Mets.

Go Pads.

At 8:04 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Hey, Mike Scott was on the Mets first -- that has to count for something (while the Mets still haven't had a no-hitter in their entire history).

Webs, if I get it on TV, then I'll be planted in front of the TV. I get more work done with it quietly compiling on a window of the computer.

1 win down, 10 to go...

At 9:04 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Never liked the Mets much. I'll always blees Philles red, and just watch the Phils take theis division next year.

The Mets got lucky tonight, I think it might be the only game they win. their pitching at this point is just not good enough to get through the Dodgers, although IF they do they will not be the Cards.

Not a Yankees fan but you can't deny that just about EVERY player in their line-up kicks ass. I think the only team that can beat them are the Twins, but they might not even get by The A's (And The Big Hurt!)

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Pat -- the Mets won today despite the fact that it was their number 5 starter against the Dodgers #1 starter. Thursday the Mets have Tom Glavine pitching, against Kuo, a guy who has only won 1 game in his whole major league career (it was against the Mets, but still). Saturday the Mets get to face Maddux, who they've killed this year.

Mets in 3.

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Webs said...

Scott, MLB TV is an online service. You get the broadcast in a little window, just like you get the pitch-by-pitch service.

The playoffs are blacked out, but keep this URL for next April:

At 8:32 AM, Blogger Schrumpfkopf said...

Wasting time candy so much fun :)


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