The Bataan Death March — 2012 baseball season edition

Bobby Valentine (New York Mets)

Bobby Valentine (New York Mets) (Photo credit: iccsports). If you Google me and him, you will find a petition I started when he was fired. I was really angry about it. I still am.

Yesterday was the official start of the baseball season.  For the next six months I expect to spend at least  a decent portion of my time crying or thinking about crying.  Having the Bo Sox get Bobby Valentine does not help.   (Side note:  Dear Joe Scarborough, can you explain why you are a Sox fan?  Didn’t you grow up in Florida?  I can forgive a lot — you voting to impeach President Clinton or any of your political views — but this Sox thing may be a step too far.  I am just kidding.  I just mute the TV when you talk about baseball.  And your Fed Wilpon love is equally inexplicable.  No Met fans I know like him.)

Back to my point.  The baseball season is long (162 games!  Hey, wait, isn’t that the same number of millions of dollars Fred Wilpon has to pay to the Bernie Madoff victims’ fund?  Dang!  It is!) and I expect it to be really painful.  This year, next year, every year until the Wilpons sell the team.

So, I will have to rely on movies like Bull Durham and Moneyball to get me through the summer.  Best two baseball movies ever.

Let’s go Mets!

You gotta believe!

Being a Met fan means summer is the most painful time of the year.

Warning: This is a TMI post.

Anyone familiar with the Mets, is familiar with this phrase.  I often think it was cruel to raise me a Met fan when New York has a winning team but I am convinced the designated hitter rule is a crime against everything I hold holy.

Digression:  Baseball is special for a number of reasons.  There is no clock.  The season is like a pressure cooker — starts slow and leisurely and ends in a race that can be a nail biter.  One of my favorite things about the sport is that every player plays both offense and defense.  When you allow such a pivotal player — as the pitcher is — to not hit you change the batter/pitcher dynamic.  This produces pricks like Roger Clemens, whom I will love to hate until I die.  It’s just not how the game should be played and once again, love you Crash Davis, I believe there ought to be a Constitutional amendment outlawing astroturf and the designated hitter.

Anyway, back to my point.  Every year I practically live and die by the Mets. I even believed after what is regarded as one of the most historic collapses in sports.  You can read about that here.  I feel the need to elaborate on how seriously I take this.  I only wear Met blue nail polish.  When I watch a game I alternate between really watching and only having it on in the background.  Depending on how they are doing when I do either.  My Met clothing — Jose Reyes jersey, 1986 t-shirt, old school, blue satin jacket, hat, necklace — gets switched up  — are they doing better when I have the hat on?  Should I take the jacket off?  Now, I know I sound crazy — and I am — but any Met fan will tell you, we are a superstitious lot.  I know intellectually that nothing I do will impact the game — and I also know they can’r hear me when I yell at the TV.  My sports related Tourettes kicks in big time when I watch the Mets (and 4ers, tennis, etc.).

But despite all the loss and all the heartbreak, I believe in the Mets.  So why can’t I have the same belief in myself?  Because I have way more successes than the Mets (at least since 1986).  My successes & failures are not as public as a major baseball franchise will ever be but every day I succeed at my job, my writing and my other endeavors.  On occasion I succeed at doing stand-up comedy.  That rocks my world.

Yet, I still don’t give myself the faith I give the Mets.  Something is wrong with this picture.  You might be wondering why I am telling you this.  One goal I have for this year is to change that.  Because: I’m good enough, I am smart enough and doggone it, people like me. (Thank you Stewart Smalley.)  I have read that telling people about a goal makes it easier to achieve — or maybe you are more likely to succeed — and I want to make this happen.

It may be late for New Year’s resolutions but mine now are:

  1. Focus on doing ONE thing at a time.
  2. Remember that lesson I learned when trekking to Everest.  We would come to a hill that was super steep (going down was harder than up) and I would think there is no way I can make it all the way down that.  Then I would tell myself ok, maybe you cannot make it all the way but you can take the next step.  I made it base camp.
  3. Make at least five people I don’t know smile every day.  Work up to 10.
  4. Start to believe that I am more than my weight. And no, I am not the fattest person on earth like I like to think.  Plus this body got me up Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft) and made it to Everest Base Camp (18,192 ft) and that’s pretty awesome.
  5. Celebrate accomplishments and learn from setbacks.
  6. Be better to myself and the people I care about. (I have been a total asshat lately, to the people who have had to deal with me, and you know who you are, I am sorry.)

So there you have it.  My belated resolutions.  Back to your regular scheduled programming… political thoughts will be back tomorrow. Or later today.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thank you for…

1.  The US Constitution:  It is easy to look at the recent Congressional failures, and the “super

The US Constitution, it rocks

committee” is only the most recent, and think “our system is broken.”  It isn’t.  Flawed, yes.  Injured, probably.  Broken, no.  One thing that has always confused me is why some people, upset by the results of the 2008 presidential campaign, preferred to think that we had entered the “end of days” rather than entertain the idea that they lost an election.  You see, I have some perspective on this.  I worked on the Gore 2000 campaign.  I was devastated by the result but I never — not once — considered George W. Bush to be anything but a legitimate president.  My belief in our system got me through that loss.  When you work on campaigns, sometime you lose.  It sucks but that’s part of the deal.

The other part of the equation is the recognition that as great as our system is, it is a tool.  No tool is better than the people who use it.  our representative democracy, otherwise known as a republic, reflects us.  If we do not like the results it produces, we have no one but ourselves to blame.   I have written several letters to the Washington Post about George Will.  He claims to be both a proponent of capitalism and an opponent of public broadcasting.  And yet, he hates reality TV.  I think you cannot argue that the free market is the best method to produce quality anything and then be angry when it produces crap.  The same can be said of our government. As Bill Clinton used to say, There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right with America.  Amen, brother.

2. The Mets.  Do I hate to love them or love to hate them?  Clearly the former.  Oh, they break my heart every year.  I am not going to write any more right now about that, I need a break from hating myself.

3. Reality TV.  Jersey Shore.  Hoarders.  Anything with people who weight more than 500 pounds.  We all know why we watch; we want to feel better about our own lives and I am no different.  No, I don’t want to see wealthy, vain housewives spend more in an afternoon on napkins than I spend in a year on rent but  I like that as dirty as my apartment may get, I don’t have goats eating holes in my walls.  Oh, and I can stand up and walk around.  Seriously, your family cooks 12 chickens a day for you?  Do they deliver your heroin, too?  See?  I am clearly a disturbed person.

4. The GOP candidates for president.  About two years ago, I called Michele Bachmann’s office.  I said, “Look, I am not a constituent but I would love it if she ran for president.”  I did not add, because I write comedy and that would be awesome, I figured it was implied. I had no idea Herman Cain even existed.

Seriously, I am thankful for the Constitution but I am infinitely more thankful for my friends and family.  Thank you for being so awesome.

You know who you are.

Thank you, Dan Snyder

That’s something I don’t get to say very often.  In fact, I have never even thought anything remotely like that.  This morning changed all of that.  Being the insomniac that I am, I was up tweeting when I came upon this gem:  I’ll save you having to read it; Dan Snyder was the Washington Post to stop using the Redskins’ name because he “wants to protect the brand.”  Personally, I think he would do more to help is brand by making them team suck less but that’s just me.

You see, I am a fan of a baseball franchise called the New York Mets.  Anyone who follows the sport knows the past few years have been tough ones for the team.  Two years in a row we had historic collapses – in fact last year was only marginally better because they sucked earlier in the season and no one had any illusions that they would make the post season.

Recently, my Mets have made news for other reasons.  The owner, Fred Wilpon, a man who has made breaking fans’ hearts an art form, lost a lot of the team’s money to Bernie Madoff.  Seriously.  Donald Trump has talked about stepping in to save the team.  If Trump makes one big public statement this year; I hope it will be that he has bought the Mets. (That’s wishful thinking, no one thinks he will only make one big announcement this year).  As big as this part of the team’s story is, it is only a distraction in the offseason.  The real story is that the team has a huge payroll and little to show for it.

All of this brings me back to Dan Snyder.  He makes me feel proud to be a fan of a team other than the Redskins (full disclosure: I am a 49er fan and thus required to hate the Skins).  As Mr. Wilpon has a talent for trading players in ways that give me nightmares, Mr. Snyder knows how to be a douchebag.  From suing season ticket holder to local papers for writing mean things about him, he likes being a jerk.  Soon after he bought the team, he had to move his family to a gated community because fans were ringing his doorbell to let him know what they thought.  Really.

So this morning’s news was only a surprise in that it made me happy that Fred Wilpon owns my favorite team.    That’s a second first this morning.