Sunday, June 27, 2010
I missed a couple of great games, although both were delayed by rain. The Mets shut out Philadelphia as they did the two previous nights. It was the first series shut-out since Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan did so for the Miracle Mets of 1969. (A mosaic of Seaver adorns one of the three VIP entrances to Citi Field.) The team picked up three full games against the first place Phils and since they took two out of three in the previous series against the Yankees, went 5-1 against the 2009 league champions.
The Mets scored 14 runs in the game against the Tigers, their highest offensive output in two years. The top of the line-up--SS Jose Reyes, CF Angel Pagan, 3B David Wright, 1B Ike Davis and LF Jason Bay--went a combined 14 for 23 (.609), collecting 12 of the RBI. The Mets would go on to win the series, losing no ground to the Braves, who had replaced the Phillies at the top of the National League East.
The Mets held up their end of my beautiful plan, playing two games I could blog about enthusiastically. Melvin and I have each reported on games we were present for but didn't watch closely. Neither of us have written yet about games we didn't see in person. On top of my disappointment in missing two exciting games was my unrequited desire to write about them.
I crafted (and posted for a day) "'Rain Delay,' a script proposal." Written in an abstracted third-person as a film treatment, it told the story of a Middle-Aged Man (your narrator), His Much Younger Male Friend, His Much Younger Female Friend, The Mets and The Weather; the principal characters who played their parts in the two rain-delayed games I missed. "Byways" usually refers to the geography Melvin and I travel on the way to games, but there are emotional byways as well. Cue Beth Orton; "I wish I never saw the sunshine, and if I never saw the sunshine baby, then maybe, I wouldn't mind the rain."
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
A little of this goes a long way—especially of the circuit-riders. Although I suppose if you’re nine years old or younger, you might have a different opinion. So it was both a refreshing change and something of a shock to see an act at the Gary SouthShore Railcats / Winnipeg Goldeyes game on June 1 that not only was much too short but was also not at all interested in whipping up the fans to cheer for the Railcats.*
For me, Team Ghost Riders—spider monkeys, riding dogs, herding sheep up first into a pen, then up onto the cab of a pickup—raises a lot of questions. Among them:
- Why “Ghost Riders”? I realize the term predates Nicolas Cage's use of it (and Gary Friedrich's for that matter), but how does it apply here? “Nightmare Riders,” I could understand—let me repeat, we’re talking about monkeys careening around on dogs here. That could turn to carnage in a moment. Does it perhaps, in the sense of “ghost-riding the whip,” reference the fact that the monkeys are not actually in charge of the things they’re riding?
- Are the monkeys strapped on to the dogs? They certainly appear to be. If so, is that for their safety, our safety, or the mental well-being of the dogs? Would you want to be guided by a monkey in a cowboy outfit?
- Why monkeys anyway? Are they the only species small enough to stay on the dogs and placid enough to put up with the Rodeo Slut Barbie stylings?
- Seriously, what do the dogs make of this? They’re working out there, damn it!
- Is this a viable business? Rob noticed that the man behind this operation, Tim Lepard, is also the rodeo clown that we saw perform motorcycle tricks and the like in Steamboat Springs last year. He’s got a big-ass trailer (presumably the home-away-from-home for the monkeys, dogs, and sheep) that can’t be cheap to operate. Which is the side act, the clowning or the interspecies mayhem? Lepard does seem to have a number of other acts, including a trick bison.
- Lepard claims to be inspired by his brother, who told him he could do anything he set his mind to. We can debate whether that’s good advice or not; what’s inarguable is that taking that generic sentiment as a green light to buy some monkey harnesses and hit the road is, well, unusual.
- This is an intensely patriotic act, with flags all around. Lepard gives a little speech about his brother and about his love of this great country. Is that what the founders had in mind?
- Last, what on earth does any of this have to do with baseball? I ask more of out of perplexity than criticism.
If this act really is the product of Tim Lepard’s faith in himself and in of his ability to train animals to do pretty amusing yet apparently harmless things, then god bless him. A man's got to have a calling, after all. But I can't quite shed the suspicion that he might just be playing us for chimps.
*The Railcats beat the Goldeyes 3-2 in the first game of a nighttime doubleheader (seven innings each). The defense on each side was appalling. Also, the Goldeyes' logo includes a depiction of the namesake fish, which appears to be a piranha crossed with a guppy.