Sunday, October 24, 2010

Season Phinale

To the extent that the team makes it possible, I am a New York Mets fan. The first game I saw in person was at Shea Stadium and since it was 1969, I paid some attention through the end of the Mets' World Series championship. For the most part, however, I continued to think of sports as something a person did, not something one watched. In 1986, I undertook a home renovation. One task was tedious and time-consuming and to break up the monotony I listened to a lot of Mets games. My girlfriend of the time, who I later married and eventually got divorced from, came from a suburban-Philadelphia family who watched a lot of sports and I started to as well. We went to Shea a few times that year, excited again by a championship season. The Mets became a part of who we were as a couple. For a few years we bought a "six-pack" ticket package, then doubled-down with a Sunday plan, and went on to split a Tuesday-Friday plan with two other people. From time to time, we went to Veterans Stadium with family or friends ("phamily or phriends?") to see the Phillies.

The Phillies have been the National League Eastern division champions the past four years (while the Mets finished a collective 326-322) and I have rooted for them in the post-season. Friends who are Mets fans find it sacrilegious that I cheer for the team most think of as our division rivals. When the Phiillies played the Yankees in the World Series in 2008 and 2009, numerous people insisted that as a New Yorker, I had to root for the local team, a geographic imperative that borders on feudal. A female Phillie fan ("phemale Phillie phan?") came to my local watering hole in jersey and cap for last year's decisive Game 6 against the Yankees and suffered innings of abuse from a bullet-headed bodybuilder. He backed off after I told her his nickname is "Fluffy" and she suggested he "go walk himself." My ex-wife is from Philadelphia and so is my dad. I've seen more baseball in South Philly than the South Bronx. I'll root for whom I want (as should everyone else).

Last night was the Phillies season finale (or, in their case, "phinale") as they lost the National League Championship Series to the San Francisco Giants, two games to four. The game probably will be my season finale as well. I had hoped for a Phillies-Twins World Series; I have no emotional investment in a Giants-Rangers match-up. (Melvin declared a lack of interest after the division series.) This was a good year of baseball——the April trip to the Gulf Coast; some Mets games in the first half of the season; the Ohio trip at the end of July; the Newark Bears and New York-Penn League all star game in August; and leading up to post-season, the Phillies, Brooklyn Cyclones, Twins and Brewers . It was kind of like a banquet spread out over several hours; the food kept coming but I never felt full. When my ex-wife and I had the Sunday and Tuesday-Friday plans at Shea, we saw around 15 games there and a half-dozen or so elsewhere. I still consider myself a Met fan, but I find inverting the ratio much more satisfying.

Everybody Must Get Thrown

Photo: dbking, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Congratulations to the Rangers and the Giants on their respective defeats of last year's World Series teams. I don't see how the Giants—described generously as "ragtag"—can go much longer without turning into a monstrous orange pumpkin, so I'm saying Rangers in 5.

Incidentally, rather than watch the last Rangers/Yankees game, I went to round 3 of the Professional Bull Riders finals in Las Vegas. Renato Nunes—one of many Brazilian riders—had a fantastic ride right before the end of the night to surge into the lead (I think). Don't worry, this won't become a rodeo blog. Yet.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder

There is definitely something wrong with me. It used to be that I would pep up every fall and get pretty glum every spring. I thought that living in Stockholm in the winter didn't sound too bad. I couldn't stand the first hot day of the year. And I still don't like wearing shorts, no matter the temperature.

While I've noticed in the last few years that this effect has lessened, I've in the same time developed a distinct and consistent lack of interest in the playoffs, particularly after the first round. This might be due to my fecklessness, team-wise. Really, Yankees/Rangers, Phillies/Giants? Who cares? I might find it in my heart to root for Tim Lincecum's hair, but that's about it.

Anyway, I'm batting around the prospect of a last-minute trip to the Arizona Fall League, but more realistically I'm beginning to plan for next year. Look for us at the New Hampshire Fisher Cats opening homestand.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Short and, Well, Bitter

Yeah, OK, I did go to Game Two of the Twins/Yankees series. Thanks to StubHub, I paid about ninety bucks to sit way up high far down the right-field line, next to a relatively gracious Yankee fan (from Los Angeles), and watch as the crowd grew quieter and quieter. At the end (Yankees 5, Twins 2), we all got up politely and went home. Call me demanding or excessively bitter, but it wasn't at all the right way to end Year One at Target Field.