Thursday, August 12, 2010

Get Along, Kid Charlemagne

"While the music played you worked by candlelight/Those San Francisco nights/You were the best in town"

Today, you are reading post number 500 for My Summer Family. To my dear three and a half readers who give me feedback and make it worth it to write and bitch and moan about the Mets on a consistent basis...I say...thank you. Moving right along, with #500, I have LOTS to write about. So let's not waste any more time, shall we?

"Just by chance you crossed the diamond with the pearl/You turned it on the world/And you turned the world around"

Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away lived a girl named Coop. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Die hard Mets fan since she was seven years old. Watching baseball with her old man, Mr. E, was an especially delightful treat, especially that guy she used to giggle watching his name on his jersey. "Strawberry 18." By 1984, a guy she called "Gooden Plenty" on the train engineering a Mets win with Captain Davey (she even used to sing to that annoying "Good N Plenty" jingle that was on TV back then by substituting their names).

"Did you feel like Jesus/Did you realize/That you were a champion in their eyes?"

Back in this far far away galaxy was a championship team, a team like no other. They were vilified, fear yet loved like no others. There were a group renegades, especially, four guys who didn't give a flying frog's fat ass about what others thought of them. They were roughed up by the law in Sheriff's country, after roughing them up themselves, yet came through and was just a footnote to an otherwise dominant reign.

"On the hill the stuff was laced with kerosene/but yours was kitchen clean/everyone stopped to stare at your Technicolor motor home"

Yet, this dominance was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Sadly, it was tried several times to recapture said mystique, but it never occurred. Once a family got in, and tried to change the energy of this team, weird things happened. Non-power hitters would hit home runs to suck wind out of any momentum. Fingers were chopped off at odd hours, blaming an errant hedge clipper but rumored for years to be a mishap similar to the night when the four renegades challenged the law deep-in-a-heart-a Texas.

"Every A-Frame had your number on the wall/You must have had it all/You'd go to LA on a dare and you'd go it alone"

Over the years, some tried to believe that you could recreate magic, and you couldn't, simply by throwing a lot of cash around. Then you would get the Worst of what you could Buy. People often refer to this group of misfits as the most unlikable group of characters you could get into a room together. According to the exalted rulers of the bunch, the vibe of the day was "family friendly" and "we're NICE guys." It seemed, though, the more they tried to attain that level of Mr. Nice Guy, the further away they were from it. Firecrackers. Bleach. The Bronx. The Annuity.

"Could you live forever?/Could you see the day?/Could you feel your whole world fall apart and fade away?"

And yet, it seems like history never seems to die, it just keeps repeating itself over and over again. See this group from a galaxy far far away turns out they are not much different from you and me. They have their own issues, their own dramas, their own family problems. Yet we still get involved in them, and make our own judgments.

"Now your patrons have all left you in the red/Your low rent friends are dead/This life can be very strange"

Of course, I am leading into the unusual saga of Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez. The tide has changed in the story several times today. Actually, it was our own Kevin Burkhardt who made it a point, several times, to say that K-Rod's physical attack on his to-be father-in-law (since he is not officially married yet) was due to something not related to the debacle of a game where K-Rod was once again not used. It would have been a sorry excuse to beat on a man who is presumably weaker not to mention significantly older than he is, but clearly misdirected. Not to mention, there is also a rumor that his would-be mother-in-law was hospitalized with chest pains from stress related to the incident.

Either way, just so not cool. However, it seems whatever occurred to set him off, happened prior to the game.

"All those day glow freaks who used to paint their face/they've joined the human race/Some things will never change"

My thinking is, or the way we are "supposed" to think about this whole shebbang is that no matter if the Mets won by 11 runs, or if David Wright didn't wear the Golden Sombrero, or if Manny wasn't Acosta'd by the Rockies (and former Mets favorite Melvin Mora), this outburst would have occurred anyway. Yet the timing is a bit suspect. Not that it's an excuse. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

"It's time you were mistaken/You were obsolete/Look at all the white men on the street"

Now, K-Rod is charged with third-degree assault. I don't want to pass judgment on Frankie. Look, he's a baseball player. But even my mother (who is not a baseball fan), sent me an email saying, "Wow, he's passionate." (sarcastically of course) It's not like he hasn't had history repeating himself with this story, except it happened with another player. Once upon a time, a dude named Brett Myers hit his wife with a closed fist on a public street and it is all but forgotten (except for angry young females, like me).

Of course, he played for Philly and they puke on little kids, that's besides the point. I'm just saying it's a distraction, and the Mets need to deal with it swiftly and have, suspending him. But Myers' team supported him, and it looks like the Mets will support Frankie, for better or worse. Maybe this will get the team together, for once. Sometimes it does take something unfortunate to get people together. Or not. We'll see. In the meantime, the grassroots effort of getting a Sit Out organized is still taking place. Inquire within.

As the world turns, the Mets certainly turn, and have moved forward with a win today. Once again, it's up to Johan Santana to channel his inner Pedro Cerrano and say, "Fuck you, Jobu, I do it myself."

"Clean this mess up else we'll all end up in jail/The test tubes and the scales/Just get it all out of here"

I've gone back and forth with certain eras of my existence of being a Mets fan in this piece. And since this is post #500 of My Summer Family, I wanted it to be a retrospective. As a fan, I've been through a lot. I've seen the best arms of my Generation K run into the ground by an all-knowing manager. I've worn a Bobby Bonilla shirt. I saw a young phenom named Gregg go quietly into the good night. I've supported teams where Tommy Herr and Juan Samuel had no business being on. I saw Frank Viola win 20 games and disappear. I've survived Lastings Milledge. I've seen Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran be unappreciated by everyone around them, expecting more when they could only give what they could, and that's their all.

"Is there gas in the car?/Yes there's gas in the car/I think the people down the hall know who you are"

Yet, I can't get over that the heroes I once worshiped in that galaxy far, far away could be human.

"Careful what you carry/'Cause the man is wise/You are still an outlaw in their eyes"

Sometimes Johan Santana will cure all the ills, but it all momentary. We will all wake up, and the unbreakable men we put on a pedestal will crumble, only to get back up again.

People ask me often why I'm a Mets fan. I've often asked myself the same thing. Why I get so intimately involved, why I get so up and down, why it means so much to me spend my summers in a place where they could really give a damn whether I'm there or sunbathing in the Hamptons.

I know nothing else. You would think after I've seen it all that shit like this wouldn't surprise me. Or get me down. But I can't help it. And I can't help but think this could be once again the season that could have been, that never was, and that we have been fooled by possibly not the Worst Team Money Could Buy...but the most shrug-worthy team money can buy.

"Get along/Get along, Kid Charlemagne/Get along, Kid Charlemagne"

I guess all I can do now is have enough love for this team to provide enough fodder for 500 more posts.

Good night. And good luck.

Yes, I'm talking to you Frankie. And the rest of the team. You're gonna need it.

1 comment:

Rich S said...

Great use of Steely Dan! First-time reader, though you and I have communicated on another site. Well written, and I agree with all of it. I'm asked why I dedicate myself to this franchise, and cannot answer. As I wrote on my blog today, they make it soooo hard.

Great work!