Friday, January 8, 2010

The Origins of Mr. Met

After giving you a half-assed posting last week and totally forgetting to post one the day after New Year’s (Serena’s bad again. Though in her defense, the night before was New Year’s and expecting her to remember to post something after a night of sangria drinking is a little ridiculous), you’ll be pleased (or disappointed, depending on how you feel about us) to see that we have something with a little more pizzazz for you this week. But first thing’s first. Poll results. Two Friday’s ago, we asked you what you wanted most for your team to get this holiday season. Everyone wanted pitching, pitching, and oh…more pitching! And by everyone, we mean all 3 folks who actually took the time to vote. Lame. Since no one cared to choose the other options, we’re not going to even bother listing them here since there were apparently too bogus for words.

Since we have two week’s worth of baseball notes to cover before getting into “The Origins of Mr. Met”, we’ll break them down for you. Last week’s notes: On Monday (12/28), the Mets signed a 1 year contract with RHP Kelvim Escobar. He will most likely be utilized out of the bullpen. An older pitcher prone to injury? Cringe. Awesome time, Minaya. Monday was also the day that the Giants reached an agreement with Mark DeRosa on a 2 year contract. DeRosa passed his physical later that day and the team formerly announced the details of the agreement on Tuesday morning. DeRosa is slated to earn $12 million over the course of his 2 years in the Bay Area. DeRosa has claimed that he’s always wanted to pitch in San Francisco, citing that he’s enjoyed the vibe of the city during his travels. Well, we know of one Giants fan in particular who is not fond of this signing. Our hearts go out to you, Mamacita. Finally, in an attempt to negate the perplexing Escobar acquisition, the Mets and outfielder Jason Bay have agreed to a 4 year, $66 million contract.

This week’s notes: On Saturday, Blue Jays’ infielder Edwin Encarnacion was released from a Miami hospital after being treated for minor facial injuries caused by fireworks during the New Year’s festivities in the Dominican Republic. Seriously, dude? What are you doing fooling around with fireworks? We leave playing professional baseball to you. You should leave fireworks displays to the professionals as well. May we suggest that next year for New Year’s, you hit up Disney World for some pyrotechnics? We hear it’s fantastic and no one gets fireworks thrown in their face! An all around good time.

On Tuesday, free agent third baseman, Adrian Beltre reached a 1 year, $10 million contract with the Red Sox. Previously in the off season, Mike Lowell appeared to be heading for Texas, leaving a vacancy at third for the Red Sox to fill. Once the Rangers determined that Lowell would need surgery on his thumb, they intelligently called the deal off. With the signing of Beltre, the Red Sox now have two competent third basemen on their hands, but Beltre’s arrival makes it pretty clear that the Red Sox are still planning to move Lowell once he’s deemed healthy. Despite his enemy garb, Serena is actually pretty fond of Lowell and this prompts us to wonder how smart of a business decision this is. Since Beltre is a capable infielder (though Serena feels that Lowell is the stronger defensive player), let’s compare the men’s offensive stats. In 449 AB’s during the 2009 season, Beltre posted 119 hits, 27 doubles, 0 triples, 8 home runs, 44 RBI’s, 19 walks, and 74 strike outs. His season average worked out to be .265 with an OBP of .304 and a SLG of .379. Not exactly outstanding overall, but not bad either. The Red Sox certainly didn’t sign a hack. Now for Lowell’s numbers. In 5 less AB’s during the 2009 season, he managed 129 hits (10 more than Beltre), 29 doubles, 1 triple, 17 home runs (more than twice than Beltre), 75 RBI’s (this number isn’t as jarring as it may suggest if you take into consideration that the Red Sox more than likely gave Lowell more RBI opportunities than the Mariners gave Beltre), 33 walks (almost double Beltre’s walk total), and 61 strikeouts. He ended the season with a batting average of .290, an OBP of .337, and a SLG of .474. In 5 less at bats, Lowell posted a batting average 25 points higher than Beltre, an OBP 33 points higher than Beltre, and a SLG 95 points higher than Beltre. We’d also like to point out the fact that Lowell posted these numbers in the AL East, a division that is much more competitive than the AL West, from where Beltre hails. These numbers are just food for thought. Chow down on them and mull them over as you will. We’re just saying…

The big news for the week is that after 22 seasons playing for the MLB, Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson has announced his retirement via conference call on Tuesday. His resume is pretty phenomenal and we’re confident that he’ll be able to find a part time job without any sort of difficulty. He leaves the mound with a record of 303-166, 4,875 strikeouts in 4,135 1/3 innings, and 5 Cy Young Awards! His strikeout total is the most by a LHP and second only to the great Nolan Ryan’s 5,714. His career has spanned both leagues and included the Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks (where he earned a World Series ring and co-MVP honors in 2001), New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants. In addition, he’s thrown 2 no-hitters, including a perfect game. Come to think of it, Serena does enjoy creating resumes for others and will be happy to take on the task of crafting one for The Big Unit should he so desire. It will probably be the easiest Curriculum Vitae she’s ever had to write. Hey, Randy? If you’re reading this, send an email our way. We’ll talk.

After a lot of BS and speculation back and forth, Matt Holliday finally announced on the Doug Gottlieb Show on ESPN Radio that he’ll be resigning with the Cardinals. The deal is for 7 years and $120 million with a team option at the end of the contract. Did anyone really think that Holliday was going anywhere other than St. Louis?

As you may recall, a few weeks ago, we had written a follow-up letter to TOWSNBN asking to reschedule our rendezvous in the city. Our proposed time frame was for the second week in January…which is next week in case you didn’t notice. We had requested that TOWSNBN send us a quick note via email to confirm a date, location, and time. We’ve yet to hear from him. We’re not going to jump the gun and assume that he’s ignoring us. Not yet. Maybe he needs to get his calendar in order before penciling us in. However, it should be noted that Lisa has already begun to collect her TOWSNBN memorabilia and pile it in a corner of her bedroom. The bonfire, should he fail to contact us, is scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We figured that in addition to eradicating TWOSNBN from our life, we’d also celebrate the holiday with a bang…or a huge mound of burning TWOSNBN paraphernalia. Lisa is actively seeking a replacement for TWOSNBN. Right now it’s between Daniel Murphy and Jeff Francoeur, though she does have in her possession a Johan Santana jersey.

On a stadium touring-related note, while waiting for regular season single-game tickets to go on sale, we have been preparing for our May trip to visit Hot Mama Erin, her man candy, Matt, and the remaining California stadiums on our list. Granted, our planning hasn’t involved buying baseball tickets (because they’re not available), booking airfare (because we can’t until we buy baseball tickets), or booking hotel (um…see last comment) so it may not seem like we’re doing much, but trust us. We are. For example, we’ve taken the proposed week off from work. See? That’s definitely progress! Also, we’ve researched airfares, which is always a pain. However, the most important thing we’ve done thus far to prepare for our upcoming trip is collect spare change. Last year, we earned enough to pay for two nights in Chicago. Pretty impressive, right? In 2008, we scraped enough change together to pay for our rental car in San Francisco. As you can see, we’ve gotten progressively better at change saving. This year, we’ve implemented a new change accrual strategy that we hope will blow last year’s accomplishment out of the water! In addition to our regular way of change collecting (left over from purchases made with cash, stolen from the washing machine, picked up off the sidewalk, found in the couch cushions, etc.), we’ve started collecting recyclables to deposit. We’ve already raised close to $30 this way! Below, we’ve enclosed a photo of what our change jar currently looks like. We still have the rest of January, all of February, March, and April, as well as part of May to amass more change. We’d like to say that we had a reasonable goal in mind like…$400 (last year, we came up with $300 toward our hotel bill), but we don’t. We’ve gone completely insane. We’re estimating that with our current rate of change accumulation that we should be able to hit $800 without difficulty come the time for us to fly out to LA.
Since we (okay, Serena) f’ed up last week’s posting, we’ll say it now: Best wishes for a Happy, Successful New Year!
Now. The moment you’ve all been waiting for. After almost a year of reading our ridiculousness, you may have noticed that Mr. Met is in many of our photo albums. You might have wondered how his presence in our entourage came to be. Fear not, our curious followers. Today we are going to satisfy your thirst for knowledge by sharing with you the story of Mr. Met.

We should begin by specifying that this is not the creation story of the Mr. Met who shakes his groove thang on the Mets dugout at Citi Field. You can read that Mr. Met’s story here. Our story is about the birth of one of the founding fathers of the Traveling Baseball Babes Mascot Association. Yes, they are unionized, but we’re not going to go into details about that right now. That’s a different blog for a different day.
Mr. Met currently lives in Serena’s department on a bookshelf in MJ’s office. In case you’re wondering why he resides in MJ’s office and not in Lisa’s apartment with the rest of the mascot gang, the reason is a very simple one. We don’t actually own Mr. Met. He belongs to MJ. In fact, we literally have to steal him from MJ’s office every time we hit the road. It’s a very complicated process that involves waiting for MJ to leave for the evening, sneaking into his office, kidnapping Mr. Met, and then pretending like nothing went down when MJ returns to the office the next day. We’re not gonna lie to you, but we think that MJ actually gets annoyed when we do this. This kind of sucks, but we’re not going to stop stealing him. It’s just the way it goes. He is a founding father and therefore needs to join us on our travels. To be fair, Yankees Bear, the other founding father, doesn’t live in Lisa’s apartment either. He lives on Serena’s bed. We suppose then that it’s only natural Mr. Met should remain with MJ during the rest of the non-traveling year.

Mr. Met came into our lives one rainy day in June of 2006. MJ was kind enough to give us tickets to see Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants take on Tom Glavine and the New York Mets. We’re talking pre-Zito days. During this time, Zito was still sporting the green and gold, rocking sexy facial hair and tussled locks, and not pitching like a complete ass clown. Also during this time, “Tiny” Tim Lincecum was underage and unable to party hard with us. These tickets were our first experience in field level.

Thanks to a heavy rainfall that lasted most of the week, we were blessed with the opportunity to catch a double header. Unfortunately, as with most of our situations, rain plagued us that day as well. Since we were in the midst of a three-hour rain delay, we decided to visit the Mets Team Shop behind home plate. While roaming around the merchandise, we found a bin filled with beautiful, adorable happiness. It contained a sea of Mr. Met dolls. One in particular spoke to us. We felt that because he was so perky and cute, it was our duty to bring him home with us. Serena rationalized this purchase by declaring that she’d give it to MJ as a “thank you for the awesome seats” gift because he clearly needed a Mr. Met doll in order for his life to be more complete.
On the way back to our seats, we picked up our usual food source (Premio sausage sandwiches). In order to protect him from the persistent downpour, Serena tucked Mr. Met safely into her purse. It also became quite obvious that eating a sausage sandwich while holding an umbrella is next to impossible and you need the umbrella because no one likes a soggy sausage bun. Thankfully, the creepy three musketeers sitting in front of us came to the rescue. We like to refer to them as “Jay,” “Frank,” and “Dog Walker.” How did they earn these nicknames? “Jay” looked like Jay from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, “Frank” looked like Lisa’s ex-boyfriend, Frank, and the “Dog Walker” was…well…a dog walker. Literally. As in he walked dogs for a living. In fact, he had gotten those tickets from a client. There’s truly nothing quite like having three strange boys holding your umbrellas over you and staring intently at you as you try to enjoy a sausage sandwich.

By the time the rain dissipated and baseball began, the boys were heavily intoxicated. It became clear that “Dog Walker” had major “female issues” when in the 4th inning, he broke down into tears, muttered curse words, and ex-girlfriend lamentations. Can we say stage 5 clinger?

Jay nearly choked on his poncho and became quite incensed every time a fellow fan yelled at him to sit down. He shouted back that he “was unaware that you paid the mortgage on Shea Stadium!” He also shouted to TOWSNBN that Lisa wanted to do…um…er…extremely obscene and perverted things to him, which we’d like to point out was very untrue. Still untrue. Since the seats we were sitting in were situated about five rows from TOWSNBN, we’re pretty sure that he not only heard everything Jay said, but that this is probably the source of his animosity toward us.

Frank thought that ever ball hit was destined to him “in the coconut” and therefore, with every crack of the bat, he ducked and screamed like a giant pansy.

The rain returned in time for the second game to roll around. We were in no mood to sit through more rain and another 9 innings of drunken idiocy, so we decided to leave. For some reason, Dog Walker felt that he need to go home with us and began to follow us from the stands. This prompted us to…well…run away. As we sprinted as fast as our heeled boots (why we wore heels, we’ll never know) could carry us, a figure in white glory emerged from nowhere with his Pepsi Party Patrol. The Kingdom of Heaven hovered just above his enormous baseball-shaped head. It was to be our first encounter with the real Mr. Met! Sadly, we had an insane man on our trail and could not afford to dilly dally. We could only slap Mr. Met’s large, white fuzzy hand and not look back. Hence the blossoming of an obsession with that delightful mascot.

On the drive home, we discussed how serendipity must have brought us from the purchase of Mr. Met to actually meeting Mr. Met. This Mr. Met doll must be a good-luck charm, we felt. He obviously needed to join us on all of our stadium expeditions. Little did we know that it would be an entire year before we would get another photo opportunity with Mr. Met. Now we can’t stop getting our picture taken with him. We’re like crack addicts…only we don’t do crack. Let us repeat that and be perfectly clear on that subject: The TBB are drug free.

And so began the ballad of Mr. Met, written and performed by the talented Lynard Skynard: “Mr. Met was born a travelin' mascot, that's all he'll ever be. Moving around from town to town is what makes him so free.”

BallHype: hype it up!

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