Saturday, May 23, 2009

Nothing New About This New York Mess




The 1962 New York Mets supposedly died with their 40-120 record. Their Marvelous Marv mishmash is just a joke of a memory.

Isn’t it?


Then again, it’s still live and in action.


The Mets who came to Los Angeles last week looked so laughable, you’d have thought Casey Stengel was still managing them.


Trivia: Why did the ’62 Mets lose just 120 games? They had one tie and a rainout they didn’t bother to make up.


Jerry Manuel is the skipper these days. Suffering through the flubs that Casey used for punch lines, Manuel doesn’t have the Ol’ Professor’s wit. Just his headaches. As when Ryan Church failed to touch third base, helping New York lose Game 1 of the three-game sweep.


Manuel’s standup went like this: “I can’t explain how or why or anything, but he actually missed the base.”

Hilarious.


My only consolation is I had left Dodger Stadium in the eighth inning of that first game. So I missed Church’s sin. Plus a you-got-it-I-got-it fly ball that dropped in the Mets’ outfield. Plus a wide throw home that clinched their 3-2 loss.


Trivia: Who was the only future Hall of Famer on the ’62 Mets? Richie Ashburn.


The ’62 re-enactment continued in Game 2 in a 5-3 Met loss. When Dan Murphy pulled a Marvelous Marv in left field, L.A. air god Vin Scully said, “I can’t believe the New York Mets.”


I do. Even believe in them. Which is why I fought traffic to catch that series opener. I’ve been a blue-and-orange fan since Seaver and Koosman trumped ’62 with their Amazin’ title of 1969.


Trivia: Who played on all four teams that were originally in New York? Darryl Strawberry, Jose Vizcaino and Ricky Ledee.


I’ll hang with my team through these dark nights. How dark? Injuries to infielder Jose Reyes and his backup, Alex Cora. Leaving Ramon Martinez to go oh for 12 in the series.


Martinez was so limp, Scully said: “Ramon Martinez is about ready to put an ad in the paper to get a base hit.”


Ramon wasn’t alone. The Met bats had no news fit to print. By Game 3, all this team did was leave runners dead on base. And lose 2-1. And look ready to collapse from first to last place by season’s end.


This was supposed to be a showdown between two contenders. The problem was the Mets were more suited for the Laugh Factory on the Sunset Strip.


Still, watching the Mets at Dodger Stadium was a ball. Sat up in the stratosphere with season-ticket holders, and one of them was a living almanac. He offered tidbits such as:


What was the longest-running intact outfield? Pittsburgh’s Bob Skinner, Bill Virdon and Roberto Clemente from 1956 to ’63.


Then came this gem from another in the group:


What team has the longest current winning streak in World Series games? The Cincinnati Reds.


Such byplay at a major league game is unbeatable. Dodger Stadium makes it all the more enjoyable with the organ. While so many other ballparks blare rock music, Chavez Ravine sticks with Nancy Bea and her show tunes, such as Camelot’s “What Do the Simple Folk Do?”


We watch baseball.


For a Mets fan, that Think Blue aura was the only winner of the week.


Bucky Fox is the author of "The Mets Fan's Little Book of Wisdom" and CEO of BuckyFox.com.

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