Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Don't Put That Hanky Away Just Yet

I re-read the Win It For . . . thread, and, after I had a good, hard cry for an hour or so, I got to thinking. Why should the Red Sox have the market cornered on such a free-flowing, emotional gesture? 86 years? Hell, half of those posts were saying things like "Win it for Trot Nixon," "Win it for my loyal cocker spaniel," and "Win it for my 6-month-old" -- not exactly longtime sufferers for the cause. Sure, the sad posts involved grandparents who were duped into believing year after year that the Sox could win the World Series without a tremendously skewed economic system in their favor. But there are just as many people to win it for here in Mets Township -- players, personnel, and fans -- as there are in Red Sox Nation. Here's a sampling:

Win it for Art Howe, so he can finally put the Mets chapter behind him and get back to the fishing he was thinking about for two years in the dugout.

Win it for all of the people of the world who came to America, saw the limousine bandwagon of "NEW YORK YANKEES," and said, "Screw it, I'll be a Mets fan." You're here one week and already you make a blunder.

Win it for Mackey Sasser, whose physiological ailment was so heart-wrenchingly sad that it was parodied in Major League II. Mackey, you were better than that crap sequel -- you were good enough for mockery in the first one.

Win it for Frank Viola, whose American League-style hitting once prompted then-broadcaster Mike Lupica to issue "he couldn't make contact with a boat oar" and "Bunting In the Dark with Frank Viola" within seconds of each other. Frank, 20 wins and no respect. Maybe it was the accent.

Win it for my brother-in-law Patrick, who is moving to Philadelphia just to escape the damnable Mets. It will just be so spiritually uplifting for me to insinuate that he was the jinx on the team this past decade.

Win it for Mike Piazza, who put his heart and soul into everything until he could give no more. When management took away his catcher's mask -- and bungled the PR process in doing so, he didn't gripe about it. Instead, he went out every day, made tons of mistakes at 1B, and hit like your average catcher until they saw the error of their ways and moved him back. When the fans accused him of being gay, he simply slept with an abundance of females hotter than his accusers could ever get -- even in porn form. And when they still accused, he went and married a beautiful, kind woman that fans of all ages can see naked on the Internet. Mike, even if the Mets don't win it for you, you've won, my friend.

Win it for Danny Heep, who, in a pivotal moment of the 1986 NLCS, pinch-hit for Rafael Santana with one on in the bottom of the ninth with the Mets down a run . . . and flied out weakly to center.

Win it for my Uncle Chris, who, after watching Danny Heep fly out weakly to center in a pivotal moment of the 1986 NLCS, wowed the extended family young and old with a shouted blurt of "Oh, Heep, you incredible faggot!"

Win it for Len Dykstra, who, in an even more pivotal moment of the 1986 NLCS, washed away the sins of Danny Heep and Uncle Chris in an instant, homering just a minute later to win the game. Lenny, when you said you'd never hit a home run that important outside of Strat-o-matic, I smiled. When you got traded to the Phillies for Juan Fucking Samuel, lost the '93 Series, and retired due to bodily breakdowns attributable to your "real good vitamins," I cried.

Win it for Juan Samuel. Sorry about the "Fucking," Juan, but let’s just call it even.

Win it for Darryl Strawberry, who's taken it upon himself to remind us that there are drug problems in baseball that aren't performance-enhancing. Thank you Darryl, you are a true American . . . Idiot.

Win it for Kevin McReynolds, Bret Saberhagen, and Jeff Kent, who, between the three of them, have a combined amount of upper-lip hair for one good moustache. Of course, there was also tragedy in their high level of talent squandered on middling Mets teams, but that mini-moustache thing was just weird.

Win it for my cousin Cameron; he just likes the Mets.

Win it for Todd Hundley, who has amassed $47 million playing baseball on the (supplemented) strength of a 41-homer season in 1996. The players who appeared before Congress are the lucky ones who benefited from steroids without repercussion, but the stories kids need to see are the Hundleys, Dykstras, and guys who fared even worse. Then again, Todd made $7M last year while not playing an inning (because of multiple surgeries on his back and hip), so what am I talking about?

Win it for Vince Coleman, who missed his first World Series when he was viciously attacked by a tarp, and his team barely lost (controversially) without him. Vince, though you are unfairly remembered only for your misunderstood gesture of hurling lit fireworks into a crowd of fans (injuring two young children), we know better. We'll remember you more completely: the horrible OBP, the stolen base every third Wednesday, the ejection every second Tuesday, the hitting of Doc Gooden with a golf club, the gang rape in Florida, etc. Actually, Mets, win it to make us forget him.

Win it for the clearly insane fellow in my work building who's a scary Mets fan. If you do win, he'll either come down off that mental ledge or he'll go ballistic and embark on the shooting spree we've been predicting since 1998 -- but I'll be out celebrating and will dodge that bullet.

Win it for Wally Backman, who, because of his experiences dealing with alcoholism and an erratically-behaving spouse, is not eligible to deal with major league ballplayers. Wally, this one's for you.

Win it for Bobby V, so he can finally take off those Groucho glasses in public.

Win it for every player who tried, tried so hard to break into the bigs with the Mets, but were ultimately undone by bad timing, freak accidents, poor decisions, and mainly that they just sucked way too bad to play big-league ball. These guys are the heroes who don't make the headlines, at least until they rob a diner, steal a car, evade the cops, and careen to their deaths in a ravine while hopped up on crystal meth. Such a waste.

Win it for HoJo, who in his day used more cork than Korbel. Forget steroids, this was cheating the old-fashioned way: fill your bat with illegal substances and grow a handlebar moustache. Baseball's founding fathers would be so proud.

Win it for Joe McIlvaine and Al Harazin, two GM's I wouldn't allow to assemble my pick-up beach wiffle ball team. When you have a book published about your era called "The Worst Team Money Could Buy," it's . . . it's not good.

Win it for Mel Rojas, who, God bless him, was so amazingly putrid during his year-plus with the Mets that he made the mediocre assortment of other relievers look almost halfway competent. So selfless like that.

Win it for Anna Benson and her ilk, and by that I don't mean players' wives but hot sluts.

Win it for Anthony Young, who . . . no, lose it for him, who lost more in two seasons than Charlie Brown lost in 50 years of comic strips. (Questionable who was more of a liability in the outfield helping those losses, though, Bobby Bo or Lucy Van Pelt.) I was always with you, A.Y., even when I was making up lies like Beck's "Loser" was actually written about you.

Win it for everyone who ever said, "The Mets suck," and so now I can tell them to fuck off.

Win it for Rey Ordóñez, who would've been DH'ed for instead of the pitcher in the AL, but complained about the "stupid" fans as if (a) added points to fans' IQ would in turn add points to his BA, and (b) he were the first to notice that New York fans' aren't brainy. Rey, in truth, I blame us, too -- for overhyping the snot out of you. Note to self: diving for every ground ball is not a great indicator of range.

Win it for Brian McRae, whom we mistakenly thought was Hal's son.

Win it for my 84-year-old grandmother, Joan, who stood by me in my times of baseball infidelity, and who still pulls for the Mets in Florida, Virginia, or wherever her Harley-Davidson has her right now.

Win it for Mo Vaughn, who at this point could buy one gold replica of the World Series trophy every day for six years just based on salary he earned for games he did not play. He was always my favorite player over 600 pounds.

Win it for Al Leiter, who would've been here if it weren't for that punk Kazmir playing rap music on the stereo. Al, as someone once said, it feels so empty without you.

Win it for Bobby Jones, and to a lesser degree, Bobby Jones.

Win it for John Franco, who followed David Weathers and Dan Wheeler in the New Life After Bottoming Out with the Mets program and signed with the Astros. He just missed a Series win in Cincinnati, and by 2000 he'd lost his closer job to Benitez. I revered him once upon a time, but I revered Simon LeBon once upon a time, too, and the lesson here is that I am an idiot. The bottom line is that he's got the years and the numbers to prove that he earned the right to stink up the joint and act like a jackass. Earned it.

Win it for my sister, Kate, who was 11 and uninterested at the time the Mets last won it all, but who since has endured the agony of the lean years with a persistent passion that makes me think she's on heroin. Seriously, Kate -- get help.

Win it for Tim Bogar, whose mention still makes me smile darkly, and who . . . that's pretty much it about him.

Win it for Armando Benitez, who blew Game 1 of the 2000 World Series, and while we would never want him to pull a Donnie Moore about it, he could at least punch himself in the face a lot, please. Armando, we hardly knew ye, but what we knew was flakier than dandruff cereal in the Yukon.

Win it for Jeff Torborg, who in no way saw the Mack truck of the Mets job that flattened him in the early 90's. You never really had a chance, and it just wasn't fair that you assured us you did.

Win it for Dan Wheeler, who was a victim of the cruel system of baseball where if you give up doubles off the wall and triples to the gap every other pitch, you get shipped out like yesterday's lunchmeat. Doesn't seem fair.

Win it for the three-headed dog that was Isringhausen-Pulsipher-Wilson. To steal from a pair of Brooklynites, if it weren't for disappointments, the 1990's Mets wouldn't have had any appointments.

Win it for Rickey Henderson, because, well, his ego isn't quite big enough.

Win it for the Wilpons, who have taken so much abuse of late for being complete and utter morons, and yet they persist in a steadfast way that says, "You don't know the half of it."

Win it for Carl Everett, another in the long line of guys who got good right after the Mets traded them away. Maybe, just maybe, the magical miracle that the 2005 Mets' World Series will be can help Carl find peace in the world, or at least convince him dinosaurs existed.

Win it for my friend Jeremy Flantzer, because if they win he'll probably have a huge party with lots of beer -- Coors Light, but beggars can't be choosers.

Win it for the Little Bulldog, Mike Hampton, because it's just not fair that after selling his soul to Colorado and wrangling a shady deal to land on the team that's won its division for every year since helmets were implemented, he hasn't gotten to win the World Series yet. Life is so cruel.

Win it for Bobby Bonilla, who couldn't leave well enough alone after re-defining "bust" in the Mets' media guide glossary, and came back for 60 games of .160/4/18 ball and a card-playing fiasco. You were my idol . . . I mean idle . . . right fielder.

Win it for Robby "Bait and Switch" Alomar, who just retired Saturday after taking his career from "sure-fire Hall of Famer" to "not so much," mostly while in New York. He would especially enjoy this -- not the winning of the World Series, but this teary, pouty discussion of it.

Win it for my mom . . .but you'd better not be talking about my mom.

Win it for Roger Cedeño, who beat the odds and made it to a World Series last fall with the Cardinals. Most memorable was during Game 1, when the fate of the Series was still in question and Cedeño came to the plate as the tying run in the bottom of the ninth with two out. (If for that managerial move only, Tony LaRussa will never be called "genius" on this site.) Roger struck out on three pitches.

Win it for Edgardo Alfonzo, who played his little heart out and left against his will, or at least against his will to be paid less than "market value." Fonzie gave the fans a little something with a goodbye ad on taxis, plus putting up Wigginton-ish numbers for two seasons. A certain joke here involving "Happy Days" and a certain fish currently terrorizing spring breakers on CBS would be too cheap even for our purposes.

Win it for William Hayward "Mookie" Wilson, who was a Met through years good and bad, then came back to coach, and as many don't know, is now the man inside Mr. Met. You are an all-timer, Mookie, and I still believe you when you said you would've beaten it out, anyway.

Win it for my Uncle Mike, who attended Mets Fantasy Camp in 1990, helped breed my love of all things Mets, but lost his big series to lymphoma in 1997. Every time the Mets blow a late lead and lose by 3, I can hear Mike howl, "For cryin' out loud!" So I get to hear from him often. Sorry you had to get lumped in with all this tongue-in-cheek crap, Mike, but maybe next time you won't stomp your six-year-old nephew in wiffle ball.

Win it for my Grampa Jack, who lies either on his death bed or a few rooms down from it. He's bled Dodger Blue and Giant orange (that'd be Met brown) since 1962 and he's only seen two World Championships. Although these titles have been astounding ones that fascinated the world -- of baseball and otherwise -- they simply don't measure up to the treasure trove of trash that has entered and left Shea since '86 (and beyond), with results on and off the field that wear away a man's soul. Grampa, if you're reading this, (1) stop stealing other people's computers, and (2) this year is going to be for you.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg -- there are tons more people for whom we can dedicate this season -- from the players who lost game after game so that they themselves never had a chance for such glory, to the management who put them together so ineptly, to the legions of fans who have repeatedly been suckered into false hope and loyally paid out thousands to follow the team. The collective term for these fair folks is "losers," of course, but it goes a bit deeper than that. Sorry, pitiful, pathetic, just sad: these are just a few of my favorite words to describe myself, my cohorts, and my team. And, well, you don't have to even belong to one of those three categories to be blubbering like a baby after reading this, right?

Do I get a book deal now?

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