Tuesday, May 08, 2007

10,000 Maniacs

. . . and 1,000 posts.

Yes, fair readers, this brief time-out from the standard recapping and wisecracking represents Post #1,000 at Misery Loves Company. Here at MLC, self-deprecation and self-praise go together like PB & J, so we hope you'll indulge us as we drop a little nostalgia on you.

The First Post: We began this undertaking on April 1, 2003, and it's a minor miracle that it lasted beyond an April Fool's Day gag. Rob took the initiative and launched us into the 'sphere with the following intro:
"The What

The Baseball Poets, as Tony Kornheiser calls them, are in their finest throat in these, the first days of a new baseball season. The profound beauty of the game, the emerald cathedral of the ballpark, the elemental symmetry in the 6-4-3 double play - all of these things resonate to the literati. To which we say, blah, blah, blah, let's play some ball. This spot is dedicated to a season-long chronicle of the fortunes of the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, our favorite teams. Recent memory (or in the case of the Red Sox, the last 84 years) tells us that it might get painful."
I was drinking some sort of Mets Kool-Aid, or perhaps just drinking:
"You'd think that after last season, we [Mets] fans' expectations would be low. Somehow we still misguide ourselves with delusions involving salary cap figures and all of the pieces that should be interlocking by now. So let's aim for 83 wins and see what happens."
Over these four-plus seasons, there have been high highs:
"Jump on the Positivity Train, boys and girls, next stop Game 1 of the World Series. Lotta ball left. Stay on target."

"Oh, my. Cliff Floyd hit a bomb to center and the celebration from before looked sleepy in comparison. What a blast, and what a blast ensued. It was Game 62 of 162, one tiny win that couldn't offset the handful of recent losses -- couldn't even fend off last place, and yet it was enormous. And it capped off a marvelous weekend of memorializing my Met-lovin' grandfather. Even the most secular-minded among us was alluding to there being something to the timing of things and our being together in the ol' town for this game."

"As Ruben Sierra's groundball settled first into Pokey Reese's glove and from there into Doug Mientkiewicz', every memory of Red Sox tragedy, every wasted opportunity, every held relay throw or mental error, or managerial blunder, every ghost, and every disappointment washed away. I fell to the floor of my living room and pounded the carpet with both fists, crying, laughing, repeating, "They did it. They did it. They did it."

"Next year is right now. It's 12:30 am, I'm drunk, tears are dried on my cheeks, and I have a perma-grin on my face that's not likely to recede any time soon. To steal from the great Jack Buck, I cannot believe what I just saw."

"True Confessions: I may have pulled a muscle in my side when I leapt off the couch upon seeing Carlos Delgado's three-run jack. Worth every twinge as I danced and jumped and made hideous caucasian fist-pumping mayhem in the den. It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive, the sage once crooned. And dammit, I was."

"At that moment, we simply knew the Mets were going to win. We in the right-mezz screamed like sixteen year old girls seeing the Beatles in 1964, vainly took the Lord’s name in bellowing admiration, and hurled ourselves into each other void of consideration for the injuries that resulted. It was the kind of little-kid bliss not common to folks in their mid-thirties’ regular routine. It was fucking awesome. The best 10 seconds I’ve ever experienced at a sporting event, bar none."
And super low lows:
"What do you call bungee-jumping with no bungee cord? That's what the Mets did for 17 games, sandwiching a tiny win between two eight-game losing streaks. . . In the second half of this aesthetic equivalent of ipecac syrup, the Mets have suffered 4-game sweeps to the Braves, Phillies, and Expos. That leaves just the Marlins, who didn't have a four game series on the 2nd-half schedule. They did get swept in the only 3-game series they played against Florida, and they have the final trio of this season's games to make it 6 in a row. . . Playing the Mets is like walking into a going out of business clearance sale. They're just giving everything away! Come on down before it's too late!"

"No more ball left. No more targets, just a sick feeling in my stomach."

"Timlin in the 8th
Williamson in the 9th

Is that so fucking hard to understand?"

"These aren't meaningful games; these aren't even meaningful players. . . There's nothing but worse news every day, and there's little positive to point to right now. There might be tomorrow, but not right now. I can't justify spending any more time bemoaning the sad state of affairs in Metville. I can't even make a joke here. It's just that numbing. "

"This was the Season of the Not Quite Right. . . The little things kept adding up and adding up, even as the Sox scrapped and battled and bashed their way to 95 wins, and in the end, the little things spelled the end of the 2005 Sox, 11 wins short."

"By August 12, I was reduced to arguing with myself and Whitney over my mental status, and by August 23, I was scouring retrosheet.org for classic contests – anything to take my mind from the gruesome train wreck the Sox’ season had become.
From contenders to roadkill in less than 3 weeks."

"I'm not ready to talk too much about this yet. The highest of highs was all too quickly followed by the deepest depths. There are stories to be shared, but it'll have to wait until the nausea that comes with every discussion fades away. I'll say with the perspective that 48 hours brings that the Endy Chavez catch was the greatest live sports moment in my life. The chills still come at the memory of the moment that we all realized he'd actually come down with it, not to mention the double play that ensued. If only . . .

Damn. It's just . . .

But in between such biploar activity has been the lengthy, arduous slog though 162+ games in six months for over four years. Baseball players catch a little flack from non-believers because they aren't taxed on a per-game basis the way footballers, hoopsters, or a number of other athletes are, but no one endures the grind quite like our group. Six months of day-in, day-out. Rain days, rest days, so few and far between. Expectations high, energy low. Life on hold for half the year. It's grueling.

Oh, and when I say "our group," of course I mean baseball bloggers. It's a different kind of long haul for us than the folks actually throwing, catching, and hitting the ball. It's not quite as simple a game for us; creativity and originality, the "style points" art of blogging if you will, are just as mentally draining, as evidenced by some of our late-season inanity.

Liken ourselves as we do to large-scale journalists (Rob, there's a bump-set there waiting for you), we get to enjoy some freedoms not known to mass media writers. We can bash people sans recourse, be they (supposed) friends:

- Grady Little ("addle-brained")
- Art Howe ("the man who brought a knife to a gunfight")

- Roberto Alomar
("horrid," "falling-off-a-cliff awful," "Bait and Switch," "the season-and-a-half-long enema," "fair Spanish lady," "the little boy down the street who plays with dolls")
- David McCarty ("whose best position may actually be Disabled Hitter," "uselessness," "first homer of the season, which was disappointing because it may make Terry Francona believe that McCarty has any redeeming value - which of course, we know to be demonstrably false")
- Mo Vaughn ("putrid," "large piece," "bust big enough to make Russ Meyer jealous," "my favorite player over 600 pounds," "biggest waste/waist")
- Cesar Crespo ("Spanish for 'Now batting for your Pawtucket Red Sox'," "shouldn't have 43 plate appearances in Pawtucket, let alone Boston," "still sucks")
- Kaz Matsui ["Doormatsui," "stunk up second base and the 2-spot in the lineup with equal amounts of stank," "Kaz M. - pronounced 'chasm,' which is what he represents at the top of this order," "I Close One Eye Before Every E," "had to leave hurt again, this time with spasms (though I think that's just how he throws, doc)," "the hobbled Kaz Matsui (not sure which of the gang hobbled Matsui, maybe they flew Kathy Bates in, but it was a good call any which-a-way)," "with partial credit given to Kaz for his Diego Maradona-like footwork (also referred to as the 'hand of dog' play)," "more E-6's in the Mets' infield than at a Bingo convention in West Virginia," "still a few rehab starts away from reprising his steady suck at Shea"]
- Roger Cedeno ("train wreck," "the slow-witted guy trying not to be noticed in the back of the class," "finally did something that didn't make me kick the couch," "Roger 'I Shall Be Released' Cedeno went 0-for-5 again today, sending his average down to .146," "a joke of a leadoff hitter," "the most fundamentally unsound player, both at the plate and in the field, among a squad of guys void of discipline and basic awareness," "you pretty much know what kind of season it's been when you see that Roger Cedeno has been allowed 443 at-bats," "in deep, deep Cedeno")

- Ramiro Mendoza ("crappy loss to a crappy team compounded by the fact that crappy Ramiro Mendoza was in the game to take the loss," "horrrrrible," "Mendoza is... well, still sucking")
- Dan Wheeler ["Enter Dan Wheeler. (A dinner bell rings in the distance.)," "Lead Poisoning," "'FedEx' Wheeler once again excelled at the home delivery of inherited runners," "last seen handing out extra base hits like they were buffet coupons in an Atlantic City casino," "last seen applying Miracle-Gro to every small deficit he encountered," "Dan 'My ERA Hovers Around 18' Wheeler," "Wheelers Are Coming Off the Cart." and "Wheeler threw gasoline, kerosene, butane, turpentine, some crude oil, a little lighter fluid, an aerosol can, a propane tank, a splash of rubbing alcohol, and half a bottle of Bacardi 151 on the fire Baldwin had started. His 60'6" replica of the Great Fire of Chicago also featured more fireworks than at South of the Border. The ESPN Game Log stenographer called in sick today with early onset Carpal Tunnel from Wheeler's stint alone. Dan 'Wheeeeeeeee!' Wheeler entered into a 4-4 ballgame, retired four batters, and left with the score 12-6."]
- Rudy Seanez ("unworthy," "abysmal," "looked like poop," "physical resemblance to Freddy Krueger and Manuel Noriega, they inflict similar amounts of terror," "the Dwight Schrute of the Sox")
- Armando Benitez ("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.", "when the biggest of the big games are coming down to the wire, you want Armando Benitez three states away")

Even guys we came to love:
- Derek Lowe ("worst starting pitcher in major league baseball")
- Mark Bellhorn ("liability," "Bellhorn is Eeyore/shuffling back to the dugout/after one more K," "bat-holding ninny")
- John Franco ("Mets Relievers I Only Want to See Pitching on ESPN Classic," ""somewhere between shaky and awful," "wretched," "entered and assured us that there would be no more comebacks", "get him off the roster without losing any more face," "Franco's July ERA is 10.80; August's most terrifying spectacle may not be the new M. Night Shyamalan flick")
- Kevin Millar ("toast," "sucked donkeys at the plate and in the field," "worthless sack of elephant puke," "standard-setting ineptitude in right-field," "one of the most godawful throwing arms in major league history," "he must be the mascot, because there's no other explanation for why he's still on the active roster," "German for Designated for Assignment," "new color represents his decaying corpse, which apparently played left field last night," "Kevin 'LOB' Millar," ".156, but he looks worse than that")

And there there are the enemies:

- Bud Selig ("legacy is somewhere between that of Richard Nixon and George Custer," "could fuck up a wet dream", "the worst commissioner of anything that's every had a commission ever in any industry in any country on any planet. Honestly . . . honestly, I wouldn't trust this guy with the job of taking out my garbage. It'd take six weeks, it wouldn't quite get to the curb, and the lawn would stink to high heaven. And the Garbage Games would end in a tie," "Has anyone considered what Selig's miserable legacy will be years from now? (Strike/no World Series/All-Star tie/steroids/Expos) Can you impeach a commissioner?")
- MLB Executives ("masterminds," "brain trust," "think tank," "Mensa with bats")
- George Steinbrenner ("ugly pigdog")
- Peter Angelos ("miserable bastard," "miserable prick, "Diablos," "There Is Currently No Expletive Vile Enough," "jackelope," "Ebenezer Scrooge," "Napoleon," "limitless prick")
- Roger Clemens ("jackass," "mercenary fat bastard," "Tom Arnold," "still the same guy who gets called 'Dick' more than the vice president," "abrasive," "Clemens and Houston, a.k.a. Ass and the Astros," "all we'll ask of our boys is a Rocket beaning," "bastard," "true asshole, "Clemens' hubris was spectacular in its brazen disregard for, well, not being a dick," "arrogant ass," "Hate the Clemens," "Oh, and I hope Roger Clemens' arm falls off today.")
- Joe Morgan (Rob has berated him too many times to list)

Of course there were splendidly positive things we've had to say. They're just not as wryly funny. We've laughed a lot, usually at each other or ourselves, and we've gotten fairly pissed off. In an actual count, a mere 79 of the 1,000 posts have contained the F-word. Predictably, Rob was responsible for 71 of those posts. (I cornered the market on "douchebag," though.)

And finally, if you've taken to reading our work at all over the last four years, you should have come away with but one message. One piece of hard evidence. One . . . lesson.

"The lesson, as always, is that I'm an idiot." (4/12/04)
"...and the lesson here is that I am an idiot." (3/22/05)
"The lesson, as always, is that I'm an idiot." (4/16/05)
"The lesson, as always... c'mon, don't make me say it." (5/28/05)
"I really am an idiot . . . sometimes." (6/8/05)

"Further, let it once again be proven that I'm an idiot." (4/10/06)
"The lesson, as always: I’m an idiot." (7/7/06)
"The lesson... c'mon, do I really need to say it? I am, as you know, an idiot." (4/13/07)
"It goes without saying: like my little friend across the aisle, I am an idiot." (4/14/07)
"The lesson, if not the mantra here, as always, is that I am an idiot." (4/23/07)
"The lesson, as always . . . well, you know." (4/24/07)

And so we move on from post number one-thousand, back to your regularly scheduled programming of daily, weekly, or as-warranted outbursts of insight, opinion, and utter drivel.

Here's to another thousand posts , and then some. Thanks for reading.

(Nearly all of that was from Whitney's fertile mind, and I thank him for making the effort to recap 999 posts while I spent a gorgeous mid-Atlantic afternoon on the golf course. Over 80% of the f-bombs attributed to my side of the ledger? My first thought is that I have a hard time believing that, and then I remember who I am and shake my head ruefully.

We don't really write this blog for anyone but ourselves and maybe a few friends. That's really sort of stating the obvious, judging by the hit count stats, but we've really not made any effort to spread the word beyond our little circle of knuckleheads. The fact that we've managed to keep this going for some 4+ years - remember, you're dealing with two guys whose idea of follow-through is making sure that the empties get stacked on the counter in an orderly fashion so their wives can get the recycling out - is a testament to our love of baseball and of these teams. Not for nothing, but it's also turned out to be a terrific shared experience with my friend. So, as Whit says, thanks for reading, and to Whit - thanks for writing, pal.)


Derek said...

Maybe you only do this for a few friends but there's at least one reader across the Atlantic who depends on you for the genuine fan insight - and genuine fan idiot comments - that a box score just can't give you!
Every morning it's Mets score, Red Sox score MLC and then check up on the trivia on BBC news. Here's to the next 1,000.

TJ said...

A job well done boys.

rob said...

hey, cool, derek - thanks. our plan for world domination is clearly gaining some global momentum.

Itsmetsforme said...

how the fuck did you guys do 1000 posts? i think ive been doing it since 2005 and only have 200 or so posts. And you guys take like what a year off at a time? Am i that lazy a fuck? I guess i am.

well this isnt that reverential a post, but its too late at night for me to read all this. i enjoy misery so im glad misery loves company.

it occurs to me that the east might come down to who did a better job exploiting/raiding the marlins all those years ago: sox got beckett and the spanks got pavano, nuff said. Then again the Mets got Ct Red Ass and Delgado.

rob said...

don't forget lowell. at least don't forget him until he remembers that he's older than we are.