Sitting in the stands next to my daughter at Mets games, my daughter often entertains me with parodies of at-bat music and songs of her own making.
With outfielder Ryan Church having been traded to the Braves in exchange for Jeff Francouer this weekend, I told her that I could think of no more fitting farewell than to document the “Church Rap”–complete with hand motions that many of us learned as children in Sunday School–that she often performed for me in the stands when Church came up with a big hit.
So, with heartfelt appreciation to a beloved ballplayer and to my gifted daughter for sharing her time and talents, please enjoy “Church Rap”:
I’ve had difficulty “singing the praises of the Mets” lately…except in some sort of out-of-tune way. Thus, the absence of recent posts.
I keep waiting for the chance to vocalize in a fully supported manner, but this less-than-encore-deserving run of Mets losses has only inspired me to warbling off-key humor.
Fact: the Mets have suffered an unbelievable number of injuries (record-breaking?) this season. Their struggle to stay competitive in spite of this has been admirable if not downright miraculous.
I’ve seen and heard it all:
“The Mets are playing hurt.”
“The Mets are putting a Junior Varsity team out there.”
“The Mets just have to tread water until the regulars get back.”
“Just wait until after the All-Star break.”
“You can’t blame them: some of these players are minor-leaguers.”
But even with those disclaimers and glass-half-full observations, last night’s loss was a new low.
From F-Mart’s blooper-reel-worthy performance in the outfield to our ace Santana’s bases on balls and dugout temper tantrum, it was a night to test even the most ardent fan’s patience.
Meanwhile, in that never-ending side-bar story to any Met fan’s daily digest–hoping the Phillies will at least lose (and barring that, the Yankees)–the Atlanta Braves did manage to help us out: aided by the mere threat of Jeff Francouer donning his magic underwear,
Go ahead and laugh. I am.
Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog recently excoriated manager Jerry Manuel for jokingly looking for his (hidden) offense under the table when asked about the Mets’ bats at his post-game press conference on Sunday night following the derailed Subway Series.
Maybe, at least in Cerrone’s opinion, Manuel is not in a position to kid around. And, granted, the Mets’ falling further and further below .500 is no laughing matter.
I, on the other hand, am in a position to joke around and, in fact, have now arrived at the “what else can you do but laugh” point.
And with that little prelude in mind, I offer up (with apologies to my Mom, a die-hard Braves fan) some contrasting themes between the Mets’ and Braves’ clubhouses:
The Mets’ offense has flown the coop and, especially last night, they are looking like a bunch of birdbrains in the field; the Braves are closing in on us, their right-fielder bluffing about lucky turkey shorts.
The Mets are awaiting the return of Major-League ready jocks; the Braves are talking jockeys.
The Mets need their A-Team; the Braves are talking G-strings.
The Mets desperately need the long ball; the Braves are talking long johns.
You get the idea.
Laughing keeps me from crying:
after all, I don’t want to be perceived as a pantywaist.
Original artwork “Phillie Cheese Steak Brand” From the “Orange Crate Label Series: The Unauthorized History of Baseball in 1-Odd Paintings” (2005) by Ben Sakoguch courtesy of the artist..
O.K. So I’ve now seen the Mets play at the ball park of every team in their division.
I do not wish to comment on the specifics of the two games I saw this past weekend in Atlanta other than to say that as obnoxious as I find that tomahawk chop watching a game at Turner Field on TV, trust me, it is WAY more annoying live and in person.
And, by the way, I did not find much in the form of southern hospitality OUTSIDE the ball park either.
AND the weather sucked.
I DO highly recommend the Atlanta Aquarium. Particularly noteworthy are its whale sharks and beluga whales.
And going to the MLK Visitor Center and National Historic Site was definitely time well spent while in Atlanta.
I wish the Mets’ time at Turner Field had been time well spent.
After Sunday afternoon’s game, my family and I drove from the stadium south of town to the area near the airport. We had previously checked out of the hotel we had stayed at the previous two days, located in the downtown area. Because we had a very early flight out of Atlanta on Monday morning, we had made arrangements to stay in a hotel near the airport for our final night in the Atlanta area.
After checking into this airport hotel, we did some research on nearby eating establishments and, although we found the results somewhat limited and not altogether tantalizing, we managed to find something decent.
In order to expedite getting to our morning flight, we then drove to the airport and returned our rental car and took the hotel shuttle back to the hotel.
It was over a somewhat bland Mexican dinner in a slightly run-down, vintage-1970’s decor restaurant on some forgotten byway inhabitated by people who seemed to be having far too good of a time on this Sunday night than the surroundings warranted that I hit upon it and said it aloud to my family:
“What IS it about airport hotels and the surrounding area that is SO depressing?!”
This immediately resonated with my family. For the sake of convenience, we had found ourselves in this scenario more than a few times, and I guess I was just the first one to articulate what we had all been feeling.
There’s something about the staff at these hotels. It’s like they don’t really care. This particular hotel had a pool that was being fixed…sometime. They had a Business Center that was totally taken over by young children in bathing suits yelling to one another. They were playing host to some seemingly unorganized convention of some small gathering of people belonging to some sort of group with some sort of seemingly ambiguous agenda that seemed rather like an excuse to get together at a hotel airport, jam the lobbies and elevator, and drink, eat and talk excessively.
But the sort of people who work in local establishments are also often somewhat detached or unhurried or uncommitted or something as are the area clientele.
And then, because of most airports’ location on the outskirts of town, almost every airport hotel’s surroundings look like another’s: you could be anywhere.
My husband said it reminded him of how Norman Bates mentioned how after “the highway” was built, no one travelled the backroads to the Bates Motel anymore.
So, while the weather certainly didn’t cooperate, the first game was postponed, we suffered that painful Kelly Johnson pinch-hit grand slam and Mets loss on Saturday, and on Sunday couldn’t get enough hitting to support the awesome pitching of Santana and lost that game as well, perhaps my family and I have discovered something about road trips and travel.
Next time, regardless of whatever else happens, at least we know we can arrange to have our final night’s stay a “winner”!
More specifically, Atlanta’s Turner Field.
Yes, eventually, the Mets must always return to what has become for them something of a House of Pain. But this season, we’re armed with Johan.
And they have? Tom Glavine.
I’m headed south early tomorrow to see our guys in their first three games with the Braves this season.
I’m hoping for good weather, more awesome stuff from Santana and Maine, a much-needed good outing from Pelfrey in his outing against Glavine, and a little bit o’ Southern hospitality thrown in would be most welcome as well.
Be back for the last Opening Day at Shea!