“I wonder what it must be like to be Luis Castillo, waking up this morning,” my husband said on our morning walk with the dog.
“I’ll bet it all seemed like a bad dream, and then he realized the disaster had not been a dream,” I responded.
Luis Castillo’s dropping what should have been a routine fly ball that would’ve ended the game with a Mets win but instead resulted in a brutal Mets loss at Yankee Stadium last night no doubt resulted in loss of sleep by the player himself and countless interested parties in the tri-state area. No doubt, this botched play was also part of many Mets fans’ morning ruminations.
Thinking of the incident in the context of a bad dream led me to think about my own and others’ nightmares and their origins.
Even though I have not been in a broadcast studio on any regular basis for seventeen years, my years as an announcer for public radio stations in Kansas and Washington are the basis of nightmares I have to this day:
I’m stumbling around the music library, trying to find a CD while the unbearable silence of dead air over the station’s monitors provides the (non-) background music to my insufferably slow search for some appropriate music to play.
“Hmm. A Beethoven String Quartet? How about a Mozart overture? No. I’d have to run back here and get something else longer to follow that. Hurry! Hurry! Just PICK something!”
It amazes me that the challenges of my professional radio days continue to formulate my subconsious, even many years later.
Less surprising are the nightmares I have in which I am at my place of employment–the Metropolitan Opera. These dreams have a recurring scenario: I can hear the orchestra playing in the pit and the singers onstage. No matter what I do, I cannot find how to get into the pit. Yet, the music keeps going and going.
I can literally hum along my own part to the music as it keeps going and going, but every passageway I take ends in a dead-end, and the closest I can ever get to my designated chair in the orchestra is looking down into the pit from various high vantage points in the opera house.
Baseball players must have similar profession-related dreams, don’t you think?
I bet it would very interesting hearing the details of those nocturnal visions, fueled by each player’s specific phobias.
To some, perhaps certain ballparks loom large and formidable.
Perhaps batters dream of facing a particularly daunting pitcher: Randy Johnson in his prime, for example.
Those dreams everyone has in which one needs to flee but is running slow-motion in quicksand? Perhaps the equivalent is that a player’s bat speed has decreased so significantly that he can’t keep up with any pitches at all.
While I would be curious to hear what happens in ballplayers’ reveries, I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to see the stuff of nightmares played out in front of my very eyes as I and thousands of groaning Mets fans did last night.
I have a feeling Luis Castillo and that routine pop-up will be seeing one another at night for years to come.
“I Got It”, by Sherry De Ghelder, St. Louis Burb, Missouri, USA. Oil on panel.
For information about this work and the artist, go to:
With the exception of brief appearances (neither very impressive, I might add) by David Wright and Billy Wagner in the All-Star Game, the Mets have been non-entities here in New York since they last played on Sunday night: a game that marked their ninth consecutive win. That was actually only three days ago, but it seems like at least a WEEK to me.
Perhaps because it seems so distant, I keep asking myself, “Did it REALLY happen?!” “Did we REALLY sweep the Giants AND the Rockies?!”
Yes, it must be true: after Matt Holliday’s home run to put the National League on the board last night, FOX’s Joe Buck mentioned how Holliday had recently had no such success at Shea Stadium.
I’m sure one reason I keep questioning whether or not I imagined the Mets’ recent success is because there was SUCH an inordinate amount of spectacle surrounding the Yankees and Derek Jeter and A-Rod and Madonna and THE LAST ALL-STAR GAME AT YANKEE STADIUM and all-things-Yankee for the past few days.
But soon all of the banners will come down and DHL Fan-Fest wll be dismantled and trucked away. Already the red carpet has been ripped up and the NYPD barricades removed following the parade down Sixth Avenue. Presumably, the old-timers have returned to their homes.
And tomorrow the players will resume playing the regular baseball season. No exhibition games. No farcical home run olypmics. No glorified trade shows. No morass of Chevy vehicles on parade and the resulting street closures.
The Yankees aren’t even playing tomorrow. Will the Mets then be worthy of some local press once more?
After all, they really DID win NINE in a row. And will go for TEN tomorrow in Cincinnati. And we’re merely [Pinch me again, please!] a HALF GAME behind first-place Philadelphia!
And the Yankees? Well, they go to Oakland on Friday. Six games out. With a dearth of pitching. With Johnny Damon on the DL and Matsui pondering season-ending surgery.
I think this really IS a Met fan’s dream.
Please, PLEASE…don’t wake me up just yet!
…actually, avoid two potential ones all together!
Honestly, I am not a fan of interleague play in general and of Yankee-Mets matchups in particular.
But I did enjoy a sidebar story that came out of this weekend’s Subway Series:
the transport of the Mets and Yankees players from Yankee Stadium to Shea Stadium during rush hour on a Friday afternoon and how it affected fellow New Yorkers.
Because of a rain-out during the previous Subway Series at Yankee Stadium earlier in the season, the Mets and Yankees faced each other Friday afternoon at Yankee Stadium for a make-up game. Then, that evening, both teams (and the media) had to get to Shea Stadium for the first of a three-game Subway Series there.
The personnel’s inter-borough journey would’ve been a challenge on any day and at any time of day, considering the busy corridor they needed to traverse and the bottlenecks that occur far too often upon it. Yesterday, however, presented a few additional challenges: the first game was a very long one–almost four hours, and (2)their expedition was to take place on a Friday night in the summer. While Friday afternoons are always “getaway” days and usually times of high volume on the roads, the problem is compounded in the summer when many are getting away to the beach or to the Hamptons.
Anticipating the gridlock that would be created, an industrious Newsday writer covering both games, brought his running shoes and made the inter-borough trip by foot. He later shared his colorful story with readers.
I also read of a couple of fans attending both games who had a rather unique strategy for the day: they intended to imbibe at Yankee Stadium and empty their bladders at Shea Stadium. Hmm.
My family’s challenge did not involve a time element: we were attending only the second game. However, one should never underestimate the challenge of travelling from New Jersey to Queens with there being a game at Yankee Stadium. Not having the physical conditioning to even consider a foot race and disliking crowds and traffic in general, our family was not sure we even wanted to FACE the challenge.
Therefore, my husband–with his family’s approval–attempted to sell our tickets for Friday night’s game on StubHub. This was one game we all figured would be best viewed in the comfort of our own home on high definition television.
When the tickets did not sell, however, we changed our minds and decided to brave the masses on the road in order to attend.
We gave our time of departure much forethought. It was decided that the best way to avoid the traffic created by fans departing Yankee Stadium following the first game would be for us to be well on our way BEFORE the end of the first game.
As it turned out, our strategy not only afforded us a more or less routine trip to Shea, but it unexpectedly provided us the opportunity of sailing by Yankee Stadium–southbound on the Major Deegan Expressway–at the very MOMENT that Carlos Delgado hit the first of what would be two home runs for the Mets–this one a grand slam! As I quickly opened the sun roof, we all three screamed, and I vigorously waved my Mets cap.
When we arrived at Shea, there were many fans already there. It appeared that others were aware, as we were, that it had been arranged that both teams were to travel by bus with police escort from the Bronx to Queens with road closures being scheduled during their transition.
Arriving at Shea without any of the logistical snafus we had envisioned and feared, it was actually delightful to, later, find out some details about the two teams’ post-matinee conveyance–both on the radio and in the newspapers.
Although traffic was halted enroute to the Triborough Bridge and on the other side–on the Grand Central Parkway–to ensure a quick trip for the players and the members of the media who accompanied them, apparently many drivers along this route were well aware of the purpose of the stoppage. Many of the presumably inconvenienced drivers were not scowling, waving fists or the like. Rather, they were leaning out of car windows, yelling cheers of encouragement and flashing player jerseys in signs of recognition as the buses passed.
As New York Times sportswriter George Vecsey so wittily observed in his column today:
Normally, I hate it when traffic is blocked in New York because some presidential candidate is mooching campaign funds in our town. Over the years, I have had a few paranoid thoughts and words and gestures toward assorted Bushes and Clintons, Gores and Kerrys, when some bridge or parkway was inexplicably shut down. But it’s different when traffic stops for something socially redeeming, like a baseball team.
It had to be a redeeming feeling for Mets officials, too, knowing that their arrangements had enabled the Mets to play in the Bronx until about 6PM and walk into their Club House at Shea for their 8:10PM game having taking only twenty-eight minutes door-to-door! (Apparently, the Mets had made similar arrangements for the team travelling TO Yankee Stadium that morning: a trip that had taken only seventeen minutes!)
If only Mets officials could collaborate in such a way as to assure a Mets’ victory…sigh.
We’ll get ’em tomorrow.