Sunday, November 7, 2010

Isn't it Cool That the Mets Won the World Series?

David Wright walked up to the pitcher's mound.

"I'm Wright! What Wright? David Wright! Wright to meet you!"

Mariano Rivera watched him with the cold death of an assassin who has killed so well and so often for so long that he now does it with the fluidity of eating pasta. Linguini. Pleasantly oily. Goodnight.

"Lettuce be victorious," murmured Chip Hale, gnawing a forgotten sandwich, speaking to Jose Reyes who danced like a well programmed robot off third base. On second base, Angel Pagan was of two mindsets. One marveled at the moment. Game 7, world series, 9th inning. What a life. What a world. The other planned dinner. Tarragon. Rice. Seaweed. Dino Kale. Trust me, he said to himself. On first, Jason Bay was singing the "da na na na na nuh- HEY!" song. He was audible to everyone.

As David Wright jogged back to the batter's box, he reflected on all that happened to lead to this moment. Seven games back, with seventeen left to play, Jason Bay awoke one morning to find he was perfectly healthy and could resume baseball activities. Furthermore, upon whacking the seamed sphere with the stick, the sphere frequently flew over the barrier 400 feet away, allowing for free passage about the lily pads.

That same morning, Johan Santana awoke with both vim and vigor, and that was before finding out that all charges against him had been dropped. This made K-Rod hopeful, but, sorry dude, no.

Oliver Perez awoke in the middle of a really intense trip. He looked into his mirror, and said "Am I there?" He wasn't sure, but he did see Razor Shines where his bedside table usually sits.

"I dosed you pretty hard. Hope that's cool," said Razor.

"Give me the ball," said Perez.

For the next 17 games, the Mets won baseball games as if their opponents were children, and they were giant marsupials, some of whom could traverse entire basepaths in a single galumph. One game was won, because right at the moment that Chase Utley was to whack a Jon Niese slider most decisively, he was attacked by sparrows. He swung his bat wildly at the birds, missing them, and also the baseball, and so the game ended, and the Phillie Phanatic was so despondent that he wrote a letter to an ex, trying to impress her with the depth of his existential phleh.

Another game was won because, at a crucial moment in the 7th inning, Jeff Wilpon bought the Marlins, fired all of their employees, including the baseball players, so they had to forfeit the game. Wilpon then sold the Marlins, because he felt they were a shaky investment.

Most peculiar of all was that time when disciplined at-bats, well-executed pitches, enough hits for some of them to be timely, and some prudent managerial decisions resulted in a win against a somewhat less talented team. The game created enough of a stir to be covered as a non-local interest piece in Russian newspapers and Quantum EntangleMet.

The result of these things and more, was that the Metropolitans finished first in their division, with the Philistines as Wild Card.

In the first round, things were looking desparate against Los Gigantes. Razor Shines took Tim Lincecum out for dinner. The next day, Tim's changeup didn't change, but Oliver Perez was able to make the ball invisible. No one was sure how literally that was happening.

The second round meant the Phillies and boy were they mad. Mr. Met had somehow smuggled a young antelope into the Phillies locker room. The antelope itself wasn't dangerous, but the Phillies knew if they even got close to it, its mom would find them and destroy them. That whole episode really threw them off their game. Johan Santana was able to win the first game throwing nothing but change-ups. The Phillies swung early every time, including once when Jayson Werth struck out before the pitch had even been thrown.

"Is that even possible?" Werth asked Umptar the Umpire.

"Stop making excuses," said Umptar, basically peeing on the field (this is a metaphor).

In another game, every batter got a hit every time. It wasn't clear how innings were changing with no outs, but somehow they were. The umpires, managers, official scorer and Krang held a meeting, and decided that to reduce the silliness of the game, the teams would alternate at bats, and whichever team got a hit followed by getting the other team out would be victorious. Ike got the hit, then through an extrapolation of the hidden ball trick, became the pitcher, and struck out Ryan Howard on his patented pie ball. "I throw the ball exactly if I were throwing a pie," he said into any number of microphones after the game. "It usually works."

In the World Series, the Mets opponent would have been the Texas Rangers, however they were disqualified from the tournament due to a series of unfortunate events. Texas seceded from the nation, was promptly invaded by Mexico, reneged on their secession, which the U.S. accepted, but considered the entire state to have immigrated back into the country illegally, and detained Texas indefinitely. As an upshot of all that, the Texas baseball franchise, despite arguing that it is an institution separate from the state, was forced to withdraw from the World Series. They were replaced by a rather unpleasant beast, the New York Yankees.

As David Wright tapped his bat against his shoe, he remembered how the Yankees had bribed many of the Met players into sensory deprivation tanks, then taken advantage of their depleted roster, winning 3 of the first four games, losing only to Oliver Perez, whose pitches still may have been actually invisible, and who also hit a home run off C.C.C.C.

Awakened from their stupor, and brimming with inner peace, the Mets were most victorious in games 5 and 6. To Jason Bay, the ball appeared to be moving extremely slowly, as if the entire scene were underwater. "It's beautiful down here," he said to Jorge Posada, as he launched an Andy Pettite slurve into several other boroughs.

Then came game 7, and all of a sudden it was like everything was really serious, and things you said, and probably didn't even remember saying, they all came back to me like it was a big deal, and that time when I thought you were going to make coffee for both of us, and you were like I didn't know you wanted any, and I was like, well I'm here, right? so... and you were like yeah, but you knew I was making some and didn't say anything, and then in the park there was a man who talked to me for like twenty minutes about these different flying objects he had brought with him, and how he could throw them across the entire park on a good day, and at night as we walked by bars that were lit by candles due to the blackout and everyone seemed so happy to not have electricity, and

After eight innings, Santana had to come out. He had thrown so many pitches. He felt shipwrecked. Extremely shipwrecked. He had given up 2 runs on a clutch groundout from Jeter, followed by a boring, at-least-they're-paying-me homerun by Teixeira. Later, A-Rod stole home, but was booed for a really awkward high-5 with the batboy.

The Mets had not scored. Yankee pitcher Joba Chamberlain had used his starter's mentality to pitch eight shutout innings, with the help of sneaky offspeed stuff, and four homerun saving catches by Curtis Granderson. David Wright had watched him do it. Each time he used his gloved hand to leverage himself off the top of the wall and caught the ball bare-handed.

In the ninth, ageless Mo struck out Luis Castillo, despite some fabulous fake bunting. He got Josh Thole to hit a shockingly fast line drive that deflected off of Cano's glove, right to Jeter, who for no obvious reason, had positioned himself in shallow right-centerfield.

Jose Reyes came up to bat and strike one was already there waiting for him. He got ready to hit, but strike two had already let itself in. Then Rivera, toe absentmindedly on the mound, dropped the ball, and it rolled lazily away. Reyes swung at nothing, striking himself out, and then scampered to first really fast (but not faster than a speeding bullet, because that's completely unrealistic). Rivera hit Pagan with the next pitch, and Jason Bay laid down a Perfect Bunt for a single.

David Wright, his mental season recap completed, stepped into the batter's box and watched a cutter go by for strike one. Tension rose like steam off of the crowd, clouding glasses, including those of Umptar the Umpire, who called a second strike on a pitch that was like this far off the plate.

Jerry Manuel trotted out of the dugout, a freshly opened young coconut in his hand. He handed it to Wright, who gulped it hungrily.

"Who's Wright?" he whispered to David. Wright looked back vacantly. "Who's Wright?" Manuel repeated, but it was like David couldn't hear. The words seemed unfamiliar.

"Ok, meeting time over, let's get back to the... y'know... umm... sporting contest," said Umptar, who secretly didn't know the word for baseball.

Manuel retreated, shaking his head. Things looked hopeless. Wright gave a couple of practice swings then stepped back into the box.

"What did you say to him?" asked Razor Shines.

"I asked him who's Wright," said Manuel. David heard. Mariono Rivera went into his windup.

"I'm Wright!!!"


The crowd, as if they had only just discovered the use of their own voices after untold years of harrowed silence, let loose a cry that cowed wild dogs in distant lands. The ball traveled deep into the centerfield and Granderson was lining it up. Yes, he thought, I will have this one too. He placed his mitt on the wall above the 400 sign, and lifted himself upward, beginning to extend his bare hand...

when the ball dropped just short of the warning track. Reyes scored to make it 2-1, Pagan scored to tie the game, Bay, swift as a weasel, rounded third. Brett Gardner's throw came in ahead of Bay. It bounced and rolled, but it was still going to get there first. Posada prepared himself for a Big Moment, a Big Big Moment, a Big Big B- the ball rolled through his legs! Bay scored standing up! The Mets win the World Series! The Mets win the World Series!

"Is that really how it happened Grandpa David Wright?" asked the innocent little ones.

"Oh," he sighed, "that's about Wright."


Friday, October 1, 2010

Exclusive Interview with Jose Reyes

Recently, Jose Reyes was interviewed by Baseball Moonthly's longest tenured reporter, Walter Elbow. Here is the unedited transcript, made available to Mets Fan Fiction. The interview, edited down to tight nuggets of wisdom, will appear in the BM's next issue.

Jose Reyes: The seagulls, they are so important, but you sit there, examining your recording device, not noticing them.

Walter Elbow: Okay, I think we're rolling. Check, check.

JR: They are made of the same stuff as we, yet they fly. I am trapped within the basepaths, but these birds that prey on life, who knock on the door of eternity, and while they wait for the answer, swallow fish raw.

WE: Wait, sorry, now I'm not sure. I don't see any reading on the thing, but it could still... hang on.

JR: The waves as well, they are solitary, unendingly lapping. Lapping each other in a race. They are the lap dogs of the moon. They lap at us, because to them, we are fuppy.

WE: Hank? Can you come over here? I am having uncertainties about my recording device.

JR: Against the overwhelming sky hang imperturable clouds. Docile. Silent. Until! Until! Rain! Thunder! Lightning! They offer no guarantees. They could turn into a bunny, or just fade into nothing. I knew someone like that once.

WE: See, all the correct buttons are pressed, but the desired result has not necessarily occured.

Hank: Have you considered these buttons?

WE: Yeah. Not sure what to think about those.

JR: And then there's us. Three homo sapien sapiens. Triple homo illuminatis. Walking, peaceful, beachside, absorbing it all, like the universal sponge, ignoring it all like the blind rhinoceros. rhino   ceros. I think about that word sometimes. It wants to be broken down, but I don't know why.

WE: Sorry Jose, we might have to do this another time.

JR: We already are. It's already the future. We are already talking about my offseason regimen in a cafe full of self-stuffing meaning, full of forms swallowing each other because they are each other's favorite alligator. The answers to the questions you will ask me are: blue, we are already in negotiations, buck 65, I already have and I'll show it to you once it's edited, Serge King, Pablo Picasso, Bill McKibben and of course, Razor Shines, mangoes, she's doing fine, thank you.

WE: Sacks on College and Derby okay?

JR: I'm already on my way.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lion, Phoenix, Tree

"Robots!" Jeff Wilpon's wife, Nasturtium Wilpon, thought he was speaking in his sleep, as he often does (just the other night, he sat up suddenly and announced "Here's my statue. I thought it was real fuckin original until I realized it looks exactly like those things on Easter Island. What is UP with those. Fuckhorse.")

This time, Jeff was fast awake.  It was his latest scheme to improve the offense. Nasturtium asked how that would work in practice to which Wilpon yelled "Crag norbit!" and looked despondently out the window for the balance of the afternoon. Nasturtium resumed her calligraphy, wondering which of her lovers she would send it to. She spoke about these lovers openly (just this morning, she joined her husband on the balcony, saying "the quality of the light, it reminds me so delicately of another morning when I woke up in the arms of Evo Morales."), yet Jeff Wilpon was entirely unaware of them. In fact, the specific actions of his wife had fallen off his radar years ago.

Howard Johnson picked a nasturtium and cheerfully gobbled it up, as he walked alongside Ruben Tejada and Ike Davis.

"Hitting's like this," he said, picking another one and examining it.

"Like what coach?" asked Ruben, pulling a spin move on a pigeon.

"Orange, peppery, surprising, edible," mused Johnson.

"Guys," asked Ike, "do you think I could overthrow the military industr- I mean, do you think that's a normal pigeon?"

As omniscient narrator, I'll field that question. No it wasn't. It looked like this.
"What are you?" gasped Tejada.

"I'm like hitting!" it screeched. "ORANGE! SURPRISING! PEPPERY! EDIBLE! You made me Howard Johnson! You made me!"

"You really did it this time HoJo," said Lenny the local hotdog vendor. "You guys hungry or what?"

"You bet!" said Ike. "Got any coconuts?"

"What do I look like, a banyan tree? Of course I got coconuts!" The four of them consumed the cocos, both water and meat, while sitting on the street in silence. It was a nice day to do that. It was a nice day to. It was a nice. It was.   .

"I didn't used to be in this type of music, but it is rapidly becoming my favorite variety," said Hisnori Takahashi.

"Toldja," said Toby Stoner.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The End of Francouer

The wind rushed through Pagan's hair. It tousled Beltran's. Even Bay, confused, concussed, felt its gentle comb. Not Francouer though. As he prepared with the other outfielders to hang glide to Hamlet Field (that's what it's called, right?), he felt no wind at all. No gushes, gusts, gales, streams, rivulets... he was even surprised he had air to breathe.

"Something's amiss," he said.

"You'll try again," said Pagan, but Beltran wasn't so sure. He had felt something was off with Frenchy by a sensation in his nose, that could loosely, but 48% incorrectly be called smell.

"Do you think it's the demon?" asked Bay.

"Could be. It's not his style though. He mocks me on the phone, but he's never removed the wind from my sterling hair."

The others took off, but Francouer, due to intense perplexion and a mild fear of death, did not. He went down to his room. He picked up his phone, though it had not rang.

"Demon?" he asked.

"I'm gone. So are you. Pack your bags Frenchy."

"Enough of your taunts!"

"Not taunts!" protested the demon. "I'm a mythic troublemaker of disproportionate proportions and don't you forget it! But at the moment I'm just trying to be straight with you. Real as applesauce. I'm headed southwest. You might want to see if you can beat me there. Get some good hacks in before I clobber your competency."

Francouer hung there like a three piece suit hung out to dry on a balmy Sunday that had suddenly lost its clothesline, its clothespins, its clothesconcept. In that moment, though he had never had in his many years, and before long it would be long forgotten, he knew the name of the demon that had taunted him from the moment he had graced the cover of Sports Illustrated.

"Thanks Satchel," he said.

"No prob French. By the way, my tormenting of you for your entire career, it's just a bet I made with Nancy. He said I couldn't get you out."


Francouer went to the top floor of the building, where management oversaw.

"Jeff!" said Omar. "Shouldn't you be on your way to um... the field, you know..."

"Village field?" Francouer offered.

"Yes, that sounds right."

"No, I shouldn't. I've been traded."

"I thought I made the trades around here." Francouer shrugged. The phone rang. It was Texas. Texas spoke. Omar said, "Really? Sure! Hey he's right here, do you want to say hi?"

But Francouer was on longer there. He had disappeared, demonlike, possessions in his satchel, on the roof, finding the wind suddenly, absurdly, of-coursely, but not coarsely, blowing his hair, shaking his mop, moving his skin cells and bones, whispering jokes from faraway lands...

... and blowing toward Texas.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pelfrey and the Sloth

Mike Pelfrey strutted through the Houston Mammilarium, head held high, giving his "danger point" to lemurs, sloths and red pandas. To do the danger point, Pelfrey would lean back on one knee, then launch forward, pointing at his target with both arms. Omar had tried to limit it to certain specified occasions in his contract, due to the injury risk, but Pelfrey replied as such:

"The danger point and I are one. You restrict it, you restrict me. You cage it, you squash my me-ness as assuredly as if my own corpus had been placed in an unleavable box. Are you all in? Or are you not in at all?"

And so the danger point was allowed to be free, and at the moment it was frightening monkeys, worrying capibaras, and having zero effect on the peculiar smile of the sloth.

"You feel it too, dontcha slothy. You feel the arteries and veins pulsing with pale life fire, the orange and blue heat of madness that infects us all. I sense your sensing of it in the lazy grip of your claws on the top of the cage, the way your fur bristles in the breeze."

The sloth seemed to nod. It moved so slowly it was difficult to determine.

"Can I help you?" a Mammilarium monitor asked Pelfrey. This is the modern use of "can I help you," meaning, "you're going to need to do less of what you're doing right now."

"It's not I who need help," Pelfrey replied. "Not slothy either. See, we get it. We are the albatross of existence, the wing of the universe-sparrow, the br of the breeze that lets the rest of you just take it easy."

"I don't follow," said the Mm.

"I guess I'm just jazzed is all," said Pelf. "Jazzed and feeling it. It pops my rocks. Pretty classic really. Makes me feel like a country."

The sloth, in its long life, had moved on its own strength, a total of 12 feet. At that moment, it doubled this total by leaning back on one knee, then launching itself to the front of its cage, extending both arms toward Pelfrey.

"By gum, it knows the danger point! How much for the sloth?"

Pelfrey's game that led to aforementioned jazzedness: 8IP, 6 hits, 0 runs, 4Ks, 2 walks

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Salmo vs. Finches- Wandering Thole Linkorama

Josh Thole looked out his window, reading Emerson out loud. He would read a sentence than say it to the outdoors. A collection of pigeons had assembled by his window to listen. A fire blazed in the fireplace and the discarded shells of coconuts were strewn across his floor.

"Pigeons, sometimes I feel you're the only ones listening," he said.

He took a walk down Clinton St, stopping in at Ted and Honey's.

"All of the sandwiches," he ordered.

"You must be a Met," said the human behind the counter.

"Is it in my eyes?" asked Thole.

"Getting there," said the human. In truth, the Met in Thole's eyes still needed some work, but the human liked to be encouraging.

He meandered over to Cobble Hill Park, tossing bits of bread to the pigeons.

"In Los Angelos alone, falling palm fronds kill five people every year!" a man was standing on soap box, saying things. The soap box was not the traditional kind, but rather the small cardboard ones that individual bars of soap often come in these days. It elevated the man's height, almost not at all.

"Cooking brings bears into your home. Bears can wreck a marriage!"

Thole consumed a sandwich while watching the man, but he was only worth a sandwich of his time. He proceeded up to Montague and turned left to go to the Promenade. He sat on a bench and looked at the skyline. A large group of people walked by, saying nothing. Thole followed them, conspicuous due to his young age, his many sandwiches and that he was wearing his full Met jersey. The people he walked with paid him little mind.

They arrived at a building and entered single file. A doorman tapped his foot each time one of them crossed the threshold. Thole was last in line, and as he approached, not one but three doormen converged to block his path.

"Be thee salmon or be thee not?"

"Salmon? That's not a baseball team."

The doormen laughed deep, frightening laughs."

"No," said one, "but some baseball teams are salmon."

"Are the Mets salmon?"

"Mets?! We can have no Mets in here!" They charged toward him and Thole scampered away. He ran ran ran to the Turkish bath house where he knew Jerry Manuel could often be found.

"Skip, what's a salmon?"

"Kid, there's salmon and there's finches. We aspire to be finches. Salmon don't drink coconuts. They get high, but they don't fly, so when they get there they die. We can't lay eggs at that rate, so we take a more measured approach."

Thole took in these words. They were so confusing.

"Are we talking about baseball?"

"And more."

"Is baseball talking about us?"


Manuel sipped a coconut. "Stick with the team," he said. "I'll probably be gone soon, and they'll erase my memory, but you, kid, you've got promise."

"Erase your memory? Why?"

"When I leave the team. Before it was just a non-disclosure agreement, but the Twins have telepaths on their staff, so it just wouldn't do."

"This baseball stuff is so much more complicated than I ever imagined," said Thole.

"You're telling me," said Jerry.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

K-Rod's Press Conference

Francisco Rodriguez glumly faced the reporters, those desperate hounds of text and story. They looked at him hungrily, knowing that it was time for him to give up the goods. Just say your piece, and don't give them more than you need to, he told himself. Just keep it simple. He turned to face the slobbering beasts, and delivered this statement.

"First of all, I'm extremely sorry. I want to apologize to Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon and Mr. Katz for the incident that happened Wednesday night. I want to apologize also to the Mets fans, to my teammates. I want to apologize, of course, to the front office for the embarrassing moment that I caused. I'm looking forward to being a better person.

"Right now the plan is I'm going to be going to anger management program. And I cannot speak no farther about the legal stuff that we're going through right now. I want to apologize. Sorry.

"There are things I have seen that I cannot describe with your human words. There are things I have felt that make me unique on this planet. No one will know about my quest for the perfect virus, and the depth of misunderstanding visited upon me by my girlfriend's father.

"See, what we need is to get infected. Not bad-style. Not like you have to stay home and watch Blues Clues and Dr. Philandery. No, we need something undetectable and awesome. Something that will make everyone look up and see the cascading butterflies defying the lumbering caterpillars. Something to make raindrops violate their standard spectrum. Something to make people advanced in age as we believe in Santa Claus."

K-Rod was standing now, making wild gestures, occasionally breaking into a voice more suited to opera than a press conference.

"It will challenge toads! The toads within us all! It will fillet philistines! It will make strangers break into song in unison! It will be the conqueror of cream pies!"

He seemed to awake from his trance. He looked at the reporters, disoriented, confused.

"So..." said Joe Budd. "How does this relate to, y'know, that thing you got in a lot of trouble for?"

"I have answered all questions! I will not answer any more!" And with that, K-Rod mounted his travel camel and rode to the bullpen.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mets on a Plane! (wright Wright)

Iron Man 2 was playing on the Mets plane back to New York. Barajas laid back with an eye pillow shading his pupils. Castillo hummed an obscure tune. Francouer stood in the aisle of the plane, despite the wishes of the plane staff.
“We are soaring through the air people!” He imitated the plane’s motion with its arms.
“I used to be upset by turbulence,” Reyes chimed in. “But then I said to myself, be reasonable, we are in a metal machine flying through the air high above the Earth. It’s okay if it’s not completely smooth.”
“Mickey Rourke isn’t so much swarthy as sunburned,” Wright observed. “I was worried when I saw this big swarthy guy approaching with ominous music, about the potential arise of moral ambiguities over the only prominent Hispanic being a bad guy, but then I realized it was just Mickey Rourke. That was a relief. Wright on.”
“Guys,” said Perez, standing up awkwardly in his window seat, clamboring over Feliciano, his neighbor in the aisle. “I already know what I’m going to do this offseason. I’m going to start somewhere in Kansas, and just start walking, and see where I end up.”
“I just awoke from the strangest dream,” said Jon Niese. I was aware of the entire ocean. It was like we grew up together.”
“Some say it’s all a dream,” shined Razor. “This is the one we hang out in cause it’s mellow.”
“Oh, dang, he is a minority, but he’s really thoughtful too. I just don’t know what to think about this. I was already barely holding the plot together and now we got this whole mess. Stay back. Wait for the wright Wright. Wright?”
“I’m like that other guy in the movie, the one with the hair” said Beltran. “Like me, he is a sphinx.”
“What do you mean by that?” asked Fitzgeraldo, the captain of the bat boys who sometimes travelled with the team. Beltran shrugged.
“Hey guys, what would you think about a team painting?” Manuel asked the lot of them.*
“NICE!” said the entire team in unison.
“Wow! That’s a much larger reaction than I anticipated!” What Manuel did not realize was that Iron Man had just had a crucial revelation, and the team, all of them wearing headphones on ear, had been reacting to that. They quickly forgot Manuel had asked the question.
“Geez, he’s a Russian. Call me old fashioned, but I feel that Russian bad guys in movies that have nothing to do about the Cold War, is just the country’s attempt to cover for its odd sense of embarrassment over that rather long happenstance. Whoa, but wait, now the Russian who tricked the American weapons contractor into building droids for him is using those droids for a terrorist attack! My word! My word is Wright! That’s Wright. Sometimes I think a thing, and then I think another thing, and it’s like I dropped a ball of yarn, but the yarn is my thoughts, and it takes a while to put it all back together, but then I think ‘Wright on!’ and after that, usually ‘Wright stuff!’ and then maybe ‘Wright time!’ and then I’m just rocking the awesome. Wright? Wright! Wright Wright!!
New Jersey went from sight to memory, and then the Mets began their initial descent. They were always happy to come home, but it also made them a little sad to leave the air.

*If someone actually wants to make a Mets team painting, drawing, or medium of your choice, send it to and I’ll post it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baseball Moonthly's Exclusive Interview with Omar Minaya

As the trade deadline came and went with barely a whisper in the entire borough of Queens, Walter Elbow of Baseball Moonthly caught up with Omar Minaya in this month's edition of Waxing Gibbous.

WE: Omar, thank you for joining me in the Baseball Moonthly helicopter.

OM: It's my pleasure Walter. My pleasure, and perhaps someday my helicopter.

WE: Unlikely. Omar, the trade deadline came and went with no action from the Mets. With literally every Phillie injured and the rest of the league plagued by maladies too horrid to mention, did you not feel that the proverbial iron was proverbially hot?

OM: I have more scouts out there than anyone knows, including the IRS. They examine players from the soul on out. When they return, I ask them a simple pregunta, "Is this guy a Met or not." There were shockingly few Mets out there this time around.

WE: But presumably, by acquiring them, they would become Mets.

OM: It's not so simple. If my team was the Cats, and I acquired a dog, would that make him a cat?

WE: Any players you were outbid for or otherwise missed out on?

OM: Like I said, our scope was narrow, but we did attempt to trade for 44 different catchers. The value of catchers is cumulative.

WE: With the deadline passed, attention now turns to the waiver wire. What's the story evening primrose?

OM: Let me tell you something. On July 31st, I stayed up watching television. You would simply not believe what's on there these days.

WE: Like what?

OM: People sit around on an object and make sounds at each other for an entire program. Also, lots of cleavage.

WE: This seems unlikely.

OM: Toldja. Anyway, I'm watching this stuff, and then it's 11:45, 11:52, 11:56... see where I'm going with this?

WE: To midnight?

OM: Exactly. The clock strikes and I immediately put my self on waivers.

WE: Yourself? Who does that?

OM: I do. Because I'm a Met. No leader should ever ask someone to do something that he himself is unwilling to do.

WE: What will you do if claimed?

OM: As with any other Met, I will evaluate my history, my reasonable projections for the future, who might replace me, and then I will do what is best for the organization.

WE: Any truth to the rumor that the Yankees had claimed the entire organization?

OM: They were going to, but Boston blocked them by claiming Mr. Met, several bat boys and Oliver Perez.

WE: Really? They took Ollie?

OM: No I was joking. They did claim Mr. Met though. We pulled him back of course. We'd be lost without that guy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beltran v. Wainwright revisited (Endying the Pain)

"Carlos. You must finish what I started. Finish what I started Carlos."

Beltran hung up. He had been getting these calls for the last 48 hours. He had been booed, attacked in the media, mocked by elected officials, pissed on by forgotten gods, but nothing like this. Whoever this was had his personal phone number. Unable to shake the feeling, he got in the elevator and went down to the 12th floor to see Francouer.

Frenchy was admiring his haircut.

"Carlos! This is awesome! You are in my apartment! We're teammates and buddies!"

"Yes," said Beltran, businesslike. "Jeff, you have told me about a demon that calls you sometimes. Is this a non-fiction?"

"Sure is! Probably! It's certainly true to me. As for the rest of the this and that, who knows? I am me, me alone, just myself. You know?"

"What does it say?"

"Usually it mocks my ability to play baseball, says my streaks won't last, that I'll never fulfill my potential. Occasionally it asks about my family and other stuff, but it's mostly just, y'know."

"Stunningly accurate," Beltran whispered.


"Does it ever ask you to do anything. Perhaps an ambiguous task for you to fulfill?"

"Nope. Say, are you nervous about facing Wainwright tonight? You kind of famously struck out against him a few years back. The last time we..."

Frenchy was still talking, but Beltran could not hear him. He could only see the curveball, the brutal hammer, the pitch he had been most asked about. The one that would haunt him until... it stopped.

"I was about to head to the roof. Are you ready?" Beltran tuned back in to hear those words. He nodded wordlessly. Up on the roof they met Pagan and Bay.

"We were about to leave without you!" said Bay.

"You're lucky I always underestimate the cooking time of quinoa!" declared Pagan. They strapped on their hang-gliders and took to the air, angling toward Citi Field.

"Hey Carlos," said Pagan. "What were you talking to Endy about?"

Beltran looked over, not saying anything, his mind processing millions of possibilities every second.

"I ran into him at Book Court. He said he's been calling you."

Beltran looked at New York. It was such a strange place. He looked down. Somewhere in that city was Endy Chavez. His phone rang. He didn't pick it up. Given that he was hang-gliding, that would have been extremely dangerous, but he also didn't pick it up out of a newly found emotional strength. Today, he thought to himself, will be slightly less about 2006 than it had been previously, and slightly more about today.

Beltran vs. Wainwright, 7/27/2010: 4 plate appearances, a single, a double and a walk, 1 RBI, 1 run.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Razor's Ritual to Cure the L.A. in all of Us

Ike Davis wandered aimlessly around L.A. He had heard of this city, seen it on maps, read about it in several books. Now he was here, and he couldn't make any sense of it. Everyone was traveling, but no one had a destination.

"Where are you going?!" he asked a man with hair so cool it was intensely ugly. The man was confused by the question.


"Yes, where," said Ike. "Surely you are on your way to some new location. Wright?

"Location! Hells yeah! Say, want to take my picture? You and me, we're gonna go places!"

Ike just shook his head. He had asked this question of four other people and had literally the exact same interaction with them down to the word. It was almost as if he was interacting with the city itself through these people. L.A. was so cool it was intensely ugly.

"Where are you going, L.A.?" Ike would ask. L.A. was confused by the question, but as soon as Ike said "location," it invariably triggered the same response: "Say, want to take my picture? You and me, we're gonna go places!"

"I don't get it," said Ike to Razor Shines as they sipped coconut water and looked over the balcony of the 52nd floor condo of one of Razor's many lovers.

"There's nothing to get," said Razor. "That's all there is to get. Get it?"

"Kind of."

"Here, let me show you something that will make you feel right at home."

Razor led Ike back into the condo. Its walls felt wild with life, but Ike couldn't put his finger on why. Actually one of them was a giant aquarium, but the rest were just walls.

"Rowena, would you prepare the fires?"

Ike became a aware of a robed shadow moving through the dwelling. She had substance to go with her form, but she only revealed it when necessary.

Razor had Ike lie on his back in the middle of the room and close his eyes. A minute went by and Ike was already feeling more peaceful.

"Now open," came Razor's voice.

Ike opened his eyes. There was a spider web-like pattern on the ceiling that wasn't there before. There was fire on three sides of him.

"Just look into the middle of the web. Let it catch you." Ike let himself be absorbed. He lost his sense of where his body was and how it hooked into his mind. It all seemed free floating without a destination. Times and places that were not his own flashed through his mind. His identity seemed stretched to unimaginable lengths. The fires burned away the last vestiges of what he knew to be himself.

When he came to, Razor was watching TV with his lady friend.

"You took quite a nap!" she said. The laugh track blurted into the room. Ike was disoriented.

"Razor, I saw so many people! They were so far away, but I was right there with them!"

"They were all Mets."

"Mets? But some of them were from the pre-colonial Pacific islands!"

"They were Mets before the Mets were established in 1962. There have been many Mets throughout history. You are our latest greatest hope."

Ike joined them on the couch and together they enjoyed the idiot box.

"I think Old Man Withers is the one dressing up as a monster to keep people away so he can look for the lost treasure," said the special lady.

"Baby, ain't no one like you who can solve these Scooby Doo mysteries."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lincecum and Dickey pregame

R.A. Dickey and Tim Lincecum sit in a sauna, listening to free jazz.

"I always dreamed of being a knuckleballer," said Lincecum.

"I always dreamed of winning consecutive Cy Youngs," said Dickey.

"Some day you will," they both said simultaneously.

They let the tunes and tones bombard them chaotically. What bonded these two most is that they relaxed in the same way.

"You can't allow any runs today," said Lince. "You and your bullpen will need to go ten innings without allowing a run if you want to win."

Dickey mopped his brow.

"How do you know?"

"Because I'm going 9. No runs. I can see it in the jazz."

"Dang. I don't think I can match that."

"Then it is settled. We will win. It's a shame we have to play out the game. This place is so delicately relaxing."

"That it is Timmy. That it is."

Pitching lines from Thursday's game:
R.A. Dickey: 7 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk
Tim Lincecum: 9 innings, 6 hits, 0 runs, 5 strikeouts, 1 walk

"How about after the season, we'll go mushroom foraging and you teach me that knuckler?"

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beltran is Back!

Jeff Francouer lingered in the lobby. He found himself looking at the walls. They were ordinary walls. They didn't  seem to have a color or a pattern. They could only accurately be described as ordinary, and every other term you could put to them felt overly poetic. Francouer laughed out loud to himself.

A blur. Something too fast for vision was in the lobby! 

"It's the demon!" Frenchy exclaimed. But it was no demon.


Francouer looked down and saw his own hair. He heard the elevator door open and he looked over to see Carlos Beltran stepping in. With one hand he pushed the button for floor 15. With the other he grasped a pair of shears, an electric razor and a comb.

"I thought you could use a trim, bombero," he said as the door closed.

Francouer ran his hand through his hair. It felt clean and stylish.

"He's back!" he gasped.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stars in his Eyes

Omar Minaya looked deeply into the mirror, pretending to shave. He did actually need to shave, he'd been letting himself go, but he was too deep in thought for something so grounded. He had found, many years ago after an altercation at a bar with Mackey Sasser, that he did his best thinking while pretending to shave.

Omar had let himself dream. First there was the news on Thursday that LeBron James had rejected his overtures. Then a report that the Yankees were on the verge of trading for Cliff Lee. His calls to Ilya Kovalchuk had been nothing short of embarrassing:

OMAR: Standard Russian salutation! May I speak to Mr. Kovalchuk?
ILYA: That's me.
OMAR: Ilya old friend! It's me! It's Omar Minaya! Come play for me Ilya! We have no salary cap!
ILYA: Omar, you are the GM of a baseball team.
OMAR: A Metsball team!
ILYA: Omar, I'm a hockey player.
OMAR: You're going to let that define you?
ILYA: I don't need a bag, I'll just carry it.
OMAR: I really know what you mean.
ILYA: What? Sorry, I was just buying a sleeping bag. I'm going camping this weekend!
OMAR: Well, when you look into the clean night sky, speckled with unfathomably large glowing dust, brushing away moths, protecting them from your campfire, thinking about how big the trees are and how small everything is... you think about my offer.
ILYA: Omar, I'm a hockey player.

"Ah!" gasped Omar as he pretended to nick himself just above his jawbone. He had imagined a revolutionary team with Lee in the rotation and James and Kovalchuk redefining "baseball." It had been a beautiful dream one that Omar had allowed himself to believe. He splashed his face, but not with real water, because that would be wasteful. He toweled off his face and lit a pipe. At times like these, he liked to call a friend most considered a rival, but Omar thought of him as the person best equipped to understand him. He tapped in Brian Cashman's number and hit "talk."

BRIAN: Omar! Omar! Omar! Two steps ahead of you baby, one step back. As soon as I finish this deal for Lee, I'll send you Vasquez. I don't even need anyone that good. Someone who could maybe hold down the 7th in a year or two. I hate signing relievers. They make you pay em like 8 million dollars that they're just going to fritter away on ho-hos and ding-dongs and half the time they suck.

OMAR: Cash, do you think I'm a good GM?

BRIAN: Ain't none like you Omar. Hey, we should get some flat noodles at that place you like. We'll wine and dine like we're nobody and everyone. Y'know. It'll be like a waking dream. Like when you're camping and the trees look so small and you feel so big. Hey Omes, I gotta run. Jack Z's on the other line, and he's about to offer me a ride on a swordfish. I'd say just kidding, but I'm totally serious. Ciao!

Omar quietly patted himself on the back. The subtle tendrils of influence had reached Cashman, and were loosening him up for a trade. "I bet he'd do Vasquez for Mejia," he said to himself.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mets Team Meeting

This is how the Mets have team meetings. They are not scheduled or planned. A certain number of Mets independently arrive at the same spot in space-time, and they have a meeting. It has to be 10 or more. As described in the Metsifesto,

2 Mets is a run in
3 Mets is a crowd
4 Mets is a happenstance
5 Mets is the Pentagon
6 Mets is a jamboree
7 Mets... for some reason this has never happened.
8 Mets is a sideways Met infinity
9 Mets is a game, and
10 or more Mets is a team meeting.

A team meeting happened in the wee hours after the Mets sad 2-1 loss to the Nationals. 14 Mets independently went to the Lincoln Memorial to do some soul searching. They each approached Honest Abe from different angles, completely focused on him and not seeing each other. Even when they started to speak to him, they did not realize there were others around them. The voices they heard- well there was a lot going on in their minds and in the presence of the Great Emancipator, well is it so strange to hear voices?

The Mets only realized that there were 13 other Mets among them when Barajas started into an interpretive dance. He was swimming through his troubles when he bumped into Thole. Thole toppled into Takahashi who stumbled into Elmer Dessens, and one by one, the Mets fell like dominoes in a circle around Abraham Lincoln.

Perhaps they would have stayed that way, had it not been for one late arrival. David Wright approached Lincoln head on and saw his team collapsed around our 16th president.

"Arise Mets!" he commanded. They did, and the team meeting was under way. "Who are we?" called Wright.

"Mets!" they answered in perfect unison.

"Mets, we have met!" Words came to Wright from an untraceable origin: "Mets, Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow! The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing! Die when I may, I want it said by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow! Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition! Everybody likes a compliment! Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe! Hold on with a bulldog grip, and chew and choke as much as possible! I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it! I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends! I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end! I walk slowly, but I NEVER WALK BACKWARD!!!"

"What time is it?" shouted Ruben Tejada.

"The WRIGHT time!" Wright shouted back.

Thole: "Who's right"

Wright: "I'M WRIGHT"

Francouer: "What stuff?"


Barajas: "I have writer's block!"


Abe Lincoln: "If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?"

Wright: "WRIGHT FACE!"

Howard Johnson arrived with a wheelbarrow full of young coconuts. He was followed by Dan Warthen wheeling in a boombox and Razor Shines with a raging campfire that somehow was not burning his wheelbarrow. They each unloaded the contents of their barrows, and the Mets spent the night nomming their coconuts, warming themselves by the fire and jamming to the sounds of the boombox, all under the watchful eye of Abraham Lincoln.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pelfrey pregame

"Glarb nobbit!" yelled Pelfrey as he punctured a coconut before pouring its contents into a glass. "Every time, and I mean EVERY time I go to Puerto Rico, we lose two to the Marlins and then the third one gets rained on! It's liked this place is cursed!"

"How many times have you been here?" asked Jesus (Feliciano).

"This is my first," said Pelfrey, "and I love it."

"But you just said-"

"Never mind all that. You guys like baseball?"

"Mike, we all play for the Mets with you."

"Of course you do. It's what binds us together."

The other Mets were avoiding Pelfrey. They didn't dislike him, but he would get into these modes and they wouldn't know what to say to him. He was moody and sharp, and there was little consistency between his statements.

"One time in Puerto Rico, I challenged a man to a duel. He said the duel's already happening. It's been happening for years. It will continue to happen long after we're whale food. I still think about that guy sometimes." Though he was in a narrow locker room, he still found enough room to stare off into space.

"That was last night," said Jason Bay. "I was with you. You were talking to Dan Uggla."

Pelfrey nodded. "I'm gonna throw bad today," he said. "No, don't try to stop me. There's nothing that can be done now. Someone told me years ago that I have inadequate elbows, and it didn't bother me then, and it hadn't bothered me until now, and I'm sure I'll be over it by tomorrow, but dang, what a thing to say to someone. Inadequate! Yeah, two runs in the first, and that's if no one takes me deep. Deal with it boys. It's reality."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Enter Thole

"Be thee Met or be thee not? For only Met shall pass." Josh Thole always flinched unconsciously at the question. He did the same thing when going through scanners at the front of stores and anytime someone mentioned standardized tests.

"Met sir," he told Pops the doorman. "Thole, number 30, emergency catcher." Pops sat up, his bushy white mustache still bearing the shape of the table on one side where he had been resting his face.

"Is this an emergency?" he asked.

"Well, if it is, I'm here to catch it." Thole had a personal policy of saying jokes when he thought of them. It was a way of being sociable and combatting bashfulness. Still, it had made him a touch self-conscious, and he chuckled quietly at his own joke to fill the space directly after it. This turned out to be unnecessary. Pops fell into fits of laughter. He rotated in his seat. He bunched up sections of his newspaper, barely present enough to aim for the parts he had already read. He laughed for long enough that Thole considered leaving, because he wanted some time to settle in before the game against the Twins, and it was not at all clear when the laughing would end. Pops did stop though, and Thole was glad he hadn't walked off.

"Do you have memories?" Pops asked him when he'd returned.

"I do."

"So do I. Sometimes they get tickled."

"Doesn't everyone have memories?"

"Yes, but some only a little. Francouer for instance. Don't tell him I said this, but he remembers the smell of toast, but not how it's made. You get me?"

Thole was surprised, perplexed even by how well he did understand Pops. He nodded. Pops nodded back and tossed him his room key. The key flew fast and straight into Josh's hand. He caught it instinctively before he was fully aware of what had happened.


"Elevators just there. It's slow and steady, but it gets there."

Thole nodded and stepped over to the elevator. He pushed the button, the door opened and he entered. The key in his hand was still hot with life.

The ride to the 30th floor felt like a brief safari. As he passed the 4th floor, he heard the nasal buzz of Henry Blanco's oboe playing. At the fifth floor, "Who's right? I'M WRIGHT!" The seventh floor brought the unmistakable sound of a dozen ping pong balls all kept in constant motion. At the twelfth floor, half a conversation about whether or not the other half existed. At the 29th floor, he heard an old audio recording of what sounded like Dwight Eisenhower.

At last he arrived at the 30th floor. Thole tossed his bag on the couch and sat down next to it. He went to the refrigerator which had been stocked ahead of time with young coconuts. He absentmindedly opened one with a machete, and sipped the water inside.

"Met," he said, half-intentionally. The door knocked. Thole scampered over. It was Rod Barajas.

"Mr. Barajas! This is an honor! Come in, may I offer you a coconut?"

"Got my own," said Barajas, lifting one with a straw sticking out of it.

"So, I here you're a little dinged up," said Thole, once they were seated and comfortable.

"It's my mind," said Barajas, staring straight ahead at the wall. "The catcher is the mind of the whole team. That is why we sit by home plate. We wear our mental burden like catching gear. For me though," he made jagged gestures, "cracks in the armor. I read the mind of the pitcher, batter and umpire, but lately I can't tell them apart. Is it my friend or my opponent who wants the curveball. Someone is focusing on the batter's footwork, but who? Me? Who is thinking of Montana? I have memories that feel as though someone is else is remembering them. People tell me things, and I think it is I who have told them. I am excited when I have nothing to do, and bored when I am stimulated. Some days I blame the media. Other days the weather, America, Howard Megdal, parking regulations, an uneventful canoe trip I took as a boy."

Silence took over. They finished their coconuts.

"Why did you tell me all this?" Thole asked Barajas.

"Because if I don't get my mind back, you will have to become the mind of the Mets. And if I do, this conversation will have meant little, but you will have had an interesting afternoon."

As Thole closed the door, he suddenly felt very certain his phone was about to ring. It would be Razor Shines. He would want Josh to come up to see him. Part of him was very surprised to have this realization, and another part was not surprised at all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Unexpected Free Agent the Mets Fully Intend to Sign

Basketball's top free agent may have an unlikely suitor. Lars Metatarsal of Baseball Moonthly is reporting that a conversation with the Brothers Wilpon (speaking in unison from different locations on a conference call) took a surprising turn when the name LeBron James was mentioned.
LM: Who is this year's free agent class' LeBron James?
BW: Lebron James
LM: Pardon my lack of specificity. I meant in baseball.
BW: No, pardon our lack of clarity. The answer is still LeBron James.
LM: I don't follow.
BW: You and everyone from Alger Hiss to Zoroaster. LeBron James is filled with a successful essence. This will transfer to any athletic activity he attempts. He has more Met in him than most of our roster put together.
LM: How do you expect to lure James to a sport that he has no experience with?
BW: LeBron has nothing left to accomplish in basketball. He has already placed the sphere in the assigned location numerous times. When it comes to sporting events, baseball is Shakespeare, the Beatles and Mount Everest. Furthermore, the rules of the NBA will only allow a contract of up to $15 million annually. In baseball we may shower him with gardens of wealth symbols.
LM: What position do you envision James playing?
BW: It would be narrow minded to limit James to one position. We envision a new defensive alignment in which James would cover the entire left side of the field, allowing us to stack the right side with six defenders. He will also be our spot starter, left-handed reliever and emergency catcher.
LM: How do Oliver Perez and John Maine fit into your future plans?
In response question the Brothers Wilpon fell into fits of laughter that lasted a long time, and both of them had to be helped up after toppling over not once but four times. The interview concluded then because the Wilpons had been rendered incoherent. Mets Fan Fiction contacted Omar Minaya about the rumor. He said that he didn't want to risk tampering, but he had been allocated a "significant quantity of Parmensan cheese to lure a certain very talented angler fish." Asked if this was a euphemism, Minaya did not specify.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Truth Behind Beltran's Injury

October 12th, 2009

Carlos Beltran deftly leaps from rock to crag to cliff. The cold bites, but it does not bite him. The wind howls, but it is speaking to someone else. Beltran, as long as he doesn't think too much, can move between the elements in a wordless negotiation. Deft as a cat-monkey, he makes his way up the mountain, dressed from shoes to cap in his Met uniform. There is a man in a cave. The cave is unarguably a cave. Everyone would call it that. Not so much the man. Man is a sort of shorthand used by men. It is not clear what he/she/it is, and it is not given that we, given the range of experience we collectively have, could fully understand it, even if articulated accurately.

Beltran spots a blackness a ways up from him, and recognizes it as the cave mouth. He briefly calculates a cost-benefit between methodical and more efficient but also more dangerous. With a running start, he brings himself part way up a rock face, and from there decides that he can make it up the rest of the way easily enough, which is not to say easily.

Just before he is at the top, a collusion of voices stumbles out of the cave. Wangari Maathai (happy), Arlen Specter (grumpy), Eckhart Tolle (bashful), Bill Bryson (sneezy), Aesop Rock (sleepy), Jayson Stark (dopey) and Oliver Sacks (doc) all came out of the cave among a cloud of bluebirds. Beltran watched them conversing. Sacks and Maathai talked about the ferns around them. Stark made half-meaningless while Bryson took notes. Tolle and Rock walked together, mostly in silence, Eckhart with a casual vest and precise hair, Aesop wrapped in a blanket that he would modulate between covering his nose and not. Specter navigated the rocks and occasionally tried to sociable so that no one could say he wasn't.

They all descended down the path, and after they were gone, Beltran pulled himself up onto the ridge and, dusted himself off and walked into the cave. There was a blue light within it that seemed to carry invisible frequencies. Beltran sensed them, but he wasn't sure with which sense. Leaves were spread over the cave floor, looking both arranged and blown in as they were.

"I know," came a voice from within. Beltran continued to move inward, waiting to hear if it would reveal what it knew. "I know why you're here and what I will offer you."

"Do you know what I will say?"

"No. That's what I don't know."

Beltran put one hand on the cave wall as he walked. It was surprisingly warm.

"You are here because you want the Mets to be successful this year. I will offer you increased goodness, greatness and wins in exchange for six months of your speed, agility, instincts and muchness. After the six months, they will slowly come back, though in what form, I can't say."

"Six months? The season starts in six months. Spring training before then."

"Not my problem."

"Will the team be even better than they would have been without my help?"


"When would it start?"

"As soon as you left the mountain."

Beltran pondered the offer. The Mets were paying him a lot of money to help them win. He had sacrificed certain comforts to help them achieve this goal. And he would do it again, even if meant lying. Lying to his fans, his team, to everyone except the man. The man who was not a man.

"I'll do it," said Beltran. "Enjoy my gifts."

As Carlos walked away from the foothills, he felt a weakness in his muscles. Walking seemed arduous. Even thinking felt like heavy lifting. "For the Mets," he gasped. "For the Mets."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Mysterious Occupant of Floor 45

"Be thee Met or be thee not?" asked Pops the doorman as a man shrouded by a veil that fell from a fedora over his face.

"Oh, I'm Met, I'm Met. I'm kind of a new thing. I'm from nowhere, sometime between today and five thousand years I'll vanish and reappear somewhere else. At least that's how I'll experience it. Sometimes I imagine I'm like an unconscious salmon, blindly fighting the tide, waking up at the top of the mountain and having no idea how I got there. Y'know?"

"I know enough to know Mets. You're Met. Say, Robert, I still have the key to the 45th floor here. Don't you need it?"

"I'll get in," said R.A. Dickey as he boarded the elevator.

The knuckleball is generally not explained properly. The usual explanation involves the ball's lack of spin that makes it interact with the air in ways that pitchers can't predict. The truth is that there are people, it's difficult to say how many, who find various quantum elements to navigable. Where most of us see blind consequence, they see a navigable terrain. Some of them are scientists. Others are artists. A number of them are considered insane. Many are all three. A few of them are knuckleballers.

By reducing the spin of a ball to almost nothingness, its position in space-time becomes fuzzy. After a moment, it "decides" on a more definite location, and it is this temporary indecision followed by the choice that causes the characteristic unpredictable change in direction. Knuckleballers can use these abilities to do things like shimmer through doors or to feel like you are where you are, but also somewhere far away. Perhaps a familiar place. Knuckleballers are sentimental types.

R.A. Dickey stepped out onto the 45th floor balcony. He looked at the shoe that he was not wearing. He tried to move his finger through the sole, but it would not go. "Where did I get these shoes?" he asked himself. "I'm sure glad I did, they're just about the only thing I can't just buzz through." Just to reprove his abilities to himself, he made his exact point in space unexact and moved through the wall to his apartment. Once he was on the other side, he better defined where he was, and poured himself some spinach juice.

Recently, the team had rode an airplane as they so often do. Airplane rides are often stressful to quantum types such as Robert Alan, and it was only now that he was getting the chance to relax as he liked to. He put on some dreamy music, kicked back in the large beach chair in his living room, and made everything about his current state certain except for which reality he occupied. He didn't know much about the other realities, but he always felt refreshed when he returned to his own.

"You pitched a good game against the Orioles," said a friendly lizard who wasn't really there.

"Thanks," said Dickey.

"You're sure they don't mind that I hang out on the mound when you pitch?"

"Not at all. To them you don't exist, and I could use the company."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Scouting of Matt Harvey

Every time Omar lagged on their trip up the mountain, Jeff Wilpon would admonish him and tell him to hurry up.

"I'd appreciate it if you told me where we were going," said Omar.

"I told you," said Wilpon. "Scouting."

"Scouting what? Douglas firs? Sparrows? Moss?"

"I'm glad you're paying attention to your surroundings," said Wilpon. "But no, what we're here to see is just up by this ridge." They hiked up a little further and reached a stunning vista.

"What a stunning vista," gasped Wilpon. "Makes you happy the great shoemaker made you. And this. And shoes."

"Nice stuff. So we're scouting mountains?"

"Damnit Omar, listen. Don't you hear anything unusual?"

Reluctantly, Omar stopped and listened. He heard birds and a breeze swishing through... and, okay, now he was hearing something unusual. A semi-rhythmic thwap somewhere in the distance.

"What is that?" Wilpon was ready with the binoculars.

"Who is this kid? Does he live up here?"

"Matt Harvey, and no idea."

"Matt who?"

"Doesn't matter. We're drafting him with our first pick."

"Him? What about Kvasnicka? I've been scouting that guy for- damn that's an easy delivery. He's commanding it too. He's that same rock four times in a row now."

"You should see him bend sliders around the side of the mountain."

"Does he know you've been watching him?"

"Omar, I'm not sure this kid knows the rules of baseball. What I do know is that he is a Met. He's more Met than you or me. Now we just have to make it official."

"Did you look at my Kvas report?"

"Omar if you say that name one more time I will Kvasnicka your face."

"Understood boss. Any idea about Harvey's signing demands."

"Money is unimportant to him. A mil should do it."

Two weeks later, somewhere in New Jersey, Bud Selig took the stage at the MLB draft and announced:
"With the seventh pick in the first round of the 2010 draft, the New York Mets select Matt Harvey from the mountains of North Carolina."

"Harvey can hit any rock within a 130 ft radius of where he is standing. He's got that hard slider, and he's working on a change to keep hitters honest," said Peter Gammons with his instanalysis. "The only question is how he'll react to living among other humans for long stretches of time."

"I've been to mountains," John Kruk chimed in. "Believe me, if you can survive there, you can survive on a baseball team. Believe me, the kid's going to be just fine."

"The Mets are going out of their way to make this kid feel at home," said Gammons. "Reyes baked him blueberry muffins, Bay is showing him his favorite dance move, and Francouer- get this- has spent all day on the phone with the demon that torments him, just so the demon won't have time to bug the new kid."

"That's really something," said Krukky. "Francouer is streaky on the field, but he's a good clubhouse guy day-in day-out."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

How Little Sarge Found Out He's Not a Met Anymore

Jerry Manuel hummed to himself as he posted pictures on the walls of the Mets' clubhouse.

"What's the haps Manuel Transmission?" David Wright had shown up early for work that day.

"David. Glad you are here. Today I'm going to motivate everyone so much it will burn their eyes."

"Gee Jerry, that sounds painful. Are you sure we can handle that much motivation."

"Are YOU sure?"

"Damn WRIGHT I'm sure!"

"That's what I like to here. Say, is this one centered?"

When all the Mets had assembled, and Razor Shines had passed around coconuts for all of them. Jerry displayed the two pictures, while a third was hidden by a Met jersey.

"A nest!" declared Francouer.

"You got it!" said Jerry. Frenchy high-fived his neighbors. "But what kind of nest?"

The Mets fell into a deep sea of contemplation. A bird, certainly, that much was obvious. But what sort of bird?

"A falcon!" declared Pagan.
"A crow," murmured Barajas.
"A sparrow?" tried Niese.
"I believe this egg will produce a dog," said Blanco, who had his eyes closed.

Jerry just smiled and shook his head. Then he removed the Mets jersey that was hanging on the wall.
"OH MY GOD IT'S HEAD IS SO SHINY!" screamed Frenchy.

"This calls for the Bay Bridge, baby!" shouted Jason Bay, who did the Bay Bridge, punched the air, then high-fived the entire bullpen.

"It has no feet!" exclaimed Ike Davis.

"Nice observation Ike Sauce!" said Wright!

"That beak could fit between the stones of the Pyramid of Giza!" announced Johan Santana.

"This thing can fly underwater!" shouted Castillo.

"It knows our thoughts. That's for damn sure." Pelfrey punctuated this point by ripping open his coconut and feasting on the meat inside.

"And," said Dan Warthen, putting on his didactic face, "it's the only bird that can fly backwards."

The Mets looked at each other incredulously. Backwards? What?

The umpring crew burst into the clubhouse.

"Let's play some baseball!" they cried in unison.

The Mets all cheered and ran out of the clubhouse and onto the field. Many of them crying "My eyes!" in painful jubilation. When the chaos cleared, only one player remained. The other Mets had not noticed him. He had been sitting quietly, studying the pictures the entire time. He and Jerry looked at each other, exchanging memories through unconscious eye movements. At last he spoke.

"That's a hummingbird," said Gary Matthews Jr. "They can flap their wings up to 80 times a second, and they hover by flapping them in a figure eight pattern. They eat nectar, sap and insects, and they must eat frequently because they expend so much energy in flight. They are considered symbols of purity and good luck in several cultures."

"Yes," said Manuel. "That is all correct. You see the facts and not the dreams. And that is why you are not a Met."

GMJ nodded. "Is that why Razor didn't offer me a coconut?"


"What do I have to do Jerry? I've given this team so much!"

"Wait, you do know we DFA'd you, right?"


"Yeah, it was a few days ago, how do you not know that?"

"So when you say I'm not a Met..."

"Yes, I mean you are literally not on the roster."

"Oh. Dang."

Gary Matthews Jr. left the clubhouse, with no balls, mitts or bats, only his woe. Only his disappointment in himself, the system, our culture of expectations, our artificial zero-sum games, our unnecessary expectations of warriorship and the assumptions of putting emotions aside. He felt these emotions in his back, his right thigh, the top of his rib cage, and a vague pressure in his sinuses. He was comforted only by the consistency of the sun, the support of his friends and family, and an underlying recognition of good in the world. Also, that despite his getting kicked off the team, he will still be paid $23 million dollars over this year and next. Yes, the world was so often harsh, but as always, he would manage.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Demon is Getting More Press Than Francouer

The phone rang on floor #12. Jeff Francouer picked it up. Even after all these years, he never expected the demon when the phone rang, even though that's who called him the most. Instead, he simply gave his standard telephone greeting:

"Why hello there!"

"I've been getting some press," said the low rasp of the demon's voice.

"Maybe. Maybe not though. I still don't know if you're real."

"How do you explain the article, if I'm not real."

"Voices in one's head is often used poetically to refer to a mental struggle or conflict."

"I'm real to you, doesn't that count?"

"Only a little."

"Only a little to everyone else, a lot to you."

"Everything counts a lot to me."

"Isn't that the same as everything counting a little?"

"Only if you have a set idea of the total amount things can count for someone. Maybe I just count higher than your average person."

Silence trickled into the conversation. They would always argue and debate like this, but now that they had reached this impasse, neither was sure if a new debate should start, Francouer should hang up or...

"Why do we always fight?"


"We're always bickering, never really talking about real stuff."

"I'm a demon."

"So? Are you going to let that define you all the time?"

"It does define me all the time."

"There's more to life than that, demon."

"Do you even know what a demon is? You're lucky you only hear from me over the phone."

"Yeah, that's another thing, why always the phone? I don't even know what you look like. That's another reason I'm not sure you're real."

"I'm real to you."

"But-" Francouer stopped himself. "Bye demon," he said, and hung up. A plan was formulating in his mind. He would find out where the calls were coming from. He would gather whatever evidence he had, and one day, he would find the demon.

There was a knock on the door. Francouer went cold. What if the demon heard his thoughts and preempted him. What if he was to face the beast here and now. He wasn't prepared. He didn't even have a bat nearby. He picked up a dinner plate. It would have to do. He opened the door. It was...

David Wright.

"Hey French Man! We're going to get banana splits and play four-square! Are you in or are you in?" Frenchy could see Pedro Feliciano forcefully bouncing a ball in the hallway behind Wright.

"Yeah man. Where's the four-square court?"


Frenchy let out a huge, assenting, exorcising scream. He jumped out the door. Nearly barreling over Wright in the process. The three Met catchers, Barajas, Blanco and Thole, as well as Tatis, the emergency catcher, who was drinking a mysterious blue liquid, were all leaning against the wall waiting for him.

"Told you," said Blanco.

"You were correct," said Barajas.

"You guys are geniuses," said Thole.

Tatis silently sipped his blue drink. The catchers had convinced Wright to put together this game in the hopes it would break Frenchy's slump.

"Why four-square?" Wright had asked.

"Catchers are mysterious," Barajas and Blanco would say in unison.

"Damn Wright they are. Damn Wright."