Monday, February 14, 2011

Sandy Alderson: A character profile of the Mets new GM

"Is it short for Sandace or Sandrew?" The Wilpons were never much for casual conversation, but with a new G.M. out-cooling them at every turn, it was time to put on some charm. The Wilpons were men of business. They told you what they thought. They took people at their word, even when other people's words seemed to suggest otherwise. Small talk was like a pile of dust when they were in their element, but now Wilpon's Wind Tower had been replaced by Alderson's Aqueous Solution, and as Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson stood on a balcony on floor 100 of the Mets Apartment Building, only Sandy felt the breeze.

Oliver Perez exited the elevator with confidence. First impressions were a specialty of his. He had long run out of impressions with the Wilpons or wombulous Omar, but with Sandy, all was fresh and new. They were new people in a new moment, each aware of a different set of air particles and wave types, but they shared the brotherhood of the present, the this, the thisthat.

"Wolf nature, that's what I've been thinking about for you. Have you considered walking west until you meet a wolf, knowing its nature in which knobby knees mean nature could one day open its jaws and then snappity-whap?"
Oliver Perez had been planning on explaining how he can start. The Mets need starters, and he's the guy for the job. In fact, one time he started game 7 of a League Championship Series. He spent the whole day eating Newman's Championchip cookies to prepare.
"Mr. Alderson, have you realized that I have the arm of champions?" It wasn't what he meant to say at all, but what's done was done.
"Yeah, but not enough wolf power. You're all mink, need more wolf. Wolf and reptile. Bask in the sun. Slither through your windup like a scaly thing zipping along the rocks. That way you won't give up so many walks. And sorry to keep harping on wolf power, but you need hitters to fear you."

"Next?" Jim Thompson had been making sandwiches all day. Boy was he tired. The customer rush had slowed to stream, then a trickle, then they arrived only slightly more frequently than comets with names that people know. In came a man who looked the guy who played the neighbor's father in that movie, but this guy embraced the silver fox thing more than that guy. He approached the counter in a small number of large steps.
"Avocado," said the man. "sliced in delicate cuts where rivulets of dressing may form, unless the avo is rendered formless by the weight of sunchokes, sliced truthfully, bamboo shoots, shot from a gun, raw garlic, so raw as to be on fire, but even if all this and more distorts the shape of the avocado, make those little cuts in there anyway so that I'll know something about it that only you and I know, and though we two, we few drawn onward to new era, may be the only ones ever to interact with the sandwich, the secret will live in my belly, yes it will live, and grow into a secret tree, and there will be invisible branches sprouting from me, holding invisible leaves that rain in the fall. People will crunch them silently. On wheat. Everything on it.

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