This Is Beyond Blogging

Baseball has felled more good writers than alcohol. —  F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

Seriously, these ads are better than Dane Cook.

 

Have you seen those MLB ads, the ones that always end with, “This Is Beyond Baseball”?  They get me every time.  It’s Tim ‘The Freak’ Lincecum pitching to his father, it’s Joe Mauer playing for the home town team he rooted for, it’s Grady Sizemore sleeping with a mitt underneath his pillow, it’s Ryan Howard‘s parents marching for civil rights–  it is indeed ‘beyond baseball.’  They get me the way Field of Dreams gets me, the way Roy Hobbs gets me when he says, “And then when I walked down the street people would’ve looked and they would’ve said, There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was…”  And when we get to the one where the Halos hang Nick Adenhart’s jersey—  forget it, I’m gone.  This is beyond baseball.

 

Cue up 'Glory Days'.

 

Yesterday was a perfect baseball day–  I played hooky, jockeyed loose the world and spent the afternoon at Debits Field.  On a blustery day I watched John Maine struggle with his velocity, but I also watched him notch nine strikeouts.  I saw David Wright hit his 226th career double (a new franchise record), saw rookie phenom “I Like Ike” Davis go two-for-four with an RBI, and saw the Mets tie their best home stand record ever, at 9 and 1.  I watched the wind deposit trash on the pristine field, and happily ate my crab cake sandwich (seriously, it’s a whole new Shea!) and drank my Hoegaarden.  Come to think of it, it was about as perfect a Wednesday afternoon as you can get.

 

Of course they changed the ending, they had to.

 

 

Then, last night I went to a Times Talk with former Mets pitcher (starter of three games in the ’86 Series) and current Mets announcer, Ronnie Darling.  He talked about his insightful and surprisingly funny new book, The Complete Game (in it, he dissects nine different innings over the course of his major league, college and announcing career–  seriously, it’s the best baseball book I’ve read since the one on Buck O’Neil, The Soul of Baseball).  He told stories about being a Hawaiian-born, Boston-bred pitcher for the Mets against the Sox in ’86 (he lost his first start 1 to 0, which thrilled his hometown friends:  Ronnie, you pitched great and the Sawx still won!).  He told incredibly funny stories about providing color commentary for SNY with Keith Hernandez (‘Mex’ hates instant replays ’cause it eats into his commute time to Sag Harbor).  and afterwards he signed my baseball, the one I’ve had for over 20 years, the one signed by Keith and Ray Knight, as I told him I went to game 7 of the ’86 Series (the last of his Series starts) with my Dad.

 

 

The real Arhibald 'Moonlight' Graham.

 

Baseball is back!  The Mets, improbably, are Amazin’!  Spring is in the air!  This weekend is the big series in Philly:  Pelphrey vs. Halladay, Santana on Sunday Night Baseball.  It’ll be beyond optimism.  It’ll be beyond exciting.  It’ll be beyond baseball.

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