Tag Archives: baseball

It’s playoffs

I was hanging out at my friend Bill’s place last weekend, we were sitting on the couch drinking some beers and watching a baseball game. It had been like half an hour already, and I was getting pretty bored. We hadn’t said anything to each other in a while, we were just kind of sitting there, I was on my phone, but not doing anything, just swiping from app to app, hoping that something interesting would pop up on the screen. Once that got to be unbearable, I tried breaking the silence.

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles

“Since when do you watch baseball?” I asked him.

“I don’t really follow it, but it’s playoffs,” he said.

“Yeah?” I was trying to say, so? Really? But I didn’t want to jump straight to being a jerk. But Bill didn’t get what I was going for, and so he just responded back, “Yep.”

And so we kept sitting there, watching this baseball game. For a while I actually tried to follow along, but it was like reading a textbook. A really big, old, dusty, dry, boring textbook, and the cover has all of this gross film all over it, I’m guessing from years of disuse, and when I open it, I find out that it’s in Finnish. It’s like, back to baseball, I had no foundational knowledge of what was going on, I wasn’t attached to either of the teams playing, so it’s not like I could at least get behind any of that false hometown pride enthusiasm. Maybe ten minutes later, I started prodding Bill again.

“So which team are you rooting for?” I asked him.

“Baltimore,” he told me.

“Oh yeah? Baltimore? Why?”

“What do you mean?” he took his eyes off the screen and gave me a sideways look.

“What do I mean? Why did you pick Baltimore? Why not the other team?”

And there was a pause of maybe a second or two, and then he said, “I don’t know, I just like Baltimore.” Then there was another pause, then he added, “And one of my roommates from college was from Baltimore.” He threw that in there, like clearly he’d been thinking of it, ever since I asked him, why was he rooting for Baltimore? And even though it seemed clearly pretty forced, at least from my end, Bill sounded satisfied that at least he had something. At first he said he didn’t know, but then he took it back, because he did know, and apparently it had something to do with an old roommate.

“I don’t know,” I told him. “I’m not really convinced.”

“What aren’t you convinced of?”

“I mean, I’m convinced that you’re rooting for Baltimore. I mean, you said it. I guess I shouldn’t have said convinced. That doesn’t really need much convincing. I guess I should have said that I don’t get it.”

“Well,” Bill said, he wasn’t looking like he was annoyed, and I get that, I would have been totally annoyed if Bill were over my house and I was watching something that he didn’t get, and he kept asking me questions about why I was watching what I was watching, “I don’t understand what’s to get.”

“It’s just that,” even knowing that I was on the verge of needling, I couldn’t stop myself, “you say you’re not into baseball, fine, your old roommate is from Baltimore, that’s great, I just don’t get the appeal of sitting in front of a game that you’re obviously not interested in, largely because of … because of what? Because of a third-hand connection to the city of Baltimore?”

Now he looked like he was getting annoyed. And as soon as I saw that annoyed look on his face, I got a little pissed off at myself. Because I knew it was coming. If I kept questioning him, of course he was going to get even more annoyed. But I kept doing it anyway. It was like I couldn’t help myself. Bill didn’t say anything, so I tried to ease off the gas a little, maybe take back some of what I had said.

“I’m just saying,” I said, “you’re not into baseball, right?”

“Right,” he was still annoyed, “but it’s playoffs, man.”

“And what does that have to do with anything?” I asked, maybe a little more confrontational than I’d have liked.

“It’s playoffs. It’s exciting.”

“Dude,” I said, “we’re sitting here on the couch in silence. I’m not excited, and I’ve seen you excited before, this isn’t it, OK, and this doesn’t feel exciting.”

“Whatever,” he turned back toward the TV, “what do you want to do?”

I said, “Well, do you still have your XBOX Live subscription?”

“Yeah,” he said.

“Well,” I said, “do you want to play?”

“After the game,” he said.


There were still like five innings left. And every time there was a commercial break, the TV station kept showing the same commercials advertising back-to-back reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond weekdays at seven. There was nothing to do on my phone. After an hour, I yawned and said that I was tired, that I was going to go home.

“All right man,” he said, “I’ll see you around.”

And then I got back to my house and it was even more boring that over at Bill’s. My XBOX was stolen like two years ago, and I’d never bothered to get a new one. And there wasn’t anything on TV. I kept flipping through the channels, just to see if this baseball game would ever end. But it was still on. It went into extra innings. I fell asleep on the couch and woke up sometime in the middle of the night with a huge pain in my neck.

Andre and his extra Mets ticket

I was on the Internet the other day, when I saw on my Facebook news feed that my old friend Andre put up a status update: “I have an extra ticket to the Mets game tonight. Hit me up if u wanna come!” And I haven’t seen Andre in close to a year. We’d been really old friends, but all of our recent interactions had this way of self-destructing. I was actually a little surprised that we were still even Facebook friends.


But I figured, why not? So I sent him a message and said, “Hey man, I’d love to go to the game with you!” and I waited. He didn’t get back to me that day, or the next couple of days after that either. I tried not to think about it, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t driving me a little crazy. Because, come on, why are you going to put something like that out on Facebook? Obviously none of your close friends are interested, and so now you’re just kind of reaching out, all of your second and third tier friends. And if I’m really honest here, I wouldn’t even consider myself a third-tier friend. But still, I’m on some tier, and I responded.

Game day arrived, and I still hadn’t heard from him, and I really shouldn’t have done anything, like, I know, the better grown-up adult part of me knows that I should have just left it alone. But I couldn’t, and so I sent Andre a follow-up message. I wrote, “OK, well, I guess you don’t want to go to the Mets game with me. Thanks for getting back to me.”

And he wrote back within an hour, “Hey, yeah, I’m going with Cliff, sorry.” That was it, no hello, no how’s it going, nothing about how we haven’t talked in over a year, how it would’ve been nice to catch up. And whatever, you don’t want to spend a whole game with me? That’s fine, I get it. Yeah, maybe three or four hours together would have been a little much. But he could’ve at least responded, maybe put out an offer to grab a drink and catch up some time. You don’t even have to follow through with actually getting together. But you just put it out there, it’s nice.

OK, Cliff’s going, fine Again, I tried to get it out of my head, but the way in which he ignored me, how I had to go fishing for that response. And then the way he just wrote me off, the nope, sorry. Oh yeah, what a sincere apology. I’m really glad that you’re sorry. Why do you put something like that on Facebook anyway? You really think I care about going to a Mets game? Why didn’t you just send a text to Cliff in the first place?

And then I really couldn’t stop thinking about it. I wondered, who responded to that Facebook message first, me or Cliff? And so I tried to pull up Andre’s profile, but it wasn’t popping up. Did he unfriend me? Because he was on my news feed just a few days ago. I was getting a little obsessed over this, but at least I acknowledged that I was getting obsessed, and so I didn’t feel as bad searching my news feed, going through every single post for the past week. As long as I was aware that I was acting kind of crazy, I didn’t mind so much.

And yeah, finally I found it, the original post. It wasn’t actually Andre’s post that had popped up, it was one of my other friends, Steve. The way Facebook displayed it, I guess I can see my own confusion now. It showed me, “Steve commented on a post,” as if Steve’s comment on Andre’s post was worthy enough news to be displayed on my news feed as a standalone story. Steve wrote, “Oh man, I’m busy, but we should catch up soon!” And then, even though I clearly wasn’t Facebook friends with Andre, for whatever reason I could see all of those comments to that post, maybe because I was still friends with Steve or something, I don’t know.

“Definitely! Hope all is well by you!” Andre posted underneath Steve’s message. And down the line it went, lots of people responding in the negative, Andre replying with a friendly acknowledgment, he clicked the like button next to each response. And there was my comment, finally, all alone, unliked, unacknowledged. A day after mine, Cliff wrote, “Yeah, sounds good, I’m in.”

So whatever, again, I don’t even care anymore. I mean, that’s not true, I’m obviously still pretty keyed up over being ignored, but what am I going to do, right? It’s just, I was trying to be the bigger person here, which sounds like bullshit, right? Because I was going to be the one getting the free ticket. But it wasn’t about the ticket. I just thought it would have been cool to rekindle an old friendship. But that’s fine, you want to be a jerk about it Andre? I don’t care. You be the smaller person. I’m not getting involved anymore than I already have.

Hey Derek Jeter, thanks a lot man

I’m not a Yankee fan, but I’m really going to miss Derek Jeter. He’s not only a great baseball player. He’s a great person. A lot of my friends have heard this story already, but one time Derek Jeter gave me twenty bucks. I was out with some buddies and we saw Jeter headed our way. And I thought, I wonder how he’ll react if I just walk up to him and ask him for some money? So I did, I say, “Hey Derek, can I have twenty bucks?” and he looked kind of confused, but yeah, he took out his wallet and gave me twenty bucks. That was such a nice thing to do, and I’ll never forget it.


Another time, years later, I was walking in the city and, stupid me, I had my eyes locked onto my cell phone. I know, it’s stupid, I’m getting in everyone’s way, not paying attention to where I’m going. But most importantly, it’s just not safe. And boy did I learn my lesson that day. I was crossing some street when I heard the loud blare of a horn. When I looked up from my phone, I saw a truck, a giant truck, it was coming at me, fast. I couldn’t react, I only had just enough time to register in my head that, this was it, I’m dead, there’s nothing I can do. Just then, someone shoved me, hard. As I fell to the ground, I’m not even kidding, the truck just missed me. Like I could feel the wind as it barreled through the light. And guess who was on top of me? Guess who had pushed me out of the way? It was Derek Jeter. He saved my life. “You better be careful man!” he said to me as he walked away.

It’s like, sometimes I wonder if maybe Derek Jeter isn’t my guardian angel or something. A couple of years after that, I was caught in traffic, like really, really bad traffic. The lights kept changing, and people kept honking their car horns, but we weren’t moving at all. Finally, this limo right ahead of me, the back door opened up and Derek Jeter steps out. Number two walked right into the middle of the intersection and he started giving all of these crazy hand signals, pointing at this car, holding his fist open at mine. I’m totally serious here, traffic let up immediately. I have no idea how he did it. I hope he wound up getting to wherever it was he was going that day, because if it weren’t for him, I’d probably still be stuck in that jam.

A couple of months ago, I changed my doctor. The new doctor wanted me to go through this allergy testing at a lab somewhere off site. I didn’t really see the point, but I went anyway. I thought, what could it hurt? And it turned out that I had celiac disease. “Really?” I asked the doctor. “I can’t eat gluten anymore?” And just as I was settling in to the idea of having to go gluten free, thinking about how much more difficult life was going to be from here on out, guess who happened to be walking by the door? It was Derek Jeter. “Sorry to interrupt guys,” he said, popping his head in. “It’s just that, I couldn’t help but hearing about that gluten allergy, and I think you may have mixed up this patient’s charts.” The doctor stopped for a second and then said, “You know what? I think you’re right. I can’t believe I mixed that up. How did you spot that?” And Derek Jeter just said, “Well, playing pro baseball, you learn a lot about paying attention to really small details during long stretches of time.”

Derek, I can’t thank you enough for coming to my aid so many times throughout the course of my life. And these are only a few of the stories that I know about. Who knows? Maybe you’ve helped me out even more behind my back. I really appreciate it, Derek. I know that you’ve got a really busy life, but it’s nice to know that you go out of your way to look out for your fellow man.

Not like A-Rod. I’ve heard that he’s such a dick in real life. I mean, I don’t have any personal anecdotes to either confirm or deny, but he just kind of looks like a jerk, don’t you think? Not you, Derek. You’re the real deal: you look like a really nice guy, and based on my experiences, you are a really nice guy. Thank you.

Let’s go Mets

It’s the start of another baseball season. I call myself a Mets fan, and every year around this time I look in the mirror and I say something like, “Rob, this year you’re actually going to watch baseball, OK? You’re going to stay on top of when the Mets are playing, and how they’re doing. You’re going to learn the names of more players than just David Wright. OK, and when you put on that Mets t-shirt, the vintage looking blue piece with the intentionally faded logo, right, when you wear it and some of your friends start saying stuff like, ‘Cool shirt, did you see the game last night?’ you won’t have to lie, nodding along, just hoping they won’t call you out on specific highlights, or ask if you knew who the opposing team was. No, this year you’re going to be a real Mets fan.”


I was almost a real Mets fan in 2007. Granted, at the time the Mets were doing awesome, and so it’s not that hard to get excited about a team that’s winning. Everyone thought they were headed to the playoffs that year. It was almost assured. They were so far ahead of every other team that they would have had to lose something like seven or eight games in a row to not qualify for the post-season. Which is what they did, of course. And they collapsed the year after that also.

But this year I wanted a fresh start, a chance to see the Mets through the season from the very start. I knew I was in for an uphill battle though when I saw a Mets game on the TV above the bar at work last week. “Shit,” I told one of the bartenders, “Did the season start already? When was opening day?” And it was like two days ago, I had somehow missed it completely. Is it really my fault? I don’t know. It’s just now starting to get nice out, so that first game must have been like a winter sport. And so can I really be blamed for not having had any spring weather to associate baseball with?

I went home and typed “Mets” into Google. They lost the first two games, and their closing pitcher messed up his arm or his elbow or something. So yeah, I guess I got a little deflated, like maybe I’m not going to get to be a huge Mets fan, not this year. And it sucked because I looked down, I was already wearing that Mets t-shirt that I was talking about earlier. Right when I got home from work that day, but before I checked out how they were doing online, I went hunting around my dresser drawers, I found it.

It’s a really cool shirt, it’s like, in addition to that distressed logo I was talking about, the one that was definitely intentionally silk-screened to make it look authentically vintage, there’s also a patch sewn onto the sleeve. I’m writing it out and it sounds super lame, but it’s a subtle touch, like maybe it’s a little over the top, but not too over the top.

But I can’t help feeling like a huge poser every time I put it on. It was the same feeling I got a few years before, I went to Modell’s and bought all of those “buy two get two” Mets tees, but they all stretched out around the neck, and honestly, I had no idea who any of the players were whose names I had printed across the backs of these really cheap pieces of cotton.

I get it though, it’s more than just dressing the part of a Mets fan. You have to also kind of pay attention to how they’re doing. If you’re not actually watching baseball games on TV, you should at least make sure you know when they’re playing, against who, maybe make an effort to understand the rules of the game, pitching order, American and National league, all of these keywords that I can rattle off without really knowing what I’m talking about.

Anyway, some good news, Ike Davis hit a grand slam last week. So that was pretty cool. I watched that clip on the Internet. But it was like three days after the fact, and when I went to talk about it to one of my friends at work, he was like, “Yeah that was a cool hit, although that was last week.” And then he walked away.

I tried watching some of the Cincinnati game on Sunday, but I couldn’t figure out what channel it was on, which is a really bad excuse, because I could have just looked it up on the Internet. Oh well. It’s still early. There’s still plenty of time to hop on the Mets bandwagon. Right?

Let’s go Mets.

I almost met David Wright

I went to the diner last weekend and right as I was sat, I saw this guy that I went to high school with sitting a few booths down. The last thing I wanted to do was get into a fake “Hey, how’s it going, so good to see you, how’s life,” type of conversation, but I didn’t want to be a dick either, and so I avoided eye contact, hoping that he didn’t see me sort of staring at him initially as my brain tried to figure out how I knew this guy.


But was he looking my way? I couldn’t remember for sure, and as I was about halfway done with my burger, and I know this sounds totally crazy, I started to get a little upset. I mean, if I saw him, he probably saw me, and why wouldn’t he want to come over and say hi? Right, like I just said, I didn’t want to say hi to him either, and so, whatever, I tried to let it go, hoping that he wasn’t just as surprisingly annoyed as I currently was about having been stiffed out of one of those awkward, “What are you up to these days,” back-and-forths.

I made up my mind to force the situation, I’d get up and be like, “Is that you?” although, just as I went about to actually put my plan into action, I realized I couldn’t even remember this guy’s name. Sophomore year, we definitely sat across from each other in at least three classes, but I don’t know why, I was drawing a blank. Was it Tom? Pete? It was something like that, Billy maybe?”

“Mike!” I heard another voice say coming at me. Only, it wasn’t coming at me. It was coming at Mike, his name was Mike, I can’t believe I couldn’t think of it. Here was another guy I went to high school with, I’m pretty sure his name was Brian, he must have been meeting Mike for lunch. And as Brian passed by my booth, we definitely made eye contact, it was only for like two seconds, but a solid two seconds, like two beats of definite eye contact. I went to make a subtle kind of head nod, like a, “What’s up,” but I think it might have been too subtle, because he just ignored me, and I tried to play it off like I had an itch on my nose or something.

“Charlie!” Mike said. So this guy’s name was Charlie, not Brian, and then they started talking, but the diner was busy, and even though I tried to hear if one of them said something like, “Did you see that guy a few booths down? Was that Rob?” there was no way I was able to make anything out. I did glance that way occasionally, but I didn’t want to come off as too creepy, and so, whatever, I just wanted to finish up and leave.

I mean, this is why people feel self-conscious about going to a restaurant by themselves. Because, what if that guy did say hi? Or what if my nod was slightly more than imperceptible? I’d say hi, these guys would say hi, and, and then what, they’d say, “Great, see ya later?” Would they feel maybe pressured to invite me to join their table? I’d have to say yes, right, I mean that’s polite, so we’d have to grab a waiter or a busboy and they’d have to move everything over. I’d be eating whereas these guys would have just been ordering, and so the timing would be off, there’d be the question of separate checks, or maybe even separate waiters.

I just wanted to leave, seriously, I was in my head now and I wanted out. But just before I had the chance to ask for the bill, guess who walked in? It was David Wright of the New York Mets. I couldn’t believe it, because this was just my regular diner, I mean, I guess celebrities go out for regular food once in a while, but this was just unreal, David Wright, walking right past me.

“There he is!” Mike said to David Wright. Man, he was there to see Mike and Charlie? Now I was kicking myself, because if I hadn’t tried so hard to avoid that bullshit conversation, if I’d only thrown in a, “Man, can you believe how long it’s been since high school,” or a, “How’s your family, everybody doing OK,” I could have been standing there at the table just as David Wright walked in. They’d have had to introduce me, maybe invite me to sit down with them, man, that would have been awesome.

Was it too late? It was probably too late. But I really needed to try. At the very least I could have endured an awkward two seconds or so to grab a selfie with David Wright, after which I’d bow out gracefully, and that would be that. So I walked over and I tried way too hard to play it cool. In my head, I wanted to pull off a natural double take, like it would’ve looked like I wasn’t going out of my way to bump into them, but then I’d be all, “Whoa! Mike? Charlie?”

It came off too forced. Because, and I always forget that when I’m playing out these scenarios in my head, I’m thinking that people are paying attention to me pretending not to pay attention to them, when in reality, nobody’s paying attention to me, not really. So from these guys’ perspectives, it must have just been, them sitting down at the table, and then all of the sudden I’m there, interrupting whatever it was they were doing with me, “Whoa! Mike? Charlie?”

“Yeah?” Mike said.

“It’s me. Rob.” Now all three of them were looking at me, but nobody said anything. “From high school.” I added.

“You’re from Ohio?” Mike said? “You went to Franklin?”

“No, I went to high school here on Long Island. You guys aren’t from Long Island?”

And they just shook their heads back and forth, which would have been fine I guess, an honest mistake. Only, it was definitely a little strange that I had called them out by their names, Mike and Charlie, names that, yeah, I guess I only knew because I overheard them talking to each other when they sat down. So I don’t know if they made that connection or not, but all I could think about was how obvious it was that I’d been spying on them.

“Oh really? That’s crazy. You look just like some of my friends from high school. Sorry for the confusion guys,” I didn’t even bother addressing the fact that I said hi by name, but whatever, I just needed a picture with David Wright, and then I could make my graceful exit.

“Sorry to bother you, but if I could just ask a favor,” and now I turned to David Wright, “Do you think I could get a photo?”

And it was even more awkward than I could have imagined. Everyone kept looking back and forth at each other with confused faces. Finally I just kind of leaned in a little closer, and nobody actively objected, so I of went for it, I took the selfie David Wright and me, said, “Thanks guys!” and then I left.

It was like half an hour later, I was back at my house and I’d already posted the photo to Facebook and Instagram, “Look who I met at the diner today!” was the caption.

One of my friends commented, “Who?” And I just typed back, “Haha.” But then another friend wrote, “Seriously, who is that?”

So I wrote, “David Wright from the Mets.”

And then like ten people shot back, “No, that’s not David Wright.” Some of them even posted pictures of David Wright from the Internet, with comments like, “This is David Wright. Who is that guy?”

And yeah, seeing them side-by-side like that, it definitely wasn’t David Wright. I’m telling you, in person, I don’t know if it was the light, but in the diner the resemblance was uncanny. But now, I mean, they kind of looked alike, like if you told me they were cousins, I’d totally believe you. But whatever, now it all made sense, the confusion, the awkward moment at the diner. I just kept the photo up on my wall, hoping everyone would think it was some sort of an inside joke that they didn’t get, because if I took it down, it would look like I had no idea what I was doing, like I’d have to admit to the Internet that I’d asked a random stranger to join me in a really weird selfie.