Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2003-05-08 07:25
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to


A mental patient came on the 1 train at 168th street this morning muttering about Art Howe. I kid you not. The beauty part is that he was a dead-ringer for the Mets skipper.

I attended my first game of the season last night at Shea. My oldest and dearest friend in the world, Lizzie Bottoms, works for a non-for-profit organization that supports disabled people. They had a company outing to the ballgame last night, so I basically watched the game along with 500 retards (insert cruel and insensitive Mets joke here). The 'clients,' as they are called, were great, clearly the most exciting part of the Mets 2-1 loss to L.A. Steve Trachsel pitched against Hideo Nomo, and I was prepared for a drawn-out, tedious affair, but both pitchers worked surprisingly quickly. The two pitchers are a contrast in styles, but they essentially both look like men doing their morning stretches out there on the mound.

Some people call Shea a dump, and I can see their point, but there is something charming about it's scrubbiness. It feels so suburban compared with Yankee Stadium. There is a great ethnic mix of people at Shea, but it's much more about Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island than money-makin Manhattan. When Woody Allen used to crack jokes about guys who wore wool hats and delivered flowers for the florist, he was talking about the kinds of people who frequent Shea. The vendors are worth almost worth the price of admission. "Beeeeah heeeah." My favorite beer guy (one Todd Gomer) looked like the artist R. Crumb. He had a long neck like an ostrich, and tilted his head to the side before he called out, "Beeeah heeeah." Another guy was a dead-ringer for the actor Adrian Brody (also from Queens).

"It's the worst thing that ever happened to me when that guy won the Oscar. They used to say I was John Cusak, now I'm Adrian Brody. Except I'm much better looking, right?"

The other highlight of the evening was spotting Mike Piazza's poppa outside the stadium on our way in.

The lowlight on the night was having the misfortune to be sitting behind your classic obnoxious Yankee fan. As we filled in our All-Star ballots, he voted for nothing but Yankees and then proceeded to make a loud case for why Jeter is better than A-Rod. I couldn't hold back and so I got into it with him, until I realized it was a pointless exercise. Man, no wonder Yankee fans are so loathed.

I haven't talked much about the state of the Mets this week, but they have been all over the papers, most notably Rey Sanchez and his infamous haircut. Today, Bill Madden attempts to set the record straight:

So now, upon further review, it turns out reports of Armando Benitez serving as clubhouse barber to Rey Sanchez were greatly exaggerated. Not to mention totally fabricated.

...By this time, Fred Wilpon must not know whether to laugh or cry at the media's unquenchable thirst for more and more blood from his wounded ballclub, which succumbed in rather pathetic three-hit fashion, 2-1, to the Dodgers last night. If nothing else, however, I suspect the manner in which the Sanchez haircut affair was misreported and overblown (to the point of "off with his head" hysteria), provided some brief, welcome amusement for the beleaguered Mets owner.

Meanwhile, Mo Vaughn's career is in peril, though he appears to be taking it in stride:

"I'm 35 years old and I've got the rest of my life in front of me. I can't just let this be," Vaughn told the Daily News yesterday, rubbing the knee as he spoke. "I've got to get this fixed. If (my career) ends tomorrow, I'll deal with it. I'm not scared. I'm not going to play just because it's the easiest solution."

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