Elster's World

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Major Announcement

After several months of negotiations (i.e. general procrastination and hemming/hawing) I am extremely happy to announce the grand opening of The White Shoe Factory, a collaboration between blogger deity McAryeh and yours truly. And no, I am not attempting to get myself into the Guiness Book of World Records for most blog collaborations in the J-Blogspere. At least that's my official position.

The White Shoe Factory is the extremely fictionalized account of the zany (at least in fiction it is) world of the totally fictional power house law firm of Sullivan, Powell and Weiss. And no, it is NOT about me and my experiences at all. The cool thing is that many of the nutty stories you will be reading about (assuming you read them) did happen - at least in some form or another.

And please, don't email me that you are a lawyer and this is nothing like a real law firm. Of course it isn't. No one wants to read about how you sit in your office all day reading documents or drafting briefs. That's not entertaining.

If you link to the site today, all you will see is the test post. In deference to Halloween, the first post of White Shoe will be going up tomorrow - as in not today, so please don't email me that there is no post there - and we will hopefully be posting new entries twice a week.

As always, comments are welcome - as are suggestions and criticisms. Have fun people.

*** Oh and while we are on the subject of my long list of blogs, please check out my latest over at Storytellers. It's quite a whizbang of a story.***

Saturday, October 28, 2006

New Storeytellers Post Is Up

UPDATE: For my thoughts on yesterday's Jet game as well as the performance of my fantasy team, go read Joe's post and the comments there. I have nothing else to add.

I have just put up my newest submission at Storytellers, entitled The Below.

After my last Storytellers submission, I was challenged to write something that didn't involve criminals, cops, thieves, hitmen or detectives. Well it took me forever and a day to come up with something that didn't involve criminals, cops, thieves, hitmen or detectives, but at last I did. And boy did I ever.

The Below is something completely different than anything I've ever written before. It was born from a line I thought of while in the shower - that Jesus was nothing more than a born-too-early hippie.

The results of this thought became the short story that snapped my out of the Thirteenth Level of Writing Hell - Writer's Block. Also., the Below quite possibly (if I can frame it out) may become my next book project. So, feel free to let me know what you think works, what doesn't work, etc.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Good News Is....

...That I seem to be over my writer's block. Or at least on the verge of breaking out of it. More on this below. And that I'm writing again at night, something I have been neglecting because of my blockage, the Mets late season success and general time wasting at the computer.

But: (i) I just finished a whale of a tale for Storytellers (going up next week) that I am seriously considering turning into my second unpublished novel (assuming I can frame out a full story - I'll be working on that during work today) - so I am very curious to see everyone's responses to it - it's something completely different for me (and most people I imagine), (ii) I am writing the first post for a new collaboration blog with one of my favorite bloggers of all time (and no, it is not a Jets/Mets/Rangers blog with Joe - though I'm sure at least Bellanny would be interested in that) which hopefully will be a very funny ongoing work of fiction (when we have somethig to post, we will make an official announcement about it), and (iii) in the more distant future, I have yet another collaboration project that is very near and dear to me, which I hope to be sharing with all of you down the line. Sorry for all the secrecy but as they say in Tibet, "until there is something, there is nothing". Ok, I don't know if they really say that in Tibet, but it sound wise and Dalei Lama-ish.

I learned an interesting thing about writer's block (aka WB) - the more you give into it, the worse it gets. I learned that even if you can't write anyhting good, write anything. Put it on the paper. Don't let it get into your head. Because the more you allow yourself to be intimidated by your own lack of creativity, the more likely that you won't get anywhere near your MS Word or Wordperfect. And that's the worst thing you can do. Sure, sometimes you need a break from writing, but the break should always be on your terms, not WB's. I always imagine my WB as a phantom specter, sitting over my right (uncreative) shoulder and laughing at me as I click into ESPN.com for the fiftieth time instead of turning on my word processor or giving himself a pat on the back when I tell someone that I'm too scared to try and write again.

In other words, get back on the horse and show that WB who is boss. Even if what you are writing sucks, the next thing will be better.

So that's the good news. The bad news is that, along with more writing, comes less blogging. But it's a good trade for me so I'll take it.

Oh and a quick response to Joe - If you really think I would trade the guy who now refers to himself as Ocho Sinco in a sell cheap deal, you are insane. Ocho Sinco is gonna have a huge week this week. THEN we can talk about a trade.....

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Week After

Anyone looking for my 3,000 word epic post on the fall of the New York Mets – well, forget it. Suffice it to say that, despite all the people who predicted their downfall and who said they would not reach the World Series – the Mets ripped my heart out last Thursday night. I am not really rationally ready to discuss it and may not really be prepared until spring training begins in about four months. When Endy Chavez made the most incredible catch I’ve ever seen while it happened, I thought the Mets were going to win that game. They didn’t. Al the breakdowns, what ifs, should have bunteds, should have pinch hit for, should have taken outs and should have swung ats in the world aren’t going to change that. It’s over and there is nothing else to say.

So, how does one recover from this? How can a huge Met fan like me move on?

Simple – we talk about the 4-3 Jets!

The Jets played a team they should have beat – any they beat them. That’s how you compile wining records in the NFL- you beat all the bad teams and try to win one or two against quality opponents. The jets got good play from Pennington, solid offensive line production (although Pennington was sacked a few times by a poor defensive front) and excellent play from rookie runner Leon Washington. After watching this guy develop the last few weeks, I thinking less and less “third down back” and more and more “Tiki Barber Warrick Dunn clone”. Washington may very well have been a steal in the fourth round.

The defense was pretty decent for the majority of the game – though they did miss too many tackles and still give up too much in the prevent defense. I am very impressed with Kerry Rhodes who is really developing into the all around type safety I thought Coleman would one day be.

Next week, the Jets play beatable Cleveland, followed by a bye week followed by the Patriots. It would be very sweet for the Jets to enter the pats game 5-3 and rested.

Fantasy note: Team TO is currently beating me by about 30 points with all but one of his players in (he has kicker Jay Feeley to morrow). I have my Giants Three going for me tomorrow night – so I’m pretty hopeful I will have a come from behind victory in this game.

Go Giants (but no field goals).

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I know - And I'm Sorry

It has been pointed out to me (not that I didn't already know this) that my recent over-blogging about sports in general and Mets baseball in particular is causing me to lose much of my readership.

Due to a recent case of creative brainlock (I literally have no ideas in my head) I have been having trouble posting anyway. Add to that a post-season playoff run by the Mets (a rarity for this particular team - not everyone gets to root for the Evil Empire) and I have been writing pretty much only about sports.

I ask everyone to bear with me a litle longer (hopefully about another week and a half to two weeks) and I'll get back to some non-sports blogging. In fact, I have two pretty major blog collborations in the works as we speak. Actually, one of them, if it breaks right, is a project that is really near and dear to me.

So please please please - indulge a poor Mets fan a little longer. As soon as the Mets capture the World Series, I'll be back to a more "usual" posting schedule.

You know, only 75% sports.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Response to Joe

Note: This will only make sense if you first read Joe's post this morning, ripping poor Elster to shreds in front of his millions of readers. His HaloScan comments are not working so I am forced to write my defense here. As you can see below, I have forgiven him for this outrage.

Although I guess I should be extremely offended by this post, I am way too amused.

Some cleanups, however - I do think that the Mets are hanging by a very loose thread, but I have not given up all hope. If the Mets can somehow defeat Chris Carpenter tonight, and it the bats can somehow wake up, I tink we will be seeing Aaron Heilman get the Game 7 start. I also think that if they Mets win tonight, they still have the upper hand in a game 7 - with a wild Shea crowd willing them to victory. All they have to do then is Just win tonight Baby.

Storytellers is not for my "purported female readership" - it's for anyone who wants to try something new. Perhaps Joe would be better served attempting this difficult forum instead of trashing it from the safety of his little blog home. (Though I do admit my blog has been very stale recently, I blame most of that I my recent lack of creative inspiration.)

I do admit that I have tried to watch some Rangers hockey and it's just not working for me this season so far. And the Knicks.... But, the Jets are 3-3 and perhaps looking at 8-8 or 9-7 in a rebuilding year so theres. always NFL football to carry me through the winter. Well, that and Joe's amazing posts of course.

Finally, I do not watch Desperate Housewives. It is imperative that you all know this.

And yes, come spring the Mets and their revamped pitching staff (Zito AND Schmidt? Why not, Mo Vaughn's contract is coming off the books after this season) the Mets will be looking like winners once again!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Stories and Sports

Round II of Storytellers starts up with some fictional poetry - in the form of a post from non-blogger, Lana, who takes us ina an entirely new direction. I encourage all of you open minded ones to go check it out.

In other news:

After another chag filled with eating, drinking and generally making merry, it was time to pack up the car, drive home and watch 6 hours of TIVO’d sports from a jam packed Sunday. Here are some thoughts:

- The Jets looked ok at best in their win on Sunday. They got a first quarter score (field goal) for the first time in way too long. But, they failed to capitalize on two Joey Harrington interceptions. Pennington looked pretty shaky – lots of passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage – and this was coming off a week where he was horrendous. While he threw no picks, he did put one pass right into the chest of a cornerback who was so surprised that he dropped it. He also called a nice audible out of a run play of the 58 yard touchdown pass to Coles in the third.

Leon Washington is clearly establishing himself as the best Jet rusher. He seems to be able to handle more of a load than as a third down scatback type. He is dynamic, he breaks tackles and he’s fast. I think he should be getting more carried earlier in the game. Kevan Barlow is looking more and more like a bust each week. When Cedric Houston returns from his injury, I would like to see Houston and Washington get the brunt of the work.

The Jets defense (aided by 5 dropped passes and a few errant throws by Harrington) did a great job of shutting down a poor Dolphins offense. So with the score 20-3 late in the game what do the jets do? They employ the old prevent defense – rushing four and dropping seven defenders back. The result: The Dolphins almost came all the way back to tie the game, missing by just a few yards when Olindo Mare’s 51 yard field goal fell short. The question is why? Why allow the other team to get back in the game like that? Why not force Harrington to throw under pressure? This defense cost the Jets dearly in the Colts game and nearly did them in again yesterday.

The Jets had some killer penalties yesterday, extending drives with bad penalties. They need to get this cleaned up.

One other Jets note. The young line is starting to play better. They are beginning to open up some lanes for the running backs and still providing Pennington with adequate pass protection. As the season continues, I will be looking to see this unit start to play a little better every week. Pete Kendall was a good keep. He seems to be a good teacher, especially for Mangold, and he has a serious mean streak. He sealed beautifully on an inside handoff to Washington off a fake end around to Coles.

- What can one say about the Mets? After a disappointing loss in game 2, followed by the end of the Steve Trachsel in New York Era in game three, it was up to Oliver Perez to salvage the series for the Mets. Not exactly an enticing prospect. Did he pitch well? Hell no. But he pitched well enough to get a win while backed by 12 runs by the suddenly awake Mets offense who chased poor, overmatched Anthony Reyes from the game in the fourth and then pounded the “unhittable” Cards bullpen in the sixth.

Watching Carlos Delgado this post-season has been great. He is hitting to all fields and carrying this team. Had it not been for the bullpens disastrous meltdown in game 2, Delgado would be talked about even more.

If the game 5 tonight gets rained out as predicted, it’s a serious advantage to the Mets. It allows Tom Glavine to go on his normal 5 days rest, followed by John Maine on 5 days rest pitching at Shea – where hopefully the crowd can carry him into the sixth inning after 2 very short starts.

- Quick fantasy note – After totally forgetting to fix my roster on Friday, my team is blowing out the hapless MOC by 40 points going into tonight’s cards/Bears game. He needs a stellar night from Rex Grossman (good pickup MOC) and I need a pedestrian game from the thoroughly disappointing Neil Rackers.

Also, Steve Smith is officially recovered from his bad hammy and officially OFF the trading block. Thanks to all of you who made offers. But if you are interested in Chad Johnson……

Friday, October 13, 2006

One Down

My initial reaction after tonight's 2-0 Met victory over the cardinals is relief. What a tense game. You forget that the deeper you go into the playtoffs, the harder the competition is and the harder runs are to come by. Tom Glavine has really pitched like an ace so far - going 7 innings tonight and giving up no runs. Oh and HUGE home run by Beltran. We need about 8 more of those please.

I'm deeply concerned how the rest of the Met rotation will fare now that they can no longer count on 5 plus runs a game from the offense. Again, the Card rotation isn't really that deep either (does Jeff Suppan really scare anyone?) but Maine against Carpenter is a serious advantage Cards. And the Mets can't really afford to give up home field advantage.

Ok, I'm way hyped up right now. Good thing I am not going to work to orrow because I do not see too much sleep in my future.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cory Lidle Dies In Plane Crash

All I can really do is echo Joe's sentiments. The news of a plane hitting a building in New York is always enough to freak out New Yorkers. While everyone waited for information to come in (was it a terrist attack? an accident?) it finally came in that the pilot of the plane was none other than New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle. This news freaked everyone out anew.

Obviously, it is sad whenever anyone dies in an accident, but it becomes that much "sadder", it seems, when the person is a well known figure (though I always argue that this is silly - a celebrity life is certainly worth no more than anyone else's).

So as authorities sort out exactly what happened to this New York Yankee, the rain will probably force the other New York team to postpone its playoff game this evening - an accidental tribute, perhaps, to Mr. Lidle.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

McAryeh’s recent post highlights some of the events of the last week or so that have rocked the United States to its core. There was the Amish country slayings, the woman who attacked her boyfriend using her infant child as a weapon. The Somali man who killed his family. The woman who cut a fetus out of another woman.

It has gotten to the point where I make it a point not to watch the evening news. It’s too depressing. Who can stomach fifteen straight minutes of sadness followed by a smiling weather man? If I want to be depressed this much, I will simply watch an episode of ER.

McAryeh sets forth that these travesties (for lack of any appropriate word) are made so much worse because they happened to children – the fact that such violence could be perpetrated against children (in Amish country no less) is proof positive that there are no safe places left in the world.

I could not agree more. The world is in deed “coming off the rails” and it is spinning towards some conclusion that we cannot yet really foresee. What can possibly be safe when North Korea is defying the world and testing nuclear devices - all while openly proclaiming its hatred for the west? Where can Israel possibly hide when a madman in Iraq is racing towards nuclear capabilities, hell bent on wiping Jews off the map?

Safety? It’s an illusion. There are no safe places left. The mall? Suicide bomber. America? September 11. Europe? Not if you are Jewish. Israel?

So what does it all mean? It seems to me that the world goes through cycles where it seems there is more violence or an abundance of peace. It depends on the cycle. We are in a cycle of violence right now. There is genocide in Darfur. There are unprecedented homicides in America – including a string of school shootings. The nuclear arms race has once again heated up, this time led my madmen who would employ these weapons as a strike first duck later option as opposed to using them as a deterrent.

But safety? An illusion. We can live for many years in a false sense of security, only to have it shattered one day. This is, in fact, how we live. We pretend. We go about our business, not oblivious to the threats around us, but intentionally ignorant of them. Why sweat what we cannot control? The world will either go on or tear itself to pieces. We can’t change that.

The first day of Succos we read the Haftorah discussing the battle of Gog and Magog – the ultimate battle to end all battles where it seems as though the world is going to end. The navi talks of the hilltops of Israel flattened into a plain – the very topography of the country changing. There are weapons in existence today that can do these things.

Safety? An illusion.

As An Aside

If there is anyhting sweeter right now than listening to semi-catatonic, suicidal Yankee fans calling into (big Yankee fan) ESPN Radio's Brandon Tierney and spouting off about the Mets and how badly these fans hope the Mets lose, I don't know what it is. Well, maybe it will be those same depressed, morbid Yankee fans calling in after the Mets win the series and grudgingly giving the Mets their due.

As an aside, why is the NY Times investing more time and articles, not to mention the front page of the Sports Section, to a team that was eliminated from the playoffs already? Shouldn't the focus be in the Mets at this point? Isn't the Mets starting rotation and Floyd's achilles more important than doom and gloom articles about Joe Torre and A-Rod?

I love advancing deeper into the playoffs than the Yankees. We should do this every year.

Monday, October 09, 2006

New Storytellers Post From Jameel

Since the link below is all screwed up:

Jameel finally came through with his Storytellers submission (found here, here and here). There. Now it's linked.

There is a new ramblings below. please feel to comment.

Chol Hamoed Ramblings Part I

Some post-First Days ramblings. Once again, I will put the non-sports related stuff first:

- I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a fellow blogger on Friday and almost speaking on the phone with another. I met MoC for the first time AND managed to wrangle an advanced copy of the J-music CD he produced in memory of his father. You can find all the detail here. I will be popping the CD in my car and give it a listen this week.

- But for work related snafus, I almost spoke with Jameel on Friday as well (he made a surprise appearance in the States and I beat his phone number out of him. Alas, I got tied up at work and could not give him a pre-Yom Tov call. Still, I’m considering it an advancement in out relationship. AND he submitted his Storytellers story!! Well part one of it. His seems to be suffering from the same issues as a lot of other submissions – no one wants to write an ending. Well, I have already ordered Part II and have given him one week Muquata time (or about 5 weeks of real time).

Coming on the heels of seeing Joe at the Met game last week, that’s three “real world” blog connections in the last week. That’s the reason why I love blogging. Well one of them anyway.

- I have a couple of blog collaborations in the works as well – one of them involved three other bloggers but is very slow to develop. I am actually not sure if it ever will develop but we shall see. The other project, being done with a fellow blogger who is remaining anonymous for now, is very special to me and I am really hoping to be able to share it with everyone in the not so distant future. Let’s cross out fingers for that one.

- I woke up Sunday morning but of course the paper didn’t have the late Met score. Luckily, I went to a shul that day where everyone would know the score. Sure enough, I saw to Met fans talking to one another right before davening was about to begin:

“Today really will be a z’man simchaseinu,” one said to the other. Elster’s heart leaps. “Does that mean the Mets won last night?” Elster asked?

9-5. A true Steve Trachsel game. Get pounded but the Mets got the win anyway. I read up on the game but the truth is, this set up well. The Mets get to set up their “rotation” as they want (maybe Glavine goes in game one on exactly 5 days’ rest) and the Cardinals Carpenter pitched last night rendering him unable to go three times in this series.

Sure the Mets have a horrible pitching staff right now and the Cards are peaking at the right time. But I don’t care. I am not giving up the faith. I think the Mets can slug their way to the World Series and, once there, it’s anyone’s game. I am very excited.

- I tivo’d the Jet game and watched it right after yom tov. I seriously cannot remember the last time the jets were whipped in every aspect of the game. They were outplayed, out coached out everything. What a horrible experience. And what was Mangini thinking leaving in Pennington late in the third and almost all of the fourth, down 31-0? Was he expecting a comeback? Why risk an injury to a team whose defense was flying all over the field? Oh and that roughing the passer call on Barton? One of the worst calls I’ve ever seen.

- My fantasy football team didn’t fare much better, getting absolutely DRUBBED by Jetsphan. I have no words. There will be MAJOR shakeups, that I can promise you.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Some New Ramblings: A Fine Start - An Even Better Middle

I'll but the non-sports stuff in front to keep my non-sports loving readers happy and to save them time:

After 2 very late nights, I'm going into the chag exhausted. My brain is barely working at this point (which might explain this post) and I just need to get through this workday. With temperatures expected to tumble this evening into the 40's, I'm sure we will all be having a very pleasant Succos experience. AND I have had a terrible (alergy related?) cough for 2 weeks now, which was made much worse by all the ciggy smoke I inhaled leaving Shea on Wednesday. It's been many years since I felt the need to wear a jacket in the succah at night, but we may be seeing Elster's outerwear make an appearance.

Mmmmmm coffee. I tell you, what would people do without coffee? Even decaf (which I'm currently slugging about 30 ounces worth) picks me up. You non coffee drinkers are really missing the boat on this one. You are just like those non-sushi eaters. Sure it looks gross and may even taste gross at first, but once you get addicted the good times shall roll.

My writer's block is starting to reach epic, monumental proportions. Well, until yesterday when I spent all afternoon cranking out a story that I was happy with. I know you all care, that's why I bring it up.

I wish everyone a very nice chag. Now onto the sports:

At the risk of opening myself up to some unfounded crticism from Joe, quick kudos to the New York Rangers who opened up their season with an impressive (though I did not watch the game) 5-2 win over the Caps last night at the Garden. Newly named captain Jaromir Jagr scored on the first shift (first shot?) of the game and Brendan Shanahan had himself a fine first game as a Ranger netting 2 goals (the second the 600th of his career) - both assisted by my favorite Ranger Petr "I Look Exactly Like A Less Weathered Rob Lowe" Prucha.

Not that I need to defend myself but - I have previously stated here that I do not plan on following the Rangers with the same zeal that I have followed them in season's past. For some unidentified reason, I'm just not feeling it this season. While this means I won't be watching many (if any) games, it certainly does not mean I won't be following the team and occasionally writing about them. I may even write about the Knicks and I hate them.

As for baseball. What can you say? After a loooong night (left work, went to the gym, put the sechach and lights up in my sukkah) I finally settled in front of the tube with my white bread and peanut butter (Elster's food of choice after a big workout) to watch the game.

And what a game by Tom Glavine. The Mets needed him to be huge (with the terrible duo of Trachsel/Perez coming up in games 3 and 4*) (*if necessary) and he was. 6 innings, 93 pitches, no runs and four hits. He could have gone longer but Willie was smart to pull him and keep him fresh for his next start (may he be zocheh to make like 5 more in the playoffs and world series) - letting Feliciano/Heilman/Wagner finish up the 7-8-9 sets. And in even better news, now Mota will be well rested for his next meltdown.

The offensive patiently worked the young lefty, Kuo, they had so much trouble with earlier this season. But this is the playoffs. Behind the play of Endy Chavez and Jose Reyes, the Mets are up 2-0 in the divisional series and we can all breath a tad bit easier.

But of course, even victories leave room for questions:

- Can John Maine shake off his shaky first outing and pitch effectively for 6 innings his next turn?

- What's with Carlos Beltran? He is too tight out there, getting way out in front of early pitches and working himself into 0-2 holes almost every at bat. He even lost count of how many outs there were at one point, catching a third out and firing it back in to stop runners from tagging up. Right now Delgado (terrible trade, right Joe? Wouldn't we be much better off with Mike Jacobs protecting Beltran?) is picking up his slack.

- Why isn't Aaron Heilman more effective on a consistant basis? Sure a solo homer up by 4 in the eigth isn't the biggest deal in the world but still - he has the stuff to be an untouchable (or close to it) set up man but he seems to lose focus too often. he can't put guys away when he gets up on them 0-2 and he cannot finish innings sometimes.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Amazin' Good Time

I was able to attend yesterday's Met game and Idecided to blog about it. As an aside, below this is my 200th post and some non-crime related fiction. If you missed it, you may want to take a look. Now onto post 201.

About 45 seconds after the Mets clinched the playoffs, I began pulling every string I could think of to round up some tickets to the games. I called people I barely knew, sent awkward emails for acquaintances and signed up for the Mets ticket lottery.

Who comes through? My dad of course. Dad always comes through so why would this be any different? He called me to tell me the good news – we had tickets to game one. Sure they were in the upper deck in deep right field, but who cares? A ticket to the playoffs is a ticket to the playoffs. It would be good to just be a part of the action.

So, ala ESPN’s Bill Simmons, I decided to keep a running diary of the game. Here’s what transpired (and as an aside, if you think I write this blog for anyone other than me, this post is 100% proof against you):

1:50 - After telling my secretary I have an “appointment” all afternoon, it’s off to mincha, followed by the world famous 7 train to Shea for some Mets baseball!

2:30 – Local is waiting in the station. Don’t do it. Gotta wait for an express. There are crazed Met fans everywhere. I have added a second goal to the afternoon (the first goal was having a great time) – getting out of Shea alive.

2:45 – Hmmm – no purple haired homosexuals with AIDS and not a homeless person in sight. What was John Rocker thinking. As an aside, I was hoping to be at Shea by now to soak up a little pre-game atmosphere. Alas. 2 feet to my right, a guy is explaining to his girlfriend the difference between Steve Smith (of my fantasy football fame) and ESPN’s loud Stephen A. Smith while she pretends to be interested. How do people of the opposite sex get married these days? On the bright side, her home made shirt is painted to look like a baseball.

3:01 I’m here!! Tons of jerseys everywhere. David Wright is blowing away the field, followed by Reyes/Beltran/Pedro. But there’s a fat guy in a Loduca, an old guy in a Seaver and, can that be…yes, a Ray Knight ’86 jersey. Now that’s good karma.

3:10 – I have just reached me seats and I am high. Luckily, I’m not afraid of heights. In fact, if I was any higher, I’d be viewing this game from the 747 that just made me duck. I don’t think even Delgado can reach us up here. Where’s Mo Vaughn when you need him? Luckily I did not bring my glove.

3:35 – Players start coming on the field for some pre-game sprints. In light of what happened to El Duque yesterday, you’d think management would have outlawed pre-game sprints on the outfield grass. Wright gets the biggest cheer as he comes out.

3:37 – Hey, there’s Joe. We are talking about the game. He seems excited to be here but resigned to a loss. I tell him I’m writing a diary of the game. He tells me he has his column ready and it’s basically an anti-Elster rant. Good times.

Note: Joe now tells me that he agreed with me that the Mets were going to win 6-4 (see below). Thus my comment about him being resigned to a loss is, well, slander. Or libel. Either way. My sincere apologies. Though he definately said the thing about the anti-Elster rant.

3:55 – 2 dogs and 2 pretzels - $17. 2 diet Pepsis - $8.50. Your dad taking just a pretzel and a Pepsi and giving you 20 dollars – Priceless.

4:15 Maine cruising after one inning. The mst exciting thing that happened was a fan touched a pop foul fly and got destroyed by the entire stadium. Apparently he’s an A-hole.

4:16 – Hey, the Dodger fan sitting a section away from me is an a-hole too. There seem to be lotsa a-holes in the park today.

4:17 – A potential rally falls short after Wright grounds out with 2 on. I’m waiting for Beltran to explode like he did in 2003. Can we legitimately expect 16 homeruns by hin this post-season or am I being greedy.

4:30 – Green to Valentin to LoDuca DOUBLE PLAY at the plate. What just happened? That was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. The place is absolutely pandemonium right now. Is that serendipity or what. Uh oh, next batter doubles home a run. 1-0 Dodgers. But still, could have been lots worse.

4:45 1-2-3 for the Mets. D-Lowe is starting to look like a cross between Roger Clemmens and Sandy Kofax. I wish I was drunk right now.

4:51. Maine counters with a 1-2-3 of his own. Emergency starter my butt. He’s John Maine, ace of the staff right now (and sadly, I may not be joking). As Maine settles down, I think it’s time to get him some runs. Mets look flat on offense right now. On the bright side, the guy behind me knows all the words to Meet The Mets and New York’s Bravest just put out a huge fire in the center field parking lot.

5:10 – The guy two seats to my left goes “Homerun Delgado, I’m calling it right now” followed by…HOMERUN Delgado! My section is going nuts. We are all slapping fives. 2 batters later…homerun Floyd. We are all positively giddy right now. There’s blood in the water….unfortunately Shawn Green can’t smell it and makes out to end the inning. 2-1 Mets.

5:25 – Willie just took out Maine with 2 on and 1 out in the fifth. Talk about a short leash. Too early? Nope. Feliciano strikes out Lofton and Bradford induces a Nomar groundout. Give Willie that one.

5:47 – Mota sends the Dodgers down 1-2-3 in the sixth with 2k’s and 17 menacing looks. Mets holding a precarious 2-1 lead at this point.

5:54 – Delgado (3 for 3) singles LoDuca to third. Wrigth double scores two. 4-1 Mets. Grady Little decides to pull D-Lowe. Similarly to 2003, he’s an inning too late. Green attempts to kill another rally by striking out and after Valentin gets hit, Mota flies out to end the sixth. My dad and I debate Willie’s move to bat Mota instead of Julio Franco to try and bust the game open. I say it’s a sure sign the Willie doesn’t trust Roberto Hernandez to pitch in a big game. I can’t say I blame him but I would have liked a few more runs.

6:10 – a horrible decision by Valentin puts runners on the corners with no outs and almost kills Reyes. Dodgers make it 4-2, followed by a soul crushing double by Nomar to tie the game. Shea is a tomb right now. I’m nearly catatonic. Willie’s decision blows up in our collective faces. A Mota K “limits” the damage to 4-4.

6:28 – Reyes works out a walk to start things off. Crowd is stirring. After a LoDuca out, Jose steals second followed by Beltran’s third walk of the day. Up comes a sizzling hot Delgado…single! Mets back up 5-4, followed by a bloop double from Wright – 6-4 Mets. Shoot I lost my pen. Luckily dad has another one so I can keep torturing you. Floyd strikes out followed by a Shawn Green groundout. These two black holes are going to completely kill us in the post-season (and yes, I am conveniently forgetting that Floyd hit a homerun in the third).

6:45 – Three up, three down for a very focused looking Aaron Heilman. As an aside, teams starting Marlon Anderson have no business being in the playoffs.

6:54 – Delgado (4-4) up with 2 outs and the bases juiced. “We need a double and three runs to be comfortable,” I tell my dad. I clearly have no faith in Billy Wagner.

7:05 – Wait...it’s…can it be...it is…Enter Sandman.- It’s Billy Wagner’s theme sound. Let’s close it out and go home boyts.

7:13 – WAGNER IS KILLING ME RIGHT NOW. The fans in the upper deck and turning on him faster than the crew of the Bounty. It’s 6-5 with a runner in scoring position and Nomar up. Wagner gets him to strike out and the game is over!! Mets win 6-5. It should be noted at this point, as I slap hands with everyone in my section, that I predicted a 6-4 Mets win. Joe can back me up on this.

We all happily filed out of Shea to chants of Let’s Go Mets and, of course, the obligatory Yankee’s Suck chant. But we fans don’t have a Yankee complex or anything.

Couple of post game thoughts:

- The LoDuca double play, it turns out, is the first time in playoff history that 2 batters made out at home plate on the same play. And what made it cooler – after the game, LoDuca said he had no idea that Drew was even near home plate except the umpire tipped him off. Serendipity.

- In retrospect (and even at the time) I thought Willie should have pinch hi for Mota with the bases loaded. And I think he would have if he hadn’t dipped into the bullpen in the fifth. I’m getting the sense that we won’t be seeing much of Royce Ring and Roberto “Grandpa” Hernandez in the playoffs.

- Welcome to the post season Carlos Delgado. It seems to agree with you and David Wright too. Reyes got a slow start but finished strong.

- Shawn Green and Cliff Floyd and 2 horrendous defensive players. Add in Green’s four terrible at bats and I think we will be seeing a lot more Endy Chavez starting today.

- All in all, it was a great experience. The seats were high, the crowd was great, the game exciting and – most important – the Mets won. Gotta protect your house in the playoffs and the Mets took care of business.

Here’s hoping for a three game sweep so we can put Oliver Perez away.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Starry Night

Ed's Question: I wrote this - Now I think I actually read it somewhere first. Someone help me. Did I steal this story of did I actually invent it? Oh and note that I wrote this and didn't really edit it well. I just felt the need to get a story on the paper.

Oh and as an aside - This is my 200th post. Here's hoping for 200 more (with less incoherent rambling).

To call this a BIG DEAL would have been the understatement of the century. Literally. After all, this event was something which most of them had never seen (and some who passed would never see) except on grainy footage from a broadcast that was well over 89 years old.
So yes, this was bigger than a big deal. This was "as good as it gets" - it was "once in a lifetime" - it was "waiting my whole life for that one night" big. What else can you call it when the stars were coming?

Everyone knew the date. Everyone's 90 year calanders have it circled. In the spring of every ninetieth year, Pisces 14/15th to be exact, the three surrounding planets would shift in their special orbital pull and the stars of the galaxy would be visibly for all to see.

The great historians of the world had recorded these events going back thousands of years. The earlier generations were terrorized by the sudden appearance of thousands, nay millions of bright lights in the sky, seeing it as the impending end of the world. As little as 180 years ago, people thought it was alients giving the world a special signal. The advent of special telescopes and scientific theories of the "modern" era discovered the truth - that the planet was surrounded by three large masses which blocked the view of the stars except for one special day every 90 years when they "fell" out of their usual rotations and allowed for a view of the sky.
And damned if it wasn't going to be the biggest party ever. Aries 14th/15th had become a holiday - the holiest day of the year for most. Even bigger than New year's or All Treasures Day.

And why not? Imagine a world where the setting sun brings forth a blackness that until modern times was impenetrabe. Imagine a night sky so dark, so devoid of light, that you literally cannot see the hands in front of your face. A world where a mini flashlight is carried as commonly as dwelling keys and a moneybag. Imagine seeing stars only in picture books, black and white photographs and in your mind's eye.

Then imagine it being Aries 14th. Oh what a day. The preparations were evident everywhere. it was a celebration unlike any other in history. Groups of people were gathering together hours before sunset - mammoth feasts were served - ale and spirits were pour forth like water. Unlike the other 456 days of the year, the lights would not be turned on at dusk. There was no need for them this night. The sky would be the light - starlight would shine light a songburst from the mouths of birds.

Dusk descended - millions of people axxiously wait for the last of the sunlight to dip below the horizon. They were minutes away. What a night. Projections were saying that the population would skyrocket in nine months time. This was a night that they had waiting for, some for almost ninety years. Some where lucky enough to see it once before and wanted one last bite of the apple before they died.

So when the sun faded to black, it was shocking to see all black. Where were the stars? Wait they thought, it will be ok. It's just not dark enough yet. Stars don'd come out on cue - it's not a light switch that The Creator has. It takes a few minutes.

But then there was a cry of anguish from one of the gathered. Followed by another. And another. Mass confusion. What was happening to those people? But the confusion quickly turned to dread, realization and sadness when that first raindrops hit the skin. The stars, they realized, were there after all. But they would never see them.


Gmar Chasimah Tovah and hopefully everyone had a very (fill in the appropriate word) Yom Kippur.

Before I forget, and thus first of all, Bellany finally came through with her Storytellers submission (link to Bellany here). We thank Bell under the better late than never collorary and we use her submission to further embarrass Jameel into finally submitting his phantom post (his "I should have it to you by next week" line is now in its fifth week, but to be fair, it's possible that time works differently in the Muquata).

What a wild 48 hours it's been. The Jets lost another painful roller coaster on Sunday - one that I wish I didn't spend about 2 hours watching instead of preparing myself for the big day. And there is so much to write about the game - but three things stand out to me - (i) Pennington looks great after his two surgeries. It's not so much the passes he makes but the poise- the way he runs the offense - that is so impressive. If the Jets can keep him upright (the pass protection was pretty good Sunday) they will be fine this season. (ii) The kickoff return for a touchdown by Justin Miller could have gone down as one of the greatest plays in Jets history but for (iii) the defensive meltdowns of the Jets in the last two possessions of the game - giving up two touchdowns - will go down in history righ alongside "The Fake Spike" in the infamy side of the lore. I don't think I will ever be able to rationally discuss that game.

I will be attending Game One of the Mets Dodgers plyoff series this Wednesday at 4:00 in the afternoon (mmm mssing work for baseball) with my dad. I will, ala Bill Simmons, attempt to keep a running diary of the action.