The 2011 baseball season is now one-quarter complete. I took this photo from the nosebleed seats in section 535 at Citifield. The Mets beat the Dodgers 6-3, Friday May 2nd, 2011. We got the tickets from Dodgers fans. When we got inside the stadium I bet them $5 each that the Dodgers couldn't beat the Mets by more than 2 runs. The Mets went ahead and beat the Dodgers, so the over-under didn't matter. It was a good day to catch a game, the wind blew out and the ball carried easily. The Mets connected for 2 homers and the Dodgers managed to put one out as well. Despite the victory, the Mets really suck this year. Just last week the owner, Fred Wilpon, described them in the Post as a "lousy team." I tried to pump myself up before the game by cheering. I looked in the mirror after I was done brushing my teeth, "Boo!" I yelled. You know your team stinks when you have to pump yourself up by booing.
The day after the game, we flew to Japan. I posted an image of a flower arrangement that I saw in a private home in Kyoto, and I have many more photos to share. I will get to that, but first I wanted to make this post, about baseball.
In Japan, gift-giving is customary, so we got stocked up with various presents before we went. I needed something that was small, American, and that I could give in multiples, so I went to the card shop for a box of baseball cards. The shop is Chameleon Comics and Cards, on Maiden Lane near Broadway, a couple blocks from City Hall in Downtown Manhattan.
I got a box of Topps 2011 Regular Season cards. Robinson Cano is on the cover of the box.
The last time I bought baseball cards was when I was a kid in the late 1980s. At that time baseball cards came in wax paper packs with a stick of gum that was hard and dry and shattered in your mouth. The stick got sugary gum residue on whatever card it stuck in-between. Nowadays the packs are plastic and gumless. The baseball card business got serious and they got rid of the stick of gum because it was damaging whatever card it was stuck to. I was reminiscing with the guy behind the counter about 1988 baseball cards, about the wax paper package, the stick of gum. "Hold on," says the guy, bending down to go through one of the many boxes of memorabilia piled all around him. He rummaged through the box, pulled this out, and handed it to me. "No charge," he said. "It'll take you down memory lane."
This is a pack of Topps from 1988. Its made of wax paper and there is a stick of gum inside. This was a total mindblower. Check out the old school design.
I told the guy, "I'll eat the gum." He looked at me with a very serious expression on his face. "Don't eat the gum. Someone ate the gum and got very sick." I opened it up and took a look at the 23 year old stick of gum. I didn't feel like eating it. It made me think of what sex will be like when I'm older. What will I think of the gum then?
Check out what I got. Not bad for a New Yorker - Lou Piniella's manager card, Ron Darling. Get a load of that gum.
Ron Darling is the best card I got. The Mets finished 1st in the NL East in 1988 and lost the NLCS to the Dodgers in six games. The Dodgers would go on to beat the A's in the World series, behind the pitching of Orel Hershiser, and Kirk Gibson's massive home run off of Dennis Eckersley. Here's a clip from MLB.com of the at-bat. The way he rounds second and pumps his fist is printed on my mind forever. My Dad is a Dodgers fan and so the Dodgers were who we were rooting for. It's probably the greatest baseball moment I have ever seen. A two-out, bottom of the ninth walk-off home run to win Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, off of the league's MVP, closer Dennis Eckersley. The only closer in the Hall Of Fame.