REMEMBERING JOHN LENNON

Thirty years ago today, I was working in  computer operations for the defunct Manufactures Hanover Bank at 55 Water St on Manhattan. I was 22 years old and had the luxury of still living at home and spending most nights out running the streets on NYC. So when I got up on the morning of December 8th 1980 and went into the bathroom for a leak, shower and shave, I switched on the radio which was always set to 102.7 WNEW FM and heard Richard Neer talk about the DEATH of John Lennon, I thought I was still feeling the effects of the past evening.

Unfortunately it wasn’t. It was fact. John Lennon was gunned down in front of his Dakota Apartments home by a fucking lunatic . How could this happen? Lennon was not just a rock and roll icon, he was one of us, a New Yorker and not just any New Yorker but a guy who hung out at the downtown bars and rock clubs just like the rest of us.

It was the coolest thing about Lennon and Yoko, they never thought they were special, they just felt they were one of a few million folks who called the city home. They would walk into Max’s Kansas City and blend in.

It’s still kind of surreal when one night Lennon walked past a group of myself and my buddies,who were there to see the Von Lmo band, of which a couple of neighborhood guys played in, and as he past he looked at us and said “how are you lads”? What? did John Lennon just ask us how we’re doing? HOLY SHIT!!!!

John Lennon, gone but certainly not forgotten.

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HAH! YOU CALL YOURSELF A GANSTA’?

I’m going to try very hard not to be a complete over reactionary schmuck after this first week of the Mets 2010 season but I’ll tell you right up front, it won’t be easy.

Let’s play the “it’s so, so early in the season” card right now and get it out of the way. Yes, it is unbelievably early but after coming off an unmitigated disaster of a season last year and the happy talk bullshit we were fed the whole month of March, needless to say I’m not impressed.

Well I shouldn’t say totally unimpressed. The pitching has been surprisingly good especially the bullpen, which at the rate Jerry Manuel is using his relievers, should be burnt out by mid May. The hitting has been for a lack of a better phrase “hit or miss” either lots of runs or barely getting any.

But the biggest problem I have so far this first week is the attitude of the team and that falls on the slumping shoulders of Jerry Manuel. The odds of Manuel finishing the season as manager are as slim as Sarah Palin being named the keynote speaker at the Mensa Convention (good morning my conservative friends and teabaggers) and J-Man looks like he hopes the end comes sooner than later. For a manager to come out and say that on April 11, his team was unprepared to play is a big indictment that he is unfit to run the team. Then add some of the quotes out of the Mets clubhouse on how they felt that with the match-up between Santana and Livan Hernandez would a Mets walk over and when Santana gave up four runs in the top of the first, it took the wind out of their sails. Are you kidding ? Down 4 runs in the first to the Nats and Livan and you feel like you’re finished for the day? That’s hard to stomach.

Added to this week of yuck, was Frenchie saying the team is looking forward to getting out of town. HOLY SHIT!!! After one homestand, you can’t wait to run for the hills? I-I-I-‘m speechless.

And let’s drop the happy horse shit that the team is pressing, pressing for what ? This Mets team has the lowest expectation of any Mets team in years. They are not a contender which I think we all agree all we’re looking at is be competitive and stop with the woe is me bullshit. The manager sets the tone in that clubhouse and the team takes on the personality of its skipper. The attitude sucked last year and so far this week it still sucks.

To make my afternoon even worse, the NY Rangers lost out on the last playoff spot in the NHL Eastern conference by losing the skills competition yesterday against the Flyers. King Henrik was subjected to a shooting gallery of Flyers shots 47 total with the King stopping 46 of them. Brandon Prust and Jody Shelly can hold their heads high as well for laying it on the line in this do or die game. I don’t think I was ever as wrong about a guy like I was with John Tortorella as coach of the Rangers. I was not a Tom Renny fan and felt that Torts was just what the team needed but I was wrong. Torts is so overmatched in this town between juggling lines like a circus performer and his attitude during interviews. Simple questions get a glare and a brush off even towards Sam Rosen who will never be compared to Mike Wallace. His profanity laden tirades toward Larry Brooks of the Post make Torts look like a big horses’ ass and Brooks vs. Torts isn’t even a fair fight, Brooks beats Torts every time. Then there is the man known as Slats, Glen Sather. He should have been dumped five years ago but Jim Dopelan loves Slats but you would hope that Sather has a shred of decency and retires immediately to allow a living breathing hockey exec come in to run the Rangers. Let the Dopelan’s use some of the money they steal from Cablevision subscribers and offer Lou Lamoriello $50 million dollars to come across the Hudson and revamp the Rangers.

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HEY LUIS, I AIN’T MAD AT YA!

No I still don’t believe it although I kind of saw it coming. When Luis was drifting and crossing his feet he looked like a guy stumbling out of the Blarney Stone at 3 AM. I felt this could be bad. How bad? Not as bad as it ended.

First it pains me to do this but I have to tip my Mets cap to Mark Texiera who proved what me and every other Little League coach has preached since we had 5 year olds hitting off a tee, always bust it down the line and on two outs run like your pants are on fire and to Texiera’ credit he did. We have all killed the Mets for lack of hustle so we all have to be honest and give Texiera his due.

When the ball was dropped of course me first words were HOLY SHIT!!!!! plus a stare of disbelief but for some odd reason I wasn’t mad. I mean I should have been “throw the remote against the fucking wall mad” at Luis Castillo, for costing the Mets not only a win but a win against a team that thinks it’s superior but ain’t shit. And to all you Highlander fans out there celebrating this win let me tell you folks something you will be spending your October watching Stan Bahnsen’ and Ron Woods Highlanderorgrophy and not post season baseball. Your manager is a scared little rat that had to bring in the Most Holy Mariano to save this game in the 8th inning. Your boy Joba is the most overrated tub of shit to hit this town since that fat-pussy todt Hideki Irabu, I’ll take Big Pelf over Joba The Hut any day. Sure celebrate the gift that Looie gave you last night but remember up in Boston, the Red Sox say to you, “tell me how our ass tastes”

I can’t find anger toward Castillo. Last year I ripped him daily as he was over weight and lackadaisical and his contract was the huge burden holding the Mets back from upgrading the position.. I had wrote during the winter that the Mets couldn’t give away Castillo with millions of dollars stuff in his pocket, hell they couldn’t give this guy away for free. But the man has shown his pride. He came to camp fit and trim and out to prove he’s no bum. Castillo has been one of the more steady Mets all season both at the plate and before last night in the field. Does he have the range he once did? No and he might never get back to that but at least at 2nd base his defense is league average. He gets on base in fact with Jose Reyes out, his .376 OBP has kept the team afloat.

If you would have bet me in the winter that on a Saturday in June I’s be writing a post defending Luis Castillo afer a disastrous error, I’d have bet my house that you were wrong. Good think that didn’t happen or my family would be living in a card board box.

The big reason that I can’t get mad at Luis is he took it like a man. He didn’t run off and hide he stood in front of the cameras and microphones and said he fucked up and just by looking at him you could see the pain. I can’t beat a guy up when he’s already hurt.

If you want to take a positive about this it’s that this Mets team may not be a championship team but it’s a all for one, one for all team. Every guy backed Luis up and had his back as did the manager. A lot of Mets fans have been after J-Man lately over his strategical moves and that’s a legit complaint but where a big league manager makes his mark is how he handles his clubhouse and after reading Ken Rosenthal’s story on how the vets on the Mets are miffed at Jerry, Rosenthal looks so clueless he must be a Highlander fan. J-Man has his players back and they have his. Joe Giradi should be so lucky.

What else is there to say? Hang with ‘em Looie and go get ‘em Fernando Nieve? UGH!

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BASEBALL LIKE IT OUGHTA BE

A rough morning. Had a 9AM game and one of my big strong arm guys pitching and he couldn’t find home plate with a map, compass and a guide dog. After two innings we are down 8-0 and I’m ready to blow a fucking gasket, walks and errors that’s all I see in my sleep lately. After the 60 th pitch I’d seen enough and I bring in a kid to pitch that while not throwing hard, throws strikes and he holds the fort as we nibble back to 8-4 until he runs out of gas. I go to option three which on this team is the equivalent of Manny Acta going to his pen and lo and behold after seven walks, three errors and leaving about eight runners on base the score after 6 innings is 13-6.

There was another game to be played on the field after ours and the teams were milling around waiting for our game to end. The coach of one of the teams was a guy I’ve known for a few years so I told “Don’t worry Jim we’ll be quick” and we both laughed. What are you gonna do cry? First kid up grounds out. Next kid walks. Next one hits a bloop over short. Next batter drills one to the gap in left center-a bloop and a blast-and it’s 13-8. Next batter walks then another walk and a strike out and a hit batsman. New pitcher and it’s 13-9 with two out. First pitch to the batter a hit down the left field line and holy shit it’s 13-11 with two out and then a infield hit and it’s 13-12 with two out. Now I’d love to say the next batter drove in two more runs but that only happens in the movies. The next kid K’d and we lost 13-12 but from the roar of the crowd and the kids waiting to play you would have thought we won a championship.

When the game ended we took the kids over to the snack stand which was the plan win or lose to buy them lunch. As we come off the field, the people at the complex were clapping and patting the kids on the back which was great because they really deserved to for not giving up and fighting back. But the best part of it was when one of the kids, the pitcher I took out after two innings said “We never give up because the coaches never give up on us”

And that right there is worth all the vacation days I’ve used and all the overtime I’ve given up and all the food, drinks, and baseballs I’ve bought and all the time I’ve put into practicing with these kids. Johan Santana, Alex Rodriguez Carlos Beltran they are all making a ton of money in baseball more than me but I guarantee they are not loving baseball more than I am.

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