“Bartolo Has Done It … The Impossible Has Happened!”

We live in a weird world.

I don’t even have to explain that thought, do I? You’ve already run with it in your head. Weird politics. Weird weather. Weird AL East standings.

al east standings

Look who’s first!

Weird weirdness all the way “wround.”

But then, Mets’ starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, known on this blog as My Metropolitan Dumpling, does something beyond weird. He does something extraordinary. He does something that no other ballplayer has ever done.

Last night, at age 42, he became the oldest major leaguer to hit his very first home run.

It was real and it was spectacular.

“Bartolo has done it! The impossible has happened!”

Just when you think the world is going to hell in a hand basket which means … I don’t even know what that means …

But, here. Let’s watch it again in Spanish.

“Hasta la vista, baby!”

That home run trot took some 30 seconds. He earned every slow, savoring step of it.

Colon, a career .092 hitter, will be 43 on May 24. He’s a fun and joyful presence whenever he plays. (He almost makes me think the designated hitter rule was a mistake after all.)

Bartolo Colon, my Metropolitan dumpling, hit a home run last night.

It just sounds right, doesn’t it?

Maybe this world is going to be ok after all.

Or, maybe not. But, at least we can watch this over and over again until it is.

 

Three Mookies

There are lots of good baseball names.

Where else can you find a Yogi and Chipper and Moose and Boog?

(Spaceman and Satchel. And, Catfish and Goose. Campy and Crush. Oil Can and Babe.)

And, Mookie.

Mookie is beyond a good baseball name.  It’s a great baseball name. There are no Mookies in football. (If there are, there shouldn’t be.)

Mookie’s a good name for the kid who mows your lawn, the wiry old jazz musician who never caught a break, the mysterious water-witcher with no fixed address, and the guy who stops when your car breaks down, digs around in the back of his truck for a piece of cable, ties something up under your hood, makes your car start, and then disappears before you can say thank you.

Mostly, Mookie’s perfect for baseball.

Like Mookie Wilson of the New York Mets.

In the 10th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, outfielder Mookie Wilson hit the ball that dribbled between Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner’s legs, allowing the winning run to score, tying up the Series, and leading to the Mets’ “destiny” win in Game 7.

To one Curse of the Bambino, add one dash Mookie. Stir and serve.

Watch 

mookie wilson buckner

“We shoulda lost that game.”

Oh, that Mookie Wilson.

You may think I’m sharing this simply to stick it to the pesky Red Sox who beat the Orioles Friday night 7-0, and then again last night 8-0.

I’m not. If I were sticking it to the Red Sox, I would share this video instead.

(But, I’m not. So don’t watch that second video. Really, I’m serious. Don’t.)

Mookie is known for his heart and his hustle, especially on the base paths.

Here he is with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show last year. Watch 

mookie on the daily show

“You were the one guy everybody loved and nobody ever worried about.” 

But, there’s another Mookie now: 22-year-old Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts.

How can you not like a Mookie who does this on Opening Day? Watch

mookie bases

He’s safe! And … he’s safe again!

A Mookie who does amazing things in the outfield. Watch

mookie at the wall2

Yes, he stole a “certain” two-run homer from the Orioles’ Chris Davis on Friday night. But, it was so awesome, how can I be mad?

(For pete’s sake, Crush, you couldn’t hit it a little higher?)

Mookie excelled at baseball and basketball in high school. He’s 5’9” and can dunk.

Plus, he was named Tennessee Boys Bowler of the Year in 2010.

He bowls!

And, if all that weren’t enough, he does Yoga to warm up before games.

OK, sure, almost all of them do nowadays, but this photo of mine from last season is one of my favorites.

Mookie Betts Yoga

© The Baseball Bloggess

How can you not love a guy named Mookie who is so happy to be warming up? How can you not forgive him for being a Red Sox?

But, today there’s another Mookie.

When you live in the country, feral cats show up in your barn. Ten percent of the ferals are old tom cats, with crooked faces and matted fur. The tips of their ears are often missing and their tails take funny turns in weird directions. These toms are stealthy and you’ll usually only catch glimpses of their back ends in the mornings as they slink from your barn and disappear into the grass of the nearby pasture. They know they are squatters and they do their best to stay unseen.

But, 90 percent of the ferals that show up in your barn are pregnant females. They will have kittens in your barn and then dare you to kick them out.

You can’t. You just can’t.

And, when you finally start to catch the ferals, for fixin’ and re-homing, you wonder if one – just one – will be able to make that challenging jump from wild thing to indoor cat.

And, when one does … with purrs so loud that they rumble through the room like the freight trains that pass through the edge of town at midnight …

Mookie2

© The Baseball Bloggess

You name him Mookie.

Because, he seems so happy.

Just like Mookie.

Free Baseball: 1-2-3 Edition

One A’s pitcher – and former UVa Hoo — tells us about life on the DL.

Two Dodger’s pitchers you may have heard of.

And, three home runs – a dinger, a moon shot, and a slam – from a Met.

Here’s your Free Baseball* 1-2-3 Edition.

1. Doolittle on Doolittle

Sean Doolittle, Oakland A’s reliever, former University of Virginia Hoo, and native South Dakotan (that’s the fancy-pants Dakota), has spent much of this season on the disabled list.

But, he’s been checking in on Twitter …

And, his heartfelt piece on ESPN.com this week about life on the DL is a must-read – for baseball fans, of course, but also for anyone who has had to heal from a serious injury and has had to battle to get back the life their injury took away.

doolittle column

“I’ve found that in this game, all you can ask for is a chance,” he writes. Read here.

2. McCarthy on Greinke & Kershaw

Technically that’s three Dodger’s pitchers, but Brandon McCarthy is writing specifically about Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, and his piece this week on ESPN.com helps explain why they are two of the best pitchers in the world and we are not.

mccarthy guest columnist

Read here.

McCarthy, another pitcher who has spent much of this season on the DL, is a pretty sassy tweeter, too …

3. Yoenis Cespedes

I just wanted to see if I could spell Yoenis Cespedes without checking my work.  (Answer: Yes, I can. But, thank you, spell check for helpfully suggesting “Yemenis Cesspits,” anyway.)

Last night, the brand new New York Met, traded from the Tigers just a couple weeks ago, came through with three home runs against Colorado – a solo homer, a two-run homer, and a grand slam. If he could have mustered up a three-run shot, he would have hit for the Home Run Cycle. I’m not even sure that’s a thing.

That added up to seven RBI … and I believe he snuck a stolen base in there, too.

yoenis homers video

It was, he said, “the best night I have ever had.”

Watch here.

There you go … 1-2-3.

______________________________________

* Free Baseball refers to extra innings that come after a nine-inning game ends in a tie. Here it’s the extra things that don’t quite fit into my regular-sized posts.

 

Always Cheer The Underdog & Other Good Advice From Mom

My mom would be delighted that this Mother’s Day post is early.

For her, being on time was as bad as being late. If you couldn’t be early, why bother?

I’m usually on time with things. Occasionally late. Never early. This drove her crazy.

If my mother were here she would never have seen this blog. She wouldn’t really have cared about it, except for one thing.

My dad has already been mentioned a time or two. But, she hasn’t.

And, that, to my mother, is as bad as being late for an appointment. I can turn from the beloved only child to utter failure with just a single unintentional slight.

So, today, I’m making things right. I’m early.

Here’s one for mom.

My dad didn’t care much for baseball. My mom didn’t either.

But, there are these two things …

FIRST, when I was about 10, it was her idea to make a birthday cake for me with a San Francisco Giant player made of sugar sitting on top of a Los Angeles Dodger “sugar man” that she had pushed into top of the cake.

“My” team squished my dad’s team right there in the frosting.

It was pretty funny.

The next year she did the same thing with a San Francisco 49er football “sugar player” sitting on top of a Los Angeles Ram. The joke was a little old by then, but since “my team” had defeated “dad’s team” yet again, it was still funny.

SECOND, and probably most important, she always, always, always rooted for the underdog.

Underdogs were golden and her reasoning was indisputable. If the underdog lost, well, it was pretty much expected. What can you do? But, if they won, then she had something she could lord over dad and the rest of the world for days.

This led to an out-of-the-blue decision one year that she would root for the New York Mets in the 1969 World Series. I was still pretty small. (However young you think I was at the time, I’m sure I was even younger.)

Mom decided that she and I would watch the Series, although, aside from “hit the ball, catch the ball, throw the ball,” neither of us really knew what we were watching. But, by golly, we were going to cheer the underdoggy Mets to victory.

Mom’s attention span for things like baseball turned out to be pretty slim.

Not only did my mother not watch an entire game, I’m pretty sure she never made it out of the first inning. As she would get up to have a smoke and move to other tasks, she would say, “You watch and let me know what happens.”  So, I guess, I became her personal Curt Gowdy. My memory of this is pretty dim.

When the Mets won the Series, they lost their underdog glamour. They lost my mom. She never rooted for them again.

But, I wonder if at that moment, the Baltimore Orioles – who fell to the Miracle Mets in that Series – creeped into my bloodstream.

Perhaps it was that decision by my mom that led to my own decision 19 years later. When the Orioles themselves couldn’t have been a sorrier team of underdogs, they became “my team”.

Like mom, I clearly have a soft spot for underdogs.

Mom & me, sometime in the post-Mets years.  She could rock those sunglasses indoors & out!

Mom & me, sometime in the post-Mets years. She could rock those sunglasses inside & out!

But, while baseball wasn’t her thing, good advice was. So, to make things right on this blog and to give my mom a well-deserved online “I love you”, here’s some sweet guidance she gave me:

  • When making pie crusts always use vegetable shortening and ice cold water. Use a metal tablespoon to measure the water.
  • When making pancakes always use an electric skillet.
  • When your hands and/or feet are cold, heat your belly with a hot pack. The heat will radiate to your fingers and toes from the inside.
  • When using your grandmother’s recipes, remember that she often left out “secret” – and essential – ingredients when she shared them. On purpose.
  • I named you for Jackie Kennedy, there’s no need to have holes in your jeans.
  • It’s never too early to start coloring your hair. You won’t look so obvious when you’re covering up the grey later on.
  • Don’t scrimp on nice clothes, nice shoes, and anything you put on your face.
  • Pets are the best friends you’ll ever have.
  • Don’t ever get a pet, they’ll break your heart when they die.  (She gave good advice, but that’s not to say she didn’t contradict herself from time to time.)
  • If you leave for church 40 minutes early you’ll have time to say your prayers before Mass. “Can’t I say them from here?”  “Come on, let’s go.”  Corollary: If you arrive early for Mass, you are entitled to leave early – directly after Communion.  Just keep walking and don’t make eye contact.
  • If you arrive for your doctor’s appointment 30 minutes early they might be able to take you early. They never did and this was one of the few pieces of extraordinarily rotten advice she ever gave.

Flash to April 14, 2013.

Editor/Husband: “Why are you working on this now? It’s three weeks until Mother’s Day.”

“Because, I don’t want to be sitting up at midnight on the Saturday before Mother’s Day trying to get this finished.”

“Oh, you will.”

No, I won’t. And, I didn’t. And, here it is.

Early.

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom up in heaven … and to all moms everywhere!