I was at a Mets game last night, and I think it was around the sixth inning when they commenced with the ritual shooting of the t-shirt gun. Call me a grinch, but I just don’t understand why it’s ever necessary to shoot a t-shirt out of a t-shirt gun into a horde of drunk people who are willing to fight for it. While we’re on the subject, I don’t understand why it’s ever necessary to be part of a horde of drunk people fighting to get at a t-shirt being catapulted at you from a t-shirt gun. I take it personally when someone shoots a t-shirt at me from a t-shirt gun. I think it seems aggressive. But, apparently, I’m in the minority. Where it is my impulse to duck or seek cover in the bathroom when this horrifying display of greed and hostility begins, everyone else seems so hell bent on getting a t-shirt in this manner that they are willing to claw eyes to do so. I saw three guys dive to the pavement—the concrete pavement—as part of this effort last night. If I had just landed on earth and witnessed this spectacle, I would probably be under the impression that this was the only way to acquire a t-shirt. That there were maybe five on the planet, they were a highly valued commodity, and that this was what you had to do if you wanted one.
What’s funny is that it’s NOT the only way to get a t-shirt. True, one of the few free ways to get a t-shirt. But, tell me, is it worth it? You don’t even know what shirt you’re actually diving for as it’s being hurled at you. You don’t know if it’s the right size. You’re at the baseball game, so clearly willing to invest a certain amount of money into your love for your team. This makes it hard for me believe that it is the price of the t-shirt that compels you to risk life, limb, and self-respect diving for the one coming out of the gun rather than paying for the one in the store. The only conclusion that I can come up with, therefore, is that you think that if you catch one, it somehow entitles you to bragging rights. I’m just unclear as to what it is you now feel you have the right to brag about. Certainly not owning the t-shirt because, as we’ve gone over, there are other, less stupid ways to go about getting one. When I posed the question to my friend, she responded, “People just like catching things—anything—at stadiums, and then telling people about it.” It was, in essence, the catching itself that they felt had earned them the privilege to showoff. The right to say, “I don’t have hands like tits.”
I have to admit. Maybe I’m slow, but this confused me still. Is the idea that if you catch something at the game, it is tantamount to having participated in the playing experience? You get, I assume, that the flying t-shirt bears no relation to the game that you’re watching, right? It actually doesn’t matter if you catch that flying t-shirt or not and, furthermore, I’m guessing it didn’t require a whole lot of skill. So I’m still unclear. What’s the purpose? As I pressed my friend on the issue, she stood firm by her initial assertion, repeating, “I’m telling you. People just love catching stuff at stadiums and then talking about it after.”
The seemingly illogical nature of this hypothesis might have led me to question my friend and her judgment. However, I saw something last night that made me realize that the behavior of people—Met’s fans, at the very least—is not governed by logic. What did I see that led me to this conclusion? Unabashed, unbridled enthusiasm about the possibility of posing in a picture with Mr. Met.
Now there are mascots, and there are mascots—like Luseal—that make no sense. Mr. Met, however, is a category of mascot unto himself. People have been anthropomorphizing adorable animals since the dawn of time. (Well, maybe not for that long, but at least since the dawn of Disney.) I have grown inured to mascots and cartoons that take otherwise perfectly lovable creatures and make them into something disturbing and grotesque. (See aforementioned Luseal.) Mr. Met, however, is the only example that comes immediately to mind of the decision to take an inanimate object—one of my favorite inanimate objects—and bring it to life in a form at once horrifying and outrageously ridiculous. Baseballs don’t have legs. Or faces. If you’re going to have a mascot—which you shouldn’t—you definitely shouldn’t give it legs or a face if it doesn’t already have one. Even if it’s not an official rule, I would think it was something universally understood. Right, but I’m the schmuck who also doesn’t get what’s so fun about diving onto concrete for a t-shirt.
Leaving the legs and face issue aside, the fact is that Mr. Met breaks the cardinal rule of mascotism. No, not the one where mascots aren’t allowed to exist. That he breaks that one is a given. In addition, however, like Luseal, Mr. Met also falls into a category of mascots that don’t make sense. Now, the sport is baseball; the team is the Mets. You are just one team, and therefore, your mascot should represent something related to your team. Why do you get to appropriate the baseball as your mascot? How does the baseball belong to you anymore than it does to any of the other twenty-nine teams? A baseball mascot only makes sense if you are trying to give a mascot to the entire sport. However, we’ve established that mascots shouldn’t exist. We have also established that—should they exist—they should never take the form of inanimate objects. Therefore, there is actually no context in which Mr. Met would be acceptable.
While we’re on the subject, it really bothers me that, in addition to having to tolerate this mascot as a thing that exists in the universe, I am asked to address him as “Mr.” I’m sorry, but the Mr. title is one that I reserve for people who have earned my respect. I would like to learn Mr. Met’s full name so that I can start addressing him as “Emmanuel” or “George” rather than continue to suffer the indignity of referring to a baseball as Mr. anything. People don’t call me “Ms. Greenberg,” and I’m pretty sure that I’m better than an oversized baseball with a creepy face and chicken legs. Like Barry Zito, I hate to sound cocky, but I’m just pretty sure that this is true.
And, yet, he comes, and people gather. For emphasis, let me explain it one more time. They gather to have their pictures taken with a big, giant, grinning baseball. Am I not fun? Am I completely missing something? Is it indicative of the fact that I am fundamentally flawed that I would rather be—oh, I don’t know—diving for a t-shirt from a t-shirt gun than posing for this photo?
The good news is that the Mets had an amazing eighth inning, thanks in large part to Carlos Delgado, and as a result, people at the game didn’t have to leave with the feeling that the photo with the baseball or the t-shirt gun dive had been the highlight of the evening. If that had been the case, it would have depressed me. Almost as much as watching the big “F” for final flip onto the scoreboard announcing that the Yanks had lost yet another—2-1. The loss was due in large part to Damon’s failure to handle a routine fly ball—for the second time that evening. Damon, however, has already addressed the issue with his glove manufacturer. He’s pretty sure that it’s the glove.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who’s troubled by our recent hardships. My boy Frost Tip had plenty to say about the issue earlier when he publicly called out the Yanks, telling them they needed to start playing more aggressively. (A move that Girardi didn’t seem to be in love with.) A-Rod said of the run deficits in recent games, "It's frustrating. These games, we have to be able to at least score three, four or five runs to help these guys." To quote someone smarter than me, “Talk about the pot calling the kettle an asshole.”
Fortunately, I am writing this so late in the day that I can actually report on a 5-1 Yankees victory for tonight. Pettitte was solid as a rock for seven innings. He was the Pettitte I know and love. Jeet and Nady both came through as well. Nady gave us a first inning RBI single. (Am I the only one who kind of wants to marry him right now? Too early in the relationship to be making that decision?) Jeter gave us a two-run shot over the right field wall. It was significant, not only because it gave us the now unusual security of extra runs, but also because the blast moved him into a tie with Roger Maris for eleventh place on New York’s all-time dinger list with 203. Well played, DJ. Hats off.
Cap was not the only one with a milestone home run tonight. Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 609th, tying him with Sammy Sosa for fifth on the all-time list. Sometimes I wonder what that list would look like had it not been for the introduction of—um, how do I say this?—B-12 shots into the game. Oh, don’t listen to me. I’m just bitter because my team is six back behind the Chowdas, and that’s just in the race for the wild card. Oh, that and because Pavano has disappointed me, yet again, by grumbling about a stiff neck. I’m disappointed, not by the possibility that he might miss another start, but by the lack of creativity that has clearly gone into selecting his ailment. I was sure that this time it was going to be plague. I’m going to give Coco Crisp a break tonight because I’m saving all my love for you, Carl Pavano. Guess what, Carl Pavano? You suck Carl Pavano. Aw, hell. There’s plenty to go around. So guess what, Coco Crisp? You suck Coco Crisp.