Last night I saw Bob Dylan perform at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. Although Bob Dylan has been one of my favorite musicians for about forty years, I had never seen him perform. I can’t even begin to describe what I saw and heard. I was looking at this person under a hat from a great distance, listening to his absolutely unique voice, hearing his unique music, and thinking that here I was, listening to someone who was better at what he did than anyone had ever been, one of the true geniuses of the twentieth century. I was so moved and so excited and so glad that our lives had overlapped.
One of the things I realized is that because I had been listening to Dylan’s music for so many years, some of his songs, and parts of his songs come into my head when I encounter all kinds of situations in life. We all do this, I’m sure, but Dylan has really helped to define the world for me. And since my world includes baseball, he has actually helped to define the Mets for me. I realized that when I think about the Mets and what they do, I use the words of Dylan all the time.
1) The Mets are in a slump: We’re “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again,” “What price do you have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice?” If the slump gets bad enough to knock us out of contention, just look up all the lyrics to “Desolation Row.” And you know, if you’re a Mets fan, how hard it is to “put on any airs when you’re down on Rue Morgue Avenue.”
2) A player, particularly an older player, stops producing the way he always has and you don’t know if this is temporary or if it’s the end (e.g. Piazza, Delgado, Martinez, etc.) “Something is happening, but you don’t know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?” (Cleon?)
3) A Met for whom you’ve had some admiration or affection, just leaves or fades away without a suitable goodbye, e.g. Steve Trachsel “Goodbye is too good a word, babe, so I’ll just say fare thee well. I’m not saying you treated me unkind. You could have done better, but I don’t mind. You just kind of wasted my precious time. But don’t think twice, it’s all right.”
4) A Met who was underperforming suddenly does fabulously well and people stop booing and start cheering, e.g. Tommie Agee, Carlos Beltran, etc. “You’ve got a lot of nerve, to say you are my friend. When I was down, you just stood there grinning. You’ve got a lot of nerve to say you’ve got a helping hand to lend. You just want to be on the side that’s winning.”
You see what I mean? I’m sure you do this too, with Dylan or with anyone else who means anything to you. Life, art, and baseball are a continuum. Tonight, I’m going to the ballgame. I hope it doesn’t rain and if it does I hope it doesn’t rain hard enough for there to be a rain delay. I hope they win, going into this long (and lonesome) road trip. Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks, when you’re trying to be so quiet?