Archive for December, 2007

Meet Me in Secaucus

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

This Saturday, December 8, from 9 to 3, I’m going to be signing, inscribing, and selling copies of Mets Fan (for less than on Amazon, no middleman) at the Magic Monikers Autograph and Memorabilia Show in The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Harmon Meadows in Secaucus, New Jersey. 

This is a big show.  Tom Seaver, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and Yogi Berra are going to be there on Saturday.  Mike Piazza will be there on Sunday.  You can read about the whole lineup here, and you’ll also find out how much each of them gets for signing various items (don’t worry, I’m not charging anything for signature and inscription).  I’ve never been to an autograph and memorabilia show before and I think it will be fascinating.  I promise to blog about the scene. 

I’ll be at a table as a guest of Katherine Foronjy and Joe Coburn, the filmmakers who made Mathematically Alive, a film about Mets fandom which just won “Best Documentary” at the New Jersey film festival.  I’ve written a review of Mathematically Alive on my main site, which you can read here.  Their DVD of the film will be available for sale at the show and online. 

I want to repeat what I’ve said before.  Mathematically Alive is genuinely terrific and I am not saying this because I’m friends with these people or because they’re letting me have space at their table.  I hardly know them.  But they sent me a review copy of their film when I agreed to introduce them at the film festival.  I was blown away by how good it was, how moving and how meaningful it was as a representation of the psychology of the Mets fan.  It filled me with happiness and pride.  The DVD would make any fan a great holiday gift and I am hoping that this wonderful film will get some theatre distribution or some attention from the Mets or SNY.  Trust me.  My critical credibility means a great deal to me.  Anyone who is reading this blog or who has read my book would love Mathematically Alive

So if you’re anywhere near Secaucus (and most people are), please come by our table at the Magic Monikers show.  We’ll be happy to sell you (and sign!) some things that may give you more Mets fan pleasure for the dollar than the signatures that the other people at the show will be selling.  We’ll also probably have more time to chat. 

I hope to see you there.  If you come to the show, stop by and say hello!


I Don’t Want to Know What You Think

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Okay, I’m not happy about the Milledge trade, but of course I don’t know any of the things that may be known by the people who made it.  To me, Milledge was cool.  He was young, bright, interesting, and brash.  I thought he looked as if he could develop into a great hitter.  He was what we used to call colorful, a bit unpredictable.  He had imperfections that made him an interesting story to pay attention to.  Not enough modern ballplayers are like that.  He was fun.  But what do I know?

So we trade him for Schneider, who is supposed to be a really good defensive catcher.  That could be interesting to watch.  It’s been awhile.  And we also get Ryan Church, whom I was beginning to get excited about.  A double every ten times up?  There were some reasons to feel hopeful when you looked at his stats.

But then I’m reading my blogs yesterday and I run across this item on Faith and Fear in Flushing and The Ed Kranepool Society.  Apparently Church subscribes to some traditional teachings of the Christian religion that most modern forms of Christianity have moved away from and that several modern forms of Christianity have not.  He believes that if you don’t accept Christ as your Savior, you’re damned.  Apparently Church was compassionate enough to worry about what this was going to mean for his Jewish ex-girlfriend (with whom I am sure he engaged only in activities sanctioned by the traditional teachings of the church).  Apparently, Church was stupid enough to share such fears with a Washington Post reporter investigating a Pennsylvania evangelical group providing unpaid chaplains to baseball teams. 

Now I have to tell you that if you gave me a choice to root for someone who danced in celebration of a home run before he got into the dugout and someone who sincerely believed that no one could possibly go to heaven unless they believed in Christ, I would unhesitatingly choose the former. 

But I don’t like having to make that choice.  I know this sounds harsh.  But I really don’t want to know what baseball players think. 

Why not?  They’re people.  They have a right to their ideas.  Haven’t I been pleased at points to learn that Mets like Tom Seaver, Tug McGraw, and Carlos Delgado agreed with certain political beliefs I myself had.  Yes, but I am willing to forego the pleasure of this to avoid the pain of learning that a ballplayer I will forever love to the bottom of my heart can possibly compare the execrable fool and demagogue Rush Limbaugh to George Washington. 

I don’t want to know what they think.  I don’t want to take the risk.  I need to have some control over what these players are to me, in my head.  It’s different with artists, writers, etc. because what they believe is an important part of what they create.  With baseball players it’s different.  It’s not that I have any trouble with baseball players being religious.  I deeply and sincerely respect their religious beliefs.  I have no problem with the devotion of someone like Pedro Martinez.  So, yeah, it’s okay for them to express themselves.  As long as what they say isn’t divisive. 

Look, I’m a decent enough guy.  Yeah, I have a Jewish heritage, and yeah I’m an agnostic (I don’t know if there’s a God, but I kind of believe that if there is one, he’s not going to take the trouble to want to torture me for eternity because of my sincere and even respectful doubt).  How do the people who still believe in this ancient understanding of salvation and damnation think it makes me feel for someone to say that a giant concentration camp awaits me after my death because of who I was and what I believed?  I know that Anne Coulter doesn’t care about how I feel.  But if someone is going to get my love and my cheers and play right field for me, I want him to care how I feel.

Oh, but why should he?  There are millions who still believe this and they don’t care.  Still I want baseball to be different, an island of possible unity in a sea of harsh division.    I root for a team that was also loved by Richard Nixon and is now loved by Bill O’Reilly.  I want the Mets to be a place where I can share a beer with these men.  I want to stand around with them and Tim Robbins, and Susan Sarandon, and Jon Stewart and have us all talk about the ’86 Mets.  Baseball is like a truce, but in order for the truce to work, there have to be ground rules.  Guys, think what you will, but watch what you say.  Keep it unifying, even if that means keeping it innocuous.

So now I’m stuck with this Church guy.  He comes with this baggage.  You think Milledge has baggage?  This is baggage.  Part of me feels that I should give him a chance to win me over.

Maybe he will.  But don’t hold your breath.