Thursday, June 24, 2004

Weekend in Review

by Dave Schmitt, Special to KankaNation

Last weekend began at Shea Stadium, where Ellen, my mom, my sister, and I watched the Mets play the Tigers. Before the game there was a ceremony honoring Mike Piazza for breaking the all-time home run record for catchers. Kanka would’ve loved all the old catchers in attendance. The living Hall of Famers were all there – Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, and Gary Carter. Two guys also represented the Tigers. One was obviously Pudge Rodriguez, who’s a likely future HOF catcher in his own right. The other guy? Turns out it was none other than the great catcher Lance Parrish. I’m name-dropping 80’s ballplayers. It’s fun. Anyway, Tommy Lasorda, being Mike’s “paison” (Italian buddy) and real-life Godfather, gave a speech. His best line of many: “When Mike first came to camp with the Dodgers, he played baseball like my wife shops: all day, every day!” (By the way, can anyone remember Tommy’s classic line from the pep rally a few years back, something about a “weight problem”, being hungry, and killing the other team? It’s driving me nuts trying to remember it). John Franco presented Mike with a bottle of wine and a fancy watch on behalf of his teammates. Hearing John talk, I think they keep him around just as a mascot. His arm’s obviously shot, but he’s so NY, and he definitely fits in more with the Mets than with the corporate mercenaries on the Spankmees. The organization gave Mike a sweet Chevy conversion sports car/SUV thingee. It was yellow, with his name, number, and 352 for the number of HRs as a catcher painted on it. Awesome. Of course Jeff Wilpon (son of owner) and Art Howe got booed (not as bad as on Gary Carter Day the season after the bungled A-Rod free agency, when we booed Steve Philips throughout his entire speech. Good times. They weren’t dumb enough to let those guys speak this time). But the best part of the ceremony came at the very end. Yogi, being in the Crazy Old Man Hall of Fame, was spacing out through the entire ceremony. I’m talking “staring straight ahead, eyes bulging, Ellen-level” spacing out. When everyone got up to leave the field, he had no idea what was going on, and just sat there. Finally, someone on the grounds crew came over and tapped him on the shoulder and told him it was time to get up. High comedy. The game was quality: walkoff homer by Mike Cameron (he made contact!)

Saturday night, we went to my Aunt Betty’s 50th birthday party. Nothing fancy, just family and some friends. Her boyfriend, Archie, is a member of the Loyal Order of the Moose (insert John Doyle joke here), which is a group similar to the Knights of Columbus (but not religious) of generally older men who hang out, do community service, etc. He was able to rent out their meeting hall for the party. So outside my family, most of the other people there were friends they had met through the Moose, mostly boring older guys in flannel shirts with their wives, trying to dance to an incredibly unhip DJ. So you can imagine how exciting this scene was (actually, it was a pretty fun time). Anyway, the only booze they had there was Bud on tap (fine by me) and wine-in-a-box (obviously fine by Ellen.) Waaaaaay too fine by Ellen. When I was ready for my second beer, she was on 3 wines. When I got 3, she was up to 5. Shit got ugly. But it wasn’t like she got progressively drunker. It just hit her. Basically, she got trashed at my aunt’s 50th birthday party, not exactly a boozefest of epic proportions. On boxed wine. I had to take her outside for air several times, and she kept falling over. She remembers little about the later parts of the evening. If Kanka had a cell phone, he definitely would’ve been drunk-dialed. Suffice to say, it was one of the funnier experiences I’ve had recently. So what’s the moral of the story?

Ellen +Boxed Wine = Trouble.

*Editors notes:
-"These guys all have 'wait' problems. They can't wait to get out there and win tomorrow!"
-So, is Cameron pulling a "Dave Justice in the 2001 World Series"?
-"paison"/"paisono"/whatever used to be such a cool word when they used it on the Super Mario Brothers Super Show. Now, whenever I hear it, all I can think of is that God-awful "Love, Italian Style" SI article about Gino Auriemma and Diani Taurasi. After that, all I can think of was the incredibly high amount of hits I get from people Googling for "Diani Taurasi"+boyfriend. I wish I was making this up. I really shouldn't have written this right after dinner...
-Well, before I turn this into a running diary on Dave's column, I'd better stop now. And remember: Always wipe, and stay of the pipe. Until next time, tell them I'm Chillin'.