200 Miles From the Citi

July 18, 2010 12:01 AM

Sunday Paper (Year 2, Volume XXIX)

I'm not looking to upset anyone on a Sunday morning...but this really gets my blood boiling, and I have to comment on it.

This reminds me of when my cousin and I used to watch the Jets at training camp at Hofstra University.  It was a fun day - you get close to the field, watch them run their drills, and they come over and sign autographs.

(I should note that I am a terrible autograph seeker - always have been.  For some reason as a kid I always got tremendously nervous near the players...and I was way too shy to stick out a paper and pen to ask for a signature.  This continued into adulthood.)

Anyway, the players all ate at a central cafeteria, and you could catch most of them on their way in.  There was a barrier, but a group of people would hang out at the barrier, and some of the players (and many, many of the lesser-known players - good for them) would come over and interact and sign autographs.

Often the autograph seekers were parents with their kids.  But there were quite a few adults there by themselves (me and my cousin among them).  But the absolute worst were the guys who were there using their kids to get autographs from the players.  They stood out like sore thumbs.  You could tell which kids were all about getting autographs for themselves, who just happened to have their dads there.  It was also clear which kids were essentially working to get autographs for their dads, whether they were selling them or keeping them.  And one of the telltales were the key words:  "Hey, (player name here, in this case 'Gary'), sign the picture [or football, or whatever] for a kid."

If I could talk to the guy who tried to set up Gary Carter for humiliation here, I would say: Gary Carter has his flaws.  (For evidence, far more obnoxious than his refusing to sign a picture for you is the fact that the first 30 seconds or so of your video he is touting his power at the plate.  Gary, I love you, but you're already in the Hall of Fame, give it a rest.)  But he has his reasons for not signing the pictures.  And those reasons are charitable.  Do NOT try to make Gary Carter look bad.  Often enough, he does this pretty well on his own.  Even though I've never met him, I'm confident my childhood hero is a decent person.  Click here for an autograph story that helps prove it.

I was hesitant to run this video and extend this guy's 15 minutes of fame.  But I felt a stronger need to defend Gary Carter.  Carter did nothing wrong.

-Deadspin had the story originally.  Here's their chronology of the messed-up events.

*In case you didn't stay up for it, the Giants beat the Mets again Saturday night.  Yipes.  The wheels are falling off.

*This little note was buried in Tyler Kepner's baseball roundup in the New York Times last Sunday - I can't believe I haven't heard it anywhere else...though I guess it's a bigger deal next year:  Beginning in 2011, the Mets will begin paying Bobby Bonilla $1.2 million a year for the next 25 years.  That is disgusting.

*I have my DVR set for tonight's debut of "The Club" on MLB Network.  It's kind of like 'Hard Knocks', I guess, following the Chicago White Sox.  I'll watch it when I get back from Seattle - but I've been really intrigued by the commercials for the show.

*PS - Nick Mangold tweeted this link - the first ad for Hard Knocks.

*Joel Sherman (of the New York Post) has been on the MLB Network Radio morning show this week (not sure if that's his permanent gig or not), and he said Buck Showalter would be a great fit for the Orioles because he would get that locker room in order.  I was surprised, because I never gave the Orioles chemistry a second thought, but Sherman said he saw a locker room of personalities in disarray in Baltimore.  He said that was Showalter's strength in New York and Arizona as he laid foundations there for World Series championships.  He told this story:  Showalter watched Mel Hall at spring training in about 1992, and told Sherman (I think this was said directly to Sherman), "You can be a [jerk], but if you are a [jerk], you'd better play like Barry Bonds."  Hall was no Barry Bonds...and the Yankees released him soon after.  

*Heard this story the morning of George Steinbrenner's death, and I don't know that there's a better summary of his life.  Billy Martin, Junior, told the story on MLB Network Radio (the Jim Memolo and Ed Randall show) about a woman who worked in the Yankees offices.  She ordered the lunches, and Steinbrenner told her he did not want mayonnaise on his sandwiches.  She ordered sandwiches with mayo two or three times, so he fired her.  Some other woman in the office worked up the nerve to tell Steinbrenner that the only reason the woman worked there was to put her son through college.  Steinbrenner paid the son's college tuition.  But he did not re-hire the woman. 

*On a related note (well, satellite radio related, anyway), it seems I only have the XM on a trial basis for three months, so I'll be able to enjoy it through the end of baseball season, which is good enough for me.

*One more Yankees-related note.  Let me preface this by saying no Yankees should have felt obligated to go to Bob Sheppard's funeral.  Partly because you're entitled to mourn in your own way, and partly because I'm sure the funeral and surrounding area was filled with people who didn't care a lick about Mr. Sheppard but wanted to catch a glimpse of some of the Yankees.  But there was a bit of a stir this week about why the Yankees weren't there...and Derek Jeter's answer was that he didn't even know when the funeral was.

I find this disturbing.  Are ballplayers really that isolated from the world that they don't catch wind of this sort of thing?  (I never actively sought this information but I knew the funeral was on Thursday in Queens...I think.)  Or are the Yankees poor communicators?  Either way, I feel like neither of those situations should have happened....or else Jeter is not being truthful about why he didn't attend the funeral.  Something about that whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth...and remember, I'm coming from the point of view that I don't think any of the Yankees needed to be at the funeral.

*GQ did a Top 5 and Bottom 5 of the Major League broadcasters.  I mostly agree with their picks.  For a more thorough (4-year-old) analysis, I did this during the 2006 All Star break:  American League and National League.  Most of the broadcasters are the, I had not listened to White Sox games enough.  Those broadcasters are now the reason I root against the White Sox being successful - their obnoxiousness increases along with the success of the team.

*Two years ago today was The Last Play At Shea.

*Whew.  Lots on my mind this week.  Thanks for sticking through all that.  Next time you hear from me, I'll be in Seattle.

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