Sunday Paper (Year 4, Volume XVIII)
It used to be that I was a walking encyclopedia of sports information.
A particular favorite of mine was players' uniform numbers.
I'm pretty sure I can give you the entire roster - plus numbers - of the 1986 Mets.
(And many similar-era Yankees. For example: a certain #2 who played shortstop for the Yankees, well before the current number 2 who will be the last to wear the number: Wayne Tolleson.)
But it wasn't just numbers - it was everything - including watching as much of as many games as I could.
I was pretty good at this right up until a few years ago.
But I think I'm a little bit past my prime when it comes to immersing myself in sports.
Here's why this has been on my mind.
As I mentioned last week, I was away Sunday through Wednesday doing some pretty intense work, and watching any kind of sports wasn't an option.
I came back to find out that Mike Pelfrey and Jason Bay were injured. I made an effort to check the score, but I missed the Rangers' Game 6 win over the Ottawa Senators. I had no idea whether or not Albert Pujols was still slumping and homerless. I missed Jose Reyes' return to Queens.
When I came back, I was busy at school Thursday when the Mets had perhaps their most exciting win of the season, and I was too tired to stay up Friday night for the ugliest Mets loss in a long time. (Though, when I went to bed towards the end of the 5th inning with the score Rockies 13, Mets 6, I was confident of two things: The Mets would lose, and Scott Hairston would complete his cycle. I may be losing an ability to pick up on certain sports details, but those did not escape me.)
Years ago, I might not have accepted a work assignment that would have taken me away from April baseball/playoff hockey for three days. Years ago I definitely would have been aware, before the eve of the NBA Playoffs, when exactly the playoffs started and who the Knicks would be playing. Years ago I would have been able to tell you every single name and number on the Rangers - now I'm lucky if I can tell you the stars'.
But I said before that I'm past my prime with all of this. When I was young it was the perfect age for absorbing statistics and numbers and everything sports-related. Now, family and work are my focus. And I don't necessarily mind it. Especially because, unlike a sports player who passes his prime never to go back again, I might get to experience my glory days one more time. Someday, I'll be retired. The kids will be grown up and on their own.
I will once again have time for sports.
And then, years from now, it will be just like it was years ago.
*Don't even get me started on fantasy baseball. I hate to say it...but I just haven't been able to stay on top of it this year. I'll see if I can make a run over summer vacation.
*I'm going to pat myself on the back and go ahead and say I was right that David Wright was pressing a bit trying to get the team record for RBI. Since he reached the record number he seems to be settled at the plate once again.
*Did I tell you yet I have my first trip to Citi Field all booked? The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend I'll be in the Pepsi Porch for the Mets and Padres. I can't wait to see the new walls, etc.
*A couple of receivers and some defensive improvement: I'm not going to pretend I know the players the Jets drafted, but it seems like they had a smart, effective draft.
*I had mentioned on Twitter...and I think on the blog as well...that Janet Marie Smith should have been given her due when Fenway celebrated its 100th birthday. She was part of a special "Ballpark" episode of "Only A Game" last week. Download the April 21st episode if you're interested - it's all about ballparks and ballpark architecture.
*Among many great things about the fact that there is an MLB Network and the fact that it's everything you want it to be: Bryce Harper makes his Major League debut and the network changes its nationally televised game to bring it to the world. I love it.