People get a little crazy this time of year in my neck of the woods. Seems like a lot of us are on edge from being cooped up indoors with no end to winter in sight. It’s strange what you miss, the pavement, the color green, traction, SNY’s opening sequence. Sometimes “Medical Doctors” will tell you stuff, they’ll tell you you’ve got “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or “SAD” and they’ll prescribe light — like you’re a houseplant. So you have to sit in front of this crazy bright lamp for an hour at a time without actually staring at it … when you’re done you end up walking into a wall. Sometimes they’ll tell you to take pills, like Prozac or whatever, which can dampen you’re inertia if you know what I mean — for instance you find out your wife just accidentally dumped a gallon of paint stripper on your mustang and it’s, eh, no big thing. You find out Jose Reyes just signed with the Marlins and you’re like so what, we just got Ramon Ramirez!!
My thinking is you’d have to be crazy not to feel crappy when the weather gets like this. I think people who aren’t bummed out when it’s -12 should be diagnosed with some snappy acronym, maybe Detached Overt Resilience Condition or “DORC.” I see my neighbor all smiling and happy shoveling through 3 feet of snow cover and I wonder, what is wrong with him? See I could just say, oh it’s ok, he’s got DORC. It’s similar being a Met fan, how can you possibly feel good about what’s happened since Beltran’s called third strike without the help of some serious meds?? We need an acronym, maybe “Agitated Spectator Syndrome” … that way when your buddy has a conniption because Duda just dropped a fly ball you can say, dude, relax, you’re showing signs of A.S.S.
It’s hard because people in the upper midwest don’t complain (that’s a “New York” thing I’ve been told). You ask Bob next door what the hell was wrong with his ancestors that made them think this was a great place to live and he’ll just give you a blank DORC stare from under his eyebrow icicles. I mean there’s cold and then there’s “you’re going to die in 17 minutes if you stay out here” cold. There’s cold, and there’s “you’d better have a coffee can and a candle in your car in case you break down out in the middle of nowhere” cold. In grad school one time I thought I’d ride my bike to class when the air temp was -15, I’m tough I thought, I’m a New Yorker right? So I make it to my destination alive and start unwrapping myself like some sort of arctic astronaut. It was all good until I took my glasses off when a searing pain hit me right between my eyes. Note to self — wire rims? Not a good idea. They freeze to the bridge of your nose and you end ripping a layer of skin off.
Worst of all for me is that baseball seems like a far away memory this time of year, a childhood fiction. A dream where the grass is green and the sky is blue and the oil in your engine block isn’t a frozen viscous glob. Of course if you’re a Met fan the misery is exacerbated by this Alderson character taunting us with his tweets and his quips and his bald head and the glare coming off of it (you almost don’t need a light box if you could just sit in on a press conference).
Now we’re told by Alderson that “we’re close,” that we’ll be able to start spending again, pretty soon … not too far off now, almost there. It’s like this stupid groundhog who doesn’t see his shadow and suddenly we’re supposed to take Punxsutawney Phil’s groundhog word for it that winter’s almost over … Then you step out the door with your recycling bin wearing only a t-shirt and pajamas and get slammed in the face with several cubic feet of snow falling off your awning and you slip on the front steps and your recycling is all over your front yard. You sit there on your frozen butt wondering why you’re listening to a fat rodent, even worse, why you’re listening to Sandy Alderson. But hey, buck up buckaroo, we’re almost there, we just signed Latroy Hawkins. Reminds me of family outings as a kid when my sister and I would annoy my parents with an endless patter of “are we there yet?” Yeah, not quite.
When your dog does his business and tries to drag you back into the house, you know it’s not time to put your 1200 gram insulated Red Wing boots away. Likewise when Sandy Alderson tells you the bullpen “can’t get any worse,” I don’t think you need to worry about setting money aside for playoff tickets. Sometimes I have to drive slow because at certain penguin friendly temperatures rubber freezes, yeah, rubber (all sorts of stuff freezes you never knew could freeze) … so the flat part that was touching the pavement overnight clunks every time the tire rotates — it feels like you’re driving on cinder blocks as you make your way to work, thinking “are we there yet?” You listen to Alderson’s duplicitous meanderings and his vacant platitudes and you wonder if he really thinks we believe him, like he’s some sort of bald headed groundhog coming up after a long winter of trading Cy Young award winners away. It doesn’t look like we’re there yet – it’s supposed to snow another 4 inches today and we’ve got Marlon Byrd penciled in for right field. Alderson tells us we’ll start spending again and we can fix stuff “in a hurry” and that he hopes good results will manifest themselves “sooner rather than later,” because he’s “not getting any younger.” What is that supposed to mean? I’m not getting any younger either Sandy. Johan Santana’s shoulder sure isn’t any younger.
“I don’t think it’s a leap of faith to think we can be very good,” Alderson said. “It’s not that far off. This is not one of those things where, ‘Okay, gee, they’re two, three, four years away.’ No, we’ve got the currency, which is the young talent, to be in play for some of these things and we’re not that far away.”
Yeah, well gee I hope it’s soon too Sandy, because one of these days they’re going to find me frozen to my garbage bin trying to light a candle in a coffee can after locking my house keys in my car. It’s not getting any warmer either Punxsutawney Alderson.