This week I was on an assignment that sent me on a long drive to a small town in northern Michigan. I wouldn’t get home until well after midnight, but that was fine with me – I knew it would be one of those rare occasions I’d get to listen to WFAN.
Yup, radios here in the Midwest can pick up the Mets’ 50,000-watt flagship station, but only when the conditions are just right.
It’s got to be a crystal-clear night and you have to be far from any city where a crowded dial can turn 660-AM to static.
Thursday was cloudless, and my journey home from Gaylord took me through remote places like Grayling, Lake City and Cadillac. Note to Kiss fans: Yes, that Cadillac.
Loaded up with enough Diet Coke to keep me awake and on the road, I prepared to revel in the glory of New York accents and news of my first-place Mets for most of my three-hour trip.
Instead I was forced to hear about Mariano Rivera’s spikes.
Yes, that was the day that the Yankee closer somehow hurt his back tying his shoes. That injury prevented the Cyborg from taking the bump in the last inning in the series finale against Detroit.
And with Kyle Farnesworth dealing his hittable heat, the Tigers mounted a rally, pushed two runs across the plate for a walk-off win and avoided a sweep.
It also was the day that Gary “I didn’t know they were steroids” Sheffield went back on the disabled list and is likely headed for season-ending surgery.
If I can’t hear about a Mets victory, then the next best thing is hearing despondent Yankee fans whine. I heard more angst coming over their airwaves than I did at the middle school youth group lock-in I chaperoned the next night.
How does an athlete – especially one whose action is limited to one inning every couple nights – get hurt tying his shoe, one caller wondered.
Where was Jeter, the great Yankee captain, asked another? Derek F. Jeter was on the bench, nursing his own injury.
“Those shouldn’t be NYs on the Yankees caps, they should be Red Crosses,” opined on-air personality Steve Somers.
Plus, he commented, The Big Unit has been getting rocked and there would be no help from Roger Clemens, who opted to stay home in Houston rather than return to the scene of his bat-chucking.
Perhaps, Somers wondered, the Yankees are getting a little too old and brittle, and the farm system was a little thin, which is why a well-past-his-prime Terrance Long was called up from Columbus to patrol the ground once manned by Mantle and Maris.
Somers was then bereted by a caller named Carlos from the Bronx, accusing the host of having a Mets bias. Apparently Mike & the Mad Dog and their Yankee-lovin’ don’t phase Carlos as much as someone suggesting that a $194 million payroll is misspent on players whose best days are behind them.
Perhaps Yankee fans can't handle the truth?
As for my story, you might have heard about the case of mistaken identity involving two college students involved in a crash that killed five people in April. One was pronounced dead at the scene, the other airlifted to a hospital.
One was buried in Gaylord a month ago, the other recovering in a Grand Rapids hospital, surrounded by family.
Except, as it turned out, it’s the wrong family.
If you want to read something inspiring, here is a blog that was created by the family of the dead student who was presumed to be alive, and has since been updated by both families. They are remarkable people.
In other words:
If you’d like to learn a little more about the guy typing this, Greg of Faith and Fear in Flushing interviewed me for the Crane Pool Forum. You can find it about mid-way down on this entry: this entry.
If you liked the post about the Scott Kazmir trade, you’ll like this: An entire blog about the deal.