Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bat-chuckers, moles and knowing the enemy

Moles are the Yankees of suburban lawn pests.


My community college newspaper adviser once suggested that I had a problem recognizing gray areas.

He said I quickly decided that someone was either good or bad. And once a person was deemed one or the other I was either fiercely loyal or an enemy until death.

He was correct. And he was quickly dispatched to the “bad” side of the ledger, where he remains until death.

Truth be told, it’s important to identify the enemy and move on. And this summer there are two.

1) Moles

No matter what you’ve heard, I’m not one of those suburban lawn maniacs who obsess about the quality of their grass.

I like to keep it tidy and trimmed to be a good neighbor, but I’m not out there every day dumping expensive chemicals and manicuring the spots around the flowerbeds.

And I tend not to care about what’s living under the lawn as long as it doesn’t upset what’s on top.

But for each of the last three days I’ve pulled out of the driveway and discovered massive dirt piles, evidence of the most vile lawn vandals there are – moles.

We have some small mole battles every year. I caught one alive several years ago and set him free on the soccer field next door. At least I assume he landed safely.

This year the buggers seem to have declared war. And the one in the front yard seems intent on destruction.
It is SO on!

I consulted a co-worker who prides himself on mole slaying. He recommends two types of traps. The first one is called a “strangler” where Lawnwrecker T. Mole climbs on through then hits a paddle that releases spring-loaded device that squeezes him toward the bright lights.

The other is more gruesome, with the paddle releasing spikes of death from above, leaving little time for his miserable life to flash before his eyes.

The thing looks like one of the elaborate machines used by the celebrity villains on the Batman television show.


You know, the ones where they’d knock out the Dynamic Duo, place them in the device then leave before seeing if the thing actually worked. Except that they’d never remove the utility belts with the convenient Bat-tools that allowed the Caped Crusaders to wiggle free – every week.

Note to celebrity villains: Use a gun.

I tried the strangler for the couple years and the only things that got caught were my fingers and one hapless vole, sort of a skinnier, less destructive cousin of a mole.

Note to voles: Don’t crawl into traps set for other animals.

As for the other trap, I figured if I had that much trouble setting up the strangler, anything with spikes of death would only be more difficult and too embarrassing to explain at the inevitable visit to the convenience clinic for stitches.

And don’t think every mole in the yard would not be laughing his furry ass off as I get that tetanus shot.

So this year I’ve opted for some less mechanical methods, poking holes in their trails and inserting poison pellets that are supposed to be as irresistible as Ring Dings. We’ll see.

2) Roger Clemens

OK, Bat-Chucker rolled over to the “bad” list around the time he forced the Blue Jays to trade him to the Yankees so he could pocket an elusive championship ring.

His subsequent beaning and near bat-pelting of Mike Piazza pretty much bought him legendary status on the all-time punk list.

But I must admit that I softened my stance on Clemens over the past several seasons.

I was surprised that he turned his back on the vile Yanks to come out of retirement to play for the hometown Astros.

I bought into the whole story that he wanted to play close to home to spend time with his family, and loved the whole yarn about joyfully playing in the same organization as his son.

And it was nice when he led the team to its only World Series appearance.

I dismissed all the talk this spring about whether he would return to the Astros or play for the Red Sox or Yankees. The whole point about coming out of retirement was to be near home, and the Bronx is pretty far from Houston according to most maps.

There is no forgiving Clemens for trying to impale Piazza, even if his post-game excuse – “I thought it was the ball” – was good for a chuckle.

But maybe, just maybe, there is good in him after all. Maybe the world is a little more complicated than my black-and-white vision allows.

Perhaps the college adviser was correct, and that there is a gray area where a person can exist with both flaws and strengths, and that we can tolerate the bad while hoping the good can rise to the top.

But I was watching SportsCenter Sunday night when they showed the Yankees stopping their game in the seventh inning so Clemens could announce his return from Steinbrenner’s private box.

So the bat-chucking bastard wants to remain home near his family unless the Evil Empire wants to lay out a check or $20 million to bail out their rotation of the living dead for two-thirds of a season.

There is no gray area! He is bad!

He’s probably sharpening broken bats as we speak so he can hurl them at Jose Reyes during the inter-league games next month.

All the same, Clemens being exposed for the punk we knew he was is somewhat comforting. I was right all along.

And there will be no apology sent to former college advisers 20 years later.

28 comments:

Mike V said...

Even if he had gone back to the Red Sox to glom onto their success, you could have forgiven him for wanting to really write a cool ending to his career - returning to the place where he's had so much success, and thereby ending the whole notion of trying to sneak a Yankees cap onto his steroid inflated head during his Hall Of Fame induction.

The Stupid Jerk.

Dan in Texas said...

Dave, I predict utter failure. No juice, no fastball. Roger does little if anything to correct the capsizing of the once great Yankee empire and I will enjoy watching him sink with his ship.

G-Fafif said...

Keith Hernandez summed it up beautifully in San Francisco:

"What a teammate."

lifl said...

I think the only thing worse than hearing that Roger was coming back to the Yankess was hearing Susan Waldman almost having falling out of the announcers booth when they made the announcement.


Mike

G-Fafif said...

If I were running a team, I'd give Clemens the same flexibility. In fact I'd make it mandatory. "Just pitch -- and otherwise stay the bleep away from the rest of us."

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Oh man, I heard that Suzyn Waldman was over the top in her Clemens glee when the announcement was made.

And Greg, considering the assorted vileness floating around that clubhouse, that's really saying something!

Utter Pavano-like failure would be sweet.

Anonymous said...

Clemens is cut from the Duane Charles "Bill" Parcells, Nick Saban cloth. "Read my lips, no different teams." Gluttonous fools; all about the almighty legal tender (how much is enough for these clowns).
P.S. Black jerseys looked pretty good at ATT Park Tuesday night, Josh and I were about 20 rows behind the Mets dug out, the only thing that ruined an otherwise perfect night is when the steroid freak hit a homerun and the Giant fans were in an apoplectic rage!
P.S.S. I’m officially blaming you for not doing as well in my MBA program because I open your blog before my homework and whoosh, there goes that precious study time!!
TW Granite Bay

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Tim, I take full responsibility for the MBA issues! Sorry about that. But I have to ask if you brought the laptop to ATT so you could work during Glavine's gem. I'm wearing the green horns of envy that you were able to go!

Saban is a punk and is particularly viewed with disdain here in Michigan for his bolting from MSU. And does anybody think Parcells' latest "retirement" is going to last?

Josh Wilker said...

As a Red Sox fan, I'm not even close to writing off the Yankees this year, but I just don't see Clemens, a 6-inning pitcher, making that much of a difference. I'm just hoping this latest move of his clinches a Yankee hat on his hall of fame plaque. I appreciate the great work he did with the Red Sox, but he's a Yankee through and through. Let them have him.

Waldmyn's call was unbelievable. I never thought anyone could ever make John Sterling sound like a objective, even-handed professional, but she managed to do it. And in a Boston accent no less!

lifl said...

Please don't mention Nick Saban. As a "Dolphins fan in NY" (hey, thats a good blog name)it's hard enough dealing with all the crap I hear from the Jets fans about Saban cutting and running to Alabama. Now I have to hear what a huge mistake Cam Cameron made in drafting Ted Ginn Jr with his busted foot and all instead of Brady Quinn. I was watching the draft while away in Montauk. Some of my friends here in NYC said they could hear my primal scream from there. I still can't believe he went at 22. Oh well trust in your coaches.

Mike

Anonymous said...

Mike
I know it happens, some bright guy wakes up one day and all of a sudden likes the Dolphins, and in NY no less. In medicine we call that ichthyophilicpsychosis (fish loving pathology). Yes I know dolphins are really mammals, but medicine sticks to the old nomenclature. Don't worry, there is a cure close by. It's called THE JETS!!!
Oh, and shock therapy, I think Ricy Williams is trying that over his previous drug of choice.
Good Luck!!!
TW Granite bay

See Dave, whoosh more precious study down the drain! Your in huge trouble if I don't finish this degree. I might even buy you a Mercury Mets jersey.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Oh man, speaking of Ricky Williams. Today I read that he ONCE AGAIN has tested positive for marijuana.

Friends, I think we have now identified the single stupidest person on the planet.

Anonymous said...

Are you counting Paris Hilton?
TW

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Heck yes. Paris has her money no matter what. Williams has to actually earn his, and given his, um, recreational activities, he must burn through it pretty quickly. And when the NFL takes that income away AGAIN....

Joe said...

great post - I am just like you - it's good or it's bad. I don't have first hadn experience with moles, but if they are anything like Roger Clemans, then they deserve the strangler!

kaylee said...

I HATE ROGER CLEMENS great post by the way!

lifl said...

TW,

I don't want ti pull you away from your studies but I feel I must. While I do consider myself a bright guy I never woke up and became a Dolphins fan. I have been one since the age of eight. My parents were Jets season ticket holders. As a young child,you can only be subjected to so much loss, misery, and decadence that is the history of the NY Jets.

At some time you must look for a positive winning influence. That influence was Bob Griese and the Miami Dolphins. True, it is hard being a Dolphins fan in NY. There are so many Jet fans here. Too bad the Jets are not a NY team anymore.

Especially if one of our Assemlymen has anything to say about it.

Never forget 11/27/1994.

Lets go Mets,

Mike

Sunshine Sis said...

"Cuz' we're the Miami Dolphins, Miami Dolphin, Miami Dolphins Number one." How could you not root for a team with a winning song like that. Do the Jets even have a cute jingle?

See TW, I told you I knew all about football!

Anonymous said...

Mike, it's time to face the facts. The Dolphins haven't won a thing since 1974. All time record of Jets v Dolphins is Jets 42 Dophins 39 (1 tie). So I never really understand how any Dolphin fan could think they have a superior team. Yes, they were good when you were wearing your orange and turquoise footsie pajamas. But lets face it, they were crushed their last two Superbowls in the 1980's no less, and Marino was a total bust!!
He is the biggest homer on Inside the NFL, and what is up with the nutra-whatever commercials? (he hates to be out of the lime light). I'd rather watch Broadway Joe smashed on booze, hitting on a female reporter than Marino begging for more TV time. At least Namath won a superbowl.
Also, don't worry about my studies, I have plenty of education, but I think you need education on two things.
#1) Football teams generally represent cities not states (common mistake, so you're forgiven). So the Jets represent NYC, not NY state (just wanted to spell it out as clear as possible)
#2) Never forget the game voted the best MNF game ever, Jets v Dolphins 2000! Now that was a game!!
By the way, who is Cam Cameron and who is the quarterback?
I can't wait for this season. You should go to the Jets v Dolphins game with us in FLA, it's like a Jets home game, half the stadium wears green and white!! I'll buy you a ticket, if you can stand the pain!!
TW Granite Bay

lifl said...

Oh TW,

I think I hit a nerve. That seems to be a very easy thing to do with Jets fans.

The last time I checked NYC (which you say the Jets represent)is not and has never been in New Jersey. Why don't they represent Newark? That is close to the Meadowlands and actually is in New Jeresy. May we could even call them the Florham Park Jets.

Funny thing is that NYC does not seem to want to be represented by the Jets. Rememeber the West Side Stadium? Had that been built then I could agree that yes the Jets would be representing NYC.

As you and I both know the Jets fanbase is on Long Island. They have had their offices at Hofstra which is why they have claimed they were still a New York team. But since they did not get the West Side Stadium they are moving out of Hofstra to NJ. I'm taking my ball and going west to the Graden State. Good riddance.

How sad is it that the Jets have had to play in GIANTS STADIUM since 1984. Talk about red headed step children. Hopefully the new stadium will actually have some green and white paint in it. Not just wallcoverings to cover the logo of the true occupants of Giants stadium.

Why do you have to pick on old Dan. Yeah he loves the TV and he is a big fan of himself but he is also the best QB that played the game. Even Jets fans deep in their hearts know that. Oh, when is Kenny O'Brien getting inducted into the HALL OF FAME? Let me know. You and I can go to Canton and watch that ceremnony together.

I am happy to see that Broadway Joe is back on the twelve steps program. Last I heard he was up to # 10.

While speaking of numbers:
AFC Championships
Miami Dolphins- 6
NY Jets- 0

AFC East Champions
Miami Dolphins - 12
NY Jets - 2

Are you a medical student? If you are I hope you are studying ot be a cardiologist. Every season thousands of Jets fans need a good one since they love to build their fans up and then break their hearts.

I would love to join you down in Florida on 12/02. i will even bring ny aqua and orange footsie pajamas. But first watch on 09/23 and see how many aqua and orange jerseys there are in Giants Stadium, New Jersey.

This is baseball season and I am happy to see that we are both Mets fans. So we can agree on that. The NFL camps will be opening soon enough. For now lets sit back and watch our Mets win.


Mike

Anonymous said...

Mike,
Talk about hitting a nerve, sorry about Danny boy, but best quarterback? You really are living in the past. Usually the best win superbowls, at least you admit he is full of himself.
Thanks for the age compliment, but I've been a Head and Neck Surgeon for 11 years, so if you need anything cut out, i'll be happy to help :).
Out of respect for my cousin Dave, I'll stop there, you probably get enough at work! It is obvious we are both passonate football fans, this should be a great season, until then:

Go Mets!!! (you sure your not a Yankee fan?)

TW Granite bay

lifl said...

TW,

Agreed. What would sports be without good natured fan debate. It what makes it all fun.

If you are ever on Long Island on a Sunday during football season look me up. I'll buy you a beer and we can continue while watching a game. Dave knows how to contact me. I am his cousin also.

Oh and I am most definitely not a Yankees fan and if i need any head/neck surgery I will look elsewhere :) Preferably for a doc wearing aqua and orange scrubs but thanks for the offer :)

Lets go Mets!!!!!!

Mike from LI

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Um, here in Michigan we have the Lions. And they suck.

(Agreement all around.)

Anonymous said...

Mike,
Thanks for the offer!! You never know, I go back fairly frequently.
TW Granite Bay

lifl said...

Hey Dave,

The Lions had probably the best draft this year. every year I think they will improve and then it just happens....they stink.
I always loved to watch Barry Sanders play. In my opinion he is the best running back to have played the game.

I think this is a record for comments on the blog Dave.


Mike

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

"I think this is a record for comments on the blog Dave."


Heck yeah! And some of them are even about the post! :)

Guess I should write about football and call it Jets Guy In Michigan.

I've been to two Lions games at the Silverdome -- Thanksgiving both times -- and covered a training camp at Saginaw Valley State University.

There are a lot fewer seats at Ford Field, making it a lot tougher to get a ticket.

lifl said...

Ford is a beautiful stadium. I got to see it when I went to Comerica three years ago. I loved Comerica too. I hear that Citifield and Comerica are going to be very similar in design and feel. Same architectual firm.

Mike

Anonymous said...

Until they get rid of Matt Millen (God knows why he's not gone yet)I think the Lions will continue to stink. Maybe Barry Sanders knew something we all didn't.

Just thought I'd add to the record.

TW granite bay