I love Thanksgiving.
I realize the Lord has blessed me in many, many ways both large and small, and too often I forget to take a moment and express gratitude.
I have my health, an awesome family, 20 years of marriage, a job I love and a baseball team that was in it until the last day of the season.
So I like to use this day to pause and reflect on those things and the many, many others that make my life full.
And naturally, you can’t have Thanksgiving without turkeys, and there were plenty to try to spoil the fun in 2007. We need to keep track of them as well.
Speaking of turkey, this year I’m making one with an awesome maple glaze that was in my Rachael Ray magazine, proof to all that I get it for the articles.
So, before the balloons start making their way to Herald Square, here is the 2007 edition of things to be thankful for – and turkeys, too.
I’M THANKFUL FOR: David Wright. Let’s run down the list of accolades. Starting third baseman in the All-Star Game, Silver Slugger. Gold Glove. And you just know he deserved the MVP, too. Wright was a monster down the stretch when the Mets needed him most. Sadly, he coudn’t do it all by himself. They made a statue of Wright for Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum because darn it, you can’t have enough of him.
TURKEY: You know Derek F. Jeter is going to be on this list. The only question what did Mr. Yankee do this year to bring shame and disgrace to the baseball world and all of New York. This time, Derek allegedly hurt little kids and sick, elderly and poor people. DFJ claims to be a resident of Florida, where there is no state income tax. But New York’s Division of Taxation of Finance claims Jeter was more of a New York resident in 2001 through 2003 despite what he claims and could owe millions of dollars in back taxes. Taxes, I might add, that pay for things like schools, roads and medical care for the poor.
Nice, Derek. How many sick people went untreated because you couldn’t be bothered to pay your fair share?
I figure Derek owes dues to the actors union, too, after that performance where he caught the ball, kept running and jumped into the stands as if he was making some heroic diving catch.
I’M THANKFUL FOR: Tom Glavine getting career win No. 300 as a Met. We haven’t had too many players getting neat milestones while wearing our uniform. Lenny Harris’ career pinch-hit record is kind of cool, be we’ve missed on guys getting the big numbers that people celebrate, your basic 500 home runs, 3,000 hits and 300 wins.
Then again, Glavine has never been too close to our hearts, so it probably figured that he’d reach 300 on the road in Chicago instead of before semi-adoring fans at Shea.
TURKEY: Of course, those fans won't be even semi-adoring next time Glavine rolls into Shea. And that's because he's has been exposed as a saboteur — Will branded him a Glavateur — who snuck across enemy lines pretending to be one of us for five years. Then when we absolutely needed him to be halfway decent — and just halfway decent — to salvage a season he went and coughed up 7 runs and couldn’t get out of the first inning against the lowly Marlins.
At least with Chipper “Bleeping Jones,” we know where he stands. We know he plans to do us in. Sneaky Glavine was allowed to infiltrate and took us down at the worst possible moment. Now he scampers back to Atlanta where he will be greeted like a hero.
TURKEY: Speaking of Chipper “Bleeping” Jones. A bitter, cranky and shameless Chipper, it seems, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was “shocked” that Wright won the Gold Glove.
“I wouldn’t have been disappointed had someone like (Pedro) Feliz or (Aramis) Ramirez won it,” Jones said. “I’m a little confused by the final tally — that’s a head-scratcher for me.”
When asked if he thought Wright’s offense prowess got him the defensive award, Chipper said “Then (Miguel) Cabrera should have won it, if that were the case.” “When I find out [Wright won] I was speechless, for quite some time. Certainly the guys with the least amount of errors and best fielding percentage quite obviously didn’t win it.”
Yeah, and some guys win an MVP Award because they had one hot series against the Mets.
I’M THANKFUL FOR: The University of Missouri’s magical football season. I never once witnessed Mizzou win a home football game in the entire time I was enrolled there. In fact, it was considered a good season back then when the team could break 20 points against Nebraska. Not win the game, mind you, just break 20 points.
I keep waiting for the team to collapse, and it just hasn’t happened. I don’t think Missouri has ever sniffed a national championship before, certainly not in the BCS era, so we’ll enjoy this.
TURKEYS: The Jets. There is a reason I don’t get too emotionally vested in the NFL. Apparently “Mangenius” isn’t the sharpest guy out there after all. No playoffs for our J-E-T-S this year. On the bright side, we exposed the Patriots for being video-taping cheaters and we still have the best uniforms in all of football.
The mighty Grand River is wide, but not very deep, making it a good home to turtles and possible beavers.
I’M THANKFUL FOR: Kayak Version 2.0. I’m the least outdoorsy person you know. My idea of roughing it is staying at a Hampton Inn that doesn’t have a breakfast bar featuring a waffle machine, and I don’t like roughing it.
But I am completely enamored of my 10-foot kayak, which I launch into the mighty Grand River near my home.
There’s just something cool about paddling out there through the woods, seeing all sorts of wildlife. There are lots of turtles sunning themselves on logs and at least three big brown things I assume to be beavers. Hey, it’s not like they’re standing still with name tags, like at the museum.
TURKEYS: People on jet skis and in canoes, plus Kayak Version 1.0, otherwise known as the Ky-tanic. Nothing shatters the peace and scatters the turtles and brown things I assume to be beavers like doofs roaring down the mighty Grand in their jet skis. On the bright side, you can hear them coming from behind a mile away so you can prepare for the wake that will jostle us quieter river-users. Then you have people in canoes, who, while not noisy, are unfriendly and smirking, especially the ones I encountered in Kayak Version 1.0 as it appeared to be folding in half and sinking. And memo to sporting goods salespeople: The posted weight limit on small kayaks is not a suggestion.
I’M THANKFUL FOR: The Crane Pool Forum. It’s a spot on the Web where Mets fan gather to discuss our favorite baseball team and pretty much everything else. As games are being played, the CPF gang follows along, commenting on every at-bat. Since I can’t get to Shea, this is as close as I can get to watching a game with friends. It’s also neat that some of the posters are the folks behind some of the best Mets sites out there, like Faith and Fear in Flushing and the Ultimate Mets Database.
TURKEY: Alex Rodriguez, now to be called Gobble GobbleRod. Sadly, the CPF gang was force to spend time speculating whether the Saddest Yankee would be a fit on the Mets after he opted out of his mega-contract. Of course, he went to the only team stupid enough to roll out $275 million for a player, and that would be the team he just opted away from. At least the headline writers at the New York Post will be happy.
I’M THANKFUL FOR: The heck with Yankees, let’s talk about John Maine! When the Mets needed a win to stay alive in the next-to-last game of the season, Maine went out and darn near threw the team’s first no-hitter, taking a gem into the eighth inning and losing it on a lame infield squibbler. He piled up 15 wins with a 3.90 ERA, a breakout year for a guy we thought was a throw-in in the deal that sent Kris Benson and he wife to the Orioles.
So there you go. May you enjoy the holiday, realize the many blessings in your life and look forward to the year ahead.