Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Bad Guys" and awesome cousins


I had one of those post-vacation weeks where work was crazy and outside commitments were stacking up, preventing me from blogging through what was a pretty sweet week for our Mets.

And I’m heading off to Chicago on Monday for a glorious opportunity to see the beloved Mets in the friendly confines of Wrigley, thanks to my buddy Will and his wonderful sidekick Laurie.

I’ll have a full report after that game. Until then we can have a meeting of the Mets Book Club.

I had no interesting reading “The Bad Guys Won” by Jeff Pearlman, for a couple reasons.

First, I avoid negative books about the Mets, otherwise known as the collective works of Bob Klapisch. I generally don’t care to know that players can be jerks.

Second, I had reservations about Pearlman, who wrote the Sports Illustrated story that made John Rocker infamous.

Don’t get me wrong. Rocker was a complete knucklehead. But I’m not sure the piece was fair. When I interview someone I make sure they know they’re on the record, especially when I’m dealing with someone who is not used to dealing with the media.

Technically, I don’t have to. Because if you are speaking to a reporter, you need to know that what you do and say can appear in the paper. But you don’t want to take advantage of people, either.

And by the way Rocker was carrying on in the interview, I’ve always wondered if he was aware of what was going on, or whether Pearlman was egging him on. It’s just not my style of journalism.

But I was in a Borders Outlet store in Florida looking for some light reading for the trip home, and saw the paperback version for $3.99.

And I remembered that Pearlman had nice things to say about "Mets by the Numbers" on the back cover. Maybe he’s a decent sort after all.

So with just minimal investment and guilt, I picked it up and started reading.

Seems like the worst stuff is in the first chapter, about the food fight on the flight home from Houston after the 1986 playoffs. From there on there isn’t too much that we didn’t already know, like Gooden’s drug issues and Dykstra’s gambling and Strawberry’s unhinged first wife.

I do have to say that I almost stopped reading near the end of Chapter 11, when Pearlman is talking about the “Let’s Go Mets” song and video. He got to the part about non-players who appeared in the video.

“No star was too small. As a result the last 20 seconds is an embarrassing nod to such not-so-hot luminaries such as … two schlubs from Twisted Sister (neither is named Dee Snider.)”

Wow. Just, wow. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the video. So I’m not which members he insulted there. And Jay Jay French, Eddie Ojeda, A. J. Pero and Mark “The Animal” Mendoza might not care.

Pearlman’s from Mahopac. He needs to learn that one does not dismiss Long Island royalty as “schulbs.”

I nearly bounced the book off the forehead of the guy sitting in front of me on the plane. And he deserved it because he had the seat fully reclined, which means he was practically sharing my seat.

Ahem! No one in Twisted Sister is a "schlub."


The last time I was that ticked off reading a Mets book was when Peter Golenbock referred to some pitcher named Thomas George Seaver in his book “Amazin’.” Obviously I know of George Thomas Seaver, the Hall of Famer and face of the franchise. But I’ve never heard of that other guy.

Seriously, if you’re writing a team history, how can you possibly blow the name of the team’s greatest player?

Back to Pearlman. The rest of the book was just OK. It’s pretty much a retelling of the playoffs and the World Series win over the Red Sox. All that has been told in more detail in other places.

So, slights to Twisted Sister aside, I guess it was an OK book to buy on clearance in an outlet. And it passed the time on the flight home.

Then, I arrived home and found a mysterious package in my mailbox. I opened it, and with great joy discovered the program from the Mets’ Opening Day and a note from my cool cousin, Mike.

I must say that my cousins are taking extraordinary care of my Mets needs this season, and I am most grateful.

Mike said he got to the game early, saw the special program – and saw that they were going quickly. He grabbed an extra one for me, and even kept it dry and clean with some drunk sitting behind him was spilling their beer all over the place.

I must say this is the best Mets program I’ve seen in years. It’s almost yearbook-thick. There are a lot of historical photos, and even a poster of David Wright.

And unlike the Jeff Pearlman book, there are no cheap shots at Long Island legends.

2 comments:

Jeff Pearlman said...

Mike:

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the book more. I worked really hard on it, but—of course—all books have their flaws.

The one thing I will tell you is that Rocker was hardly taken by surprise. I was armed with both a tape recorder and a notepad, and he told me several things "off the record" (none of which I used, but the phrase certainly suggests he knew he was otherwise on the record).

Anyhow, I enjoy your blog. Feel free to hit me up at: anngold22@gmail.com

Best,

Jeff Pearlman

Anonymous said...

Dave,

I am glad you enjoyed the program!!! I will be back at Shea on 05/10 with Liam.

LGM

Mike