I hope this new year finds you happy and healthy. We celebrated by heading to downtown Grand Rapids to see the Plain White T’s play outside in sub-20-degree weather and had a blast.
We came back in time for cheese fondue, a warm fire and watching the balls — plural, one in Grand Rapids and the other in Times Square — drop on television.
The waning days 2008 also required some searching, as you’ll see in the first Deezo Friday Five of 2009.
1) I was searching for a shirt to help my sister celebrate her Tom Seaver birthday and came across this slice of glory.
I’ve never seen a Tom Seaver shirt like this, and promptly declared it to be the Greatest Shirt Ever.
The photo was from an eBay listing, and the shirt is a medium, which wouldn’t even fit my son anymore. So I searched and searched online to find a store or site selling it.
None. The only place it would show up was that same eBay posting.
Greg suggested I contact the vendor to see if he has more, or if he could tell me where he got the shirt. Again, a strike out, as the vendor said he had only the medium and didn’t know where got that one.
His listing said the shirt was produced by Majestic, and I scanned the company’s web store, but didn’t see the shirt. Then I fired off an e-mail to the customer service department complete with an attachment showing the design. No word back yet.
So, if anybody has seen this design and knows where I can find one of these beauties, please let me know.
While searching, I came across this orange Seaver shirt that also is really cool, though doesn’t have the retro look of the other design.
2) Speaking of things that are hard to find. Mrs. Mets Guy is a knitter and fell in love with Starbucks’ Christmas decorations, which included shiny red balls with green balls of yarn used to make wreaths.
We’re in Starbucks enough that I know far too much about the baristas and baristos — is that what you call a guy who works there? — and one day I mentioned her appreciation of the wreaths and asked if I could buy one after the holidays.
The manager said he’d be happy to save one for me. And the day after Christmas I was in there and noticed that the wreaths were down, and assumed the manager had one in the back waiting for my all-to-frequent arrival.
Alas, he said he was confronted by a customer as soon as he opened the doors, and she was very insistent. I think he forgot.
But it’s not like there’s only one Starbucks in the area, or even on that street.
So Monday I went to another, noticed the wreath was still there and inquired. The manager said there were a number of people interested, and she made a rule that they would go to the first person who asked for them on New Year’s Day. And they opened at 7 a.m.
So I set the alarm for 6:15 a.m. despite watching the ball drop and staying up late the night before, and was in the Starbucks parking lot by 6:45 sharp.
I jumped out of the car as soon as the manager turned the key. And she said she doesn’t know what happened, but the wreaths were gone. But I was welcome to a free coffee as a token of apology and some of the other decorations.
I walked out disappointed, but with a tall caramel frappuccino and some other ball and yarn decorations.
Then I realized that there were still more Starbucks, and went across town to another, and saw that not only was a wreath in the window, but there were three in the store!
“About the wreaths,” I asked.
“Stop,” the barista said, cutting me off. “They’re already claimed.”
I predict that next year, Starbucks will come up with a scrapbooking motif to continue tapping into the lucrative craft and latte market.
3) Johan Santana can kick Derek F. Jeter’s butt in baseball bocce.
I know this because I got an awesome Wii baseball game for Christmas — MLB Superstars — that has real players and mascots doing everything but play baseball.
Santana, David Wright and Jose Reyes are among the guys playing bocce on a baseball diamond, dodging gophers and lawnmowers.
They also shoot snacks into the stands using those hot dog-shaped guns mascots use. Mr. Met, in fact, is seen roaming through multiple games, sometimes causing trouble, like when he kicks the ball around in baseball golf.
Some of the gaming sites are wailing on the game. They don’t get it.
There are plenty of games where you can play baseball. But most of us obsessive types notice that the sport bleeds into all the other things we do.
If I’m going to play golf — and you can create your own person in the game — of course I’d rather play it with David, Jose and Johan, and I’d rather play it by hitting the ball with a bat and it would be great fun for all of us to gang up on Derek F. Jeter.
4) My in-laws have a suicidal mailbox.
Or, I should say they had a suicidal mailbox.
We visited last weekend, surviving a challenging, five-hour trek through some of the densest fog ever. We pulled up and debated whether we passed the house, backed up a little and felt a big THUD.
Turns out the mailbox somehow hurled itself into the path of my Vue. It’s not like I could have possibly backed up the driveway and into it. Can’t be my fault.
But we went to Lowe’s the next day and happily picked out a new one -- the Mail Master -- and installed it.
I say happily because this could have been worse in two ways.
First, the wooden pole that goes into the ground and supports the box could have broken, which means we’d have to somehow dig out the old one and get cement to set in the rain-soaked ground. No telling if that would have worked, or how long it would have taken.
Then, it could have been the neighbor’s box. If you think it’s hard to explain to a relative how you ran over their mailbox, image doing it to a stranger without them calling the police.
5) Tuned to the MLB Network debut Thursday night.
Have to say there was much fear when the first thing they do is show an old Yankee game, then roll out Phillie big mouth/shortstop Jimmy Rollins for the “Hot Stove” show.
But, despite Rollins, the show was pretty neat. And next week they’re showing the Ken Burns Baseball epic.
That first aired in 1994, the year of the strike. I was covering the All-Star Game FanFest and was invited to a media breakfast to talk about the documentary.
We were seated at round tables, most with a retired player. I was at a table with former Brooklyn Dodger Joe Black and several people who had no business getting a press pass and, based on their indifference, had never heard of Joe Black.
I knew he was the 1952 Rookie of the Year, and had spent eight years in the Negro Leagues before getting a crack at the majors. I think I impressed him when I correctly pronounced the name of his team, the Elite Giants, which sounds like e-LIGHT Giants.
“I think you’re the first white guy to pronounce that the right way,” he said with a smile. He then patiently allowed me to pick his brain, and I listened to all kinds of neat stories about the Jackie Robinson and playing in Brooklyn.
A person who I believed to be a former player walked around the room with a beaming smile, shaking every hand and introducing himself. I had never heard of Buck O’Neil until then.
Of course, by the time Burns’ masterpiece was finished, O’Neil had become baseball’s newest ambassador and a national treasure.