Thursday, March 24, 2011

Diamonds are not forever

I'm starting a new diet next week. I don't recommend it. It will begin on Friday, April 1, and end on Wednesday, September 28. This roughly coincides with the regular 2011 Major League Baseball season, and so weather may alter the dates somewhat.

If I lose weight that will be fine, but it is not my intention. This isn't about shedding pounds, it's about taking a stand.

I'm a Mets fan, you see.

If you hadn't heard, our team is a national disgrace. It is run by a hapless family named Wilpon, a family that has no business owning a team that is supported by honest working people and their wages. The Wilpons have been horrific stewards of the franchise, particularly of late. You have heard of Bernie Madoff, yes? They're in deep with that guy. The family is now known, in some circles at least, as "The Wilponzis."

Well, I'm finally fed up with the incompetence and the lies. I won't go to a single event at Citi Field this season, and I won't subscribe to the $200-a-season cable TV package that broadcasts the team's games either. I'm done with these clowns.

Unfortunately, my decision to boycott the Wilpons economically will impact upon the innocent as well. Most crucially the foodservice business, which will lose a mighty sum of baseball-related scratch due to my self-imposed seasonal blackout.

This is a most uneasy moment. I have history with this team, the roots of which are planted deep inside the picture that's above. On the right is one George Thomas (Tom "The Franchise") Seaver, the greatest pitcher ever to put on a New York Metropolitans uniform. With him is teammate Jerry Koosman, who is best remembered for pitching, moments before this frame was captured on film, the complete game victory that won the "Miracle Mets" the 1969 World Series title against the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.

If you lived in New York at the time, as I did, you know what these two young men, and their teammates, meant to a city that seemed in crisis on all fronts but for that diamond-shaped turf out in Queens. They certainly meant a great deal to my father, a Mets fan of extraordinary fidelity, if not longevity. It was the last World Series he would see.

And so next Friday night, when the team's 2011 season officially begins, I will likely feel a bit hollow of stomach. I tend to share these six-month-long affairs with my brother Joe, whose home turf just happens to be the same as the team's. I will drive down and spend a few days here and there, and if we do not go to a game we will at least catch two or three of them on TV. Together.

It's what brothers who had fathers who were Mets fans at an important age do.

Just not this year.

I'm not kidding about the possibility of weight loss. For starters, I will be eating far fewer hot dogs and drinking much less beer between now and the end of September. This drop in consumption will prove dramatic, and will affect operations at the ballpark, at Joe's place and elsewhere. I can feel the pounds melting off of me already.

Danny Meyer won't be selling my brother and me any hamburgers at the Shake Shack he opened at Citi Field. I like Meyer. He's one of the best restaurateurs in the business. But my mind is made up.

This one hurts more than the burger. Leo's Latticini/Mama's of Corona, a family-run outfit which also has a place in the ballpark, makes a monster of a very tasty Italian sandwich. But look at that thing, would you, and tell me it is not a thousand calories at least!

The sausage and pepper stands at the park? Not gonna happen.

Aqueduct Racetrack will not be seeing much of my money either, for fewer trips down to see a game means fewer opportunities to bet badly on the ponies alongside my brother and our uncle Dominic. That means I won't have to wolf down many of the turkey breast sandwiches we usually order when at the track, which is a good thing because the food at Aqueduct pretty much sucks. (Why else would we be ordering turkey breast sandwiches?)

Local businesses in and around my brother's apartment will also feel an impact. For example, Vincent's Clam Bar will need to find some other post-game sucker to straddle a barstool and slurp down a couple dozen cherrystones.

La Villa will have to make due with a few less pies coming out of its wood-burning oven.

And Pastosa's excellent cheese arancini (rice balls) will need to find another adoring fan.

The sushi joint that my brother likes getting takeout from, for watching night games on the 47-inch Sharp, won't be seeing us as much as usual.

Joe's Shanghai's pork soup dumplings will be missed very, very, very much.

And the two White Castles within sniffing distance of Joe's apartment? No can do.

It's what I crave, all right. But I'm just not gonna be in the nabe.


Jeannie said...

Wow! so much great looking food...did you post them up to drool over them when you are hungry? :D I know I am drooling now!

Claudia said...

I grew up three miles from Shea - old enough to remember the 1969 Amazing Mets. Sigh. I'm on your diet. It beats mine and living in MN - I have a good chance of sticking to it. But I don't want to.

Fred said...

And I'm sure they will be missing you at Don Peppe's in Ozone Park.

Big Dude said...

Wow - Your food shots look super good. Find you a high school team in the area, become a rabid fan and stop off at all the joints - won't help with the weight loss though. I've sworn off all professional-it's-all-about-the money-sports. I had a Super Bowl party and didn't see 5 minutes of the game.

Pratt Rat said...

Tom Seaver... a Great pitcher back in the day. I got hungry looking at the food shots... and giving up Cherrystones as well?

Stacey Snacks said...

Hey Mr. M,
Found you thru Marie at Proud Italian Cook. Loved the Met fan story.....we are big Met fans (I am jumping ship), me being from Queens, originally. Very disappointing, the whole thing>

Love your blog and your favorite eats, many are mine too!
Hope to bump into you sometime!
Love the fregola!
Stacey Snacks