California Dreamin’ and My Father’s Persistence

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Got my tickets for my West Coast road trip, even timed it to SDCC. Here’s the deal, Robin and I are flying into San Francisco on July 6th. I’ll be there until Saturday or Sunday. We then rent a car and drive down to LA. We catch a taping of Price is Right, hang out on the beach, and then Thursday go down to San Diego. While I do the comic-con during the day, working the Hoarse & Buggy table and pitching some project ideas to artists, Robin will be driving around San Diego, seeing the city and most likely visiting the zoo. I’ll probably cut out a little earlier from the con to meet up with her. We’ll probably go to some casino on Friday, as well. So, if anyone will be at SDCC and wants to pop-in, go for it but be warned, I will probably try to get you to buy me a beer. I don’t know if you have figured this out from these posts yet but I can but down four or five pints an hour for a few hours before calling it a night.

While going through my stash of pictures in preparation of Friday’s pictorial adventure, I found what had to be the worse laid out program ever:

Worse lay out

I was directing in a one-act festival and I did a play about baseball. It was natural for me to dedicate a play like that to my father. But placing my blunt dedication right below Katie’s dedication to her dead father, it almost made me look like an asshole rubbing in the fact that my father isn’t dead.

Anyway, the play was a success, my directorial debut, and people in the other shows as well as the other directors commented on how they want to be in one of my plays, I had the performance tight. Fact is, with an all male cast I found it easier to work with them. Incorporating beer, porn and movies into rehearsal just makes the whole thing come together better.

I dedicated it to my father because my father taught me about baseball. And let me tell you, that wasn’t any easy task by any means; I fought it for years.

I was in little league at five years old. I would pick flowers in the outfield, the kind you blow on and make a wish. Line drives would come my way, people would yell “Jason!” and I’d drop my flower and chase down the ball. It must have killed my father inside a little bit each day, but he stuck with it.

I joined a new league when I turned ten, Gil Hodges. We were the green team. I played Catcher, pitcher, first base and outfield; not because I was so good but because they had no idea where to put me. I couldn’t hit for shit, I struck out every at bat and would usually dive out of the way of a ball placed right over the strike zone. But my father stuck with it.

I would occasionally watch Mets games, when they were winning. My father would take me to ten or twenty games a year which is amazing because baseball games were expensive. And I’d get ice-cream and hotdogs and soda and cotton candy and occasionally ask what’s happening in the game. If the game had a high score I’d get into it more. But I’d never go and watch a game straight through. But still, my father stuck with it.

In 1986 it looked as if he converted me. I went ape shit for the Mets, we all did. The following year I actually asked to go to Cooperstown and we had a blast there. We took a picture with me in Mets’ gear and my father in Red Sox’ catcher gear (which must have broke his heart), watching the home run I just hit go out of the park. But as 1987 dwindled on my interest waned again, I was a fair weather fan.

In high school I played football and I think my father said, “Good enough.”

It wasn’t until college that I got into baseball for real, Boston is a baseball town. We had a connection, Boston and I, because the Mets destroyed them in 1986, one of my fondest moments. I started going to games, watching them on TV.

Now, I’m fanatical. I watch games for the sake of watching games. I order the MLB cable package and, if I’m home, a game is on. Don’t care who it is, I just love me some baseball. But, I’m a fanatical Mets fan. So much so that, despite being a huge baseball fan, I’m so upset that the Nationals are in DC now.

Generally, when I go to bars during baseball season I have at least one Mets’ item on. Hat, sweatshirt, t-shirt, boxer shorts, whatever. I used to be able to go into a bar like this with no problem. But now, I walk in and I’m greeting by 500 National’s hats, people who never liked baseball before and became a fan yesterday start screaming at me, “Mets! Nats are gonna kick your ass, baby! We’re in first place!” I have an instant rivalry I didn’t ask for.

And such is the plight of the Mets fan. We get shit on. Teams like the Royals and the Brewers should get shit on more than us but they’re not a New York team, they’re not as visible. Maybe this is why I resisted? Maybe I knew being a Mets’ fan was a burden to bear similar to the Jews being the chosen people of God. My faith will get tested, I will be ridiculed and chastised, and one day a rivalry will just sort of appear in the city I live in and make my life more difficult, forcing me to hide the objects of my faith or go into exile even though I can never go home again, they’re all Yankee fans there.

But I digress, this is the life I chose and I’m happy for it. I sit down now to watch one man get up to the plate and try to find a way to outsmart nine men, I see a game that most of America doesn’t fully get. You have to feel baseball, you’re born with it and raised with it. It’s a team helping an individual strive against a team. There’s the sound of the bat, the diving catches, the roar of the crowd. Baseball players are larger than life, more so than Hollywood and politicians. The sport is a combination of strategy, smarts, talent and the occasional divine intervention (Buckner). God is a Mets’ fan if you’re a Mets’ fan just like he’s a Brewers’ fan if you’re a Brewers’ fan.

And that’s what my father taught me about baseball. It took some time, but he stuck with me.

Edit: You know, I sort of stutter step with my comic projects, I lose interest. And the ideas are usually pretty strong and if I just finished them up, got an artist, etc I'd be doing OK right now. I'm sort of realizing, now, that I should do a comic about baseball. I even have a story. I don't know, I think this is something I could dedicate time and money towards, more so than stories about cowboys and dinosaurs. It's something I care about, you know? Anyway, just rambling.

equilibrium sucks, fanboy: Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns


posted by Jason at 2 Comments


Anonymous al rodriguez said...

Jay, god is definitely a met fan, because as we all know, God will only throw at you what you can handle and man can we handle losing. But when we win it is a bigger rush than any Yankee win.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaketh the tru-ith, man.

9:08 PM  

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