“We’ve got our guy. They’ve got their guy. It’s going to be a great matchup” — Bruce Bochy
The Nats and their Vegas-bred Mormon mashing robot. The Dodgers trying to shake those one-and-done playoff blues. Cleveland and that newly minted title town (<– lowercase) swagger. Chicago and its pasty fans and all their expectations who will only be disappointed to find that winning isn’t a tradition you can sustain. And no-longer-lovable Boston as proof of that.
Fuck ‘em all.
For me, this MLB season — as it does for the clubs involved — boils down to one game: the Giants vs. the Mets.
The teams share a friendly familial bond as the Mets orange was adopted from the Giants when they made for
foggier greener hazier more kind pastures on the West Coast and the Giants adopted Tsuyoshi Shinjo from the Mets.
The 2016 version(s) feature the two best playoff arms in the world: Madison Bumgarner, who was last seen on the national stage coming out of Kansas City’s visitor bullpen in the fall of 2014 as if Freckles Brown was digging into his back with his spurs, pouring a foundation layer of Quikrete into his legacy as the best playoff pitcher since fellow Giant Christy Mathewson. And there’s Noah “Thor” Syndergaard, who was not born as much as he was forged from corn silk and steel using Zeus’ sceptre, a bolt of lightning and a Double Double Animal Style.
The Mets are 19-11 when Syndergaard pitched this season and the Giants are 20-14 when Bumgarner took the hill. Both pitchers hit three bombs, but only Syndergaard got a pair in one game. Bumgarner is 5-0 against the Mets, but baseball’s only highlight vs. Thor in the first half came on May 2 when Hunter Pence hit a dinger off Syndergaard and then tweeted all about it because immortals from outer space are bros:
— Hunter Pence (@hunterpence) May 2, 2016
As far as the watching of the game goes, I’m going to keep the mute button floating across my screen on the ESPN team because I have no interest in listening to Dan Schulman tease to how dominant the ACC is going to be in college hoops while cutting Buster Olney off once he starts talking about how Magnolia cupcakes have gone from “magical” to just “magic” over the last half decade and Aaron Boone pitches in with an “agree” before he has a chance to wipe a frosting mustache from his face.
Instead, I’ll be spinning Van Halen’s Fair Warning on the hi-fi. It’s the only true wall-to-wall rock album that can match the sultry intensity and expectations that never match what happens to happen in real life—or of the game to ensue.
Fair Warning, it should be noted, was released 35 years ago and—just like the game I’ll be watching over it—is everything you could want in an album-to-listen-to-over-a-really-important-game.
It is tortured and dark and funny and creative and riffy and dirty and overall, just insanely appropriate, in any time, in any situation—especially if your time and situation involves the cities of San Francisco and New York.
As a side note: I’m also INSANELY happy the game is being played at Citi Field tonight as this week is the annual invasion of marketing-speak game-spittin’ lanyard-clad, Birch-boxed, Warby-parkered, cut-and-pasted Bumble and Tinder response’d, Dollar-shave-clubbed, coke-snorting and sushi-guzzling, cargo-shorts-in-the-cargo-hold giant nutsack of overpaid deplorables celebrating the impending end of their career lifespans and the economy as we know it at Salesforce’s annual STD-swap called Dreamforce. The conference, which OF COURSE is busting out with a Tony Robbins keynote right before the planned forever nap, is taking place at the Cow Palace—which they renamed the “Cloud” Palace…fucking get it? To the uninitiated this only means there will be an insane number of dickheads running around the city talking to one another in fake pitch voice as if they were on effing Shark Tank and stopping between endless rounds of drinks and apps to check out all the nothing coming on their fucking phone screens throwing the conversation off for the entire fucking table. Either way, nobody needs this distraction during a game that actually matters.
Where was I? Oh yeah, each track on the album reminds me of either NY or SF, and sometimes both. Fair Warning paired with the Giants/Mets truly represent the best of this bi-coastal baseball connection/rivalry.
- “Mean Street” (NY) In my mind this is a partial homage to the 1973 coming-of-age/crime-filled/directionless youth in run-down WAAAAY pre-gentrified NY directed by Martin Scorsese with Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro in insanely good goomba garb. Real New Yorkers are Mets fans. Real New Yorkers also recall what the real New York was…and could have been (instead of the artisanal frozen yogurt shop it did become.) An’ we don’t worry ’bout tomorrow ’cause we’re sick of these four walls/Now what you think is nothin’ might be somethin’ after all.
2.“Dirty Movies” (NY) Another Scorsese reference, this time Travis Bickle’s first date with Betsy. “I gotta get organized.” Pictures on the silver screen/Greatest thing you’ve ever seen/Now her name is up in lights.
- “Sinner’s Swing” (SF) A bit of David Lee Roth rock-pop swagger that is just icing barely concealing all the fears we hide just beneath whatever veneer of confidence we put on when going out. Fucking heavy stuff and reminds me of today’s San Francisco, all shiny lights and everything’s going to be OK and I’m working on something that matters. But will they? Are you? Or are you just wasting time with assholes who pretend to know how to code? Something got the bite on me/I’m goin’ straight to hell/And now we’re wasting time/Same old pickup lines/And you keep trying.
- “Hear About It Later” (SF) You ever wake up hungover and want to go back to sleep but know you have some obligation that day so you just sit in bed for a minute and try to get motivated and something happens, a noise outside, a neighbor turning on the shower, your dog jumping on the bed — ready to go. And the notion that you can put off the day any further, that you could stop time, disappears. This and all those old bathrooms with the hexagonal tile, reminds me most of a “morning after” waking up in San Francisco. Neighbors gettin’ crazy ’bout the noise next door/It’s a major violation, carried away for sure/See, I’ve been tried and convicted, it’s winner take all.
- “Unchained” (NY) It’s a song about transit and transitioning. Just that feeling when you get on the subway for the first time in NY after not having been there for awhile and you realize every fucking type of person you’ve ever known or not known or wanted to see or not wanted to see, is on that Subway car. War veterans looking down, business men with their version of impenetrability, the hottest girl you’ve ever seen, a woman breast feeding brushing her hair to the side and catching your eyes …Gretchen Mol. And you realize it’s all there happening — all the time. We’re together but “Unchained.” Man I could listen to this song forever. No, I don’t ask for permission/This is my chance to fly/Maybe enough ain’t enough for you/But it’s my turn to try.
- “Push Comes to Shove” (SF/NY) A cliche within a cliche. It’s VH’s nod to the fact that every night has an end, sometime. No matter how long you try to stretch it out …and the thing is, as soon as you start thinking about the end — that’s when it comes. Which team will feel the end first? Give me another cigarette/Is there anything left in that bottle?/Yeah-Give it here.
- “So This is Love” (SF/NY) That fleeting feeling of seeing someone for the first time and knowing they’re going to disappear. Maybe you caught their eye, maybe they caught yours, but you know through circumstance or desire or timing that it’s just not going to happen. Not with the two of you. But you’re warm with the thought of what could have been in that moment. That’s what playoff dreams are about. I’m going to turn this way up when one of the starting pitchers goes yard. I’m just skin and bones/Goin’ out my way, knowin’ my way around/The grass is never greener and there’s plenty around.
- “Sunday Afternoon in the Park” (NY) A pre-coital instrumental full of expectation and at the same time, the kind of lament only unfulfilled expectation brings. This reminds me of Central Park in so many ways insofar that every time I’m there I just think wouldn’t it be nice to just sit here, in this very spot, and maybe wait for someone to bring me ice cream and we’ll start up a conversation and life could then go in a different direction. But that never happens.
- “One Foot Out the Door.” (SF/NY) That moment you’ve given up on something but aren’t willing to admit you have; or are seeing someone similarly give up on the life they have. Existing in the big city is tough, maybe not as tough as they say — as a scare tactic — but tough in the respect that the everydays go by so fast there’s no way to track it all. One team shall pass through, and in my opinion, have the hole shot for a World Series berth. Just remember to stop and enjoy it for a second along the way: Put that to the floor/Put the pedal to the metal/And you beat it out of town/No comin’ back, back for more.