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    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    Sports: All-Star Break Report

    From Dan Barry’s Sunday New York Times article on Billy Joel:

    Someone must sing a proper song of farewell for Shea Stadium, the nice try of a coliseum in Queens, as its dismantling draws near and a new ballpark rises just yards away. But that someone must be able to convey emotions specific to the place, emotions beyond the sadness of many lost Mets summers and the euphoria of two World Series championships. There is so much more.

    The romantic idealism and the yeah-right realism. The quickness to mock and to take offense. The need to prove oneself better than any Upper East Side twit and the guilt from having conceived such a hollow ambition. The restlessness, angst and ache of the striver. The Long Island of it all.

    Had they asked to use my photo as an illustration, I would have obliged. The conflicted soul described above? C’est moi.

    But who cares? We got ourselves a pennant race!

    After a half-season of drama that reached dangerous Melrose Place levels, the Mets closed strong, winning nine straight. They’re now only a half-game out of first. A few weeks back, they seemed to be staring down another lost Mets summer. Man, I love baseball.

    Lots of critical games in the weeks ahead – and yours truly will get to see one of them. I want to say goodbye to Shea myself, no matter if it’s “not even the nicest ballpark in its own parking lot anymore.” Or if, according to some, it stinks.

    I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “But Vince, how are you doing in fantasy baseball?” Well, curse you for asking.

    As I’m sure none of you remember, I dithered on the subject of joining a fantasy league. Not too long ago I saw World Series announcer Joe Buck on Bob Costas’s HBO show say that he’d played fantasy baseball only once and came in dead last. I passed this salient fact on to my friend Mike, who replied, “Buck is old school. He probably drives a Buick and has dinner at 4:30 p.m. and watches Judge Judy.”

    I was essentially goaded into participating this year by a friend of Rosemarie’s. I am pleased to say that after spending most of the season mired in last place, I have clawed my way up to eighth out of ten. There’s a lot of churn where I am; just before the All-Star break I lost a mere half-point and dropped two slots.

    My goals for the year are modest. Ideally, I’d like to make the top half of the field. I do not expect this to happen. I would accept finishing ahead of the person who dared me to play. Currently that is the case, but how long that status stays quo is anybody’s guess. I fervently hope to stay out of the cellar. I think I have a shot.

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