Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Slammed In Alabama

Holy crap, the season starts today!

Six o'clock in the morning, and baseball starts halfway around the world. On March 25th!

I'm confused. March 25th? While everyone is asleep? Hey, didn't the Mets kick off the 2000 season while everyone was asleep too?

This baseball season has snuck up on all of us ... especially myself, who spent the past week away on some business. But you'll be happy to know that I did find some down time to visit the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Now when you think Alabama, you think football country. You think Bear Bryant. You think Joe Willie Namath. A true connoisseur of football would also think of Bart Starr and Derrick Thomas. Perhaps you know Alabama as the state which roundballers like Charles Barkley and Chuck "The Rifleman" Person called home.

But the list of hardball legends that got their start in Alabama isn't too shabby either. Willie McCovey and Ozzie Smith came from Mobile. Virgil Trucks and Bob Veale came from Birmingham (along with Willie Mays, who I don't understand how I blanked on last night ... thank you whozgotnext). And while we all associate Hank Aaron with Milwaukee and Atlanta, he got his start in Alabama.

But we have Alabama to thank for two thirds of the outfield of the Miracle Mets of 1969. Cleon Jones is from Mobile, and lives there today.

The late Tommie Agee, who once personalized an autographed 8X10 for yours truly, is also a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Of course, Agee really had no choice but to patronize me after I made a fool of myself re-enacting Agee's World Series catches with Agee not 20 feet away when a classmate of mine had the gall to ask "Who's Tommie Agee".

Who's Tommie Agee??!?! The nerve.

And here's your bonus Met connection to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame: from Tuscaloosa, number 15 in your program, and number ... 452 in your hearts, George Foster!

Hey, at least he's in a Hall of Fame. The only way I get in a Hall of Fame is if they had one for idiots (Uh, they do. It's called jail.)

Leave it to me to find baseball in SEC football country in the middle of a basketball tournament. But not only did I find a little pocket of horsehide in pigskin heaven, I overheard a conversation on the way to the airport about a Yankee fan at Comerica Park who was so galled that he was sitting 20 rows up from the Yankee dugout, he went to the Tiger ticket office to complain that it wasn't row two.

That made me smile.

Then, at LaGuardia Airport, I found a store selling Derek Jeter shirts ... at 25% off. At that moment I thought that now, truly, I'm ready for baseball season.

Just not at six in the morning.

7 comments:

Andrew V. said...

Well, I'm awake.

I've never seen this much fanfare...It's like the world series.
Pretty cool, but hell...the A's are going to be terrible this year.

whozgotnext said...

Aren't you forgetting someone?

You seem to have left out the greatest baseball player ever to come out of Alabama, perhaps the greatest baseball player of all time, who, ahem, retired as a Met.

Willie Mays was born in Westfield, Alabama, outside of Birmingham. He also did a short stint with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro League before the New York Giants called him up in 1951.

I mean, I love Tommy Agee, and God Bless Cleon Jones and his Van of Love. But c'mon Metstra... this is the Say Hey Kid we're talking about.

Unser said...

I can't believe George chose a Reds cap for his Alabama HOF plaque ;)

And what were you doing in Alabama, pray tell?

Metstradamus said...

whozgotnext,

I'm an idiot. That's what happens when you blow through the place in 20 minutes ... you forget stuff. Well, I forget stuff. Let's just say I REALLY needed a Tylenol PM last night.

Thank you.

Metstradamus said...

Unser,

Let's just say it had something to do with a zoo. A zoo which housed bulldogs, hawks, cardinals, eagles, broncos and jaguars.

katherine said...

OK, Metstradamus, now you are talking in riddles. I'm good with dream interpretation,but not so good at riddles. Are you talking about the NCAA tournament, somehow?

Anyway, I LOVED your photos from the Alabama Hall of Fame. How great for Tommy and Cleon to be honored like that.

MetsTicketSource.com said...

George Foster!! blast from the early 80's past... You can get into the Hall of Fame the same way I do- pay the admission fee and walk in the front door.