Thursday, January 04, 2007

In Search Of...

So I find myself in a high stakes Omaha hold 'em game in Reno for New Year's know, drowning my sorrows after the ink was dry on the Barry Zito contract. I was despondent. I was inconsolable. I was losing money left and right. And that's when the big winner of the night fed me the wisest words I had heard in weeks:

"A three is good. A nine is okay. But only an ace can save the day."
And it hit must go on.

So after hitting 5 straight runs at the table, winning all my money back and then some, I got up and left the game. I knew what I had to do.

I was off to find...the elusive "ace".

With my newfound winnings, I took a bus to Vallejo, CA...the birthplace of C.C. hopes of finding the trade rumor that would bring him to Queens. But after knocking on every door on the block, I could not find any leads on C.C. Sabathia. I was about to give up when I found C.C.'s aunt's daughter's boyfriend's hairstylist's mailman...who told me that if it was an ace that I was seeking, I only needed to follow my heart.

Well my heart brought me to the Fog City Diner on Battery St., and the sight I saw disturbed me:

Was this my ace?

"Excuse me sir, are we trading Lastings Milledge for you?"

He mumbled incoherently and got some banana spittle on my Todd Zeile jersey. I was ready to give up when the mysterious pie eater stopped me and whispered in my ear:

"If you build it, I will come."

"Build what? What are you talking about?"

"An In-N-Out Burger. I love that place."

I finally gave up and went to the airport. I needed to go somewhere...anywhere. I just needed to find an ace. Problem was, all the flights were delayed because of nasty weather emanating from the black cloud over Met fans heads. The one that was following this particular Met fan shut down all of the runways.

So I'm at SFO (recently renamed "Zito International") when another strange figure approached me. He looked lost with a surfboard in one hand and a spliff in the other. But we caught eyes and he approached me with a clarity and focus I never thought I would see from this long-haired surfer dude.

"I hear you're looking for an ace."

"Are you the ace I'm looking for?"

"Nah, dude" he said as he laughed. "My brother Jared is the ace. I'm just plain old Jeff Weaver."

"If you're not an ace, then how the hell did you pitch like one in Game 5 of the NLCS" I puzzlingly ask.

"Dude, to find the inner ace, you need focus. And sometimes, you need to travel to places you never thought you would go."

With that, Weaver handed me a plane ticket and an envelope which he told me not to open until I found my destination (which knowing Weaver would be jail since the envelope would probably contain illicit drugs that I would be transporting across state lines.) Well let's see where this plane ticket is for...

So here I am in the mountains of Tibet proving that either I'll go just about anywhere for the cause, or that I've gone completely out of my mind.

I saw a figure in the far off distance. I couldn't quite tell what he was doing all alone in the mountains but he seemed to be all arms and legs. Then I heard the sounds:




This had to be it, Jeff Weaver had sent me to Tibet to find my ace and I found him! But why here? Why all the way out here? I mean, I know that Omar Minaya is willing to go to the Caribbean and to Japan and Korea and what not, but all the way out here? The mountains? Maybe Omar will give me a signing bonus.

As I moved closer I could faintly make out the figure...

"Excuse me", I said to the imposing figure. "Are you my ace?"

"Ah, you are the seeker of the ace. You have an envelope for me?"

"How did you know about the envelope?"

"Young lad, you'd be surprised what you can see from the top of a mountain."

So I handed him the envelope hoping that he could make a little sense out of it. Surely, the envelope would tell the gangly figure with the hard fastball that he was to come to Shea immediately for his press conference.

"Young lad, the message inside the envelope says to...beware Tim Leary."

"That's it?" I asked. "Jeff Weaver sent me all the way to Tibet so that some guy could tell me to be wary of a guy who blew out his arm 25 years ago?"

"No my lad, not the pitcher...the LSD guy."

"Damn that Jeff Weaver and his counter-culturalist lifestyle!"

"Son, do realize what you get when you translate Tim Leary to Japanese?"

"No, what is the Japanese translation of Tim Leary?"


"So Jeff Weaver sent me to Tibet to find you so that you could tell me that the Mets shouldn't sign Tomo Ohka?"

"I guess so."

"But sir...your fastball! You're phenomenal! I was sent to look for an ace and I found you with your fastball and your bare foot and your flugal must be my ace!"

"Dude, I'm 50 years old...I'm nobody's ace."

"Well we got two guys who are pushing fifty, you'd fit right in."

"My young friend, you've learned much in your travels. If you learn nothing else this whole trip, learn this: Sometimes you have to travel the earth to find out that what you're looking for is right under your nose."

"So there's an ace under my nose?"

"My friend, with your newfound knowledge I'm sure you can figure that out."

"Anything else you can tell me?"

"Yeah, protect the plate, step on the egg, and squash the bug."

And with that, I returned home for with the popping of fastballs a distant memory, yet a constant echo. I've looked far and wide only to find out that home is where the ace is. Which ace? Who knows. I suppose we'll find out when the mitts start popping in Port St. Lucie. If they sound anything like what I heard in Tibet...well maybe that ace will indeed have been right under our noses all along.


Anonymous said...

I have my doubts as to whether you heeded the advice in Weaver's envelope while composing this report. He didn't have you lick the stamp, did he?

Seriously, though, Happy New Year and keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Your writing is so good. Your site always brings a smile to my anonymous face.

Anonymous said...

The wisdom of Sidd Fynch!! The greatest Met to never live.
Sidd Fynch=Mike Pelfrey?

Anonymous said...

Aaron Heilman.

Yes, really.

Anonymous said...

Genius, man. Genius.

(Honestly, my money's on Ollie...)

Anonymous said...

Excellent. I was waiting for you to tell us they signed Sidd Finch.

Hell, I believed the damn story in high school, why not again now.

Anonymous said...

Good luck on your ace quest. You can take solace in the fact that you did not consider Randy Johnson an ace, unlike the incredibly stupid Arizona Diamondbacks. Give up a very good major league relief pitcher and, from what I've read, 3 pretty good young prospects for the Big Old Ineffective Unit?!?! They also took on almost all of his $16 million salary!!!

Perhaps Timothy Leary is running the D'backs 'cause these guys must be on some serious, mind-altering drugs.

Anonymous said...

Excellent! Required reading for all Mets fans.

Anonymous said...

Superb. Nice piece.