The middle months of 2012 presented a crisis of confidence for me: For quite a while, I found that I simply couldn’t write the way I like to. A large part of it was finding the time, as I was stretched too thin between day job demands, moving to a new home and planning a wedding. I had plenty of ideas that never came to fruition, and it took a lot of editing and re-editing for me to get comfortable with the ones that did.
This isn’t to say I didn’t write a few things I felt far more than good about. About a year and a half ago, I decided to spread my wings a bit, so I started writing some pieces for a few different publications and web sites besides this one. It was an adjustment to have someone filtering my writing, but it was also rewarding to know stuff I wrote passed muster with people other than myself. My goal is always to write something that hopefully people enjoy reading, including myself, and I think I had a few of those this year that I’d like to share.
I don’t generally do lists — with one or two exceptions — but below are five essays I felt good about last year. Hopefully this time next year, I’ll be able to expand the 2013 iteration of this list to, say, seven or eight, starting with a profile on Karl Towns I’m writing for Dime now. (As a result, don’t expect to see me around these parts much for the next couple of weeks or so.)
I don’t remember all that much about life as a fifth grader — I recall being infatuated with G.I. Joe action figures, the Mets and the original Legend of Zelda, but that’s about it. And yet, so much about my first game at Shea Stadium remains totally fresh in my mind.
After my third time at Citi Field (two games and a public workout) on Wednesday, it has become apparent that the first-year ball yard is perfect for the Mets of current vintage. By that I mean, the star of the show is most certainly not the team on the field, which is currently rather unremarkable, but rather the field itself. It’s like PNC Park in Pittsburgh, except it’s not nearly as dire a situation for the Mets.
At least so far. When you see the picture at right and wonder if new Knicks draft picks Toney Douglas and Jordan Hill feel like having a summer job, you know things are not going well. I mean, that pitch Hill is throwing probably had a better chance of finding the plate than many that Oliver Perez (seven walks) offered up on Wednesday.
There is zero question that at least at this point, the on-field product takes a back seat to the park experience. And to be certain, it’s great for fans. It’s a perfect place to simply hang with friends, drink a beer and sort-of watch a game.
If you’re a baseball traditionalist who scores a game by hand — probably while wearing a derby hat and smoking a cigar — this park was not designed for you. What they had in mind was a place where you can wait on a line for a “Shake Shack” hamburger while watching the game on a screen on the back of the scoreboard. A place where you can get sushi, if you’re so inclined. (I usually am, but not at a ballgame) A place where you can frequent a center-field beer garden — which, despite the flowery name, is indistinguishable from any other beer vendor.
If you simply want to sit and pay close attention to a baseball game, well, nobody’s stopping you. It’s just that in the back of your mind, you know they didn’t make the park for you. Continue Reading