Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New York Mets celebrate St. Patrick's Day, new governor with win

New Yorkers hope the luck of the Irish, above, helps plow a path toward political success in their state with new Gov. David Paterson, who replaced disgraced Democrat Eliot Spitzer. Maybe it will leave them dancing in fields of green, like the Mets, below.


As David Paterson was being sworn in as New York's first black, blind, male, Harlem native, bar-failing and affair-admitting governor in front of lawmakers in Albany, every other New Yorker was in Viera, Fla., watching the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals, 7-3, in a spring training game. South Florida, which is as teaming with New Yorkers as New York is criminals, came out to support the Mets during a difficult time for the state and its politics. About 5,500 people were at Space Coast Stadium, which is the most I have seen at the usually poor fan-drawing Nats facility.

St. Patrick's Day probably played a role in the good attendance. Irish green bloods and wannabe green bloods enjoyed watching a bunch of overpaid athletes in green hats, drinking green beer and eating green hot dogs.

ticket0640I felt luck was on my side most of the day. I got a sweet ticket in section 215, row 21, seat 15. With that numeral repetition, I must have had something going on.

And the shamrocks were really working for New York, too. They had the Nats' number since the first inning.

But, not surprisingly, I don't think the New York fans in attendance could get their home state's politics off their minds. Here's how the baseball game told a story of the rise and fall of a grandstanding politician.

In the beginning, there was a newspaper, The New York Times, that raked up some dirt on Eliot Spitzer, a Democratic governor who had apparently paid thousands of dollars for a high-class prostitute, Ashley Alexandra Dupre of the now-defunct Emperors Club VIP. The Times was accusing Spitzer of being a rake, moving around money slyly to hid his immorality from his wife and constituents.

The story was something quite off the wall: A self-professed scrupulous politician who endeavored during his short term as governor to eliminate corporate malfeasance apparently was a hypocrite. It was as bizarre as "The band is on the field. The band is on the field." Or, maybe, "The cars are on the field. The cars are on the field."

Spitzer was stuck in a situation he couldn't free himself from, like a broken bat that jabbed into the infield sod. He was faced with resigning only days after the Times story broke. How could such a disgraced politician continue leading a bedraggled state?

Though Spitzer's wife urged him to stay the course, scary people dressed in green, with green lips, yelled at him to call it quits. The pressure was mounting from opposing Republicans, too.

So Spitzer handed off the governor's hat to his lieutenant - just as the Nats' Boone brothers, Bret and Aaron, would do with their special green St. Patrick's Day ball caps. The Statehouse would belonged to Paterson.

A packed crowd of legislators gave Paterson a few standing ovations, as the 5,500 fans at Space Coast Stadium did for their teams. Paterson is hoping to ride the wave of public optimism for a compassionate and bipartisan gubernatorial administration, and for a large step by minority groups such as blind people, black people, male people, Harlem people, bar-failing people and affair-admitting people.

But Paterson won't be asking for any handouts as an old Irish man would seek free beer at baseball game on St. Patty's Day. He's got a tough road ahead.

People will be lined up wanting Paterson to address problems and put his signature on legislation passed through the New York Assembly and Senate, and on the impending budget, which has been of great concern. It will be a situation reminiscent of Mets outfielder Ryan Church trying to sign autographs for all the fans lined up outside the stadium after the game.

Paterson must do plenty of legwork. He must blindly put a finger up and hail a cab if necessary to get around and ask New Yorkers what's on their minds. He must be a governor of the people.

Paterson needs to do his reading as Joe Smith does on long team bus trips. Apparently, he's reading Michael Crichton's latest novel, "Next," about politics and biotechnology. Maybe biotechnology will lead to Paterson actually being able to read a book.

Paterson must be stern and discriminate instead of readily giving by putting his signature on any old bill. If it doesn't deserve his autograph, he should just send it back to where it came from.

In the end, Paterson hopes to blow the hats off everyone and stop the proverbial wrecking ball for his state of New York.

The Nationals pitcher, catcher and pitching coach were in the shape of a shamrock - until the umpire came out to break it up. Luck obviously was not on their side. Let's hope Paterson's fate isn't similar.


Anonymous said...

You rise to a new level of dorkfulness with each baseball post. Did you craft this before and take photos as necessary, or did it all come together as you surveyed the images later?


Andrew Knapp said...

Totally pulled it out of the rear after the fact.