— Days Without Shea —

Filed under: Baseball | Ex-Mets | Mets
by Kingman on April 16 at 8:48AM
After opening day, both my work and home PC's went south on me. I'm back now but frankly, there's been little to get excited about.

The best part of the season for me may have happened today.

Walking by the side of Penn Station this morning on 31st, I saw this rather large red-headed gentleman unfold himself out of a cab. The man, dressed all in black, moved like someone whose knees, back and neck were in chronic discomfort.

I walked past him as he turned slowly towards the cab's trunk. Then it hit me that this guy could pass for Rusty Staub. I stopped and took another look to confirm it was indeed Le Grand Orange.

Rusty was a childhood hero of mine. There was something quirky about Rusty - from his ill-fitting uniform to his flaming hair to his undersized black batting gloves - that resonated with my 5-year-old self, just coming into my Mets fandom. If this was a perfect world, this morning there would have been a cortege of handlers, carrying Rusty's bags, paying Rusty's cab driver, clearing a path through the throngs of Rusty admirers so Rusty could get to his next meeting, the topic of which would be telling Rusty how great he is.

But sadly, this world is not perfect. On a dreary April morning outside Penn Station, there was just arthritic ole Rusty and me. I felt too goofy to walk over and say hi and to wish him a happy belated birthday (Rusty's birthday is April 1st, the day before mine. Another reason to like Rusty. I feel goofy even knowing this fact). I watched him walk away into Penn, pulling his own suitcase behind.

Meanwhile our Mets are 3-6 and getting comfortable in last place in the NL East. After a weekend in St. Louis, I don't expect  conditions to improve, unless Ike Davis is traveling that way too. Well at least Rusty is still working it. And his likeness is now hanging in the Mets' new stadium, which is an improvement from last year. We'll be out at the ballpark Monday night. See you there?

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