Baseball n' BBQ.....
I do love me some Mets baseball, but I'm not so lame as to completely waste a Saturday night by watching a game from start to finish, especially one that doesn't ge underway until 8:35 on account of rain. So I was pleased that dinner and post-dinner ice cream consumption allowed me to only catch the bottom of the eighth inning and onward. The good bits (i.e. 9th and 10th innings) of Saturday night's Mets / LAAAngels matchup were evocative of that Yanks/BoSox game last year where Jeter re-arranged his face diving into the stands for a foul ball, except that you're supposed to expect stuff like that from Jeter, if not elite pinch hitter Marlon Anderson, whose inside the park HR and subsequent bloody face was easily the most entertaining Mets moment I've seen this year since Dae Sung Koo's double off of Randy Johnson. And it makes perfect sense in retrospect that such bravado could only be followed up by a Cliff Floyd walk-off jack, although I admit to expecting him to strike out looking at an 80 mph change-up at the time.
So I leave this afternoon in the 5th inning to grab some brunch, and get back in time to see Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez making Kaz Matsui look even more helpless than usual on a steady diet of breaking balls en route to closing out a 4-3 Angels win. Ugh. David Wright was understandably disappointed for allowing a run to score in the prior inning by being unable to handle what was in his defense a considerably difficult grounder, but the brunt of the blame should be placed on the Amazins' incredibly lifeless bats, which once again appeared to go predictably limp with runners in scoring position...especially in the first inning, when a measly one-out single with runners on second and third could have made Angels' starter John Lackey's afternoon considerably shorter. The considerably tall pitcher lacked his best stuff all afternoon, walking a season high six batters, but the latter probably had as much to do home plate umpire Eric Cooper's non-existent strikezone as with control problems. The latter neglected to give Pedro Martinez the corners all afternoon, and tossed out Mike Piazza in the first inning; apparently for arguing balls and strikes while sitting in the dugout. Young has officially earned himself a spot alongside Mark Wegner and C.B. Bucknor in the SoF Hall of Fame for douchebag umpires.
But more than just baseball was afoot this weekend. This weekend was also host to the Third Annual Big Apple Barbeque , in which some of the country's finest "pitmasters" took over the three blocks of Madison Avenue alongside Madison Square Park for two afternoons of live music, Brooklyn Beer , and lots of kosher goodies like pulled pork shoulder, smoked sausage, and beef brisket (not your bubbe's version). The key was to show up early, 'lest you wanted to wait 40 minutes for your $7.00, appetizer-sized plate of barbeque. While local eateries such as Blue Smoke and upstate favorite turned Harlem haunt Dinosaur BBQ were represented, the real draw were the pitmasters from down south, where some would have you believe that BBQ is a religion. The pork shoulder from "Big Bob Gibson's" from Alabama was especially fine, as was the sausage from Elgin, TX; supposedly the 'smoked sausage capital of Texas' (which is seriously saying something).
From a musical standpoint....James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley supposedly led his band around 5:00, but my party (members of MMM and Peephole, actually) was long gone by then. Most of the entertainment fell into a kid-friendly, wedding band style mix of rock and country, although I was quite surprised to hear one act do a nice cover of Tom Petty's "Listen to Her Heart" and make no alterations to the word "cocaine" in the first verse. Rock!