The Michael Kay Diet

David Roth: I was trying to explain why having Keith Hernandez sit in the seats at Not-Shea Stadium to announce yesterday’s Mets game was such a good idea to my wife. I embarrassed myself.

David Roth: I was saying something along the lines of, “So Keith’s, like, haggling with the hot dog vendor, whose name is Orlando, because Keith says hot dogs were $5 last week and now they’re $5.50. And then he asked for extra mustard, which he kept calling ‘moo-tard’ after that.” And I felt like Ralph Kiner never feels when he’s telling a 15-minute story about Daffy Dean’s favorite sandwiches: like I needed to pick up the pace and/or stop talking. That’s what separates the great ones from the rest of us.

David Raposa: Buck Showalter could stand to take a few lessons from that. Have you heard Buckminster hold court this week?

David Roth: What is Buck on about? How he feels like he’s in communist China because he can’t wear his sidearm into the dugout? (I just assume he’s another member of The Will Clark Society, Luke Scott’s American freedom fighter reading group)

David Raposa: Dig this big crux: “I’d like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll.”

David Roth: Buck, serving that beef.

David Raposa: The fact that Buck doesn’t seem to realize how well Tampa’s doing with their current payroll and without Theo says a lot. Former ESPN analyst at your service!

David Roth: Showalter has gotten almost exactly what everyone expected out of a team that was built to win 82 games. So I can totally see why he thinks it’s time to record his version of “The Takeover” into some newspaper guy’s tape recorder. U don’t want to be the next contestant on that Summer Jam screen, Wade Davis!

David Raposa: He also takes shots at Derek Jeter because he crowds the plate. I think the appropriately-initialed BS is just miffed he couldn’t get his mitts on a commemorative Derek Jeter Fan Gives Ball Back To Team Hat Cozy.

David Roth: Man, we haven’t done this in awhile. I feel like that happened in May. But that was some Yankee-fan shit right there. “This ball belongs to history” or whatever. Which, I mean: okay, dude, if that’s how you feel. The ball also belongs to a guy who dated Mariah Carey for way longer than any sane person should.

David Raposa: I’m only going to watch the HBO Derek Jeter special if Peter Dinklage has sex with Minka Kelly in it. As Jeremy Giambi runs sliding drills in the background.

David Roth: I don’t imagine that guaranteeing some emo Michael Kay interview action will persuade you to change those plans.

David Raposa: I’m allergic to Michael Kay. I need him making history in my ear like he needs another plate of chicken parm.

David Roth: Kay’s one of those announcers with strange dietary habits, right? Like has a phobia related to Combos or pretends not to know what a potato even looks like?

David Raposa: From Yankee beat writer Mark Feinsand: “As I enjoyed a bowl of clam chowder, Michael [Kay] mentioned that he had never had soup in his entire life (he thinks the slurping sound associated with it is grotesque). I found this amazing. He then told me he had never had any fish or seafood of any type, either. As the conversation went on, he informed me of several other things he has NEVER tasted in his life: bananas, condiments of any type (though he lost a bet on his radio show and had to eat a packet of ketchup, which made him sick), jelly, any cheese not on a pizza, veal, coffee.”

David Roth: That’s like the opposite of Mike Francesa, who only eats jellied veal, spread on pan pizza.

David Raposa: From Kay’s wife: “He will eat a salad, but only if it’s iceberg lettuce, and nothing else, no dressing. So it’s basically frozen water served with a fork.”

David Roth: His wife, WPIX starlet Jodi Applegate! Whom he met at a Cable Ace Awards event, as I remember it. They were reading some Bruce Vilanch-scripted patter setting up Russ Salzberg’s Lifetime Achievement Award in the Nuclear Sweater Arts when they Just Knew. Also, Rudy Giuliani officiated at their wedding. My circuits are overloaded. Smoke is coming out of my ears, and it smells like sadness and below-the-fold Page Six items.

David Raposa: Kay’s three basic food groups, per his wife: bacon, steak, and the aformentioned chicken-pasta amalgam. His colon must look like Clint Hurdle’s face.

David Roth: I know that Clint Hurdle is a bunt-happy doofus, but I do love that the Pirates are in first place. I love it a lot.

David Raposa: I wish I could fully get on board with the Pirate love.

David Roth: What’s your problem with the Bucs? They kept Derek Bell off the streets, they made Pat Meares a millionaire… they’re like the Medicaid of sports. Remember the neediest, David Raposa.

David Raposa: It’s not a beef, per se. I’m just afraid they’re “peaking” too soon, and they’re going to kill themselves to keep this team together instead of doing what they probably need to do to further their rebuilding effort (i.e. find pitchers that K more than 4 guys every 9 IP).

David Roth: Oh, agreed that the Pirates aren’t actually good yet. These Pirates are like… do you remember the year the Nats were hanging around the wild card for a half? It was like their second season. The team was Chad Cordero, Wil Cordero, John Patterson pre-limb-fenestration and either a zombified Vinny Castilla or a guy from a D.C.-area deli who was pretending to be Vinny Castilla.

David Raposa: I kinda do? Didn’t they finish a few games below .500 and then totally crater the following year?

David Roth: Yeah, that’s the team. I am always up for an anomalous mini-run, though.

David Raposa: I would love to hear what those dopes who dismissed the Nate McLouth trade have to say now.

David Roth: The dopes that bad-mouthed it all got traded themselves. Untouchable Core Guys/well-paid replacement-level busters like Sean Burnett were like “I’m not putting up a 4.15 ERA as a situational reliever to see my poker buddies get traded like this. OPERATION SHUTDOWN BEGINS NOW”

David Raposa: I was talking about the Rosenthals and Olneys of the world. I forgot there was a player revolt! “How are we going to win 63 games without our vaguely above-average center fielder! He made the best lemon squares!”

David Raposa: My sourpuss notwithstanding, I’m down with the cut of the Pirates’ jib. Granted, they still make like a Bonifay from time to time, like paying Lyle Overbay $6 million to play down to the level of mediocrity most expected from someone of Lyle Overbay’s diminishing talents.

David Roth: I will always ride for Lyle Overbay because his name is Lyle Overbay.

David Raposa: He’s actually a protagonist in a Jason Elam suspense novel. Clean-cut family man Lyle Overbay, ex-Navy SEAL and head programmer at bit.ly, learns that former Greenpeace volunteer Harvey Hempel is actually Alphonse Patel, a Serbian / Czech / Iranian immigrant sent to America to ruin Mardi Gras once and for all. Get ready for … FATWA TUESDAY.

David Roth: I’m going to get really real with you here for a second. And I’m writing this because the Mets just won on a walk-off – by Angel Pagan, extravagantly bearded centerfielder and Providence, RI’s premier Celtic Frost cover band – but do you ever feel like you like a team most right before it gets good? The Mets playing not-shitty, despite all that organizational dysfunction and the in-progress Toyotathon on every tradeable player, makes me happy and kind of weirdly proud.

David Raposa: Yeah, I think I felt that way about the Rays the year before they figured it out. They were just coming out of the dark of the Chuck Lamar era. And they had a bunch of castoffs and young turks: Carlos Pena, Delmon Young, Edwin Jackson, some high-maintenance Mets prospect. While those Rays were still figuring things out (their pitching was mostly atrocious, and they couldn’t field for shit), they were moving in the right direction. And you could tell that, after a certain point, the team realized it as well. Is that the sort of vibe you’re talking about with the Mets? Overcoming their history and problems to just play ball?

David Roth: Yeah, exactly that. We write our own identities over ball-bearing-eyed jockos at our peril, of course. But this bit of stubborn pride-in-performance moves me more than if they were supposed to win 99 games and actually won 101. They’re not actually good yet, and I’ll hate to see them trade Beltran, when that happens. But the best thing about following a lousy organization – at least in the long run – is the fun of that moment when they realize they’re not necessarily lousy. I sense they’re maybe approaching that.

David Roth: Really the worst thing that’s happened to them recently was when they had Al Michaels and Bob Costas announce a couple innings on SNY. And all they fucking talked about was steroids and bunting.

David Raposa: Somewhere, in the cornfields outside Syracuse, there’s a broadcaster with the chops and elan of Michaels or Costas that actually appreciates the game for what it is. A broadcaster that accepts these multi-million dollar athletes might actually employ cutting-edge vaguely-legal science in order to perform at their best every single day. A broadcaster that won’t speak in tongues about the greatness of Greg Gagne every time a DH deigns to do his job. That broadcaster could be Boog Sciambi, but he seems to have disappeared ever since he left the Braves’ booth.

David Roth: I always dug that guy. When he was on the radio, he hung up on a ranting, de-medicated Buzz Bissinger one time, which I always admired.

David Raposa: I can’t imagine there was ever a time when Buzz wasn’t on something – either pills, booze, or his own dick.

David Roth: Bissinger was like “AND THAT’S ANOTHER THING ABOUT WOMEN AND SLUGGING PERCENTAGE THAT MAKES ME WANT TO PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH.” And Sciambi was like “Thanks, Buzz, stay indoors,” and hung up.

David Raposa: Come back, Boog!

David Roth: Bissinger on Twitter is amazing, though. He just wakes up early on Saturday and is like “WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH EGGS AND NEW YORK MAGAZINE FILM CRITIC DAVID EDELSTEIN? WHO LIKES THESE THINGS? I WANT TO DRIVE A MOTORBOAT OVER THAT PERSON AND THOSE THINGS.”

David Raposa: I wish I had thick enough skin to deal with that sort of asshattery on Twitter.

David Roth: “Michael Wllbon needs to grow a pageboy. Hollywood Video’s return policy is horseshit. What is the deal with Eric Hinske, in general?” And so on. Until it’s time for a nap.

David Raposa: He probably uses rejected film treatments for that post-Friday Night Lights LaRussa book of his as a particularly uncomfortable pillow. “Clear hearts, full eyes, change pitchers.” (Peter Berg! Let’s do lunch!)



David Raposa writes about music for Pitchfork and other places. He used to write about baseball for the blog formerly known as Yard Work. He occasionally blogs for himself, and he also tweets way too much.

Photo by Chris Ptacek.