Episode 293: I Had To Find Music For This?!?

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-6vffb-1210c03

Join Joe Shoes and Michael Gomez as they present their weekly buffet of pop culture goodness! This week, your double-main men are discussing: the NBA Playoffs (1:11), HBO’s “Winning Time” (4:38), Joe’s YouTube updates (9:53), how we feel about Sonic & Dairy Queen (10:47), Upper Body Business (15:40), NHL season winding down and those season-ending bets coming up (18:49), general baseball talk (25:17), Mr. Strange and current movies in theaters (35:07), NBC’s “Young Rock” (37:00), Rock vs. Roman; California Mania (41:16), current wrestling fans and the way they support the product (44:06), trying to crack the code of what’s trendy (48:40), the VHS collecting renaissance (1:00:18), memories of HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE (1:05:43), Top 3 Britney Spears songs (1:12:12)

Follow on all the socials:

Twitter: @CarJoeMeZ, @TheJoeShoes, @thegomez154

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Blog Site: CarJoeMeZ.com

Keith Hernandez Has Merit, But Shouldn’t Open Floodgates for Retired Numbers

I have to admit: Keith Hernandez wasn’t the only one who was shocked at the news that the New York Mets would be retiring his number 17 this coming July. Not that his contributions don’t merit it, but the timing of it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The Mets have always had high standards when it came to taking uniform numbers out of circulation – maybe too high – but as someone who is a die hard Mets fan, I think a lot of people need to be honest with themselves: for a franchise that will celebrate its 60th anniversary this season, there is a great dearth of great moments and players in the team’s history to truly celebrate.

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing or nobody, but there is a reason we, as a fanbase, continually default to Tom Seaver and the 1969 club, to the juggernaut of 1986 and to Mike Piazza and those black jerseys. At best, the Mets have been consistently inconsistent; at worst, they’ve been the #LOLMets that the internet knows and loves for their chronic ineptitude both on and off the field.

Keith Hernandez deserves to have his number retired. His on-field contributions as a player and leader for a team that won a championship and, after arriving via an in-season trade in 1983, was the linchpin of team that reeled off five consecutive 90+ win seasons, a stretch of winning baseball that has yet to be matched in franchise history, before leaving as a free-agent after the 1989 season and finishing his career in Cleveland.

By the time Keith joined the Mets, he was already an established star. Not the typical power-hitting first baseman, but a player who was renown for always coming up big in clutch situations and had been a multi-time All Star, a five-time winner of the Gold Glove, a batting champion, co-winner of the 1979 National League MVP award and, perhaps most importantly, a World Series champion.

Keith didn’t make his name with the Mets, but he expanded upon his legacy by adding another six Gold Gloves and the 1986 World Series title to his resume while compiling a 129 OPS+ and 26.6 bWAR during his time in Queens. The paper stats are great, but what everyone talks about is the leadership he brought to the team. If you watched the four-part ESPN documentary “Once Upon A Time In Queens” his teammates talk of him as if he was Serpentor of GI Joe fame always ready to lead them into great battle as his troops earnestly followed his example.

Serpentor, the cutthroat military genius known for his catchphrase, “This…I command!”

Yes, Keith Hernandez did enough over his time with the Mets to warrant having his number retired, but that doesn’t mean the dam should rupture and Steve Cohen should start handing out retired numbers as if they’re raisins to kids on Halloween. Celebrating the history of the franchise is great and needed and something that can span generations of fandom as tales parents tell their kids while sitting in the stands to build the next generation of supporters, but let’s not be willy-nilly here.

The Mets have had many great players who have passed through, but that doesn’t necessarily make them great Mets. Warren Spahn is one of the greatest pitchers of all time. A Hall of Famer. Not a great Met. Willie Mays may very well be the greatest player in the history of the game and played a role on a National League championship team…but not a great Met.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we – as a fanbase – definitely do suffer from “little brother complex” when pit against the vast and voluminous history of the Yankees. Whether it’s Old Timer’s Day, constantly having to put up with them on Sunday Night Baseball, or that insufferable meme of the bleacher jerk off waving the rings, we always want to fight back as if our team has a much richer history than it really does.

Over the past week, I’ve seen people looking to retire numbers for everyone from Ed Kranepool (no) to Edgardo Alfonzo (also no) to Gary Carter (a bit more difficult, but still no) and many others in between, but doing so completely bastardizes the meaning of the number retirement is. This doesn’t mean you can’t honor good players in other ways; the team does have its own Hall of Fame that properly recognizes a cornucopia of players from the past by acknowledging their contributions and having their accomplishments on display in the team’s museum in the Citi Field Rotunda to be appreciated by all. Ed Kranepool seems like a nice guy and he had the longest tenure of anyone to every put on the uniform and that can be acknowledged, but that doesn’t make him great. The team Hall of Fame is the perfect way to acknowledge a wider swath of players who were very good for the organization.

That being said, should Keith’s number be the last one to make its way to the facade over the upper deck until further notice? No! But, admittedly, the pickens are slim here. As I see it, there is only one player who is a no-brainer and a small handful who I would consider “on the bubble” who have compelling cases, but may take some convincing. Let’s get to it!

David Wright: The no-brainer. The (distant) number two on every Mets list that begins with “Seaver”. He may not end up in the Hall of Fame like we had hoped, but was as excellent of an everyday player as the team has ever produced. The dude was everything you could have wanted as a ballplayer and as someone to feel good about cheering for. No need for some wretched hot take here, give the man his flowers.

Now that we’ve got that one out of the way, let’s get into the weeds.

Dwight Gooden/Darryl Strawberry: Yes, it seems wildly unfair to once again pair these two together after they’ve dealt with a lifetime of it, but here we are because their cases are wildly similar. Two homegrown studs who were absolute stars upon their arrivals, but were hampered by personal issues that prevented them from being all-time greats and leading the franchise into a dynasty. I’m slightly too young to have vivid memories of them at the peak of their powers, but thanks to the power of the internet, have been able to watch many, many vintage games on YouTube and really get a feel for the electricity they each brought. Even watching decades after the fact you can’t help but feel just a tinge of sadness for what could have been which is probably the biggest mark against them. Whenever you speak of either Doc or Darryl you inevitably reach the “yeah, but” portion of the discussion.

It’s tough. There’s a genuine part of me that would love to see them both honored with what Keith called “the greatest honor that can be given by an organization,” but their candles did burn out fast leaving more questions unanswered than with definitive results. I can be swayed, but right now, I’d have to lean towards the “no” section of the argument.

John Franco: I expect many people will vehemently disagree with this one due to the fact that it just feels like Johnny never made it easy on those of us who were watching through a lot of bad seasons, but I think you need to remember that not everyone is Mariano Rivera. New York fans became so accustomed to seeing Rivera just mow through lineups and bats with ease for so long that we think every closer should be doing the same thing when that’s simply impossible. Mariano is Mariano for a reason, but John Franco was no slouch. He never had the insane save numbers because of how many dreadful Mets teams he played for, but he is/was as synonymous with “being a Met” as anyone. I admit that me thought process has a lot to do with his extended tenure with the team than overall greatness, but he was a very good pitcher for a very long time and if we were to bestow a sort of “lifetime achievement award” on anyone, Johnny should be that guy.

Gary Carter: Well, here we are. Kid seems to be the one with the most support from the fanbase outside of Wright and, to be honest, I just don’t see why. I get that he was “the missing piece” and gave the team that right-handed thump in the order as well as the studious mind behind the plate that helped navigate a young pithing staff, but for me, there’s just not enough high-level term as a Met. Gary Carter obviously had a wonderful career and is a Hall of Famer, but the overwhelming majority of his resume was as a Montreal Expo. That doesn’t negate the impact he had or the role that he played while a Met, but realistically, he only had two great seasons in Queens followed by three where his knees just refused to let him be that guy anymore despite how much he tried. I can appreciate what he did while with the team and think his space in the team’s Hall of Fame is rightfully earned, but I also think that is a sufficient and proper way to honor him.

Obviously, debates like this just open the floor to…more debates! So let’s hear what you’ve got. Agree, disagree, good or bad, get down in the comments and let’s hear it.

Twitter/Insta: @TheJoeShoes

Episode 275: Fetus Cam

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-5hxiz-11604bd

Join Joe Shoes and Michael Gomez as they serve up their weekly buffet of pop culture goodness! This week, your double main men are discussing: Joe’s training for his half-marathon (1:16), casting future X-Men movies (4:54), TikTok (6:47), Joe’s Masters of the WWE Universe unboxing this week on the Major Pod Network (9:09), Card collecting (9:45), Christmas plans (14:55), 25th Anniversary of SCREAM (17:25), Joe’s animosity toward Sex And The City (19:00), baseball podcast “The Rumor” (23:08), Re-watching The Matrix Revoltions (27:50), Sleighing & Slaying with Inside (2007) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (51:21) & Big Finish: Top 3 Christmas Songs (1:48:30)

 

Next week for Sleighing & Slaying: Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas & Star Wars Holiday Special

 

Follow on all the socials:

Twitter: @CarJoeMeZ, @TheJoeShoes, @thegomez154

Instagram: @CarJoeMeZ, @TheJoeShoes, @thegomez154

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Twitch: Mr. Joe Shoes, Mez Movie

Blog Site: CarJoeMeZ.com

Stadium Food! TD Ballpark in Dunedin, FL

We can see live sports again! I got so excited to see a ballpark again that I grabbed my buddy, Pete Cool, to join me on a trip to Dunedin, FL to see a Blue Jays/Yankees game while the Jays are playing their home games at their spring training facility.

Watch this video as we eat our way through the game and check out the available menu at this temporary major league park! Remember to like and subscribe!

Mr. Burns’ Starting Lineup

I love baseball. I love cartoons. I love collecting. If you share any combination of those, it’s more than likely that you love “Homer At The Bat” from Season 3 of The Simpsons.

It’s great. As a baseball-obsessed 10 year-old during the height of Simpsons-mania, it felt as if this episode was written directly to appeal to me. To this day, it is one of my all-time favorite things in pop culture.

About a year ago, I decided I was going to put together a collection of the professional players that Mr. Burns brought in as ringers so he could manage the company softball team to a win over the team from Shelbyville.

Roger Clemens, Mike Scioscia, Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco, Ken Griffey Jr. and Darryl Strawberry all took bags of money to take fake jobs at the power plant so they could qualify to play for the company team.

Of course, tragedy struck all but Darryl Strawberry who did hit 9 home runs in the championship game, but when it came to collecting them in Starting Lineup form, the tragedy was solely stuck on me. I had assumed this would be a cheap and easy collection to amass and, for all intents and purposes it was, but there was just one figure that had a level of rarity and expensiveness: Mike Scioscia.

Mike Scioscia is probably best known nowadays as the longtime manager of the Anaheim Angels who he led to a World Series title in 2002, but back in 1992, when this episode aired and back in 1989, when his sole Starting Lineup figure was released, he was known as the longtime catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who backstopped a World Series champion team in 1988 and absolutely crushed 7 year-old me’s heart by hitting a backbreaking home run off Dwight Gooden in Game 4 of the NLCS that year that didn’t end the series, but effectively broke the spirit of my beloved Mets who severely underestimated the Dodgers after having had rolled over them during the regular season.

So when it came to collecting these figures: of course, it was Mike Scioscia.

It’s not that Mike Scioscia was impossible to find – he wasn’t incredibly abundant, but there’s figures out there – it’s the fact that Mike Scioscia was once again hitting me where it hurt most, which at 38 years old now, meant the wallet.

When Starting Lineup figures were first released by Kenner Toys in 1988, they were done so regionally. In your local market, the overwhelming majority of the Starting Lineup figures you would find would be of players on your local teams simply because there wasn’t thought to be much interest by people in players not on their team.

You would find other players – I clearly remember my mom finding me Mark McGwire, Kirk Gibson and Andre Dawson, for example – but those guys were stars. You weren’t finding Dick Schofield, Alan Ashby and Gary Redus at the Kay-Bee Toys in Green Acres Mall in NY.

This simple sales ploy (I don’t mean that in a negative way and the logic behind the marketing and stocking makes plenty of sense, especially when you remember this was a world before the MLB package so you only ever saw your local team outside of a random game of the week and postseason) has led to the value of certain figures being significantly higher than the notable “stars”. Certain figures like Mike Scioscia.

The other eight figures came quickly and inexpensively. I don’t even think I paid more than $10 for a single one of them. But every time a 1989 Mike Scioscia Starting Lineup would pop up on eBay, the prices were far beyond anything I would have ever imagined paying.

Ninety dollars.

A hundred dollars.

A hundred and twenty dollars.

Why is this happening?!

I just wanted to buy some cheap toys and do a really fun unboxing video on my YouTube channel, but as a MOC (mint on card) collector in my heart of hearts, I can in no way now justify tearing open a Mike Scioscia figure when I’m going to pay this much for it.

But I had a plan. How many people out there could actually want this Mike Scioscia? How many hardest of hardcore Dodger fans or completist SLU collectors were out there rubbing their greedy, little hands together, dying to get their mitts on the former All Star catcher? So I waited. Certainly the price would drop at some point. It had to. And in the collecting game, patience is a virtue. The deals are out there, you just have to be willing to wait for them. I knew this would come to me.

So I waited. I tracked the listings on eBay. I did google searches from time to time. I checked Mercari and Facebook marketplace and LetGo. I put in the work because I knew that one day I would taste that sweet, sweet victory over the collecting hobby and have my prize trophy for the price I wanted to pay.

Except that never happened.

Time after time, listing after listing. Mike Scioscia never showed up for any less than $90 and, under no circumstance, could I possibly justify that. I’ve made bigger purchases, sure. I’ve spent more money on toys, absolutely. And it’s made me incredibly happy to do so…but Mike Scioscia? Man, I hate Mike Scioscia.

I tried to forget about it and just put finishing this collection to the side, one piece short of completion while focusing on other things, but it was in my saved listings always looking, watching, judging. It knew. Damn Mike Scioscia knew I was out there, lurking, peeking, never really giving up with the itch just growing stronger. This itch needed to be scratched so I could finally move on with my life.

It was too much to carry on my shoulders any longer. I finally admitted to myself that I had to have it, wallet be damned. Was $100 really going to break me? No, but that’s not the point. It’s the principle that I was positive this would be a ten, mayyyyyybe fifteen dollar figure when I decided to put this team together and the fact that I was now stuck paying a multiple of that just absolutely burned me. You got me, Mike Scioscia. You win. I tap.

So I turned the lights off in my apartment because I didn’t want to be seen doing what I was about to do. This wasn’t necessary since I live alone, but I was ashamed. I folded. Thirty-two years after the fact and I had become my biggest regret: I had folded like the 1988 Mets at the hands of Mike Scioscia. I did. I went on eBay and I found a listing for it. It was right there: Mike Scioscia, 1989 Starting Lineup. Mint on card. Just $90.

But I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t allow myself to do this. So I did the next best thing: made a best offer of $75. It was still 7.5x more than I actually wanted to pay, but I told myself that $75 is way better than $90 and that I wouldn’t be losing here. I wouldn’t be winning either, but if I could just get the price down that little bit, I’d look at this standoff with Mike Scioscia as a draw and not the lopsided victory he would have had again over me.

It worked. The buyer accepted my $75 offer and I wrestled Mike Scioscia to a hard-fought draw. My collection of 1992’s City Champion Springfield Nuclear Power Plant team of ringers was now complete.

You almost got me again, Mike Scioscia. But you didn’t break my heart again, oh no, this time you merely just slightly bruised my ego and that’s OK. Because I only slightly gave in to my principles and we’re all forced to compromise our beliefs at some point to get what we want.

Is it over? Hardly. There will be another. Another collection to complete. Another figure to buy. Mike Scioscias under different names. But for today, for this battle, I didn’t completely lose. And sometimes, just “not losing” is true victory.

The complete lineup, one through nine

Email: ShoesOnSports@gmail.com

Twitter: @MaxSexPow

Video: Unboxing MLB Mascot Reaction Figures from Super7

Super7 has been killing the game with their reaction figures featuring all sorts of known properties and now they’ve expanded into MLB Mascots! Check out this video of me opening up the first three: Mr. Met, Phillie Phanatic and Crazy Crab! Take a watch, drop a like and subscribe to the channel to see all future videos!

Episode 177: “Worker’s Comp! Holla!

Season 4 of the podcast begins right now! We’re talking books like Previously On X-Men, The MVP Machine and Astroball to random baseball talk, Star Wars books as well as the recent attractions to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, video game movies and more! Check it out and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

Apple: Listen here

Stitcher: Listen here

Podbean: Listen here

2018 IBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot Reveal!

It’s one of my favorite times of the year! Since becoming a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) in 2015, I’ve taken great joy in getting to vote on year-end awards and Hall of Fame.

Just because I feel like I always need to explain this: the IBWAA is a distinct and different group from the BBWAA which is the group of writers who vote on the actual recognized awards and participate in the actual selection process for the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum that you all know. The IBWAA Hall of Fame is a separate, non-physical entity that has many similarities as far as the people elected, but there are differences there as well. For a breakdown of last year’s IBWAA voting, click here and catch up on the results. As you’ll notice, we selected Vladimir Guerrero last season and Edgar Martinez the year before which is why they won’t show up on this year’s IBWAA ballot.

Where as the BBWAA can only vote for a maximum of 10 players, the IBWAA allows us up to 15. That doesn’t mean I have to select 15, but this year, I actually did go over 10 which felt really easy to do based on the glut of what I perceive to be qualified candidates. Continue reading

Ep. 68: Spectacular Teachers

It’s a Saturday which means it’s time for a brand new episode! This week we finish off the second half of Stranger Things 2, why Burger King can now go fuck themselves, Mr. Rogers, how getting older means kids have never heard of the things you love, WCW’s Nitro Grill, Carlos Beltran, sports loyalty and childhood crushes.

We are all over the place this week, but in the best of ways.

Find us on Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean or wherever you find your favorite podcasts!

Also remember to leave us a review on iTunes and enter our Stranger Things Funko Pop Giveaway! We’re giving away a highly sought-after exclusive Steve from Stranger Things figure so make like Troy Bolton and get’cha head in the game! (This is a High School Musical reference.)