The Curse of Joey Zasa

Game On!
The last time I was at a game…September 30, 2012 – Twins-v-Detroit at Target Field. Photo by Randy Stern

“Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”

This line by Al Pacino’s older version of Michael Corleone in “The Godfather, Part III” has been a standard in cases such as this. His reaction to Joe Mantegna’s Joey Zasa wanting to break the peace of the “Commission” has been universal when it comes to the point of stepping away and allowing temptation to get the best of me.

I took a year off from writing on this blog. It did a world of good on building a new commercial front in writing – the automotive work. The things I have accomplished in that arena was staggering. It is where I was – deep in the bowels of the industry that has given me opportunities I only dreamed about in years prior.

The first quarter of 2013 was off the charts, as it began on a Delta Air Lines non-stop from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport into Detroit. I was invited by a major manufacturer to participate in a guided program at the North American International Auto Show. This would be my first time at this most important event on the automotive calendar. For that time, I was entertained by exclusive experiences ranging from the world debut of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray to meetings with executives, interview opportunities and other amazing moments on the floor of Cobo Center and beyond.

This was followed by a heavy schedule at the Chicago Auto Show and the Twin Cities Auto Show. In all, I felt a balance between “making inroads” in my work and art and some localized disappointments I would rather not get into at this point.

The last time I wrote on here was in September. I was reflective of where I have been and my context with baseball. Since that last post, I ended up at the Twins’ final home game of 2012 – a hot mess for the home team against the eventual American League Champion Detroit Tigers. Target Field looked less crowded – a disappointment after its incredible first year run.

Perhaps it was something to fulfill the conversations I had with Miguel Ramos, Director of Emerging Markets for the Minnesota Twins and his assistant Alejandra at Twin Cities Pride last year. Sadly, I gave scant attention to the postseason and the off-season deals. It was recently that I began to twitch about the game again.

It was not about Justin Verlander’s incredible contract extension that sparked the twitch. Maybe it was waking up and finding Josh Beckett pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then again, watching the Guggenheim Partners and Earvin “Magic” Johnson take the storied franchise onto the next level is something worth noting for an old ex-Losangelino to covet and celebrate.

Yet, there were things I continue to object to. For example, the story circulating that Alex Rodriguez makes money than the entire Houston Astros’ player payroll. That is not only appalling, but, rather, it was unnecessary journalism. Just as unnecessary as the local Twin Cities-based weekly alternative rag, the City Pages, and their headline pondering baseball’s “fiscal cliff.”

The sad part about all of this is seeing my heroes go down into the twilight with a chance for one final glory in the sun. The New York Mets’ Johan Santana appears to be done with his game. He was one of the awesome players that helped in transitioning my time in the Twin Cities some eight-plus years ago. I certainly am a bit disappointed that the roster has not held up for all of the teams concerned. Where’s Michael Cuddyer? Oh, he’s in Denver. And how many ex-Twins from the late Metrodome/first year at Target Field are on the Tigers’ roster?

Despite the frustration and concern, I concluded that I cannot separate myself from this game. I may not be as present as I was in 2010, but I can allow myself to at least follow the game via my mobile device or catch up on news via Twitter and Facebook.

This quasi-return to the game was from inspiration, of course. I have to credit Emma Amaya – the Dodger lovin’ blogger who is involved with SABR and living many of our dreams out in Los Angeles. I also credit my brother Matthew – he cannot live the game our mother handed down to us. The Dodgers and the Angels are in my brother’s blood and continue with his family’s annual outing to both ballparks – if not the closest one in Anaheim.

Why should I care about the game still? Because, it is still here. The division format may have changed. The postseason may have been altered. The teams may have been reshuffled roster-wise. FOX is still the major broadcaster for the league. Meh…

I think I would never get away from baseball. Though things have shifted towards automotive writing and the occasional “other duties as assigned” by my other outlet(s), the game still exists. I still have a Twins’ hoodie, t-shirt and cap in my closet. Perhaps that is enough for now.

But, what else is there? A regular slate of games at Target Field or Midway Stadium? Maybe just one, if I am inclined to do so. I will admit that I have been dabbling with the atBat iPhone app and its push notifications feature. That damn app should be blamed for Yu Darvish’s blown perfect game.

The season already began. A Dodger win offset the Twins loss on Monday. My test vehicle this week had the voices of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman filtering through its Bose Centerpoint speakers – just enough to check into the game and switch to another SiriusXM channel. The year’s still young, folks…

Baseball or Cars & Coffee? The latter has been my life of late. But, damn you, Joey Zasa…


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