SAN DIEGO, CAâ€”I needed to get away, so Iâ€™m writing todayâ€™s post from a quaint little bar down San Diego way known as The Regal Beagle. Not a bad bunch around this joint. Just spent the last half hour talking to some guy named Larry and his date Greedy Gretchen. Anyway, with all of the Metsâ€™ so-called Superstars on the DL, I thought Iâ€™d write about â€œ Superâ€ stars instead. Iâ€™m talking about those essential custodians that often toil in obscurity, but still struggle to maintain some level of sanity within their buildings. In many ways, superintendents are a lot like baseball managers. Itâ€™s true! Look at any television super and you can almost always find his MLB counterpart. Here, Iâ€™ll try to make sense of all of this as I knock back a few more of the Beagleâ€™s famous Dark nâ€™ Stormys.
Thereâ€™s no better place to start this discussion than quintessential old school building super/owner Fred Mertz of â€œI Love Lucyâ€ fame. Good old Fred was once a big Vaudeville star but in his later years he bought a building in New York where he and his wife Ethel took a backseat to their famous Latino tenant Ricky Ricardo. Sound familiar? Of course it does. If you donâ€™t think Joe Torre is now playing Fred Mertz to Manny Ramirez you are as out of touch as Mrs. Trumbull.
Jerry Manuel is an easy one. His TV super counterpart is none other than Nathan Bookman from â€œGood Times.â€ Bookman was plenty entertaining, but his custodial skills left a lot to be desired. While the Evans family busted their chops to keep their heads above water all Bookman was worried about was where his next free meal was coming from. I bet if you look down the tunnels under Citi Field theyâ€™re as covered in graffiti as the walls of Bookmanâ€™s projects building. Jerryâ€™s nice enough but, like Bookman, heâ€™s not doing much to help the Mets.
I donâ€™t really care what their personalities are like because Tigers skipper Jim Leyland and â€œJetsonsâ€ handyman Henry Orbit are identical twins, and thatâ€™s good enough for me.
Ozzie Guillen, hmm, thatâ€™s a tough one. Wait! Got it! If ever there were a famous super whose tendencies mirrored those of the fiery and erratic Guillen itâ€™s Jerry Seinfeldâ€™s equally blustery and unpredictable superintendent Silvio. At the drop of a hat, Ozzieâ€™s ready to get rid of any of his players just as Silvio is to evict any one of his tenants. If they ever make the Ozzie Guillen Story, letâ€™s hope they at least consider actor Jon Polito for the lead.
Bobby Cox was once at the top of the managerial heap, but these days he has the same look on his face that â€œThreeâ€™s Companyâ€™sâ€ Stanley Roper did whenever his wife Helen asked him to come to bed. In fact, itâ€™s only a matter of time before Cox incorporates Mr. Roperâ€™s patented â€œtinkerbellâ€ hand gesture when he signals to the bullpen.
When you look at the list of most famous television supers â€œOne Day at a Timeâ€™sâ€ Dwayne Schneider has to be near the top. Thereâ€™s probably only one guy who could pull off Schneiderâ€™s cockiness as well as his mustache, and that man is Bobby Valentine. Schneider was sometimes annoying but always a â€œcan doâ€ guy and so was Bobby V. Just as Schneider spent way too much time hitting on Mrs. Romano, this Valentine swing through Japan has gone on long enough.
I foreshadowed this one weeks ago, so I am just going to go ahead and link Yankee manager Joe Girardi with ascot-wearing swinger-wannabe Ralph Furley (RF to his friends) from â€œThreeâ€™s Company.â€ The similarities may not seem so apparent on the surface, but both of these guys took over for legends and just wait for the patented deer-in-the-headlights Furley look from Joe G. once the Yanks make it to the playoffs.
One final super deserves mentioning and itâ€™s the super from the Odd Couple. I donâ€™t think we ever get his name, but he comes up to plaster a section of their wall where a picture fell down and touches his work up with the wrong color paint. When Felix points out that the paint doesnâ€™t quite match, the super asks, â€œAre you going to hang the picture back up?â€ Felix nods. And the super says â€œSo donâ€™t tell anyone. See you at Christmas.â€ Classic. I guess if youâ€™re managing a team like the Nationals or Royals you would definitely have to have the same type of â€œgood enoughâ€ approach as this guy, what with your limited supplies.
Thatâ€™s all for today. You guys have been super. See you at Christmas.