Tag Archives: New York Mets

Even During a Sharknado there is Time for Baseball and Other Lessons Syfy Taught Me

Last week the world was treated to the cinematic classic in the making Sharknado 2: The Second One; which oddly enough is a sequel to last summer’s Twitter crashing craze Sharknado.

The sharkcentric movies from the Syfy network center around mankind’s response to a weather event that allows powerful offshore storms to pick up sharks from the ocean and carry them hundreds of miles away to wreak havoc on densely populated areas.

For Sharknado the sharks were Pacific Ocean based and attacked Los Angeles much to the dismay of Tara Reid and Ian Ziering. For the sequel the sharks were in a New York state of mind after being plucked from the Atlantic Ocean allowing Tara Reid and Ian Ziering to be dismayed from sea to shining sea.

While few can argue that a story about sharks falling from the sky and wreaking havoc on New York City has the cinematic bite of say Citizen Kane, there are times when a movie, where everyone is in on the joke, can just provide pure guilty cinematic pleasure without the need to over analyze the meaning of Rosebud.

I have long been a collector of shark teeth but despite my frequent proximity to the coast I do not fear a Sharknado. Photo R. Anderson
I have long been a collector of shark teeth but despite my frequent proximity to the coast I do not fear a Sharknado.
Photo R. Anderson

Years ago I had a movie critic who worked for me describe this type of guilty cinematic pleasure as popcorn cinema for the Johnny lunch pail crowd.

While this particular critic was raised on art house cinema and preferred an independent film to a summer blockbuster he agreed that sometimes a movie just needs to be downright fun with a crazy plot and over the top acting.

I lost touch with him years ago but I want to believe that even my old film critic got caught up in the Sharknado feeding frenzy.

There were certainly many popcorn cinema moments, and unexpected cameos, in the sharks take a bite out of the Big Apple movie but what struck me most during the film was how the poor New York Mets just can’t seem to get a break as their Ballpark fell victim to the falling sharks.

Someone really should have checked to see if the New York Yankees were behind the taunting of their cross town rival.

Aside from learning that the House that Ruth Built, Yankee Stadium, appears to be immune from shark attacks, another lesson that I learned from the film is that a chain saw is a good item to have when one needs to cut open a shark. That knowledge definitely could have helped me a few years back when I tried to extract a jaw from a deceased shark I found on the beach.

Chompers, as the shark was known, was about a foot or two long when I found him. While most people might see a dead shark on the beach and think, “eww, dead shark,” I saw things a little differently. To me the dead shark on the beach meant the chance to have a really cool shark jaw to display on my desk at work.

I can blame my aunt for this thought process. Many years earlier she and I stumbled upon a large shark that had washed up on the shore outside of Jacksonville Beach in Florida. We had been searching for shark teeth all morning and lo and behold here in front of us was a mouth full of pristine shark teeth ready for the picking.

Upon seeing the shark my aunt mentioned how much she wished she had brought a pair of pliers to pull the teeth out. Without any pliers we left the shark alone and continued our search for easier to grab shark teeth along the shore.

So decades later as I stared at Chompers the words of my aunt came to me once more and I thought I can do better than a pair of pliers, I can take the whole shark home and extract the jaw teeth and all.

Of course living in an apartment at the time I did not really think that my neighbors would appreciate me sitting on the patio with a shark carcass so I took Chompers to my parents’ house.

After failing at my own attempt at shark jaw removal I was given a professionally extracted draw by my parents following a trip they took to Hawaii. In hindsight it is always best to leave shark rendering to the professional unless one happens to have a chainsaw handy. Photo R. Anderson
After failing at my own attempt at shark jaw removal I was given a professionally extracted draw by my parents following a trip they took to Hawaii. In hindsight it is always best to leave shark rendering to the professional unless one happens to have a chainsaw handy.
Photo R. Anderson

Over the next week or so I tried various methods to extract the jaw but had little luck and only managed to attract flies as the tiny teeth fell out of the very much still inside the shark jaw.

In the end Chompers was given a proper burial in the front yard and I was given a shark jaw my parents found at a store the next time they went to Hawaii.

A third life lesson I learned from Sharknado is that the scientific community, or at least the one that posts on the internet, seem very divided over the actual chances of a real Sharknado occurring. I was amazed at the number of articles that stated that a Sharknado event could really occur.

To be perfectly clear a Sharknado, such as the one depicted in the movie, cannot really happen. For starters even if there was somehow enough force in a tornado to pick up a bunch of unsuspecting sharks who happened to be swimming by at that exact moment they would die shortly after being thrust in the air since, spoiler alert, sharks are fish and can’t breathe out of the water.

While a Sharknado is basically ruled out by the laws of physics, I did actually witness a Catfishnado once in Florida when a school of catfish was picked up in a storm and deposited on my parents’ lawn.

So the science of storms being able to pluck things out of the water is valid. But, to repeat again there is no scenario where hundreds of six to eight foot sharks can be thrust up into the clouds and dropped upon unsuspecting citizens along the coast.

By all means enjoy the escapism that movies such as Sharknado and Sharknado 2 can provide but certainly do not live with the fear of sharks falling from the sky. Getting hit on the head by a falling catfish though is an entirely plausible thing and just might encourage someone to wear a hat when walking outside in the rain.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to try to figure out which Ballpark is going to get hit by Sharknado the third which will be coming to the small screen next summer. Fenway Park anyone?

Copyright 2014 R. Anderson

Two Sides of Sportsmanship on Display This Week

Earlier this week the baseball world was rocked by the news that former National League MVP Ryan Braun basically lied repeatedly regarding his use of performance enhancing drugs. Braun was suspended for the rest of the year and people started wondering whether he could ever regain the respect of the Milwaukee Brewers fans when he does return next season.

Normally this type of admission would carry through for the entire week in the media as the sports world anxiously awaits news of the next stars to fall. But a funny thing happened Wednesday night to help restore one’s faith in the fact that not all of the baseball players are selfish millionaires cheating the system for their own gain.

Of course most rationale people know that there are still many good players taking the field but sometimes it is good to be reminded of such things.

That reminder came in the form of the reaction to a gruesome injury at the New York Mets ballpark that had been the sight of the All Star Game earlier in the month.

The Atlants Braves were dealt a blow Wednesday night when pitcher Tim Hudson broke his ankle. The response after that occurred showed there are still good players left in the game during a week where much of the news centered on suspensions for cheaters. Photo R. Anderson
The Atlanta Braves were dealt a blow Wednesday night when pitcher Tim Hudson broke his ankle. The response after that occurred showed there are still good players left in the game during a week where much of the news centered on suspensions for cheaters.
Photo R. Anderson

While covering first base on a routine play that he had probably done hundreds of times in his career Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson put a little too much of his foot on first base leaving New York Mets left fielder Eric Young Jr little room to avoid contact with Hudson’s outstretched foot.

Young hit Hudson’s foot at full speed causing it to bend at an angle that feet just aren’t meant to bend. Watching the replay of the contact I knew right away that something bad had happened. While it was not necessarily a career ending injury, it was definitely a season ending injury based on what I saw on the replay.

This assessment of the severity of the injury was not based on extensive study in medical school, although I did take a few seminars in sports medicine, but was based on years of covering games where I had seen countless athletes get hurt.

That firsthand knowledge has allowed me to guess with pretty accurate results the type of injuries and even the sound that is made when the injury occurs. One never forgets the sound broken bones and torn tendons make once you have heard them. They are the type of sounds that are truly haunting.

So, right now you are wondering when I will get to the part about the good news and the sportsmanship element of Wednesday night instead of all of the gory details of what did in fact turn out to be a broken ankle that will require season ending surgery.

The element of sportsmanship comes in the reaction of Young after he realized that Hudson was on the ground in pain.

Young, who was ruled out on the play, went right to Hudson’s side and started consoling him. Even after the team trainers and paramedics arrived, a visibly shaken Young stayed by the side of the fallen Hudson.

Young, a professed Christian, could even be seen rubbing the cross on his chain and saying a prayer for Hudson while the medical staff attended to him.

Once Hudson was placed on the golf chart to make the trip around the warning track that no athlete wants to make Young came up to Hudson and shook his hand and said a few words to him before turning to head into the Mets dugout. On the way to the dugout Young could be seen wiping tears from his eyes.

Now, there was nothing dirty about the play and all of the people saying that Young should have done something to avoid contact with Hudson are deeply diluted. Had Young tried to change course it is quite possible that he would have been the one with an ankle injury instead of Hudson. It was just a freak accident that while rare does happen from time to time.

So instead of blaming Young for the injury people should focus more on his reaction. After realizing that a fellow competitor was down Young went to his side. That shows the close knit fraternity of baseball that regardless what team name is on the front of the jersey the good players still help each other out.

There is certainly a time to be competitive with one another but as Young showed there is also a time to be compassionate towards one another.

So while I feel bad that it took an injury of this nature to bring it out, and I certainly join others in wishing Tim Hudson a speedy recovery from his injury, it was nice to see the compassion shown by Eric Young Jr. to help restore my faith in the belief that not all of the players on the diamond are self-centered cheaters like Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez have shown themselves to be.

I still want to believe, like the younger version of me did, that ballplayers are by and large good people who can be admired for playing the game the right way but it seems the older I get the harder it is to tell which players are worthy of admiration and which ones should be pitied.

Eric Young Jr. showed he is a player to be admired and hopefully more players took notice and will respond in kind if they are ever placed in the same position.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a trip to the beach to prepare for.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson