Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Musings on Sports - Mets, Martinez and the Morality of Gallerstein

As regular readers of this blog are aware, the Monday post was usually devoted to sports with highlights and analysis of the Max Kellerman show which formerly aired on 1050 ESPN Radio. As Max has resigned from 1050 and has not yet resurfaced on the NY area radio waves, I have decided to continue the tradition of linking sports to Torah which I believe was an undercurrent of the Max Kellerman show.

Over the weekend, the Mets were eliminated from the race for the NL East. This was accomplished via a sweep by the Philadelphia Phillies of a day-night doubleheader. The first game featured a near collapse by the Phillies as a 5-2 lead became a 5-4 cliff hanger, much like the previous game where the Phillies blew a 9-5 lead and lost 10-9 on two David Wright home runs.

The second game of the doubleheader was a 1-0 loss at the hands of former Met pitcher - Pedro Martinez. In winning the game, Martinez threw 130+ pitches, more than he had thrown in any one game for the Mets during his four years in Flushing. I wonder whether this ability to last in games is a result of his having not pitched until July, but I digress.

On my way back from Court this morning, I heard the end of the Brandon Tierney show. BT was attempting to provoke the update guy, Bob Gallerstein by asking whether it hurt that Pedro Martinez went the 8 innings in the loss on Sunday. Gallerstein would not take the bait, saying that once he realized that the season was lost in July, he was able to divorce himself from emotion over the team's (mis)fortunes. Although Brandon Tierney admitted that he was trying to get to Mets fans and Bob in particular (just another example of how much Tierney hates the Mets), Gallerstein would not be provoked.

The conversation struck a chord with me in relation to a mashal (parable) from the Chida - Rabbi Chaim David Azulai. In the sefer Mashalei HaChida, there is a story told of a poor man who thought that he was going to be invited to the wedding of the child of a rich neighbor. The poor man put off making food for himself on the day of the wedding, figuring that he would be invited. As the day wore on, the poor man decided that he must not have made the guest list, so he ate his dry bread.

Still later, messengers from the rich neighbor came and told the poor man that he was needed at the wedding. As the poor man was now satiated, he forced himself to vomit up his bread, so that he could enjoy the delicacies at the wedding.

When the poor man arrived at the rich man's home, he was told that they were glad he had come, as they wished to hire him to work at the wedding. The poor man was sick to his stomach as he had already given up his own meal and would now not be eating at the rich man's home.

This is the problem with jealousy and why it is better to be happy with one's lot, rather than take the bait and longing for that which belongs to another. When a person spends all his time obsessing over the prize that belongs to his neighbor and foregoing what normally makes him happy, he will wind up with nothing but heartache.

Here, the Mets have been eliminated due to a combination of injury and poor planning. The average fan can do one of two things - sit and obsess over the moves which could have been made to plug the ever growing number of holes due to injury, or enjoy watching the players and prospects who were not traded, who are now earning their roster spots for next year.

I was glad that Gallerstein did not take the bait.

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