Waiting to Exhale

Waiting to Exhale


Waiting to Exhale


I tell people all the time to make sure they remember to breathe.

I understand that breathing is an involuntary action, but sometimes when life gets unnecessarily stressful (lotta unnecessary stress out there), people have to stop and voluntarily take a breath … a long one.

Same goes for the rapid dispensation of sports news, especially the background information which by itself means nothing.  But in this era when everybody is trying to connect the dots all at once, it can be frazzling … especially when some of the dots are just dots and nothing more.

Take this Charlie Samuels story.  You know the one, where he bet on baseball and stole from the Mets’ kitty to do it.  Big deal?  You bet (sorry).  Samuels can’t have a job in this league or any sports league again after this.  But in this world of media immediacy, instead of tying the facts together, those facts just get thrown out there to the wolves to be connected by the public.  That’s where things get dangerous.

Here are some dots that have been thrown out there:


* Received a $50,000 tip from outfielder Jeff Francoeur before Francoeur left the Mets for the World Series-bound Rangers earlier this season;

* Provided Francisco Rodriguez with a place to stay in his home after the closer was ordered by a Queens judge to stay away from his common-law wife following an altercation with her father at Citi Field in August.

* Once received a new Lexus from Mike Piazza, whose father had lost a bet to Samuels on how much weight the elder Piazza could lose.

Okay, let’s work through this backwards.  My recollection tells me that when Piazza gave the car to Samuels, the Mets announcers talked about it openly and framed it as this heartwarming story.  I don’t seem to remember anybody connecting this to Samuels being a gambler with mob ties.  And why would they?  So forgive me as I roll my eyes at that one.

He gave Frankie a place to stay?  Sounds like an Odd Couple sequel more than anything.  On August 11th, Francisco Rodriguez was ordered to remove himself from his place of residence … that request came from his wife.  Deep down, he knew she was right.  But he also knew that someday, after 53 text messages, he would return to her.  With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his clubhouse manager, Charlie Samuels.  Can two criminals share an apartment without driving the policemen crazy?  Good story.  Actually, it kinda reminds me of the Odd Couple where Oscar gets a mobster friend to help recover a stolen watch for Felix’s wife so he can save his marriage.  It’s actually too perfect.  But it’s not necessarily a connection other than two guys with less than clean records in the same domicile.  This just makes it easier for the cops … if they can make two arrests while busting down only one door, then why not.  Just passes the savings on to you so you can bet on sporting events.

That takes us to the $50,000.  Okay, you’ve piqued (or peaked, whatever you want) my attention.  But clubbies get nice tips all the time, and managers probably get higher tips than everyone.  $50,000?  If Jeff Francoeur is guilty of anything it’s giving any non-family member that much money assuming he’s going to make it back with a huge contract while his OPS was wallowing around .662.  But again, this happens.  To just throw it out there while leaving it to everyone’s active imagination seems a little nutty to me.  But that’s the world we live in.  Now, if there’s a $50K betting slip on the Clemson Tigers lying around under one of Eric Valent’s broken bat handles in Samuels’ living room, I’ll start worring.  Mainly because … well, who the hell bets on the Clemson Tigers for any reason?*  Until that fictional betting slip is found to actually exist, breathe.  Deeply.

I myself am waiting for the information that Samuels was forced into a life of crime to make the money back that he lost taking stock tips from Lenny Dykstra.**

*Clemson’s pretty good.

**I’m making up stuff.

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