Tag Archives: 1986 Mets

In Memoriam: Ed Koch; Cool Old Guy First, NYC Mayor Second

Mayors, and politicians in general, usually possess the stereotype of being buttoned up, polished, careful with their words and actions. They’re not usually schlubby Jews with thick Noo Yawk accents and the kind of appearance that more resembles the Uncle at your Bar Matzvah who drinks too much Kiddush wine, commandeers the microphone and tells hackneyed jokes than the leader of the most influential city in the world. But former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who died early this morning, defied those stereotypes, and many others. Indeed, had you presented a four-year-old me with a photo of our Uncle Morty side-by-side with one of Koch we would have been hard-pressed to tell the difference, and that, perhaps, speaks to his appeal and to his legacy.

There are two real cornerstones that shaped our youth and who we are today: The Mets and the Muppets. And Koch had a history with both of them. Before we every really knew Ed Koch as the outspoken Mayor of New York City, we knew him as a Mets fan, an old guy in a Mets hat who seemed to be of some import but we weren’t really certain what. Our first memory of the late Mayor is probably his brief appearance in the 1986 Mets music video “Let’s Go Mets Go,” popping up next to NYC luminaries such as Robert Klein, Howard Stern, Twisted Sister and Gene Shalit, seeming more like a crazy, die-hard fan than a political heavyweight. But Koch proved you could be both simultaneously, and few reveled in the Mets World Series victory more than Koch. You can accuse some politicians of feigning allegiance to their local teams, especially in times of triumph, but you can’t say that about Koch and the ’86 Mets.

Our other early memory of Koch – and something of a rite of passage for NYC Mayors – was his work with the Muppets, offering a cameo in The Muppets Take Manhattan. Certainly, a Muppet film taking place in the country’s largest city would require an appearance from its leader. But that much, a rote cameo, was somewhat perfunctory. What was special about this particular cameo was that Koch felt right with the Muppets, that his off-kilter brand of governing was somehow complimentary to the bizarre, left-of-center sensibility of the Muppets. They were, in a way, a natural match, with Koch even appearing in “The Great Muppet Look-Alike Contest,” a feature in a 1983 issue of Muppet Magazine, paired up with Gonzo naturally. And he was right at home sparring with Gonzo again in Muppets Take Manhattan. 

Twins.

We’re too young to have really understand Koch’s impact as Mayor of New York City. We think he generally did a good job, but that might be because we like him, because he remained a visible, outspoken presence in NY life. We’re not even familiar with his hosting turn on SNLthe third piece of the triptych that helped define our personality along with Mets and the Muppets. But we know that he was a fan of and a part of two things that we love, that are a part of our very makeup. And he’s also an integral part of another strand of our DNA, New York City. We’ve come to love this city the way that Koch did for so many decades. He was a quintessential New Yorker, a wise-cracking, tough-talking, bald-headed Jew who became Mayor.

Only in New York.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Checks & Balances, In Memoriam, Intersection of the venn diagram of things that I love, Local Flavor, Matt Christopher Books

In Memorium: Kid

We weren’t even three years-old when the Mets won the World Series in 1986, but that team has come to define our life.  We don’t remember much, if anything, from that time, but we watched and rewatched and wore out 1986: A Year to Remember, the VHS yearbook of that magical season, and even if those memories weren’t burned onto our cerebral cortex in that October, we don’t recall a time when we didn’t know that team, when Mex, Doc, Darryl, Nails and Kid weren’t our heroes.  The only other similar experience for us was the 1994 Rangers, and while we continue to revere that team  – especially captain and messiah Mark Messier – their impact on us is not as great as the ’86 Mets.  In ’94 we were old enough to choose the Rangers, but the ’86 Mets essentially chose us.  For better or worse.  That would be the team against which we would measure every other team against for the rest of our lives.  And we know that, no matter what, because of that team’s success, and promise, and its ultimate shortcomings, no team will ever match it in our hearts and minds.

Despite the fact that we’re not left-handed and don’t play first base, we gravitated towards Keith Hernandez.  He was our guy.  It was the intangibles, the way he approached the game with a a cerebral approach, the way he made the players around him better, the way he was a leader and a champion.  But we also knew, as A Year to Remember made clear, that Keith wasn’t alone in leading that team.  Gary Carter, he of the wide, indefatigable smile, the king the curtain call, shared that role with Keith.  If Mex was the brains of that team, Kid was the heart.  Keith was the field general, Gary was their spiritual guide.  They made each other better, and together they willed that team to win.  And in doing so left an indelible mark on so many of us.  They were the rock.

That was the first time we ever heard the world “effervescent” and we’ve associated it with Gary Carter ever since.

Thanks, Kid.

Leave a comment

Filed under In Memoriam, Local Flavor, Matt Christopher Books, Nostalgia Corner

‘SNL Backstage’: More Like ‘SNL Backstab’

There’s literally nothing we like more than Saturday Night Live retrospectives.  Okay, well, maybe we like pizza, beer, the Muppets, 1986 Mets retrospectives and maps more.  But really that’s about it.  And it’s close.  Which is why we were so extremely disappointed in last week’s “new” two-hour prime-time special SNL Backstage. We were eager for the broadcast all week, making sure to set our DVRs before heading out to Philadelphia for the weekend.  We were far more excited about it than any regular episode of SNL all season, save for Jim Carrey’s return.  And from those great expectations came a great letdown.

The show was billed as, or so it seemed to us, a look behind the scenes at SNL, which we thought meant going beyond the origin of sketches and past cast changes and instead delving further into the process of the show, bringing us stories and details not found in the previous behind the scenes specials (SNL in the 80s: Lost and Found, SNL in the 90s: Pop Culture Nation, SNL in the 00s: Time and Again). Indeed, judging from the promo, we were going to be treated to some new never heard before insights and, most intriguing to us, a glimpse at how they pull up a live show with so many set and costume changes.  What we thought we’d be getting was a truly illuminating look under the hood of SNL, an expose on all its moving parts.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

But, basically, we were lied to.

More on the betrayal, and the only three minutes of truly new and interesting material.

Leave a comment

Filed under Analysis, Be careful what you wish for, Matt Christopher Books, Saturday Night Live, The Roaring 10s!