Sunday, January 01, 2006

Tom Seaver, winemaker

Xmas in NY part 2. Shortly before having to leave for the airport a piece of the New York Times caught my attention. Apparently Tom Seaver, the one-time star pitcher of the Mets, now owns a vineyard and makes wine in Napa County. I know, it's become a cliche for celebrities to take up winemaking, but after reading the article I really sensed some sincerity in the case of Tom Seaver. I didn't know it but he grew up in Fresno where his Dad grew raisins -- what better prelude to winemaking? Years ago as a kid I met the man when he was shooting some commercial in Old Westbury. I sensed a sincerity in the man that, upon reflection is very un-New York. It's funny the way sports teams will recruit players from far away places and thereby fabricate a civic image so flatteringly unlike the city they represent. I think this careful image-manipulation was part of what made the Mets, the only sports team I ever gave a rat's ass about, appealing to me. I was young and bought the product and the myth. The myth was a better New York than the one that later emerged; the New York of the 1964 World's Fair and the UN; an optimistic, genteel, colorful place with blue skies and green trees. I'm not sure where that New York went, or if it ever actually existed outside a handful of psyches and technicolor postcards.


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