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There haven't been any television shows that featured baseball or baseball fandom more prominently than "Seinfeld." And even though the show tilted toward the Yankees, Seinfeld's own Mets fandom is well known and, thanks to Lady Gaga's chaotic visit to his luxury box, awfully topical right now.
The visit finally happened on Wednesday night and turned out to be a good mix of comedy and discussion of Mets past and present. As expected, Lady Gaga wound up being the target of some of Seinfeld's best one-liners while, sadly, no parallel was drawn between R.A. Dickey's knuckleball and David Puddy's decision to finish Jerry's best bedroom move with a knuckle instead of a swirl.
"I think it's fair to say we're all fans of Lady Gaga. Lame white guys in their fifties are her core fans," Seinfeld said before moving on to discuss her visit to his box. "We brought the bedbug dog in. Rusty, whats his name, and it's all clean."
Seinfeld didn't do much of the observational humor for which he's known, probably because the situation called for more of an improvisational style. That's not his specialty but he did have a particularly Seinfeldian take on the habit of middle infielders waving their gloves at fly balls well out of their reach -- "Why do they put the glove up, is anybody going to fall for that?" -- and nailed the inanity of a company sponsoring rain delays. "Whenever fans are unhappy, disappointed, their game's interrupted, we want our logo up there," he said.
Seinfeld also flashed some strong baseball credentials during his four-and-a-half innings in the booth. He wondered why teams ever let players slide headfirst given the increased risk of injury, got off some good zingers when Dickey sent a line drive rocketing about four feet and rightfully questioned what the Tigers are thinking by playing Johnny Damon in center field. He also gave some righteous skewering to the way interleague play forces games between teams like the Mets and Tigers instead of having more games against teams from their own league: "You can throw the record books right out the window. It's a storied rivalry."
The "Seinfeld" episode featuring Keith Hernandez as a suitor for both Jerry and Elaine also got some airtime. Hernandez copped to botching a few takes of his kissing scene with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Seinfeld shot down Ron Darling's contention that he was offered the role first, which segued into a slightly uncomfortable discussion of Seinfeld's obsession with the former first baseman.
That leads us to the big critique of Seinfeld's visit to the booth which was that it involved a little too much back slapping between Seinfeld, Hernandez and Gary Cohen without enough attention paid to the game going on in front of them. That's going to happen with celebs in the booth and the game (a pitcher's duel won by the Mets 5-0 wasn't particularly exciting). But by the time Seinfeld and company were discussing their favorite Mets of all-time it became about as enjoyable to watch as the "Seinfeld" finale.
It was still a nice change of pace from the usual broadcast, though, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves in the booth.
It's not something that needs to happen over and over again but we'll give a thumbs up to Wednesday's visit to the bizarro broadcast booth.