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The Old Gator Interview

May 22, 2012, 8:22 AM EDT

Gator Car

If you’ve been around here a while, you may have observed that our friend and Commenter Emeritus Old Gator has a few opinions.  Well, you’re not the only one. Sarah Bunting of Tomato Nation noticed too, and interviewed OG.

He obviously talks about the Marlins, but he also talks about New York things, a chance encounter with Tim McCarver at the American Airlines Admirals Club and the assertion that Toronto delis are the best kept secret in North America.

Good stuff from a good guy.

  1. sdbunting - May 22, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Thanks, Craig!

    Any Dodger fans who’d like to help me complete the series? Please reach out. Contact info is on my site.

    • ajcardsfan - May 22, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      (Prepares for thumbs down bombardment)
      Just go check a parking lot, you’ll find them beating people that looked at them funny

    • pkers - May 22, 2012 at 11:38 AM

      “THE” Sarah Bunting? Of TWOP and Fametracker and such? Wow, neat when the internet worlds collide. :)

      • IdahoMariner - May 22, 2012 at 2:38 PM

        Sars! I, too, love it when Internet worlds collide (and when great writers share my loves, like baseball, great tv, great writing, and being snarky). Awesome.

  2. proudlycanadian - May 22, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    I love Old Gator’s writing about baseball, the Feesh and other topics..

    I agree with Old Gator that the Toronto deli’s are quite good; however, Montreal is reputed to have the best bagels in the country and is proud of its smoked meat. My first exposure to smoked meat was as a young caddy at a Jewish golf club that no longer exists. It was great. My favourite Toronto food is still the back bacon sandwiches that are a staple at the St Lawrence Market. I share his liking of Jazz but disagree with Gator about Ornette Coleman. My favourite live jazz performances in Toronto featured Paul Desmond and Ed Bickert.

    May Old Gator thrive and continue to use this medium.

    • chadjones27 - May 22, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      I feel like I need to go back to college and get a doctorate when reading his posts.

      • hasbeen5 - May 22, 2012 at 9:26 AM

        I feel like I need a pompous to English dictionary.

        Just kidding. Clearly we don’t agree on politics but his baseball is usually pretty good. As for the world travels and apparently eating in every little diner in 2 or 3 countries, I’ll have to take his word because I am far less traveled.

      • stlouis1baseball - May 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        No shit Chad. Sometimes I read them 3 times…then my head start’s hurting.
        And I be a smart college edumicated people.

      • chadjones27 - May 22, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        I don’t think I need a pompous dictionary. I enjoy the posts. Some of them are just a little over my head, since, I’m not the most well read of people. I have a more science/math background.

      • cur68 - May 22, 2012 at 11:39 PM

        I have an on-line thesaurus and dictionary I use. Also, cut and paste googling helps a lot.

    • stex52 - May 22, 2012 at 9:51 AM

      The wife and I made our first trip to Montreal last November. It was long overdue; we stayed by the river and had a very nice time. The smoked meat, omelettes and crepes were great. Have to say, though that the poutine sat on my stomach like a hopper of bricks.

      • proudlycanadian - May 22, 2012 at 10:00 AM

        I cannot defend poutine; although several chefs are now selling “gourmet poutine”.

      • Old Gator - May 22, 2012 at 3:26 PM

        Gourmet poutine? Ack. As far as poutine, dear Buddha, not since the horrible horsemeat and Velveeta™ sandwich has such a culinary insult to the cardiovascular system been invented. Ostensibly, its role is to keep Quebecois lumber truck drivers warm as they head towards the mills from the far, far, legend-haunted north. In Springhill, Nova Scotia – home of two classic Canadian disasters, one mining and one musical (it is the home of Anne Murray) they invented, for some reason best known only to themselves, a concoction called a Springhill Mess. I have noted from listening to Neil Young and Mike Timmins lyrics that Canadians have a gift for precise descriptions; this thing augments mere poutine with a layer of greasy fried hamburger meat between the french fries and that melted mucilage and gravy they dump over it. We tried this stuff in a small diner cattycorner from the Anne Murray museum (yes, they do have her prom dress in a lucite case – or to mangle the Cowboy Junkies classic “200 More Miles,” in the corner there’s a prom dress / in a case for all to see…aww no, I can’t do this to Mike Timmins, never mind). Anyway, we tried it – da wife and I being adventurous eaters – and survived. Now we can say we dared.

        We continued to see it on random menus as far as the Canso Strait. It may have spread past the causeway by now but I suspect fierce resistance by the locals had halted its northeastward progress and menus remained fairly clear of it from there all the way to Cape Breton. It wasn’t missed, though – they’ve got these things called lobsters up there, which are cheap, plentiful and delicious.

    • sdbunting - May 22, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      My favorite Toronto food was this tiny hole in the wall near the Paramount that we used to go for Indian food. Looked like an utter sanitation fail, and the pink carpeting was horrendous, but that naan was THE best.

      (I could use a Jays interviewee also. Just sayin’.)

      • sdbunting - May 22, 2012 at 9:55 AM

        PS It’s actually Tomato NATION. I do have many notions, just not in the blog title.

      • Old Gator - May 22, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        Some day, if you’re visiting Macondo, you need to stop by the house and sample my homemade dosa. I’d love to try making nan but without a real clay tandoori, it just wouldn’t work.

      • stlouis1baseball - May 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        Good interview Sarah!

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - May 22, 2012 at 2:17 PM

        What would this hole-in-the-wall Indian place be called? I’m guessing it’s still around and is one of my favourites as well. If not, then there are still a couple of places exactly like it around there.

    • Old Gator - May 22, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      PC: what I said was that the Toronto delis were the best-kept secret, per se. The Montreal delis and smoked meat are well known and have been for a long, long time (as has its weekend dim sum orgy in its version of Chinatown), but Toronto’s delis have lingered, undeservedly, in Montreal’s shadow and I thought they deserved to be spotlighted.

      Someone mentioned Toronto’s Indian food below. Yeah, definitely – and there are some killer Thai restaurants too. I think, though, that for sheer anomalousness, nothing will match the Korean taco bar that’s just a few storefronts west of Caplansky’s on College Street. I have never seen anything like it this side of the demilitarized zone and I don’t expect to.

      And you know what? It’s good. Next trip to TO, I am going to have to vet it properly.

      • proudlycanadian - May 22, 2012 at 10:31 AM

        I frequent a suburban AYCE sushi chain called 168 sushi partly because I am friends with the owners, I like the food and partly because of some of the personable young ladies who work with them.

      • stlouis1baseball - May 22, 2012 at 12:35 PM

        Good read Gator.

      • Old Gator - May 22, 2012 at 4:34 PM


  3. drewmunny - May 22, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    “I feel like I need a pompous to English dictionary.”

    Well said. Not kidding. Although some of the baseball musings are ‘spot-on,’ the haughty tone and verbiage serve to remove most (if not all) of any enjoyment there is to be had from his postings.

    • stex52 - May 22, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      Appreciate them as random musings. He is looking for different angles of approach in his thoughts. It’s not always successful, but the trip can be fun.

    • hasbeen5 - May 22, 2012 at 10:00 AM

      Yeah I was just ribbing him. Sometimes it can be a difficult read, but it’s all good.

      I think it’s just a difference in background (academic, not necessarily socioeconomic). I’m in a scientific field, where he has studied and taught in the arts. Words are his tool of expression, where I like to say things as simply as I know how.

  4. ndnut - May 22, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    I joined not too long ago, but I can already tell that OG also stands for Original Gangster in his case. (This is a compliment)

  5. bbil2012 - May 22, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Marquis. The official car of Florida. My father-in-law in N. Fort Myers drives one as well. He says the AC is the best.

    • kiwicricket - May 22, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      The ‘hybrid’

  6. APBA Guy - May 22, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    I was a bit disappointed that Sarah did not probe the depths of OG’s past: falconry in England for example, and his love of fine coffee. Inquiring HBT readers want to know “what makes the man?”.

    Still a fine subject for an interview, and the focus on the Feesh was perfectly understandable.

    • Old Gator - May 22, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Speaking of falconry and Feesh, I rehabbed an osprey once. Some moron shot it in the wing with a pellet gun and it fell in the backyard of a neighbor of my daughter’s friend.

      Follow that? Good.

      Anyway, it took me a few days to calm it down, make a hood and jesses for it, and gentle it for the stress of the surgery to remove the pellet. I had never encountered a set of talons like the ones on that bird, and the grip on my glove was incredible – but when you make your living grabbing feesh out of the water, I guess you need all the armaments you can deploy.

      The lowlife who shot it did a good job. The pellet lodged in the wrist joint so Ahab (as I named it) was never going to be fit for the wild again. He was taken by New York State Fish and Wildlife to a shelter up in New Palz where, I imagine, he lived out his days pretty well fed and cared for.

      • stex52 - May 22, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        Like you said, talons have to be really long. I’ve seen one hauling a fish bigger than he was (and they are big birds). He did seem to have a problem with maintaining altitude, but he got it to a power pole to eat.

        Good story. Do you do a lot of wildlife recovery?

      • APBA Guy - May 22, 2012 at 4:20 PM

        Never seen an osprey close up. Supposedly they were common around the Northern Virginia area at one time. But…we did have a nesting pair of bald eagles at the San Mateo reservoir for about 3 weeks until the gawkers drove them away. Accounts vary, but they were the first such birds in the area for at least 60 years. With the continuing southward migration of seals along the Pacific coast, we have also seen a corresponding white shark increase. The guy who sits across from me at work was surfing last Winter and his board got bumped-hard-by a “shadow” he swears was at least 12 feet. He’s definitely not the only one lately.

        It’s been a good year for apex predators in San Mateo County.

      • Old Gator - May 22, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        APBA Guy: yeah, and it’s not even officially election season yet. I think those great whites are just Super PACS with lateral lines.

        Stex: not as much as I used to. It was a losing race with development and traffic. I’ve nursed possums, raptors (including owls and vultures), parrots (several species of invasive psitticines are established here), all kinds of snakes, turtles and lizards. I just can’t stand raccoons – they’re nasty as hell and can turn vicious on you without warning – so I don’t do those. I had an injured fox once but it was so flea and parasite ridden, and so defensive, that the vet who examined it recommended euthanizing it. Broke our hearts, but so it goes.

        My prize right now, of course, is my little Friendo. Pygmies used to be common even around the area where my house is and when we were kids we called them buzzworms, but again, development eradicated most (but not all) of them in the immediate area. Friendo was found less than a mile from my house under an old tire in an acquaintance’s back yard. This fall, when he’ll be about two thirds of his adult size, I’m taking him out to the dry prairie area of the ‘Glades and releasing him.

      • nolanwiffle - May 23, 2012 at 8:27 AM

        I actually had a “pet” raccoon as a 12 year old. It’s mother had built a nest at the top of our chimney and the nest fell to the flue doors. We heard what we thought were birds chirping in our den……only to open the flue shine a flashlight, and see two newborn raccoons. Awesome pet for about five months until a rabies scare in the area forced me to release her into the wild.

        She went reluctantly.

  7. drewmunny - May 22, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    And even more awsome still, is when almost 20% of the comments in a given post are submitted by the person that the post is about. Better still, of those 20%, 100% are thumbs-down by the peanut gallery. Ladies and germs, I give you….

    nar·cis·sism[ nrssə sìzzəm ]NOUN
    1. self-admiration: excessive self-admiration and self-centeredness
    2. personality disorder: in psychiatry, a personality disorder characterized by the patient’s overestimation of his or her own appearance and abilities and an excessive need for admiration. In psychoanalytic theory, emphasis is placed on the element of self-directed sexual desire in the condition.
    [ Early 19th century. After Narcissus ]
    nar·cis·sist NOUN
    nar·cis·sis·tic ADJECTIVE
    nar·cis·sis·tic·al·ly ADVERB
    Synonyms: vanity, self-love, self-admiration, self-absorption, egotism, conceit, self-importance, selfishness, self-centeredness

    While I’m most certain that none of us can speak to the second definition given (or can we?), I’m certain that most of the peanut gallery can agree on the first. Well done!

    • Old Gator - May 22, 2012 at 7:48 PM

      Poor Drew. You have a serious case of inferiority and a worse one of jealousy that is distending your bile duct. How much time did you spend dashing from browser to browser, and/or account to account, to flesh out your “peanut (are your sure you spelled that right?) gallery”? This is not a trick that is unfamiliar anyone around here.

      Please be sure to let us know the first time anybody finds you or anything you have to say interesting enough to merit an interview. I suspect that nobody around here will be holding their breath.

  8. drewmunny - May 22, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Yeah, you got me. Outed me right here in the forum. I spent around 3 minutes or so, not a lot. As far as my inferiority complex and/or jealousy, actually, you’re not far off the mark. More like:

    Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD); described by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition (DSM-IV-TR), as an Axis II personality disorder characterized by “…a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.” Doesn’t really affect my bile duct, but it sure does make things difficult as far as making friends.

    (that only took me around a minute as its something I’m quite familiar with, haha!)

    Regarding my being undeserving of an interview, no, please hold your breath. No, I can’t imagine most (any?) would want to hear my views on politics or travel or otherwise. And that’s okey-dokey. So. Okay. You win. No more trolling for ‘feesh.’

  9. wrg885 - May 23, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Old Gator=Dennis Miller of baseball blogging. Next up: OG joins any combo of one or more of: Tim McCarver, Joe Buck, Chip Carray, Rob Dibble, Joe Morgan, Rick Sutcliffe to help broadcast the Wild Card one game post season. Also the Miami Marlins are playing with Carlos Zambrano as the SP and Ozzie Guillen “Mic’d up”.

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