View image | gettyimages.comThe way I see it, the Mets owe us big time for spending so many hours watching them lose two games in a row in Kansas City to a superior team. How they repay us is obvious. They have to host a victory parade down Broadway in Manhattan, and make sure we all have the day off so we can sleep in late.The opener on Tuesday was grueling enough—the longest World Series game in history measured by innings. By the time the final out was recorded in the 14th, five hours and nine minutes after it started, I was numb, both spiritually and physically. My eyes could barely see. My mind was shot.As they taught us by their debacle the following night, the first matchup was one the Mets had to win. All that effort gone to waste. I mean, on our part, as demoralized fans too masochistic to turn the damn thing off until some distant voice of reason, probably female, penetrated our consciousness with these words: “Go to bed!”After all, hadn’t we done our time already this season? Didn’t we stick with the Metropolitans back in July, when the needs of our families and our communities—hell, our republic, for that matter—went begging for 18 innings? It was July 19th, and the Mets only took a 1-0 lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the top of the 13th inning, only to blow it in the bottom of the same inning when Jeurys Familia gave up a leadoff homer. No, I don’t want to remember it well—they did go on to prevail 3-1—but it came back to haunt me when Game 1 entered the midnight hour after he’d blown it in the ninth inning. I turned to my viewing companion, my son who had to get up even earlier the next morning than I so he could catch a train to the city, and asked him rhetorically, “How much longer should we watch this?”Well, the answer was obvious. To the bitter end. After all, past was prologue. We both stuck with the team in July, when the World Series seemed like a pipe dream, why would we be sensible now? Back then, Ruben Tejada—bless his soul, and curse Chase Utley’s—hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Wilmer Flores to score the go-ahead run. We got an insurance run on a squeeze bunt by Eric Campbell. Ah, those were the days, weren’t they? And let us recall that it was a day game, too.Tuesday night seemed to last forever. My son said he had a dream (perhaps a nightmare) later that it ended at 5 a.m. Let the record show it was over way before then. Apparently, we were not alone. The game was the most-watched World Series opener since 15 million viewers tuned into the 2010 matchup.This game, let’s face it, did have a little bit of everything. There was the first inside-the-park homer since the World Series of 1929 (and the anniversary of the Stock Market crash was this week, too, come to think of it)—and it came off the very first pitch that our Dark Knight, Matt Harvey, threw. That in itself is a rarity.And, laughing at their expense because it is Fox after all, there was a “rare electronics failure” that blew the game off the air—and onto our radios—in the fourth inning. Just like that, we all had to hunt for our AM dials, but just before we could settle in, the network figured out how to stream the international feed for domestic consumption. I just felt sorry for the hapless chaps back in the studio who had to make small talk while the engineers figured out how to override the meltdown. We haven’t seen anything like this since the Oakland A’s-San Francisco Giants World Series—dubbed the Battle of the Bay—was disrupted by a severe earthquake that struck in 1989 just as Game 3 was getting underway and knocked ABC off the air. By the way, the Giants were down two games to none. The bad news is that the Athletics went on to sweep them four-zip.Tuesday’s snafu also illustrates just how dependent America’s pastime has become on modern technology. The four-minute on-field delay was reportedly due to the replay capability being lost in both team’s clubhouses. We wouldn’t want to lose that, would we? Why, without replay capability, how could the game go on? Now, since it was Fox, nobody dared to blame the liberal media for screwing up, but the thought had to be in the noosphere. But they found the right switch and the game went on at Kauffman Stadium. For the record, the 2013 Super Bowl was delayed when the power went out in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. That’s a more old-fashioned problem, but it certainly couldn’t have helped the automaker’s brand since play stopped for 34 minutes.Once Fox resumed its World Series coverage, it was amusing when Joe Buck—he of the five o’clock stubble—told the viewing audience that they had enough quarters to keep Game 1 on the air for the rest of the evening as he traded microphones with Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz, who were handling the game for MLB International. Little did Buck know that the night was still young.Going into Wednesday night’s game from the Mets’ point of view, they probably figured that all their East Coast fans could use some shut-eye but they took it one step further, and seemed to nod off at the plate, getting only two hits off the Royals’ mighty-dreadlocked righthander Johnny Cueto, who pitched the whole damn game, while our long-haired phenom Jacob DeGrom hardly struck anybody out and got rocked instead. Our reputed ace gave up four runs in the fifth inning, and then it was lights out for him. For good measure other Mets pitchers came in in relief and allowed three more before the game was mercifully over, 7-1 the final score.Sleep, perchance to dream, never sounded so good Wednesday night. For the superstitious, the Mets lost by one run in the first game of the 1986 World Series and by six runs in the second game—and that was at Shea Stadium, where we teach future generations the Mets beat the Red Sox in Game 6, and, just as important, in Game 7.Whether history can repeat itself this time against Kansas is a question that remains to be seen. Too many Mets fans woke up Thursday morning thinking the world had ended, let alone the Series. But let us remember they’ve only played each other twice, and they have at least two more games to go.So, the message to us all: stay tuned. And hope the blessings flow. 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Prosecutors won’t seek the death penalty for a Wellington woman accused of dressing up as a clown and shooting her future husband’s wife in the face.Assistant State Attorney Reid Scott filed a notice Wednesday in Palm Beach County court that the state is NOT seeking the death penalty for Sheila Keen-Warren, who is charged with first-degree murder in the May 26, 1990, fatal shooting of Marlene Warren.Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Detective Paige McCann said during a September 2017 news conference that Sheila Keen, as she was known at the time, was dressed like a clown when she fatally shot Marlene Warren at her Wellington home.“Marlene answered the front door and the clown had two balloons, as well as a bouquet of flowers, and went to hand Marlene those items,” McCann told reporters.Marlene Warren, who had been eating breakfast with her then-22-year-old son and several of his friends, was surprised and commented, “How nice.”“It was at that time that the clown pulled out a gun and shot Marlene in the face,” McCann said.The clown then calmly walked back to the white Chrysler LeBaron in which she had arrived and drove away.Marlene Warren died at a hospital two days later.Keen-Warren had long been considered a suspect in the shooting, but it took investigators 27 years to make an arrest. She eventually married Michael Warren in 2002 and moved to Tennessee, where the couple operated a restaurant. She was arrested in Virginia in 2017.The trial is scheduled to begin in May.
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Parking meter fiasco… calls for project’s suspension, slams M&CC for overreaching authorityDespite refusing to support the parliamentary Opposition when it brought a motion to debate the contentious Parking Meter Project in the National Assembly, the Alliance For Change (AFC) arm of the coalition Government has now bowed to pressure and has come out criticising the initiative.A Parking Meter in GeorgetownIn a statement to the media on Tuesday, the AFC expressed concerns over the Georgetown Municipality overreaching its authority on a number of matters, including taxation arrangements, traffic arrangements and road ownership.The political party argued that the current arrangements of the parking meter project do not appear to be in the best interest of the public and therefore called on the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to suspend its implementation.The AFC said the suspension period should be used by the authorities to reconsider the pertinent aspects of the Finance Ministry’s review of the project and seek a second independent review of its contract with Smart City Solutions Inc (SCSI).“The AFC is of the view that the current arrangements do not appear to be in the best interest of the people of the city. The party therefore registers its serious concern with regard to the handling of this project from its inception to its current stage, but specifically in terms of the lack of sufficient prior public consultation; the absence of transparency and of a competitive bidding process; the seeming lack of proper planning with regard to exemptions and the pricing and penalty structures,” the party expressed in its statement.Further, the AFC said it views “with alarm” this development, as there appears to be an apparent “exclusivity and monopolisation of paid metered parking in the city”.In spite of these assertions, the AFC contended that it is “neither supportive nor against” the implementation of paid parking in Georgetown.The party also said it recognises the autonomy of the M&CC as the duly elected representatives of the Georgetown Municipality to regularise parking and to raise revenue.MotionIn an invited comment, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Member of Parliament (MP) Irfaan Ali told Guyana Times that he called out the AFC over its hypocrisy as it did not support the parking meter motion which was tabled in the National Assembly.The motion had called for a debate on the transparency of the project, method of procurement involved, terms and conditions of the contract, and the overall lack of consultancy with stakeholders.Ali, who had tabled the motion, contended that the AFC cannot claim to be an innocent party, nor can it divorce itself from the collective decision by its Government when the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) aligned Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan signed the By-laws for the project to be implemented.“The Government, of which the AFC is a part, has the ability and power to suspend the project as the very Government has the majority of Councillors on the City Council,” the politician argued.Ali also rapped the AFC for making this issue a political football, highlighting that the execution of this project has had devastating impacts on the business community and the pockets of the people.He also noted that notwithstanding the many appeals from the public and the parliamentary Opposition for an urgent intervention, the Government, of which the AFC is a part, never budged in allowing a constructive re-evaluation of the “glaringly biased and detrimental” project.To this end, Ali contended that the AFC must answer why it refused to support his motion, which was presented to the National Assembly if it truly is concerned.ProtestsMarked as a unique moment in Guyana’s history, a mass protest by disgruntled taxpayers was conducted on Friday last against the parking meter project. A second protest against the initiative is slated for Thursday and it is expected to attract a much larger crowd.Many have already complained of the injustices meted out against them from employees of the parking meter company.For instance, some have complained of parking meter officials clamping their vehicles before their time has expired and that 14 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) is still being charged, even as the new tax regime reduced it by two per cent.One of the glaring aspects of the contract is that if it is cancelled, City Hall will be forced to pay SCSI for 49 years.Additionally, the By-laws include draconian measures such as in an area of both metered parking and unmetered parking, a driver is banned from parking in the unmetered zone and a violation can result in a short prison sentence.It also stipulates that the city wardens will not be liable to any damages to vehicles during the course of clamping or towing.Moreover, it was discovered that consumers are losing huge monies with the structure of the parking meter cards.The prices for the cards vary from $570 to $11,400. The rate for parking is $50 for 15 minutes plus VAT – taking the total to GYD$58 for 15 minutes or $232 per hour.If any of the cards are used up to its limit, there is a non-transferable balance on the cards.For example, a $580 card gives a consumer a maximum parking time of two hours. The balance on the card after paying for two hours is $36. This balance is therefore wasted as it cannot purchase the minimum parking time, nor can it be transferred. The same applies to all values of cards.Several professionals have contended that the current implementation of the project is unlawful since the By-laws governing its operations are still under the review of the Attorney General and are yet to be approved by Cabinet and gazetted.A team of lawyers have already signalled their intention to challenge the project in the courts on the basis of it being unlawful.