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Wedded Blitz! For Love and the Game

What the hell got into the Mets bachelors this offseason? And the rest of the New York Times 'Vows' section explained.

Doesn’t it seem, sometimes, like everyone you’ve ever known is getting engaged except you? One day you’re out with your friends, drunk and carefree, communally making fun of the one person who has to take the train home early to Westchester on account of their spouse — and then the next they’re blowing you off, apologizing in phrases like “ballroom dancing lessons” and “not drinking till August” and explaining how surprisingly stressful it is to sample hors d’oeuvres. And it’s not just them — it’s all of them, popping the question in lockstep and moving on to the next Life Stage without so much as consulting you.

Oh, in case it wasn’t clear, that last paragraph was simply a thought experiment in which I sought to write from the perspective of poor Lucas Duda, the New York Mets outfielder who apparently became the odd man out this offseason when he failed to get the memo that, since they wouldn’t be dealing with any other jewelry anytime soon, a bunch of the Mets would be proposing to their girlfriends during the offseason. The New York Times reported that prior to the opening of MLB training camp this month, six Mets put a ring on it. “The team’s fanciful chase for championship rings was preceded this season by a much more realistic search for engagement gold and diamonds.” Pity the poor wife-to-be who was hoping for platinum.

David Wright, Reese Havens, Zach Lutz, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Anthony Recker, and Josh Satin all popped the question, leaving young Duda with a lot to answer for. “We didn’t get him this time,” Nieuwenhuis told the Times. “Duda’s real quiet. You never know with Duda,” added Lutz. “AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!” screamed Duda’s girlfriend, probably.

If the Mets showed up to spring training engaged en masse like old-timey Wellesley seniors, the Washington Nationals were already at the next step. Seven Nats couples got married this offseason, from Ross Detwiler to Edwin Jackson to Craig Stammen, according to the Washington Post. (The best part of the article might be the cranky first comment: “I’m really disappointed. Last year’s story on John Lannan’s wedding had a lot more detail. Were any of the team in the wedding party? (2 were in Lannan’s — Clippard & Stammen)? I would think more of the team members would have attended? Isn’t there a newspaper where they were married?” MOM, IS THAT YOU?)

You know, I’d never really thought of the oppressiveness of the baseball bridal schedule. Not only do you only have, like, a three-month window in which to be wed, you’re competing with Thanksgiving and Christmas and potential snowstorms that ruin everyone’s travel. Though other sports might be worse. At least the winter is a relatively dead time of year in which people aren’t giving you the “Oh, this is my ninth wedding in 11 weeks” passive aggression. If you’re a hockey player or something, you have to battle everyone else’s summer wedding schedule, which is always the pits. At any rate, one danger always lurks: the chance you’ll get traded on your big day. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jordan Staal found that out the hard way last season, sometime between the speeches and the dessert course.

Congratulations to this month’s most illustrious couple, Charles Herschel and Kent Gould — a glowing, glorious pair who best exemplifies the very ethos that the New York Times wedding section holds so dear. (We determine this honorific through a rigorous quantitative method derived from our proprietary NUPTIALS algorithm; thanks as always to Friend of Grantland Alex Morrison for helping put together the Society Scorecard.) I mean, how can a lineage like this not garner both respect and “I wanna sit next to this guy at dinner”?

Mr. Herschel is a grandson, on his mother’s side, of the late Benay Venuta, a Broadway star and radio personality, and the late Armand S. Deutsch, a Hollywood film producer, as well as a great-great-grandson of the late Julius Rosenwald, a philanthropist and chairman of Sears, Roebuck & Company.

That entire paragraph makes me want to start tap dancing. It doesn’t hurt that Herschel’s husband, Kent, is a store designer for Ralph Lauren with degrees from Harvard and Yale, or that Herschel was on Survivor in 2008 (I didn’t watch that one, but it sounds like he was felled by “a blindside” late in the season). But the deal-sealer is that they got married at Frankies 457 in Brooklyn. That place is the best. If the guests got served the browned sage butter and sausage cavatelli at the reception, I’m officially jealous.

A few observations about the February wedding section that are as random as that guy your college roommate brought along as her plus-one …

• I should start keeping a file of the bleakest things I read during the process of writing this column. This would be on it:

In January 2007, Mr. Lopez received a group e-mail inviting him to watch a Duke basketball game at Brother Jimmy’s, a bar and restaurant on the Upper West Side. Mr. Lopez showed up, having missed the “ladies only” line in the message. When he got to the bar and saw Ms. Salazar he was delighted. As it turned out, no one else she knew had come and the two of them began talking.

I want to know more about this group e-mail and the organizers of this failed rendezvous. Doing a “ladies only” function at Brother Jimmy’s is like holding one inside a high school football locker room. Sure, you’ll get a lot of attention, I guess, but do you even want it?

After reading the last line of this announcement I hereby request that the next Greta Gerwig mumblecore feature film is titled Well, This Isn’t Awkward: A Love Story.

• “Until he met me, Rob was never on time,” said one bride of her beloved. “He has now been early on some rare occasions.” Those two have a long way to go to match the heights of punctuality achieved by Preston Bailey and Theo Bleckmann, who “agreed to meet at 7:23 p.m. at a restaurant in Chelsea” on their first date, “calculating that it would take seven minutes to sit down for their 7:30 p.m. reservation.” (Sorry, I’m just pointing this out because I’m wounded by Bleckmann’s description of people who are late: “flailing around and then not knowing what to wear and then forgetting your credit card and having to go back.” Yep, pretty much.)

• OK, the last line of this kinda got me. Well played, Rajeev Kaul. Well played.

WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE LOOKING AT?!!

• This is embarrassing to admit, but I get really joyous any time a Tisch (or a Mara) gets married because those two families own the New York Giants and I’m such a big fan of the team. Seriously, whenever one of this brood ties the knot — you can always identify them by lines like “His father is the president and chief executive of the Loews Corporation in Manhattan. The company was founded by the groom’s late grandfather Laurence A. Tisch and his late great-uncle Preston Robert Tisch” — I turn into one of the common citizens of Downton running down the street waving at Lady Mary’s marriage carriage and openly weeping in grateful submission. Congratulations, m’lord. Now please tell your uncles or cousins or whomever to get us back to the Super Bowl.

• Speaking of the Super Bowl: In case you needed any more proof that football is America’s biggest fixation: February hardly feels like football season, and yet two different announcements this month focused on the game. Groom Andrew Caswell is a Florida football superfan, having been a member of the marching band and someone who plays the fight song on his answering machine. “I soon learned that going to football games on a Saturday in the South is like a religious experience,” said his patient and understanding bride. “People are camped out in RV’s for days, and tailgate parties are an art.” Perhaps that’s why another couple, when they found out their wedding was scheduled for Super Bowl Sunday, chose to stop worrying and love the football. After the mother of the bride told them about the problem with their date, “we figured we might as well make it part of the party,” incorporating football into their reception. And so two Detroit Lions fans got to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday — something that they probably never thought possible. Heyo!

• Best names of February go to one New Jersey bride and her parents: “Susan Chadwick Garrigle, the daughter of Rosalind Chadwick Garrigle and William Aloysius Garrigle … ” When are movie stars going to start naming their kids Aloysius? I feel like it’s only a matter of time.

• This month’s Lesley Stahl Award for Excellence in Lipstick goes to Christina Grasso in a landslide. Lovely.

• Wedding-section corrections are always high comedy — particularly when you consider the huffy e-mail exchanges that must have precipitated them — but this is one of the most breathtaking I’ve seen. (“Ugh, honey, I told you he seemed confused about the refugee camp where we met.”)

The Vows column last Sunday, about the marriage of Caroline Nguyen and Daniel Gien, misidentified the location of the refugee camp where the bride’s parents met. It was in Hong Kong, not West Germany, where they moved later. The article also misidentified the amount of money Ms. Nguyen’s parents had upon arriving in the United States. It was $10,000, not $10.

I totally can relate to that last part — except in my experience it’s always when I’m at some mid-century furniture store and I’m like, “How much is this nightstand?” and the smug sales guy says “Three,” and I’m all, “Oh, great, I’ll take it!” and then he proudly purses his lips like he’s been waiting for this and corrects, “That’s three thousand. It’s mid-century. You know, like Don Draper?”

I know it’s not meant the wrong way, but yeesh, “Had I known I would have met the love of my life in Africa, I would have gone there 10 years earlier” is a tough one. Can you feel the love tonight? Come to Africa to volunteer … YOUR HEART! Props to that couple for somehow having discovered the fountain of youth, though.

• Who knew that the grandson of publishing titan A. A. Knopf was an award-winning ballroom dancer? And in the “American Smooth and American Rhythm categories,” no less. Those are the best Sirius radio stations.

• I’m sorry, but you can’t convince me that Christopher Guest didn’t have a hand in the production of the video of this couple, who met in part because “she said she liked his photograph [on a dating website] — he had long curly brown hair, just like hers — and his profile: ‘he did software for his day job and music for his soul.’ ” As for that music: He “likes to write snarky songs that ‘pour battery acid’ on the traditional love ballad.” As I found out from watching the video, one of those songs praises New Jersey, so I wholeheartedly approve. These two go to 11.

• If you get married at “Sakoya, an event space in Jerusalem,” and your brother-in-law and dad are both rabbis, and your dad is named Mordechai and your mom is D’vorah, and your wedding announcement includes the phrases “Israeli Defense Forces” and “Shabbat meal,” and the photo accompanying that announcement was snapped during the Hora … well, then congratulations, Paula Kweskin and Yoni Weiss, because you’re this month’s Chosen Couple. Mazel!

• Actually, while I have the Chosen Couple here, maybe I ought to ask them: Is “She’s adorable. I had to unrabbi her” an, um, kosher thing to say?

I loved this piece about a lesbian couple who got married at Tokyo Disney, which to their knowledge had not hosted a gay wedding. “When it became apparent to the organizers that [Koyuki Higashi's] partner was female,” Higashi reported that “she was asked if one of them could wear a tuxedo — so that other visitors to the park would not feel uncomfortable.”

A week later, though, they heard back from Milial Resort Hotels, a subsidiary of the company that runs Tokyo Disney: “both brides were welcome to wear wedding dresses (or both tuxedos, for that matter).” It’s a nice little piece on its own; it’s always nice to see a corporation that could hide behind a bad excuse like “family values” help support same-sex couples’ equal rights. But let’s be honest, the best part of the story isn’t the movement forward in the realm of acceptance or the cute picture of the two brides (both in wedding gowns!) smiling next to Mickey and Minnie. It’s this sentence, which if I were the couple I’d highlight and frame: “‘Congratulations,’ replied Masaki Koh, a Japanese gay porn star.” Congratulations, indeed.

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Katie Baker is a staff writer at Grantland.

Archive @ katiebakes

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