Besides the fact that he sported a mustache that would make Jeff Kent flip his snowmobile in jealousy, Derek Bell’s yacht-bound life of debauched luxury — immortalized in this space via an amazing-if-unsubstantiated anecdote from Sam Frank — was easily the most interesting thing about his up-and-down career. His sole full season as a Met had its good and bad moments, but knowing that he was retiring every night to his floating home in aquatic Queens always made Bell that much more likable. Or creepy. Depending on whether you’re Sam’s friend or not, I guess.
Anyway, I have no idea what Derek Bell is up to now. I imagine he’s still getting paid by the Pirates, somehow. But a recent article at MSNBC.com about the scourge of shipwrecks in Queens’ Jamaica Bay — which I found via the resolutely non-sporty Greenbuildingsnyc — made me wonder whether Derek hadn’t simply consigned his old homeboat — don’t call it a houseboat, please, it cheapens it — to Davey
Johnson’s Jones’ locker after signing that absurd deal with Pittsburgh in 2001.
At any time, scores of discarded boats ” dinghies, rowboats, runabouts, even the occasional barge ” litter the shores and lie submerged in its shallow water. It’s a nautical junkyard, one more worry for ecologists in an area of the Gateway National Recreation Area where delicate marshes already are imperiled by rising water.
National Park Service officials say many of the boats are dumped by owners who simply don’t want to deal with the hassle and cost of taking them to salvage yards. Others have simply drifted in after breaking away from their slips.
…They may pose threats to the environment, to navigation, or simply spoil the experience for visitors. Some derelict craft have become hangouts for drug users, and those with engines can leak oil onto beaches or into the water, especially during storm surges, he said.
All pretty bad, I agree. But with the departure of Paul LoDuca, at least Mets fans can rest assured the deserted boats aren’t used for assignations with MySpace pop stars.