I got a fortune cookie today, ate it and the fortune said this: HEY
STUPID — IF YOU THOUGHT TRACHSEL WAS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE
PLAYOFFS AND NOTHING, YOU WEREN'T MAKING THE PLAYOFFS ANYWAY.
In less-weighty news, Angel Pagan, Ambiorix Concepcion, Mike Jacobs, Matt Lindstrom, Blake McGinley and Juan Padilla took that famous 300-yard walk. Wayne Lydon got relocated last week and escaped my notice. And Danny Garcia
got released, ensuring he'll beat us at least once whereever he lands.
I assume his being a redass, if I may go Harazin on you for a moment,
finally became a liability in Met eyes.
With the present suddenly murky, off to the past for solace in the form of Players 81-90. I always loved Jay Payton
even when he did little to earn that — I itched to put his baseball
card in the Holy Books for years (and many surgeries), celebrated his
every success when he finally did arrive, and managed to remain blind
to his faults after he stayed a while. (See also: Pulsipher, Bill.) To
me, the oddest thing about Payton is how he played his best
under huge pressure in the 2000 postseason — he rarely looked as good
on a lazy June night against, say, Cincy. Oh, and that catch in San
Francisco. He was as surprised and delighted as any Met fan watching on
TV, and he should've been.
I have trouble believing Timo Perez and Melvin Mora
weren't actually the same person — scrappy fill-in arrives late in
season, does next to nothing in regular season, then comes alive in
postseason. Sure, Timo was crowned King of Merengue, while Melvin
battled Taiwanese gamblers, became the father of quintuplets and
actually became a good baseball player, but … well, never mind, that
is quite a difference. In retrospect Mora was there for the first real,
undeniable hint that Roger Cedeno couldn't actually play baseball:
Remember how he basically had to threaten Cedeno into that key
double-steal against John Rocker and the Braves? As for Timo, well, run
dummy. Since the cameras are off, you know Derek Jeter is snickering
like Muttley about that one even now.
(Excuse me while I destroy something. I mean, goddamnit.)
Shawon Dunston forever earned a
place on any list of Mets not just for that wonderful weeklong at-bat,
but for his farewell address in the Mets clubhouse after our death
rattle against Atlanta. (Winning run: Gerald Williams, which is reason
enough to get rid of him.)
I can't find Lisa Olson's account of Dunston's speech from the Daily
News, which is a lovely piece of writing, but I remember for weeks
afterward I would read it and quietly weep to myself. (Bonilla and
Rickey won't remember that speech because they were playing cards.)
As for Matt Franco, I remember
not only his marvelous, life-affirming hit (and so what if it was
Strike Four), which came on the same day as Brandi Chastain and the
sports bra of triumph, but also his dinger to beat Pedro when his
nombre was Expo. Remember how Pedro sat in the dugout in disbelief
until they literally turned off the lights on him? Now that he's a Met
that's a beautiful example of his passion for the game, but at the time
it was just grounds for a good haw-haw. As for Matty's Atlanta tenure, let us never discuss it.
Kevin Elster was cool, but he
should have a pretty massive asterisk on that now-gone fielding record.
The man had the range of a stone pillar, albeit a pheromone-sodden
stone pillar women would rub themselves against while growling in their
throats. I'm probably just jealous. He also has one of the odder careers ever, leaping out of the baseball grave in '96 with the Rangers and then again in '00 with the Dodgers. Hey, can he pitch?