…And if we call up Heath Bell, the Mets will hit more home runs than they've ever hit in a single game and Randy Johnson will get beat by the Devil Rays and the world will see a new pope by the time Heredia's officially disabled.
I was going to mention all that yesterday, but the, uh, server was on the fritz.
You know the old saying: “There'll be another pope from Germany before the Mets hit seven home runs in one game.” I guess it's true, albeit by about nine hours. But not a bad daily double, eh? As Warner Wolf might say, if you had the Nigerian cardinal and six round-trippers, you lose!
And the Mets win! By a lot!
As Gary and Howie could attest, it's weird the things that spring to mind during an epic blowout. For example, the 16-4 score triggered the memory of another 16-4 score, also against Philadelphia, but one we were on the wrong end of at the wrong time of year. It was September 8, 1998, the night Mark McGwire hit No. 62 in St. Louis. At the Vet, it was the night the Phillies hit Hideo Nomo like there was no tomorrow. The erstwhile Tornado lasted 2-2/3 and surrendered seven runs. It was Nomo's last Mets start, a performance that made one think he'd never throw another pitch in the Majors.
But Tuesday night, with the Mets winning 16-4 in Philadelphia behind a pitcher not quite as talented but nearly as maddening, Hideo Nomo won for Tampa Bay. Against the Yankees. Who lost. To Tampa Bay.
The 16-4 game from '98 sticks out as well because the next day, Stephanie and I boarded a flight to Tampa (Bay) for the wedding of Carlos (Chuck) Briceno. I was best man at a very Catholic ceremony. I knew absolutely not a whit of what was going on religiously, but all I had to do was move some chairs around. I thought of that wedding Tuesday afternoon while watching the introduction of Pope Benedict XVI because that was the last time I was exposed to any live Catholic church action (save for Murph's memorial at St. Patrick's). There's sure been a lot of it on TV lately. That and Mets rounding bases.
XVI Benedicts, XVI runs. Sweet XVI. And a lot of white smoke coming off those Mets bats.
The offense deserves to be beyond reproach for a day, but after Victor Zambrano tripled — let's use that phrase in a sentence: “As people wondered what kind of pope the new pope would be, Victor Zambrano tripled” — Reyes couldn't have taken a pitch? No, he couldn't. He flied to center and Zamby had to head right back to work. That's a worse breach of protocol than no Phillie pitcher knocking down any Mets batter or, for that matter, Cliff Floyd having the bad manners to hit a three-run bomb Monday night instead of looking for a walk in the ninth down four. Jose, Willie says you attack the ball, and I love you for it, but give your pitcher a break. He just ran from home to third.
Because Victor Zambrano tripled. See? It's positively dee-lightful to use in a sentence!
Let's do it again: The Mets hit seven home runs, but the most remarkable hit occurred when Victor Zambrano tripled, making him the first Mets pitcher to triple since Steve Trachsel did it against the Braves at Shea on June 25, 2002.
While Victor Zambrano tripled, Felix the Feral was earning his money, every gosh darn penny of it. All he ever had to do was be the crowbar that pried Mike Stanton off this roster. Job well done! Just stay off the mound until your contract is up and you and your subjects will enjoy all the fruits of gratitude Shea Stadium can provide.
And by fruits, of course, I mean rats. Succulent, succulent rats. Lots of 'em.