Around 5:40 Saturday evening, you may have thought you heard some serious thunder over the New York area. But it wasn’t thunder. It was Bernie the Cat getting settled into his new surroundings Up There. Way Up There. I know it was him. I know what my boy sounds like. I know what kind of noise The Big Cat can make.
I also know that during his way-too-brief stay down here with us mere mortals, Bernie liked to eat up fish. Devour every bit of them. Leave no bite behind. He didn’t hate fish. On the contrary, he loved every one that ever landed on his plate. If Bernie had a motto, it would likely be…
You give me 22 fish and I’ll give you the world.
This fish-gutting spirit is something he obviously decided to transmit to his favorite team Saturday night. Thus, it’s not surprising to me, a Bernieologist of thirteen years, that around 5:40, a full 24 hours after he slipped (or more likely gnawed through) the surly bonds of earth, Bernie the Cat was stretching out on some celestial carpet and getting comfortable to watch the 6:05 first pitch from Up There. He gets great reception, I’ll bet.
Thanks to Bernie, what happens?
* The Mets beat the previously impenetrable Dontrelle Willis rather handily.
* Mike Piazza suddenly remembers where the opposite field is and drives in runs every chance he gets.
* Victor Diaz comes up from Norfolk and out of nowhere to make a sensational diving catch and then double Luis Castillo off second.
* Kaz Ishii pitches out of trouble each of the first four innings.
* Kaz Ishii pitches well at all outside of Shea Stadium.
* Savvy Jeff Conine inanely gets himself thrown out at third to short-circuit a potential Florida comeback.
The Mets beat the Marlins — the Fish — Saturday night. Yeah, the Mets did that all by themselves. Like they didn’t have help in the substantial form of Bernie the Cat, at the end of his first full day Up There, messing around with the first school of Fish he saw.
He didn’t do it to be mean; not his style. On the contrary, he did it to be good. To be good to us. To be good to the Mets. To be good to me, which he didn’t have to do. He gave nothing but joy to Stephanie and me from the moment we adopted him as a kitten on Halloween Night 1992 straight through to late Friday afternoon when he passed away without warning. Bernie the Cat gave us his all, and his all will live with us as long as we’re alive. But if Bernie the Cat wanted to do us the favor of playing havoc with the Marlins on Saturday night, then who am I to turn down such a beautiful parting gift?
Believe what you want. I know the “thunder” I heard before the game started. I know the amazin’-even-for-us game that followed. I know my cat. He wasn’t going to just go off and leave the Mets and me to fend for ourselves. Not against the Fish. Not just yet.
Trust me — Bernie had this one covered.