So tonight, returned from the land of pine trees, black bears and staticky losses against the Pirates, I wound up locked out and wandering across my little slice of Brooklyn. It's too complicated to explain and not very interesting, but the elements were a similarly locked-out wife without a cellphone; a two-and-a-half-year-old being entertained by WWAC at a park under threatening skies; a randomly encountered friend with the kind offer of temporary shelter for WWAC and attendant child; and The Human Fight, who graciously agreed to double back from Manhattan to fetch our emergency keys from his apartment. Scramble the above chronologically, throw in a couple of multiple meetings, and you have a “Family Circus”-style map of my travels across Brooklyn — minus deities and the ghosts of relatives, at least as far as I could determine.
And what was I doing on my wanderings? Thinking about the Mets, of course.
Cliff Floyd is a smart guy, so what on earth was he doing diving on that ball against the Pirates? What would have happened next if Kenny Rogers had struck out Andruw Jones? Is Minky's steadying presence at first worth anything to Wright and Reyes, or are his offensive stats so bad it doesn't matter? Will Kaz Matsui play another game for us? How much more rope will Ishii get? Who's out when Trachsel returns? How will Trachsel pitch, anyway? Will Heilman get a spot in the rotation? Will Seo? How the hell did Goddamn Benitez manage to walk Fucking Paul O'Neill? Who's gonna get traded? Can Pedro win 20? We have a run in us, don't we? We're not that far behind the Braves — could we catch them? How good a second half can Beltran have? When does Wright get to move up in the batting order? Is it unhealthy that I'm still this pissed off at Franco and Goddamn Benitez for the end of 2001
2002?* How can this really be the end for Mike Piazza? What's Todd Hundley up to these days? Could we dump Glavine on somebody? When do we get to see the new stadium design? Will we finish over .500? What's a good year, anyway? 88-74 is definitely a good year, but what about 85-77? Is 83-79 good, or just OK? Will Victor Diaz come up and stick in the second half? Does Pedro count as an All-Star? How much did it suck that the year Bobby Valentine got to pick Mets nobody was having a decent year? Why the hell can't we run the bases? Is the guy who's gonna throw the first Met no-hitter on the roster now?
That's a few blocks' worth of wondering and wishing, fretting and fuming. All of it followed by a feeling of bizarrely intense dejection — almost abject despair, really — that there was no game tonight. It should be wrapping up about now, and instead there's just the churn of the dryer. A couple of days ago I was fairly content in my Mets semi-vacation, particularly when I heard what Looper and Co. were up to in Pittsburgh. Now it's the last third of the very brief All-Star break, and you'd think I'd been wandering in the desert for…well, you get the idea.
On my unforeseen walk I of course answered not a single one of the Met questions above. But at least tomorrow night will bring some of the bits and pieces that will eventually yield answers to some of them, others will remain as unanswerable but hurt infinitesimally less, and we'll have new ones to chew over.
THE NEW METS: BETTER THAN BEING LOCKED OUT OF THE HOUSE
Put me in, coach. I'm ready for the second half.
* Oops. Not that it matters — I'm sure Franco and Goddamn Benitez screwed up memorably in 2002 as well. If I could find a way to blame them for my not bringing my keys with me to the grocery store, I would.