Eleven years ago today, the man who had the best perspective on baseball that anyone ever shared on a daily basis, Bob Murphy, was rightly presented the Ford Frick Award in Cooperstown. He was recognized for a long career and any number of accomplishments therein, but if all he ever said was “baseball is a game of redeeming features,” that would've been enough.
Murphy's Law was on display for the countlessth time Sunday afternoon. After being nearly buried now and forever in 2005 (again), the Mets stopped being so damn dour about the whole thing and opened up a can of whoop-Astro on the erstwhile Colt .45s .
The Mets redeemed an awful weekend and a lousy road trip. Their offense redeemed an endless string of zeroes. Their pitching and defense redeemed that terrible tendency they'd displayed in Colorado and Houston to give back runs as soon as they scored them; in the five losses on this swing, the Mets scored in the top of seven different innings — they then allowed the Rockies and Astros to score in the bottom of four of those frames (in one loss, the Mets scored in the top of the ninth and Colorado didn't have to come to bat). Today, there was only one such nasty giveback and it proved harmless.
As for individuals, Floyd redeemed his Oswaltian grudge with a Minute Maid Monsta Mash. Cameron and Heilman redeemed their ticket to stay by contributing in a meaningful fashion. Castro continued his seasonlong redemption as one of the best backup catchers in the N.L. And Beltran didn't do what the yahoo t-shirts said he did, instead racking up three hits, a walk, a steal and a run. If he maintains that pace, let's start printing up garments that announce BELTRAN $OAR$.
No Manny, no Sori…no problem, not really. Good for Omar for not falling for the oldest trick in the book, the illusion that says because somebody tells you that you have to make a deal that you do. I don't fault him for trying but I definitely credit him for not pulling any panicky triggers. Perhaps everybody who was suspected to be going somewhere can unpack in peace and play without inhibition (if indeed trade-anxiety provides well-compensated professional athletes an alibi for poor production, but they're human, too).
The towel? We're four back of something worth being four back of as August approaches. The towel will throw itself in if necessary. We'll know. Until then, we'll watch.
Regarding the Hall of Fame, I caught most of two wonderful speeches by Peter Gammons and Ryne Sandberg on ESPN Classic. I hope they're rebroadcast or printed somewhere. They both spoke beautifully, the way Murph did every day, to why we watch and live and die and live once more with this game. I missed Wade Boggs' talk but I couldn't help but notice the impressive shock of hair that seems to have sprouted unrelentingly atop his head since he retired. He proves to all doubters that baseball is a game of redeeming features and miraculous renewal.
And you thought artificial turf was a thing of the past.