What you saw, I only heard.
Today was a day for what would normally be called errands and chores, except these were no ordinary errands and chores. These were errands and chores the way a pitching assignment is a pitching assignment when you're, say, brought in to pitch to Derrek Lee with the game on the line. Lots of painting — painting cabinetry that's already been painted, painting in pain-inducing positions so that one doesn't get paint over all the other freshly painted things drying too slowly in a too-small room, cleaning up with paint thinner and trying not to pass out, removing stray paint from…well, from most everything in sight because I kind of suck at painting, or more properly I'm pretty good at painting but suck at paying attention to painting all the time, kind of like the way Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran are darn fine baseball players but need to focus on taking ball four and not pulling everything. Respectively.
And it was a day for plugging up the burrows in the yard recently and probably still being used by rats who are supposed to have eaten bait and be bleeding out internally, a fate they don't really deserve except, like Marlins and Phillies and Nationals and Astros, they want to live where we want to live but we want to live there all alone, so sorry fellas. (The Jason-Emily homestead, much like Shea, is showing its age.) Not that you asked, but filling rat burrows is a loathsome task best left to structural engineers, and not liberal-arts majors who know how to use Google and are tackling this task with steel wool and DAP and cement patch and hardware cloth and loose dirt, applied in somewhat random order, kind of like the way the Mets construct a bullpen. (Steel wool? Feh. Send this down to Virginia. Let's see if these Koo-and-Graves brand aromatic wood shavings stop their chewing!) Sticking your fingers into the darkness of subterranean rat burrows to shove in agglomerations of rodent-inconveniencing stuff is a close-your-eyes-and-bite-your-lip-horrible task I'd rather not ever do again, kind of like a West Coast swing. (Say, what's on the calendar next w– oh, shit. Didn't we just go there?) Oh, and throw in a bunch of hoofing back and forth to the hardware store on the other side of the neighborhood, replacing the wrong tool with the right tool, getting more paint, and generally being infuriatingly inefficient while not finding anyone else to blame for it. Kind of like yo-yoing endlessly around .500.
Well, that was my dreamworld, with the paint- and rat-fearing mind seeking escape in idle thought about the Mets. Because everywhere I went, there were Gary and Howie riding shotgun. Goofing on Koo's interpreter, as you noted. Offering hosannas to Cliff Floyd for introducing “courtesy run” to the lexicon. Reminding us that Greg Maddux's first start was against a 1986 post-clinch team of JV Mets, with the varsity sleeping off a deservedly long night. Noting that Lee Mazzilli, John Gibbons and Terry Francona, AL East managers present and very recent, played in that game. Keeping you thinking and laughing and nodding as they always do. (I caught a very little of FOX, including being patronized by a talking cartoon baseball, which made playing blindman's bluff with the biting end of Norway rats seem briefly less terrible.)
Sometimes I wonder if I'd love baseball on the radio as much if I hadn't been spoiled for so many years by Murph, and Gary, and now by Gary and Howie. Probably not — but then again, to me baseball and radio were made for each other. It's a long season and each game is pretty long too — too long for even an uber-fan to stop his or her life for every game, too long to pay laser-like attention to every inning. But you don't need to: Once you've got the game down to where you can translate the word picture painted for you, you can go about your business with the game whispering in your ear. And, really, isn't that what it does anyway, whether or not there's a game unfolding over the airwaves? Every day of every year, whether you're wondering about the rest of the schedule or if Pedro could win 20 or how the hell Benitez could have walked friggin' Paul O'Neill or if Fonzie will ever come back or how they let Vince Coleman hit Doc with a golf club or when you'll next see a game as amazing as the 10-run inning or if Lastings Milledge is the real thing or what Mike Phillips is doing right now or when we'll see blueprints of the new park or how many up Houston is, the game is whispering in your ear. Whether you're running errands or at work or looking numbly out the window at the snow, there's the game.
I hear we've even got one tomorrow. Night game. Zambrano vs. Zambrano, ain't that funny? Looper'll be rested, that's good. Minky should be back in there — another good day and he might have to shave his head. Think Reyes can extend his streak? Think we can sweep? And hey, have you looked at the wild-card standings tonight?
Can't wait to hear how it unfolds.