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You Gonna Finish That?

Rest easy, soul of Fred Merkle [1]. New York baseball has a new, much more deservedly crowned Bonehead [2] for all time. It's one thing not to advance from first to second on the winning base hit in an era when that was generally accepted practice. Bonehead Offerman has come up with a whole new interpretation of Section 7.00 [3] of the rulebook.

Rule 7.13(j): A runner occupying first base is entitled to second base when the batter hits the ball safely into centerfield unless the runner's head is occupying 50.1% or more of the inner portion of his own ass.

It's not like Jose Offerman hadn't give us warning that with his help we'd be forever blowing ballgames [4]. But back when he was making awful plays in the field, he was just being the Jose Offerman I'd heard about. Since then, I've come to if not respect him then at least ignore him.

But really. Thrown out at second on a single to center? I've seen Met baserunners (what other kind?) get picked off during intentional walks, but they at least had the excuse of getting distracted by a pretty moth or something. What was Offerman looking at? Doesn't the Players Association have a pretty bitchin' vision plan? Hasn't sitting in the first base dugout for almost three months allowed him the time to read every ad on the third base side of Shea? What else was there to watch but the ball whiz past the pitcher, the second baseman and the shortstop?

I shouldn't pick on Jose Offerman. This loss wasn't all his fault. Let's face it, when you're trotting out the likes of Wilson Delgado, Edwin Almonte and Pat Strange, you're bound to lose a lot more games at the end of the year than you're going to win. Therefore…uh, hold on…

Hello?

Yeah — what about them?

They're not?

You sure?

Really?

Wow, I couldn't tell the difference. Thanks for letting me know.

Correction: It only seems like Tuesday night's game included the likes of Wilson Delgado, Edwin Almonte and Pat Strange, all vagabond ghosts of Met fantastically futile finishes past. Sadly, the stunning conclusion to 2005 bears a little too much resemblance to the three that preceded it.

DEFINING LATE-SEASON SWOONS, 2002-PRESENT

2002: 3-17 (8/10-9/3)

2003: 4-19 (9/4-9/28)

2004: 2-19 (8/22-9/12)

2005: 3-13 (8/27-9/13)

SOURCES: Retrosheet; accursed memory

There's no telling where this could end.

If indeed it does.

While the Mets come up small, some players — one we love, one we don't — remain larger than life. Find out who they are at Gotham Baseball [5].