Semantics, semantics. This one will see light again if this network is any good. This one was a wonderful affair. Was it a classic?
If it wasn't, your standards are higher than mine. Whaddaya want out of a game?
Amazin' defense? Check.
Hitting from the pitcher? Check.
Adversity overcome? Check.
Production from unlikely sources? Check.
All-time greatness manifesting itself without killing us? Check.
Heart of our lineup showing heart? Check.
Bizarre cameos from our past? Check.
Milestones that hadn't occurred to you but they occurred? Check.
A Mets win? Double-check. Mets take two of three at Telecommunications Terrace.
It's a bonus that this uproarious prank call from the Phone Booth (a.k.a. Turner West) happened in broad daylight and didn't rob the adoring masses back home of any more z's. Midweek afternoon games needn't be as entertaining as Wednesday's was. But it's pretty cool when they are.
The bottom line is that when we look in our rearview mirror, we have to squint to see anybody. The Phillies are 4-1/2 car lengths back. They're in front of the Braves, pending their finale with the Rockies. Let's say they win and then sweep their weekend opponent. Let's say, for argument's sake, that we perform to precedent at Turner Field (a.k.a. Phone Booth East) and go down three times.
It would be terrible.
It would be awful.
But we'd be in first place on May 1. It's not the goal or even a goal, but it's better than the four alternatives.
Before trundling down Peach Tree Road and all the standard horrors that entails, I'd like to wallow in how we hung up on the Giants when it counted.
I'd like to come up with a new job description for Ramon Castro. He's not a scrub, he's not a sub and to label him a backup doesn't do him justice. Alternate catcher seems more apt. Other than run like Heinz Ketchup, is there anything he can't do? Not yesterday.
I'd like to know how Jose Vizcaino continues to be a force in this man's game. Of the five* 1994 Mets still active, he's as vital as any of them (take that, Kelly Stinnett). He lost his N.Y. privileges where we're concerned in the early hours of October 22, 2000, of course, but I have to admit I always liked him as a Met and he's never stopped being a solid contributor to whatever team will have him. Bastard.
I'd like to know where Brian Bannister came from. Yeah, I know, the loins of Floyd Bannister, but was there a scouting report that said he could hit? Two doubles? And did dad give him a magic kit for his birthday? How does he keep escaping jams of his own making.
I'd like to know when Brian Bannister is coming back. Yikes, but it hurt to watch him limp home. But he did and that's a gamer. I'd also like to know who'll take his next turn and like the answer to be Darren Oliver, who continues to be a small revelation in a bullpen brimming with good news (though I did shiver when I saw Jorge Julio warming up in the top of the eleventh).
I'd like to advise David Wright that Cal Ripken as role model only goes so far. If you're achy, find a seat. This grit your teeth and drag yourself out there when you're not 85% is not admirable unless it's crunch time. It's not. It's April. Your mobility is limited, you're hurting yourself, you're hurting the team. You're so good that you delivered a clutch blow somewhere amid an array of clutch blows anyway. But don't be Braden Looper and gut it out when you're gutting isn't gritty, just foolish. Be Carlos Beltran for a couple of days at least where caution is the issue. Whatever's bothering Diamond Dave held him back not just on the error on Alou's ball but his inability to get to Vizquel's leadoff hit. Sit a bit, Dave. You're young. The game will still be there.
I'd like to kiss Carlos Delgado on his awesome pate. But I always feel that way.
I'd like to get us some more Blue Jays. Delgado is delightful. Woodward is wonderful.
I'd like to find out why we can't kick Armando Benitez in his fragile psyche like so many teams did when his head was our affair. Load the bases on Armando as we did in the tenth, you should send him home in Baby Huey tears. We don't seem to do that.
I'd like to thank Billy Wagner even if he did not protect the ninth-inning lead for the second time in a month. Thank you for not being Benitez or Looper or any number of Mets relievers past. You'll be fine.
I'd like to wear a baseball cap, but I can't when I watch the Mets play the Giants. Usually I wind up tipping my cap to Barry Bonds. After the last two days, I had to toss it into the ring like a bouquet to a bullfighter. Damn he knows how to hit. I don't know what he is or isn't shot up with, but what a shot he delivered in the ninth. Off the end of the bat!
I'd like whatever Julio Franco's having. A dozen egg whites? Year-round training? Deal with the devil? I'll just stick with Julio doing whatever it is Julio does and I'll simply marvel. Whoa. Not just the pinch-hit RBIs but the stolen base. Oldest player to swipe a bag in just about a century? I wasn't surprised that he stole it. I was surprised that someone older once did.
I'd like an investigation into why the Giants didn't sign Julio Franco. He meets their age requirement.
I'd like another look at Xavier Nady diving, grabbing and robbing in right field. Did we know he could do that?
I'd like to see less of Endy Chavez just because if he's playing, it means something is wrong with somebody else. But I could watch him chase down fly balls 27 times a day.
I'd like to see more of Jose Reyes breaking out and Kaz Matsui staking claim. Have they ever served in tandem at the top of the order the way they were supposed to like they did yesterday?
I'd like the first base line to widen a smidge for Cliff Floyd's sake. He deserves some hits for all the ferocious fouls he's pulled. (Like the Monsta, I'd pull my uniform shirt out of my uniform pants as soon as I was allowed, too.)
I'd like SNY to air this game again not just soon, but later, when we haven't seen it in a while and we say to each other, “Hey, that game against the Giants is gonna be on! You know, the one where Bonds pinch-hits the two-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Wagner but the Mets come back in extra innings and Franco got that hit and that stolen base and Nady made that catch off Vizquel and Delgado blasted a home run into McCovey Cove and Bannister, he had the two doubles before he got hurt, and Castro got three hits and Chris Woodward drove in the winning run and Darren Oliver held on even though Bonds came up again and hit another one deep to center but not as deep as in the ninth and with nobody on so it was the last out! What a great game that was! What a great year that was!”
Yesterday's replay is finishing up. Mets vs. Astros from twenty years ago is on at seven. Imagine that: Two Mets Classics in one day.
*In addition to Kent, Burnitz, Stinnett and Vizcaino, all of whom I mentioned at the end of Spring Training, it occurred to me watching the Braves that Remlinger is also from the Class of '94. He doesn't like us, I don't think.