I've got another Jason in my life. He's also a Mets fan and I also met him online and he's also very, very sharp; I have good luck with Jasons that way. The one I'm talking about here sent me the gift of prescience Tuesday:
Today marks 7 years since The Schilling Game. Which marks the day when I knew for sure that the '99 team was going to be a special team. And here we are playing the Phillies again. Let's hope that means good mojo…
I'd say Mr. Mojo is risin', wouldn't you? Mr. Beltran, Mr. Reyes, Mr. Oliver and all the Messrs. Met are plenty aloft these days and nights.
Have I mentioned that was one delightfully freaky win? I don't mean this was one delightfully freaky win. Don't misinterpret: At 14 pitchers used, 15 Met hits, 16 innings played, 17 runs total and 18 unconscionable teases that the end was near, it was delighfully freaky to the extreme. But I mean I must have mentioned some variation on “that was one delightfully freaky win” about a dozen times this season. Nationals, Padres, Giants, Pirates, Braves, Skanks…what's another breathtaking, heartstopping, pulsepounding, headscratching baseball game for the ages?
Someday, perhaps when the events of 2006 are known in full, this, like that day in May 1999, will be obscured by an incredible September and an unbelievable October. Maybe this, like the Sunday at Shea against Philly when Curt Schilling entered the bottom of the ninth up 4-0 and left it down, out and Oleruded 4-5, will become a footnote to another Pratt fall, another grand slam singular autumn — recalled by heart only by impassioned defenders of the Faith.
In a season that's 44 games old and already larded with surprise endings and shocking continuations, who would be surprised or shocked if we forgot a chapter here or there? How much more are we expected to remember?
We must remember this:
• Down 0-2, we tied it on homers by Wright and Floyd.
• Down 2-6, we chipped and chipped back to 5-6.
• Down 5-8…well, I wasn't thinking comeback or even tie. I was thinking about a Mets-Phillies game from 15 years ago, kind of the inverse of the Schilling game. It went only ten innings but it schlepped on for nearly five hours. The Mets had innumerable chances to win but chose to lose. It was the gakkiest of gakoff losses and that, I must admit, is where I thought we were headed again. Unlike my auxiliary Jason, I lack imagination.
• Down 5-8, the Mets would lack gak. We got to within 6-8, and then noted power hitter Jose Reyes golfed — eagled, Philadelphia — one to right.
• 8-8. A highly improbable 8-8 at that.
And so it stayed and stayed and stayed. Except for his being a Phillie, I really admired the hell out of Ryan Madson. Wanted to snap him like a twig, but he would have just regained his form and retired Carlos Delgado. He's my Schaefer Player of the Game…would be, except for his being a Phillie.
The guy I was rooting for to end it — understanding that I'm not picky and anybody we traded for in the course of the evening whose last name wasn't Bin Laden or Jeter would have won my unyielding affection with a timely, well-placed single — was Carlos Beltran. I think he's been, in his librarylike fashion, our best player for weeks. Not perfect, not noticed, not lucky (I think he got his hand back on the bag, but my thoughts don't count for spit), but steady. Even in a slump, he's whisper-quietly gotten his share of big hits and nice catches. The only thing missing was something that isn't missing anymore.
Good for the man I referred to as Belly in a fit of nickname auditioning. Certainly had fire within it in the sixteenth. That appellation came somewhere back in the early innings, or what archaeologists will no doubt refer to as the Trachsezoic Epoch, a period of spottily recorded history that few will remember given its utter irrelevance as it pertained to the Evolution of Met, a phenomenon that went something like this on May 23, 2006:
He oozed out of the muck.
He learned to crawl.
He straightened up a bit.
And now he walks, head held high.
Walks off with a win that looked impossible for hours on end, that is.
Suddenly, I'm so very tired.
But not of games like these.