- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

The Longest Day

The problem with a loss like this — and make no mistake, this was one of those “I got mauled by a grizzly bear and fell down a ravine and got disemboweled when I fell on a pointy rock and now cougars are uncoilng my guts and EATING them while I'm still alive” [1] losses — is that it makes all the good stuff recede until it feels like it was a long time ago, and thus of no possible use in making you feel better.

Jose Valentin? Once upon a time he capped a very nice night at the plate by coming up to hit lefty against a left-hander for some bizarre reason and came through with a laser beam over the center-field fence. Man, you should've seen it: The crowd was going insane. It was particularly nice because it gave us the lead late in a singularly frustrating game, one that had been marked by crappy fielding, lukewarm pitching, failures in the clutch, a terrible giveaway at-bat from a guy who hit two home runs last night (Nady! What the hell?), a veteran costing us a run by not running hard with two outs (Delgado! What the fucking fuck?), long drives not quite going over the wall and a general feeling that our baseball team couldn't get out of its own way. Valentin's homer erased all that, like opening a window in a stuffy room.

Thing is, I can't quite remember when that timely, wrong-side-of-the-plate home run was. I think it was sometime in May.

Aaron Heilman? Heck, he's had a rough stretch, but you should have seen him. He was being depended on again, and you could tell he was a little nervous, and he got stuck facing Ryan Freel, whom we were unable to retire that entire series, and sent him packing on a gorgeous change-up. Talk about a key confidence builder for a guy we need back in top form.

Great pitch. Did I see it on Mother's Day? Been a while, whenever it was.

And then there was Jose Reyes. Oh, that Jose. Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated just wrote a very interesting piece [2] about him, one that's a perfect marriage of new stats and old-style scouting, asking if Reyes isn't, in fact, far more valuable than his stats might indicate. And it was followed by a very interesting debate [3], for those who like diving deeper, among the readers of Baseball Think Factory. Lots to chew on there, and then Jose gave the debaters even more to think about, pummeling Reds' pitching left and right and capping it with the ninth cycle in Mets history. Oh, the crowd has never done the Ho-ZAAAAAY Ho-ZAAAAY Ho-ZAAAAY HO-zaaaay chant more happily, and Reyes has never grinned more ear-to-ear than he was grinning right there. I think that grin might've reached all the way around to the back of his head and bisected the whole business, in fact.

Nice moment. Having a little trouble placing it, though. All I remember is it was sometime before Billy Wagner showed up and there was the grizzly and the ravine and the pointy rock and the cougars. Which is really all I can think about now. The Mets' A/V folks, responding to whatever strange portents guide them, have started playing Natalie Imbruglia's “Torn” at Shea after losses, and while nothing won't make that choice bizarre, I can't much argue with it right now. (I'm not sure it mentions cougars or throwing one too many fastballs, but close enough.)

Oh well. Wagner hadn't given up a run in a month. Everybody else in the division lost. Lots of summer to go. Day game tomorrow.

If you've got any more straws, I'm ready to grasp at them.