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

Was This Trip Really Necessary?

The game, well, it was a mess [1]: From the first batter Alay Soler faced, it was a question not of if but of when: When would the Red Sox have seen enough of Soler to zero in on those high fastballs and 12-to-somewhere-north-of-6 curves and start hammering them? (The answer, as it so often is, was the 5th, when Varitek's drive to right-center served notice that they had the range.)

Meanwhile, Lester kept sneaking off the ropes before we could land a solid blow, though his confrontation with Wright was a thing of beauty. I tried calling pitches along with Varitek, and kept asking Emily if Lester would have the balls to throw the Mets' best hitter a 3-2 curveball. On Pitch #10 he did, it was a beauty, and that was that. That's a pretty impressive rookie over there. Once Alex Gonzalez sent one over the Monster it was pretty clear it was over, with Beltran's and Marrero's homers just rouge on a corpse. No particular shame in it — bad performance by a rookie fifth starter, misplay in the outfield, overly aggressive decision by Manny Acta, up against a superb lineup — but not one to remember. Let's call it the night Jose Reyes didn't fracture a collerbone or break a rib (apparently — frantic wood-knocking) and move on.

Still, I didn't want to be here in the first place. It's not that I'm scared of Boston — this team has no reason to be scared of anybody — but I don't want to play them. Granted, I don't want to play any American League team, but this is different. I like the Red Sox. When they're playing the Yankees I flip over during the breaks and offer them whatever psychic energies I can spare. Each year, if our season expires and they still have a pulse, I'm looking for a seat on their bandwagon. I stayed up night after night to witness the October 2004 heroics of Ortiz and Roberts and Schilling and Foulke and Damon and all the other Idiots, and was thrilled for my many Boston friends when 86 years of rotten karma evaporated in an unlikely sweep.

This isn't unique among Mets fans [2], of course. Nor should it be: We have common cause, after all. We both dwell in the shadow of an implacable Enemy and Its vile legions, and have spent most of our existences rooting and praying and begging — usually in vain — for that Enemy to be brought low. I know there's 1986 and I know some Red Sox fans view us as just the other New York team, the low-tar cigarettes of cancerous Gotham baseball. So be it — we can't help that. (And, not being insane, wouldn't particularly want to help 1986.) Beyond that, what? OK, they employed the Antichrist, but his days of full-blown depravity were still ahead of him. Some vague nastiness between Piazza and Pedro a million years ago, long forgotten. Carl Everett throwing a fit. A minor free-agent duel over whether or not Pedro would go to no Mets.

Mets at Boston. In June. Well, OK, if we must. But must we? It's like hearing our army has to slug it out with Britain's for three days. What on earth for? Don't we both have better things to do?