I hereby interrupt this return to our normal winning ways to announce in advance that yes, it's all my fault.
Last year at about this time I went off to Maine behind the wheel of a Mo Vaughn-sized U-Haul truck and terrible things immediately started happening to the Mets: Looper and Pirates and Cota, oh my! I ignored my co-blogger's urgent pleas and returned home after the break, when it was too late to do more than kick at the ground and act chastened.
Well, tomorrow night Emily and the boy and I are headed back that way, about 90 minutes before the clock inexplicably strikes Lima Time! again. So of course I kept this from my co-blogger until the last possible moment, knowing his likely reaction. Didn't matter: The Mets decided to get their licks in first.
Jace? It's Omar. We're calling up Mike Pelfrey. Yes really. Go to Shea to see his debut? Ha. You're not even going to get to see it on TV. You're not going to get to hear it. Carve a Pelfrey totem out of birchbark and pretend it's on the mound, you stupid woods-loving sonofabitch.
Gulp. But family being family and plane tickets being expensive, I accepted my fate. Pelfreyless it would be.
Of course that wasn't enough.
Jace, Omar again. Just wanted to tell you we also decided to call up Henry Owens. Triple-A? Nah, we're bringing him right to the bigs. That K/IP was just too ungodly for us not to see with our own eyes. Oh, did I say 'see?' Because you won't get to see or hear his debut either, will you? Have fun cavorting with bears, dumbass. Oh, we'll make sure Howie and Keith show him on TV just to torture you before you go.
OK, OK, I get it. But family's still family and plane tickets are still expensive, so off we still go. (Not being completely insane, I've got a line on borrowing somebody's XM radio for the duration. At least I think I do. Wish me luck.)
At least it won't be the Pirates doing terrible things to us while I gaze into the unfathomable darkness of the non-city and one or both of my parents say helpful things like, “I thought they were doing really well this year.” (The Marlins are more than capable of doing terrible things to us — more capable then the Pirates, no doubt.) Leaving aside greed, taking three out of four from the doormats of the NL Central was the kind of tonic we needed to feel better about ourselves. “We'll worry about October in October” now sounds properly swaggering again, instead of kind of pathetic the way it did when we were crawling away from the AL East.
Tonight's game was properly reassuring: This time, our offense didn't get off to a roaring start and then come to a screeching halt for seven innings. Reyes ran wild (and Joshua gulled me into delaying bedtime for 10 minutes by craftily announcing he wanted to learn the “Jose! Jose! Jose! Jose!” chant), Wright hit an opposite-field homer, Floyd (apparently) survived another HBP and Wagner refused to be unmanned by some defensive lapses behind him. Even the immortal Jonah Bayliss beaning Trachsel was more odd than troubling: Trachsel himself seemed baffled by it, as if he might say, “Are you kidding? It's me, Steve Trachsel — the patron saint of all things tepid. You think you're going to start some kind of beef by hitting Steve Trachsel? You or some other alumnus of the Altoona Curve want to get me worked up, send over a bottle of something corked.”
Keith Hernandez had quite a night, by the way. Our own Captain Jack Sparrow came over from the radio side feeling feisty, cracking that his rainbow of highlighters was so he could recreate the cover of Cream's Disraeli Gears. That was the equivalent of Bette Davis warning everyone to buckle up for a bumpy ride: Within a couple of innings Keith was ranting that no one played 162 games anymore, that Trachsel should go nine, and that everyone in Triple-A was a useless junkballer. By now he's probably running around the parking lot spray-painting cars.
I love Keith when he's being coolly analytical. I also love Keith when he transforms randomly into your crazy uncle.
I'm gonna miss him up in the Pelfreyless State.