Before we move on to tonight's game, a quick acknowledgment that last night saw the unveiling of another significant work by The Artist Currently Known as Keith Hernandez. Xavier Nady ended the sixth when Jacque Jones made a very nice running catch that left him nearly flipping over the padded wall beyond the right-field foul line. We had friends over for dinner and were keeping half an eye on the game, sound off, while chatting. As Jones made the catch, a fan in the front row cringed comically away from the ball like a man who suddenly finds himself sharing an inflatable raft with a Great White Shark.
Man, I thought. When they come back from the break, Keith is going to be killing that poor blighter.
Sure enough, after Phil Nevin grounded out to start the seventh, out came the replay. We turned up the sound expectantly. Keith was all over it — he even used the telestrator. “In sandlot,” he said, “that's the guy you put in right field.” Ouch!
I laughed and then turned expectantly to Emily, who didn't disappoint.
“You're lucky that wasn't you,” she said, hitting her mark perfectly. And therein lies a story, one veteran readers may have heard it before. (If so, sorry.)
May 11, 1996 was marked by an 18-minute fight that began when Pete Harnisch cold-cocked Scott Servais — amazingly enough, the last fight the Mets got into, not counting slow walks to the foul lines with furrowed brows and Mike Piazza chasing relievers around infields. John Franco celebrated John Franco Day by getting ejected for his part in the melee. Great game, great fight. But that's another story.
Earlier in that long-ago game, Emily left her seat for refreshments, leaving me and our friend Chris, the Human Fight of commenting fame, in the mezzanine. While she was gone, a batter hit a ball right at us — no angle, depth perception absolutely zero help. And, well, not to put to fine a point on it, but we cringed away from it. You might call the nature of our cringing spasmodic. You might call it pathetic. You would not call it a particularly proud moment.
Someone about 10 feet in front of us wound up with the ball and held it up proudly as the Human Fight and I exchanged a somewhat-ashamed glance.
“Good thing,” he said finally, “that your wife wasn't here to see that.”
As if on cue, enter Emily from the tunnel, hot dogs and what-not in hand.
“YOU TWO!” she boomed. “I SAW YOU ON TV! YOU COWERED AWAY FROM THAT BALL!”
Much merriment in our section. Muttering and foot-gazing from the Human Fight and me. Cringing telestrated guy who's spent today getting crap from his buddies, I feel your pain.