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

Rehab Inning

What other men require a trip to St. Lucie or Norfolk for, Pedro Martinez does in Atlanta.

What other men take a series of games for, Pedro achieves in an inning.

What other men hope will lead them to a gradual recovery, Pedro uses to morph almost instantly into Pedro.

Jesus, he's good.

Friday night was made up of many beautiful parts, but perhaps the loveliest was watching Mr. Martinez become Mr. Martinez as our lonely eyes turned to him. He was terrible in the first and I was terribly concerned — Petey! This ain't your homecoming game [1] no more! — then I remembered he was entering the game cold. There were no rehab starts, just this real one.

Pedro completed all of his rehabilitation in one inning.

Why one inning?

Because any less and The Man wouldn't be human.

Zito? Willis? Maddux? [2] You're kidding, right? After the first inning, we reacquired an ace…our own.

After he got past the first and settled down in the second, it was essentially over. A Martinez who wasn't injured wasn't going to lose to a Ramirez whatever that guy's health was. This was a Pedro night. Can't think of a better place for him to have it.

Oh those Braves. Those Braves fans. They said this was the largest crowd ever to attend a baseball game in Atlanta. Larger than Henry Aaron's 715th? Larger than any number of World Series games? Of course it was. Was it because Braves fans are wired into their Wild Card — excuse me, division title — race? That they really appreciate the comeback their team is attempting to effect? That they see this series as the beginning of a historic march through Georgia and back to the top? That they relish the scintillating rivalry between their Braves and our Mets? That as keenly insighted baseball fans, they were extremely interested in witnessing one of the great pitchers of our time make his first start in a month?

Nah. It was NASCAR Night. And fireworks afterwards. Maybe it was half-off Cokes when you fear a red fannypack, too. Despite losing 6-4, I'll bet they derived exactly as much baseball-related enjoyment from the evening as they did when the Braves regularly resided in first place instead of where they claim they are now: storming toward it like white lightning.

I'd let you know how close to the Mets the Braves have crept, except that's a lot of numbers to crunch and I'm kind of tired.

Think NASCAR draws a single soul more to its dusty tracks on Braves Night?

Real shame about Larry Jones. Seriously. You know my Commandments [3], particularly this one:

Don't Root For Injuries. In Game Five of the 1988 NLCS at Shea, Kirk Gibson slid into second and came up in obvious pain. Mets fans cheered. There, I thought, that's it, we're screwed. Be a human being about these things. Wish no pain on anyone. Wish they enjoy a pain-free three-month stay on the DL instead.

Thus, when LJ reaggravated his Chipping muscle and agonizingly lurched to the dugout, I did not laugh or guffaw or chuckle or giggle or hoot. No way, not me. The “Get Well” bouquet, however, may have missed the last DHL truck of the night.

Whenever the television shows the Turner Field bullpens, I can't help but notice the large food court trash cans prominently placed behind the mound. They're the Ted's version of Florida's Soilmaster sacks, but tidier. You can't miss them. I wonder…do they represent some sort of subliminal message about the messes Atlanta relievers create? Are they telling us the whole season's been a waste? That the Braves refuse to be refuse?

After Friday night's six-pitcher loss to the Mets, they announced they had picked up onetime hot closer commodity Danys Baez from the Dodgers for the excruciatingly irritating Wilson Betemit. Danys, like Bob Wickman, will surely assist in their ongoing cleanup and recovery effort. That's two firemen who aren't Chris Reitsma and Jorge Sosa (even if they are suspiciously Dan Kolbish)…and only 6-1/2 games in back of the Reds with merely the Diamondbacks, Giants, Rockies and Marlins between them.

No wonder they're the team to beat [4].

Hell, it was so much fun doing just that, let's beat them some more!

If you're not feeling charitable toward the Braves — and that's OK — you might wish to direct your impulses of generosity toward this Met-hearted initiative [5].