So. Eighth inning. Two on. One out. Aaron Heilman on the hill. Here comes Mike Piazza, 800 feet of home runs hastily appended to his resume, only this time we're not talking about some cosmetic solo shot. He's the go-ahead run. Gary Cohen comments on the strange mix of wild cheers and sudden boos filling Shea, sagely noting something about the process by which a revered former player becomes the enemy.
No, not really. I wasn't in the park, but I think I know what those fans were doing. They weren't booing Piazza — it may be Nostalgia Week at Shea, but nobody's nostalgic for nearly running a Hall of Famer out of town in the summer of '98. They were booing their fellow fans who were still cheering — playing out, in 49,000+ instances of voting with hands or lungs, the family feud that gripped us earlier today. The same one that gripped any other Met blog and countless Met households and was fought around umpteen watercoolers today.
How can you be cheering for a guy who's trying to beat us? If he hits one we're down 5-4 and Pedro doesn't get a win! And man, there's a lot of baseball left to play — this team hasn't won a damn thing yet! What are you, nuts? Don't you have any brains?
What? How can you not be cheering for the best position player we ever had? Day game tomorrow — this could be the last time you ever see him! And we're so far ahead in the standings it's not even funny! What are you, nuts? Don't you have a soul?
I was thinking that was the perfect moment to freeze, but it's not. That came one pitch and a few seconds later. The ball's left the bat in an awful hurry, gone rocketing by far over the heads of the Joses, Carlos B. is moving onto the warning track, eyes on the sky, tracking its trajectory. Gonna be close.
So. Where do you want that ball to land?
Maybe you're saying, screaming, pleading that it needs to find Carlos's glove — for Pedro's W, for the team's march to October, for the sake of finding a role for Heilman, for the simple reason that the guy in the wrong uni hit it. That's OK. I'm on your side. Lots of other smart folks and diehard Met fans are too.
Maybe you're hollering, whooping or cheering for it to bank off the camera tower, for Gary to yell that it's outta here — one of Mike's final bits of tape in a storied career, a nice bit of closure, another unforgettable night at Shea, the happiest L you'll ever take. (And hey, we could still win it.) That's OK. I'm not on your side, but lots of other smart folks and diehard Met fans are.
Or maybe you have absolutely no idea what you want to happen. And you know what? That's OK too.
It landed in Carlos's glove. We won. Twenty-four games over .500. Heilman got the job done. So did Wagner. (Neither was a model of execution, but this year I've taken a lesson from my co-blogger: There's no column in the standings for style points.) Endy gave us more evidence he can play. We got to see another how'd-he-do-that work of art by Pedro. Got to cheer for Mike, or at least smile. Saw a visiting player get a curtain call, of all things.
Not a bad night, even if it did come with a scenario that couldn't have been more perfectly designed for an intra-Met-family squabble. Heck, that's OK too. It's not abortion or Iraq or whether or not to tip on tax or any of the terrible searing quarrels that bring out the long knives. Just a baseball argument among adherents of the same faith, and an academic one at that.
Besides, we should be so lucky. Tomorrow we might have to cheer for Michael Tucker.