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The View From Vaguely Afar

This year vacation's hardly a vacation, Metwise: LBI's cable system has SNY and the WB, the FAN is audible, and there's high-speed Internet access. Add that up and subtract Braden Looper, and you've got a recipe for the perfect vacation, at least in my book.

And you can't beat a 2:05 start for one's first day at the beach. Broil for long enough to get some color, get smashed around in the surf, dabble with sand castles, come in at the day's halfway point before you go from “some color” to “burned and regretful,” take a leisurely stroll to the deli for a sandwich and a Barq's and whaddya know — there's a ballgame on! If not for the whole having to work/Emily has to work/kid has to go to school thing, a fellow could get used to things down here.

Combine vacation and a whatever-it-was-this-morning-game lead, and today's game [1] seemed more like a classic that one could appreciate than a missed chance to gnash teeth over. El Duque was good, but Roy Oswalt was at least flirting with Destiny. (Oswalt strikes me as one of those guys you dislike if he's on the other team but come to regard as gutty or gritty or some other baseball compliment if he's on your team.)

The whole game read like one of those improbable wins the '69 Mets achieved (I'm thinking in particular of Steve Carlton striking out 19 [2] but losing on two Swoboda HRs), typified by that sixth-inning rally: Flyout, walk, walk, HBP, perfect suicide squeeze, intentional walk, groundout that should have been an infield hit. Not only did the Astros win despite getting one-hit, that lone hit (Aubrey Huff, leading off the second) had nothing to do with the scoring. Conjuring a run without a hit is tough enough; try doing it twice.

At the end, when Cliff had almost had a single and Delgado had a cosmetic home run and Green almost had a single, Joshua was aghast that we'd lost and began to cry. I explained that you couldn't win every day, and he countered by saying, “But I want them to win the game every day.” Sensible enough, and led me into a soliloquy about how it wouldn't be fun if you always knew you'd win and the Astros have fans and just think how happy they are and sometimes you just have to appreciate a really good game and other associated bullshit.

What the heck. When your magic number's hurtling toward the single digits before Labor Day, you can afford to be magnanimous.