Rain at the beach is depressing.
Rain at the beach, followed by a rainout of the night's baseball game, is slightly more depressing.
Being depressed by a rainout in a city just two hours away when you've been watching it rain all day? I have no excuse.
I mean, really. I knew the Phillies were rained out. I'd rejiggered my fantasy-league team to get the non-Mets and non-Phillies into the lineup. I'd flipped over to SNY to see two die-nevers sitting by themselves in the field-level seats surrounded by water. Nonetheless, I felt my stomach sink when they called this one mercifully early. No game? Aw, crap.
Without a game, we could fall back on our newest Metropolitan pastime: fretting. The Phillies have found themselves. The Marlins are hotter than blazes. Those Astros pitchers would be a handful in a short series. The Dodgers are much better than last time we saw them. The Padres' pitching matches up well with ours. The Braves aren't dead yet. First of all, these are October problems. We haven't had those in some time. Second of all, turn it around and things sound different: mediocre to not-bad teams spinning scenarios in which they can somehow beat the one really great team in the NL. (Can they do it? Absolutely. Will they? I'll take my chances.) But that said, perspective doesn't come so easy when the game's been washed away and you're left with injury reports to pore over, black clouds to stare at, magic numbers that can't shrink and the memory of last night's refund-worthy sleepwalk.
So, enough. There are things to look forward to, even before bunting and banners and being annoyed by FOX announcers. Here are a few of mine, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Our record books will be rewritten. Two current single-season record holders will probably wind up in third place before October comes. Todd Hundley's 41 HRs is a near-lock to be eclipsed by Beltran and quite possibly Delgado as well. Edgardo Alfonzo's 123 runs scored will likely be erased by both Reyes and Beltran. Mike Piazza's 124 RBI will be Beltran's mark. Roger Cedeno's 66 SBs will be Reyes's.
The Holy Books will be newly populated. By my count (which I trust my co-blogger to correct if it's wrong, as it often is), 798 men have played for the New York Mets. Tomorrow's incoming Tides will include just one new player: Philip Humber, being brought up for a taste of the Show and some clubhouse mentoring. (Kelly Stinnett has been here before.) Unless Willie gets ornery about his old-schoolness, I imagine Humber will get an inning in a blowout somewhere along the line, making him the 799th Met. But that's it — without another surprise, The Holy Books won't reach 800 until 2007. (And if Humber doesn't get a start? He'll join the less-illustrious cast of near-Mets, a gloomy fraternity populated by Jerry Moses, Mac Suzuki, Terrel Hansen, Justin Speier and Anderson Garcia.)
Our stadium will officially begin taking shape. I haven't heard of an official groundbreaking date for IRS Bond Tax Status Favorable Ruling Park, but it's coming sometime this month. Politicians will don very clean hard hats, move a few ounces of dirt with silver shovels, and make strained baseball metaphors. And I will bask in every doofy cliche and shameless bit of pandering.
We'll get a division title. Who knows when? It'll come when it comes. (Greg and I have tickets for Sept. 18, but if the Mets want to clinch on Sept. 17, that's just fine with me.) Despite the inevitability, we'll all be ludicrously happy. And we'll get to see it — or at least the first few innings of it — eight or nine rain delays running on SNY.
Rain delays…that reminds me. Presumably we'll get a game that isn't rained out. Tomorrow would be nice. Because whether you win a walkoff thriller or lose a Labor Day mail-in, whether a division title is clinched or a utility guy given a four-at-bat look-see, I still haven't found many better things to do with an evening than lose myself in three hours of baseball.