And I may be obliged to defend
Every love, every ending
Or maybe there’s no obligations now
Maybe I’ve a reason to believe
We all will be received
—Queens’ own Paul Simon
Jose Reyes bounces on his belly across home plate with no throw on him, calls himself safe and he’s fine.
Jose Reyes allows a pop fly to bounce off his glove, Matt Kemp doesn’t advance to second and the crowd applauds the shortstop from the inside-the-park job the inning before.
Tom Glavine leaves the game, is congratulated during the seventh inning by Chris Cotter on his 288th win and he gets it within half-an-hour of that particular protocol breach.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2006 New York Mets are so good they go out for shooters with the baseball gods after trampling opponents. They reside on that high a plane right now.
We don’t bring home every runner in scoring position. We get thrown out at third for the first out. We hold up unnecessarily to see if balls are going to be caught. We parade in short men with large leads. Yet we win 7-0 against decent competition. All those things that should anger The Higher Powers merely tickle Them. It’s September, and the Mets, instead of watching their step, leap and bound from one plateau to the next.
First-place Dodgers in town? They’re not in first place in this place. Here, let us validate your parking so you can go back to wherever you came from. Next time use mass transit (you obviously don’t live in these parts anymore). We dispatched a passel of Padres and a cocoon of Cardinals last month. A dollop of Dodgers doesn’t scare us. Any one of ya, come back in October. We’ll respect you and then we’ll beat your brains in, just like we do everybody’s.
I’ve been at this thing long enough to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to shut the eff up. This isn’t then. This is now. This is September 2006. We are as many as 35 games over .500 for the first time since October 2, 1988. We have a magic number of 7 for clinching our division and it would be less except the two teams that were tied for second place when the night started played each other and they couldn’t both lose.
Unless they were playing the Mets.
7.01: Watch That ‘yes Car Go. Holy Leon Brown, I’ve never seen anybody in a Mets uniform run as fast as No. 7 Jose Reyes did when he approached second and realized, “Home run? OK!”
7.02: ‘Scuse Me While I Quote Myself. This season I’ve had the privilege of writing a feature called Profile in Orange and Blue for the SNY show Mets Weekly, which you should all be watching weekly because, never mind me, it truly is a show by Mets fans for Mets fans. The first profile I wrote was of my favorite player (talk about a dream job!) Jose Reyes. And this, in part, is what it said: In 2003, a new version of the 7 rolled off the line and roared into Shea. It was sleek. It was smooth. It came and went in a blur. This model of the 7 wasn’t without its kinks. It had to go into the shop more than once for repairs. But once it was fixed, it ran like a dream…like the train whose number he wears on his back, Jose Reyes always runs on an elevated track.
7.03: Just Spell My Number Right. And John Rocker thought he was giving the 7 train a bad name? What was before his foot-in-mouth interview a mere conveyance became a cause in 2000. One night that year, DiamondVision was urging patrons they could get to Shea any number of ways that didn’t include driving. And when Roger Luce mentioned “the 7 train,” it drew a huge ovation.
7.04: I Didn’t Know He Had an Aunt in Long Island City. My most memorable 7 experience came at the Queensboro Plaza stop in 2001 when a craggy woman hurled every imaginable ethnic slur at virtually every passenger who attempted to board or exit the train. She had particularly unkind things to say about those who enjoy eating rice, which could describe most of the world’s population. About a quarter of the crowd told her what a schmuck she was, nearly three-quarters moved far away and Leo Mazzone told her to save it for the game.
7.05: With All Those Letters, Who Had Time to Catch Their Train? Last fall, I had cause to look up some information about the 7 train and began to wonder when it started being called the 7 train. After all, you always see those faded signs for the IRT and the IND and the BMT, alphabet soup that was still in fairly common use when I was a kid. I came across The Joe Koerner, a roaring repository of subway info maintained by Joseph Korman. Joe kindly told me this about the only New York City subway line that stops at Shea Stadium: The IRT never used numbers or letters until the R-12 cars were delivered in 1948. When the IRT opened and expanded, the branches were called by their names. The earliest name given to the Flushing line was Corona, since the line terminated at 103rd St. It was extended one stop at a time between 1917 and 1928 to Main St. Remember that until 1948, the IRT operated to Astoria also. As the post-WWII cars were introduced to the IRT, the 1-7 (plus the original 8 and 9) were displayed on the ends of the cars, but not on the sides, maps and station signs. After 1959, the R-27 and later BMT cars were delivered with letters replacing the BMT numbers…with J replacing the BMT #15. It wasn’t until 1966, just before the BMT and IND completely merged, that numbers were used for the IRT and the BMT Coney Island lines got letters. In 1967, the Chrystie St. map formally added letters to the combined BMT/IND lines and numbers to the IRT. Along with the maps and cars, a new standard in station graphics was introduced to try to identify each line consistently. This was met with varied success. I know some visitors refer to the IRT 7th Ave. as the red line, etc. I hope that will never catch on for native New Yorkers.
7.06: Speaking of Native New Yorkers. Jose Reyes will forever be No. 7 to Mets fans who came along after the franchise turned 40, but No. 7 will otherwise always be reserved for Ed Kranepool from James Monroe High School. He didn’t hit a home run to win a playoff, he didn’t play 7 positions for a team that would go onto win the World Series and he doesn’t still hold the team record for longest hitting streak after 22 years, but with proper deference to Todd Pratt, Kevin Mitchell and Hubie Brooks, they weren’t Steady Eddie Kranepool. No shame in that — only one man can be.
7.07: Steady and Spectacular. Even with those two injury-riddled seasons that slowed his departure, Jose Reyes has already surpassed 500 career hits at the age of 23. I think this No. 7 will catch the reigning No. 7′s Met career standard of 1,418 hits in the time it takes the rest of us to schlep up the steps across Roosevelt Avenue and fight our way home.