I now understand there are two kinds of nights at Shea Stadium. There are nights when the Mets clinch their first National League Eastern Division championship in 18 years and there are all other nights.
Surprisingly, Wednesday was the latter. I was surprised because since shortly after 9:30 Monday night I’ve been riding and writing on a cloud. The Mets clinched and stayed clinched. That’s the way I’ve always heard it should be. That’s the way, I assumed, it will always be.
But once every 18 years is once every 18 years. After staving off fallibility despite a most fallible lineup Tuesday, they actually went out and lost a baseball game Wednesday. Kind of annoying, but on the other hand, I checked to see if we’re still clinched. And we are. We’re even officially home-field advantageous, with St. Louis losing and us having beaten them the season series.
Thus, losing is now completely albeit temporarily statistically harmless. Live long enough and you’ll see everything.
Noteworthy from tonight’s 19th 2006 appearance by yours truly:
• There was no sign anybody snuck champagne (or Champagne) in. Luckily, it proved unnecessary.
• Paid attendance was 37,911. The third of that figure of somebody’s imagination that didn’t show should be ineligible to attend any postseason games in 2006. Their credentials as fans are to be reviewed as well. I’ll take the first 4,213.
• This was my first game since October 2, 1988 that featured the Mets as active N.L. East champs and my first loss ever under those circumstances. Such a thrill I wasn’t seeking.
• Slipped back under .500 to 9-10 on the year. But really, the clinching counts as like a thousand wins, so I’ll shut up about my record for a bit.
• Matchup of the night from the out-of-town scoreboard:
Why, yes. ATL WAS. They ain’t no more.
• Our sixth starter, Oliver Perez, looked pretty good. We have six starters.
• Dontrelle Willis is an SOB: Stunning Offensive Batter. Most of his batting average and practically all his RBI are against us. As my companion noted, he deserves a trip to the dirt.
• And speaking of my companion, Wednesday night marked the rain-delayed debut of Mike of Mike’s Mets and me of Faith and Fear as seatmates. Two bloggers from two different blogs out in public at once? What are the odds? I felt bad that the Mets lost but, you know, not that bad. We are champions, I saw it with my own eyes. But Mike…geez, the guy makes his one dry trip to Shea Stadium from Up There, Conn. and the Mets pick that as the night to give the Marlins something to feel good about. Given those odds, I’d want to knock the D-Train off his tracks as well. The bottom of the ninth looked promising for a minute and I hoped like heck (saving hell-hope for the playoffs) they could give Mike a 1-0, me a 10-9 and themselves a 93-58, but no. With all due respect to a fine Met blogger, a great Met fan and, based on two meetings’ experience, a swell guy, oh well. My can’t-hit-lefties, can’t-get-out-pitchers, can’t-avoid-bad-signs antenna is still on holiday.
All that matters in the interregnum is Go Pedro.
In news so lesser as to be inconsequential, we’re no longer the only champion in baseball. Congratulations to the New York Yankees who lowered themselves to celebrate a silly divisional title — backed into yet! — even in the face of A-Rod and the Giambino starring in a remake of Heathers as scripted by Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated. Paul O’Neill, despite being technically alive, must be rolling over in his grave.