Oh, how this evening seemed idyllic when it was abstract. Mets at home, last day of April, Emily and me with a chance to take in a game without putting an ice-cream-crazed child in a headlock or checking in with a babysitter. What could go wrong?
How about Jose Valentin turning out to have something partially torn in his knee? How about El Duque turning out to have some new kind of old-person ailment, and then turning into Chan Ho Park? (And now Moises is having an MRI! Goddamn it!) That stealthy sound I heard around mid-afternoon was idyllic slipping out the door and taking to its heels. Oh well. At least it was a beautiful summer day. Or at least it was until the sun went down, the temperature began to drop, and the wind began to really blow.
And until Chan Ho took his cue from the wind.
Let the record show Park started out like a ball of fire, then got unlucky on Miguel Cabrera's liner off the top of Easley's glove and two balls that were ticketed for the Bermuda triangle when they left the bat. “You're booing physics,” I advised one particularly enthusiastic and lunkheaded youth. And then I started booing Cabrera, who should have scored. Two outs, a ball that clearly could land between the infielders and the outfielders, and you can't go first to home? Miguel Cabrera is down there with Andruw Jones in the ranks of terrible great baseball players. His laziness and disrespect for the game are beyond shameful, and it's a pity that there's no one on the Marlins with enough seniority to call him out. I wish Reyes's bad-hop double had busted him in the nose as a love tap from Abner Doubleday.
Anyway, Park was unlucky in the third, but that wasn't bad luck in the fourth. That was nearly 900 feet of bad pitches redirected so quickly and violently by Amezaga and Ramirez that everyone in our part of the mezzanine knew where they were headed before they cleared the infield. I didn't even bother watching Ramirez's ball land. OK, perspective: Apparently Omar made a promise to Park, Philip Humber probably isn't ready, and I'm more inclined to believe in the lousy Jorge Sosa of Port St. Lucie than the apparently superb Jorge Sosa of New Orleans. Fine. But let's please differentiate between a chance for Park and a job for Park, unless things change in a hurry. Because it was Lima Time out there tonight, and I sure didn't feel like dancing. (Judging from his post-game comments, neither did Willie — when a manager talks about a veteran pitcher losing his concentration, safe to say he isn't pleased.)
The rest? Well, the Mets fought back bravely enough, Beltran looks locked in, Delgado got an excuse-me hit and had a nice at-bat in the ninth off old friend Henry Owens, and Reyes was Reyes. Beyond the crappy pitching and the bad luck, the grim part of the night was Wright getting it from the crowd after a miserable night at the plate. That wasn't fun to hear, but to me the boos felt perfunctory, more We Don't Really Mean This But We're Willing To Hear How It Sounds boos than Hey That's Bobby Bonilla And He Just Knocked That Little Girl Down And Ate Her Hot Dog boos. I heard more fans in our section objecting to the razzing of Wright than joining in. (Speaking of Bobby Bo, we did get to do some eating: We drank beer and ate hot dogs and cracker jacks and I had ice cream in the eighth inning, which was witless, but provided a momentary illusion of warmth when I was no longer eating it.)
As for Shea, it was its usual ragged, clueless self, for better and for worse and for the two being so mixed up that you couldn't tell one from the other. Small example among many: I think they showed highlights from every baseball game except Braves-Phils, which was the only game most of us cared about. Shea being Shea, I would have been shocked if they'd done anything differently. Emily noticed the apple was dusty from all the construction at looming Citi Field, and that almost made me sentimental for the Big DMV — until it occured to me that Shea being Shea, it's entirely possible no one's bothered to clean the thing since last fall.
Aw, heck. You know what? First trip to Shea for Emily and me this year. We spent a spring night together watching reasonably exciting baseball in reasonably good company in the great outdoors. Idyllic? No, not exactly. But I've had many a worse night.