That was nice of the Mets to shave their heads in solidarity with a bald, newly 38-year-old fan of theirs — a couple of hours before tonight's game I was in the barber's chair getting my biweekly buzz, unaware that 20 Mets were doing the same. Wright got buzzed the night before. Sele begged off for the moment because he was taking family pictures. Glavine said he'd do it after tonight's game. Reyes and Heilman were supposedly holdouts, though after tonight's game Lo Duca was claiming (or perhaps threatening) they were getting buzzed as well.
If you can, spare a moment of pity for the wives and significant others of major league baseball players. You're already dealing with the man in your life's job turning your own life into a Swiss cheese of road trips and homestands, and then you turn on the TV when sensible people are getting ready for bed and see he's — oh good Christ, what has he done? And then, when you ask why he'll be coming home looking like a member of a chain gang, the answer is: Because everybody else on the team did it, honey. I'm guessing here, but I bet that explanation works about as well for ballplayers as it does for the rest of us. And they actually have teammates, instead of just bros and pals and what-not.
Lots of dopey baseball hairstyles — bleach jobs, chin pubes, soul patches, underjaw beards, dagger sideburns — are proof of the theory that putting a bunch of bored young men together in hotels and clubhouses for hours leads to preposterous grooming. At least the Mets opted for a group buzzing instead of a bleaching, which would have led to them getting out the Clairol and the plastic gloves and the little caps with the holes in them. (Against my better judgment I did that for my high-school roommate once. Not the manliest moment of my life. And he looked ridiculous.)
Though, to quote Todd Zeile, the opener against the Giants was the kind of game that sends you straight to the hair salon. Remember Mike Piazza's platinum locks? My favorite part of that bizarre adventure was the Wrigley Field crowd cheering madly when Piazza's helmet came off on a foul pop.
Oh yeah, the game. Well, it was nice too — nothing like a bunch of doubles early to chase the memory of the previous horror, and then a slow cruise to the finish, with Bonds' home run merely cosmetic.
My favorite moment, though, had nothing to do with Tom Glavine: It was Pedro Feliciano locking up Barry with a deadly curveball with two strikes and two out. That has to be one of my favorite baseball set pieces: The pitcher knows the curve will break over the plate. The catcher knows it too. They both see the batter was looking for the fastball, and isn't going to swing. So when the pitch hits the glove the pitcher's already trotting toward the dugout and the catcher is leaning that way, leaving the batter to straighten up and ponder the cruelty of the universe with nobody but the umpire for company.