In the morning I'm frequently awakened because a four-year-old just stamped on my clavicle, bounced himself next to my head, snaked the covers off me or is jumping up and down yelling “AND THE METS WIN!” This is one of Joshua's newer habits — he makes up baseball games and runs the bases. In his parents' bed. Where I'm sleeping. (My head's about where the shortstop would play.)
Occasionally I'm awake enough to listen to the script of one of these games, and they're pretty amusing — random lineups, vague opponents, shifting rules and unlikely reversals. In other words, they're a lot like last night's game.
I mean, come on. 13-9? Jose Reyes running the bases with the acumen of a drunk frat boy sliding on the tarp? Good plays from the frequently maligned Shawn Green and Carlos Delgado? Tom Glavine spotted two enormous leads in pursuit of #299 but still not recording seven outs? Backup catchers hitting majestic home runs? Slumping center fielders hitting majestic home runs? And apparently Joshua's so frustrated with trying to figure out who the heck's playing left field that he re-imported a guy who hasn't been Met property since 2005. (Where'd he hear about Marlon Anderson, anyway?)
As is typical with the latter parts of a West Coast swing, by the middle innings I was fading, kept awake only by steady jolts of offense. Normally, I would have succumbed to the inevitable, closing my eyes around the sixth and waking up with a start a couple of hours later to check the final score online and go to bed for real. But last night I was superstitious, convinced that if I fell asleep, I'd wake up in the middle of the night and find out the final score was Dodgers 14, Mets 13.
LOS ANGELES — Brad Penny pitched in with three innings of emergency relief, giving the Los Angeles Dodgers time to regroup and prevail thanks to another unlikely hero: Starter Hong-Chih Kuo connected for a pinch-hit home run off New York Mets closer Billy Wagner for a delirious, 12-inning walkoff win. While Kuo enjoyed a beer shower from his jubilant teammates, Penny was unrepentant about opening his relief stint by hitting two Met batters in the back, or about his full-throated challenge to the Mets dugout — a challenge that went unanswered. After the game, Mets manager Willie Randolph…
As it was, I finally did nod off at some point in the eighth and woke up with a start to find there were two outs in the ninth and Gary Cohen sounded tense. I'm not sure what I missed. Never mind — I don't want to know.
The Dodgers' humiliation of us on our first 2007 trip to L.A. (thanks, Katy Feeney) unfolded while I was on vacation at the beach. Then, I basically shut down and refused to admit any of the terrible things that were happening were real, probably because I knew I'd spend half my vacation stewing about how we'd been not only beaten but made to look like cringing wusses. Or maybe I was just waiting for this trip and the prospect of revenge. If so, consider us a third of the way there.
Assuming last night was real, of course.