Not an inspiring slogan, perhaps, but it fits tonight's game well enough — a bleary, fuzzy mess of a game, one in which the Mets looked at best mildly interested, but the Reds' parade of horrible pitchers (Todd Coffey came in with a 6.04 ERA and saw it go up) ensured they'd fall up into a rather ragged W.
Still, every season's going to bring at least 10 or 20 of these games — a contest that's “less than scintillating,” as Keith Hernandez called it, one of many points at which he seemed amazed that anyone would still be watching. So you may as well win them. As far as I know Elias doesn't keep track of teams' records in “hideous baseball games that would get neither team taken to the Tastee-Freez afterwards,” but maybe it should. Because they all count the same in the end, and being on the wrong end of that 11-7 crapfest could mean the difference between the camera dwelling on Fox flavors of the month bundled up in your stadium and Tommy Lasorda telling a sad man wearing your colors to get out of the tree.
Actually, Shawn Green does get to go to the Tastee-Freez, because he quietly had himself a superb game. I'm not Shawn Green's biggest fan — Emily and I were amazed to discover during tonight's game that he actually has a Gold Glove for his work in the outfield — but he was terrific tonight. The three hits were obvious, as was the nice stab made as Delgado's substitute in the ninth, but what stuck out for me was a play that went unremarked: In the sixth, with the score tied, Delgado on second (after some remarkably laxadaisical baserunning, to use the Keith coinage) and Alou on first, Green smashed a double. We all saw that, but as Alou headed home, the camera briefly caught Green venturing far off second, practically windmilling his arms at the outfielders. Knowing Alou is Alou, he was trying to draw the throw, willing to give himself up to ensure the score would be 7-5. Impressive — and then a pitching change later, Green read Lo Duca's little parachute right off the bat, ensuring there would be no play at the plate and it would be 8-5.
On the other hand, if Keith's heading for a Tastee-Freez anywhere near the Ohio River, I strongly advise the manager to turn the lights off, lock up, and hide behind the counter. What got into our favorite crazy-uncle announcer tonight? Emily and I were fascinated, amused, and slightly fearful. My God, the Reds have cheerleaders, and those cheerleaders are packing a few too many Michelins to be cheerleaders. What the hell will Keith say? And on and on, with Gary Cohen of course goading Keith at every opportunity, whether it was about his encounters with the Met faithful in coffee shops or what he was doing in the bowels of Riverfront Stadium or simply the Reds' stubborn inability to play baseball. All praise Pete Mackanin for not dropping the dangerously named Coutlangus back into the equation tonight. That said, it should be noted that Keith did immediately spot Delgado wincing on a swing in the ninth and drop all goofiness on the spot. The man's entertaining, but he's also really good.
Really good, and more than a little crazy, whether it was the spinning in his chair (like a kid in a luncheonette, Gary said in one of many great lines) or fretting about his fading red marker. After tonight's thoroughly entertaining, slightly edge-of-the-seat performance, I'm fascinated to hear what Keith will bring to a 12:45 matinee. Will SNY producers have an intern with a blowgun at the ready? (Marlin Perkins voice: “My assistant Jim will now attempt to take down the crazed color commentator….”) In 12 hours we'll find out.