What we wanted was Met domination — Pelfrey to somehow rise from the prospect-turned-suspect dead and show no rust after being a spectator for an entire road trip, Delgado to bang more homers off the scoreboard and fewer throws off Chase Utley, Jose Reyes to work counts and lace liners and race around second, Beltran and Wright to be Beltran and Wright, and Angel Pagan to keep being someone who bears no particular resemblance to the historical Angel Pagan. We wanted the Mets we loved in 2006 and the first two months of 2007, as opposed to the listless impostors who showed up for the last four months of 2007 and then reacquainted themselves with us at Shea yesterday by stumbling over their own feet. And we wanted it so badly that we were squeezing programs to pulp and beer bottles to metal shards and levitating our caps on little puffs of steam. The Phillies may or may not be in the Mets' heads, to revisit this morning's tedious newspaper theme, but there can be no doubt that they're in ours. After 45-odd years of scarcely noticing we shared a division with them, we now see them in every shadow. They're under our beds, in our closets, and the cops just called to say they've been phoning us from somewhere inside the house, asking if we've checked on the children.
AUUGGHHH!!! BEHIND YOU! PHILLIES!
What we wanted was for the Mets we used to know to show up, turn on the lights and demonstrate that there are no maroon-and-gray monsters in the closet. But dominance isn't like turning on a switch, and so not surprisingly we didn't get what we wanted.
But what we did get was probably what we needed: a laugher that was kind of on both of us.
What we got was a stupefying, goofy, doofy mess of a game — proof that the baseball gods are fickle and cruel but also downright weird. The way they tormented Pelfrey by asking him to get a key ground ball again. The way they tormented Kyle Kendrick by making an 0-2 count child's play and then shrinking the plate to the size of a postage stamp. The way they lit out after Eric Bruntlett like Furies for the crime of not being Jimmy Rollins. The Phillies played a horrible game, the kind of game that makes you grind your teeth and mutter that instead of kicking the other guy's teeth in and making a statement, your guys showed up in clown paint and fell down for a while and then crawled offstage. But we didn't exactly paint a masterpiece ourselves, not with Reyes heaving a ball over Easley's shoulder or the bases being left loaded repeatedly or Pelfrey following up admirable early innings with so-so middle innings that brought the bullpen in too early once again.
It was goofy and doofy and messy, but it was a win. So there! The Phillies' coach is so mad at them that he wouldn't take them to the Tastee-Freez, and our bus just zoomed by the Tastee-Freez without stopping, but at least we're getting to bounce on the seats and sing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” without getting yelled at. And tomorrow? Tomorrow we might win and not make lots of mistakes. And then I'm totally getting fudge and butterscotch and that weird pineapple stuff nobody gets. You just see if I won't.