Every year I tell myself that the Subway Series doesn't mean what it used to. This year, the initial evidence seemed to agree: I woke up at 1:30 on Saturday, glanced at the clock and realized with what fuzzy horror I could muster that the game had already started. (I'd completely missed Jeter giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead, but I did get to see Moises Alou get picked off while I was trying to wake up. Hooray!) When neither half of Faith and Fear in Flushing can wake up for first pitch, we are a long way from Dave Mlicki.
But then came tonight. When Carlos Delgado's pole-clanger was declared foul on unnecessary further review (nothing good ever happens to us in that corner), I began a slow burn. And then, when Delgado persevered with a run-scoring single, it erupted.
“FUCK YOU, YANKEES!” I screamed at the TV. “FUCK YOU, MORON UMPS! FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE FANS! FUCK YOU, FORD EDGE! FUCK YOU, SUZYN WALDMAN! FUCK YOU, STEINBRENNERS!”
Hmm. Maybe next year.
The Mets are, of course, welcome to play a crisp game with minimal mental goofs whenever they want. (This one wasn't spotless: Jose was lax in a rundown and Oliver started thinking about cartoons or something for a half-inning, but 5 RBI in two games and 7 2/3 of solid pitching, respectively, will forgive a lot of sins.) But I think any Met fan will agree that these two well-played games were particularly timely in talking all of us in off a very high ledge. (Though we have four with the Braves in three days, the first one against T#m Gl@v!ne, so we've still got the window open.) By the late innings tonight I was comfortably ensconced on the couch, thumbing through the remnants of the Sunday paper and entertaining myself by surveying the crowd and playing Spot the Yankee Fan. It's nice being relaxed in a Subway Series game, as that means the alternatives — vein-popping tension or existential despair — aren't necessary.
Not that I feel the least bit sorry for them, but without A-Rod and Posada, the Yankee lineup is pretty naked — that final five of Giambi-Cano-Cabrera-Gonzalez (who?)-Some Molina Brother wouldn't particularly scare the Zephyrs. While I maintain we needed Friday's rainout, the game that went missing will probably feature both missing guys when it returns as part of yet another two-stadium doubleheader. It's a wonderful idea, marred only by the fact that terrible things happen to us during them.
But that's for later. For now, we can take heart in finally beating a last-place team in convincing fashion (third time's the charm, I guess) and happiness that said dispatched last-place team was Them. We did it with luck (the pailfuls of garbage we hurled at Andy Pettitte in the fourth inning Saturday) and with pluck (Delgado's determined at-bat tonight). Provoked by the sins of diabolical umpires, we put our faith in Church, whose weekend included a couple of nifty catches, a great throw, one no-doubt-about-it home run and five runs scored. I should have done this a couple of weeks ago, but I'd like to take this occasion to officially apologize to Omar Minaya for this post. Lastings Milledge may still become a star, but Church is far more than a platoon outfielder, and Brian Schneider can hit just fine.
Heck, even Joe Morgan was fairly tolerable. (Everything's tolerable when you win by nine. Except, maybe, ESPN's silly new video decoupage tools. What the hell was that crap?) OK, his Song to Shortstops was ridiculous — the difference between Reyes and Jeter isn't that one's a tailback and one's a fullback, but that one has range and the other doesn't. Still, I didn't hear a single reference to Odalis Perez, and that's something.
As a postscript, one final note about Jeter. Remember Saturday, when he tried to stretch a single into a double and got gunned down by Beltran? Jeter was lying in the dirt, hand not even on the base with Castillo holding the ball on him — and Alfonso Marquez called him safe. Castillo looked amazed. So did Jeter. And so did I. And then I hung my head in despair. He's Derek Jeter, the beaten-down little-brother part of my brain whispered. Against us, he gets called safe even when he doesn't touch the base.
But then Marquez, quite properly, called him out. Jeter picked himself out of the dirt and trotted back to the dugout. Matsui struck out. We won. Once in a great while, things aren't actually as bad as you think.