That was the highlight of Keith Hernandez's story of finding himself in his first tornado around 1974: He opened the windows because he'd heard somewhere that the pressure differential could destroy a cheap apartment building, only his new stereo was getting wet, so he closed the windows, but he was still worried about the pressure thing, so he “ran outside into a gully” — and, shockingly enough, quickly found himself chest-deep in water.
Definitely one for the Crazy Keith files — and I quietly filed away the information that if I'm in an emergency in the vicinity of Keith Hernandez, I should not assume his cerebral cool on the ballfield means he's going to have good ideas. But metaphorically, Keith's tale of bad ideas and compounding mistakes was an accurate enough description of Tuesday, May 20, 2008 in the annals of the New York Mets. Let me see if I've got this right:
* Willie Randolph, apparently having decided the Mets need more distractions, had to answer a bunch of questions about a racial conspiracy theory, and this one didn't have anything to do with Paul Lo Duca or Billy Wagner — he seems to have thought it up basically on his own.
* Off to an apparently roaring start, the Mets ground to a screeching halt against T#m Gl@v!ne and got manhandled.
* They then got their butts handed to them by some anonymous pitcher, dropping the second half of a double header in ignominious fashion.
* Ryan Church, the 53rd out of the day and a player who missed time with a concussion less than three months ago, wound up face-down and bleeding in the dirt when everything was over and needed to be helped off the field. (Postgame update: Mild concussion.)
Did that cover everything? Or have I forgotten something else awful because my neurons are overcrowded after an endless day of Met awfulness? It's quite possible. (Oh yeah, Mike Piazza retired. He was already retired, but having it be official still sucks.)
Assuming Church is OK (and Yunel Escobar too, because let's be decent about things), you have to give the 2008 Mets credit: No team does a better job confounding any attempt to figure out what they're really made of. The team's obviously terrible — can't do a damn thing against a horrible Nationals team that might actually recruit pitchers by taking the guys turned down by the Dallas police after responding to the ads above the urinals in the upper deck. Well, no — they beat the Yankees in convincing fashion, working counts, having smart at-bats and running up the score. So they're actually pretty darn good, right? No — after an off-day they come out and play 18 innings of prairie-flat baseball, marked by giveaway at-bats, dimwitted baserunning, indifferent fielding and lousy pitching.
It's easy to be average — just plod along and win some and lose some. But that's too simple for the Mets of late — they have to be average by yo-yoing from bad to good and bad again at a truly fearsome velocity. It's no easy thing to be at once fundamentally mediocre and completely exhausting, but they're managing it.