What became of the crisp Mets who defeated the Yankees Sunday in front of a packed, broiling house that included both Faith and Fear in Flushing chroniclers and their wives? (Emily and I were out in the bleachers, where I got to jump up and scream at Carlos Delgado's drive while the rest of the section — Emily was away getting what had to be our 200th bottle of water — gawped in indecision. Because I rule.) Those Mets, the ones who made us so happy, went whereever they go every other day, leaving some travesty of a major-league team to slump and stagger around Busch Stadium for an interminable amount of time.
Tonight could have been one of those nights one enjoys baseball as faithful companion. Joshua is off with his grandparents this week, so Emily and I took the chance to wander down to the Waterfront Ale House for food eaten after 7 and adult conversation and that rarest of things for parents, leisure. On the way, I stopped on Henry Street to stare at the bright rectangle of someone's TV through a garden-level window (the game was right there, I swear it wasn't creepy) and saw it was 2-0 Cardinals — not ideal, but not insurmountable. When we got to the restaurant both TVs were showing Yanks/Rangers, a fairly routine NYC insult, but Emily got our waiter to change one of them. So far so good. He switched the one behind my back, but I refused my wife's kind invitation to trade places — besides being a diehard in her own right, Emily was the one who'd made the request. It was only fair.
But I got the better part of the deal. Every time I'd turn around to see what Emily was frowning at the Cardinals had another run and John Maine's swipe at his long, sweaty face seemed more disconsolate. Sometimes baseball trots along happily at your heels as you go about your evening, tagging along with you via TV and radio, just happy to be included in whatever you're doing. But other times it's a black cloud that sticks stubbornly to the airspace over your own head, spitting grim tidings like hot summer rain.
As we gathered our things Carlos Beltran walked. It was 7-1 Cards, late to make a run, but then St. Louis has no bullpen. By the time we got out of our chairs Carlos Delgado was at the plate. I saw bat hit ball, saw the shortstop take a crow hop and stick his glove out, and kept right on walking out of the restaurant. It was that kind of night.