I'd say “the Mets win the damn thing, 10-9,” but of course Gary and Howie beat me to it. (Can't outblog either one of those gentlemen.)
I mean, oh my goodness. We were headed for an easy walk down Redemption Road with Pedro J. Martinez, who took the mound with a hint of doom showing on his gunslinger's face but then had much better location and a month's worth of run support for Johan Santana. And that easy stroll was just fine with me.
In the sixth, Damion Easley came gently into home plate after Pedro singled up the middle off R.J. Swindle, who looked like he was about five feet tall, and seemed to shrink with every ball lashed off of him. Easley offered Chris Coste the gentlest of how-do-you-dos, and who could blame him under the circumstances? Turning 10-1 into 11-1 isn't worth it with 12 outs to get, not if it means a collision and the possibility of Plan C at second base after Plan A wasn't exactly a capital idea. (I suppose Plan C would be Argenis Reyes, who the other night was standing next to a furious, possibly injured John Maine and staring out at something, transfixed with a big smile on his face. The camera coincidentally pulled back and revealed that the Other Reyes was watching the Kiss Cam. Or maybe the Phillies too had named an official pudding, and Argenis liked the idea of taking in a ballgame while snacking on a glob of thickener and sugar. Either way, I'm not sure he's on the same planet as the rest of us.)
Anyway, these are the kind of thoughts that go through one's mind in the middle of such a game — in a laugher, some runs are more sacred than others, so don't get yourself worked up.
Or so you'd think. While I slunk off to catch the rest of the radio, R.J. Swindle seemed to grow two feet taller, Pedro got tired, Tony Armas looked mortal and Aaron Heilman started channeling his spring self, whom I'd be willing to wager neither of us had missed. The Mets were seven up with eight outs to go, and it was barely enough. I returned hastily to my proper station in front of the TV for the ninth, by then numb with terror. Our bed is one of those platform things with drawers underneath, which I've always liked until tonight, when I realized that means there's no way to hide under it.
Of course Billy had to confound every one of the 1,000 expectations I threw his way while reminding myself to breathe. Victorino doubled and we were doomed, doomed, doomed. The SNY guys were making much of Charlie Manuel taking Utley out when it looked like a long night for the varsity, but I wasn't fooled — and sure enough Bruntlett walked. Tying run, Howard at the plate. With the baseball gods now having made plain that they were on some sort of sadistic acid trip, of course Billy vaporized Howard with sliders and got Pat the Bat to pop harmlessly to Endy, if anything hit more than 15 feet in the air can be said to be harmless in this broom closet of a stadium. Two outs and against Pedro Feliz Billy looked genuinely on instead of perturbed and uncomfortable, quickly getting to 0-2. Which of course meant he'd give Feliz something too good when he was protecting and it would be 10-9 and of course Jayson Werth was up again. Honestly, I wouldn't have been surprised if Werth had won it with another blast, or by running all the way around the bases on a dropped third strike, or if the Rapture had occurred. It was that kind of night.
And on top of it all, they've pulled me back in, the stupid sexily mediocre Mets. All they had to do was whisper to me of being 2.5 back, of who the hell were the Marlins, of Pelfrey rounding into form and Easley and Tatis finding the fountain of youth, of how the season can never be chronicled until it's over, of the fact that it's baseball and they know I'm addicted and they've got what I need even if I'm far from sure this is the year to want it too feverishly.
You just know now they'll get swept by the Giants.