The Mets did today something they haven't done all year. Well, I suppose they've done a couple of things new to them in 2008 if you take into account a sixth consecutive win, but what's shocking is that they just won their first home weekday afternoon of the season.
That sticks because afternoons at Shea during the week have been horror shows 'til now.
• The Home Continuer: A dispiriting reminder that last year wasn't over.
• The Water Main Break: Pipes weren't working and neither were the Mets against Pittsburgh.
• The Great Impotence: A 1-0 loss to yet another lousy team.
• The Disaster In Stark Relief: Billy Wagner to anything but the rescue.
I was at the first three of those and came home every time in “that was fun but it would have been a lot more fun if we'd won” mode. I watched the fourth afternoon nondelight with only one eye on the telly yet it told me Willie Randolph was no long a winner all his life.
Small sample, but they were four trademark 2008 horrendous games and nothing feels worse, all bad things being equal, than having your day ruined by the Mets and then having all night to think about it. Especially in the middle of the week, especially when the game is at Shea. Those are the games you live for as a fan, even if you can't make it out there, even if you can't devote the entirety of your attention to them. Weekday afternoon games at home are what separates baseball from all the other sports, from everything else in the world. It's so, I don't know…illicit. It's not supposed to be taking place, but it does. It's not supposed to call out to you, but you hear it. It's like whichever horrible SUV commercial from a few years ago where somebody's walking down Wall Street on a Tuesday with a surfboard. Hey, a bystander thinks, people work on Tuesday. There are probably people who surf on Tuesday, but I got it. It's the thrill of the temptation of hooky — except this is hooky that is cablecast, broadcast and Gamecast.
The Mets went to work this Thursday and their labors finally paid dividends. We can all enjoy our supper thanks to Fernando Tatis, Argenis Reyes, Carlos Muniz and maybe even guys you'd given a single thought to the last time the Mets won at Shea on a midweek afternoon (which, for the record was the five-run ninth laid on the Cubs, May 17, 2007 — is there anything that game can't do?). When we win a game in the middle of the week at home, you can say everybody did their job beautifully.
Undercooked opponent, sure. Long-term doubts, no doubt. Alou, of course he's got a seriously torn hammy (get well, Moises; even if we never truly got to know you, I always kind of liked you). But the Mets played at Shea this afternoon, a weekday afternoon, and sent everybody but the small covens of Giants fans home happy.
What else is there to do now except have a pleasant evening?