It would have been terrible had Hiroki Kuroda hit Shane Victorino in the head and caused him injury. But since he didn't, I must confess that watching a baseball whiz by the helmet of Shane Victorino Sunday night has been the highlight of this postseason for me, a most bitter, resentful Mets fan.
I've got no real horse in this October derby. I'm rooting against the Phillies but can't say I'm pro-Dodgers. Every time I try to be, Rafael Furcal shows his face or Hong-Chih Kuo warms up. Hell, I'd forgotten Chan Ho Park was still pitching for them. Blake DeWitt is a natural born Met-killer and Jeff Kent is all-century unsupportable across two millennia. And who's that suave character in their dugout pushing all the buttons when he's not driving around in those State Farm commercials? Still, they can't match the Phillies for sheer firepower of nightmarishness: Victorino, Myers, Dobbs, Burrell, Werth, Taguchi, Moyer…and that's before getting into their actual stars. Phillies versus Dodgers is chronic warts versus a recurring rash.
Thus when Kuroda's pitch sailed over Victorino's head in Game Three and Victorino responded (to use South Park language from which I usually refrain but seems far too appropriate to pass up) like the little bitch he is, it was 2008 postseason baseball at its finest. The Dodgers can't throw up and in at Shane Victorino enough.
As long as no one gets hurt.
The anger is still palpable here. It's not anger at the Phillies for having the nerve to do their job and win their division. It's anger at the Mets. The Mets haunt this October if you let them (it's the only way they get close to October). I watched the Phillies open the NLCS at Citizens Bank Park and realized that coulda if not shoulda been Shea, and Shea would still be alive (which it is not at the present time). I watched the lineups introduced at the start of the ALCS and when the Tampa Bay fans responded with a sustained chant of LET'S GO RAYS! I found myself wistfully mouthing along with them, except for the Rays! part. Two Octobers ago, even two weeks ago, that was us chanting, and it wasn't wistful at all. As reasonably happy as I was to see a walkoff win for those Rays Saturday night, I stewed that it was the 22nd anniversary of Lenny Dykstra's bottom-of-the-ninth game-winning home run against Houston and it should be the Mets, not some Tampa-come-lately, congregating joyously around home plate.
One of my all-time favorite movies, That Thing You Do!, came on late Friday. There's a lyric in one of the songs I really like from the soundtrack that struck me anew: “Tell everyone in Philadelph'ya/there's a party goin' on!” Boy, I thought, wouldn't have that been a great theme for the night we clinched the East this year? I got retroactively mad at the Mets for short-circuiting that after-the-fact idea.
I was mad at the Mets when I woke up Sunday and saw how beautiful it was outside and realized there would be no game on Channel 11 at 1:10. I got mad at the nice weather. Where was this two weeks ago?
I got mad at the Jets for winning in New York Titans garb because that's what they wore on September 28, which I first learned from the idiot sitting behind me on The Final Day because he kept repeating it between anti-Met outbursts (“Hey, the Jets are winning — they're wearing the Titan uniforms…BULLPEN SUCKS! BULLPEN SUCKS! Hey, the Jets are winning…they're wearing the Titan uniforms…”).
The Mets are ruining movies. They're ruining meteorology. They're ruining other sports now. Everything they accidentally touch turns to Met.
Somebody throw at Victorino again.
Better yet, visit Forgotten NY's thoughtful and comprehensive tribute to a New York landmark that will never be forgotten.