In the parlance of boxing matches and hockey games, I went to a Mets loss Tuesday night and a Mets win broke out.
Weird night, to be sure. Thought we'd lose, not out of innate Met pessimism but based on it being an oppressive 3-0 tilted to the bad guys in the eighth while the Dutch version of Johan Santana wouldn't stop sticking it to us but good. I'd spent part of the night with Jason, part with Emily — one had a ticket next to me, one had a ticket upstairs with somebody else, so they King Solomoned the difference by swapping seats midgame — and part away from the action blowing into a cup of steamy Long Island Clam & Corn Chowder from the Catch of the Day stand. Because Long Island Clam & Corn Chowder isn't as strollable an item as I thought (and a little spicier than I would have preferred), I needed to sit on a bench somewhere and let it cool. As I slurped tentatively, the Mets slumped determinedly. While the chowder would eventually cool, the Mets' bats would warm to the task at hand.
Different perspectives, different companions (one lovelier than the one before), different dramatic trajectories and different culinary experiences were all part of the same story Tuesday night, but I never would have bet the ultimate blowing would involve the Braves' bullpen rather than the soup.
More disjointedness came from Section 135, which is Left Field Reserved in the numerical world in which we now live. It was reserved early but rowdy late, though not out of savvy support for the home team. While I was off blowing on chowder, 135 apparently won the Lucky Beer Inning or something. They all got tanked up and they all demanded obeisance to the wave. They didn't seem to understand that once they did their part to get the wave going, they were supposed to sit down and not block the views of those who like baseball. The wave blows even more than the Braves, especially when it takes place as a game is moving from 3-0 to 3-2 and there is pitching, swinging and whatnot somewhere out there on the diamond. Hi-def monitors are not luxuries in wave-obsessed 135; they are your lifeline. Especially the replays, especially on the ones that prove the umps aren't always on the take against the Mets.
We got a little lucky on Carlos Beltran's gutsy steal of third in the ninth, the daring dash that paid off when Luis Castillo lifted his can of corn chowder deep enough to score the tying run. Seems we were screwed earlier when Wright was called out at second. I was just enchanted that the technology exists to show me replays of close calls at the ballpark and no powers that be black them out. Whether Beltran was safe or not we've been owed a big one against the Braves since the day Angel Hernandez became Angel Hernandez, thus fair is fair. It couldn't have been fairer that the aggressive Carlos of the ninth was properly passive as he allowed bases-loaded ball four to take care of business in the tenth. Beltran leads the league in hitting and is right up there in on-base percentage. Now (with some help from teammates) he has won the Mets the first-ever extra-inning affair in Citi Field history. Even by just standing still, he can do it all.
Except for the wave. Even Angel Hernandez wouldn't do that.
Come from behind on your reading list and score a copy of Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Listen in as the author describes the writing and rooting process to Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf. And whatever you do, don't give away the ending to at least one diehard Mets fan.