Going into the weekend, I was pretty happy about our being the ESPN Sunday night game. Thursday and Friday night I worked and gave what attention I could spare to Howie and Wayne on the radio. On Saturday night Emily threw me a 40th birthday celebration at B61, which was enormous fun but meant Johan and Co. were viewed and listened to on the run. (In the ninth Joshua's babysitter called in distress — the cable feed had cut out and Joshua was demanding updates. I listened to the last three outs via Gameday and SMS'ed Joyce after each one.) Given the whole 40th birthday celebration, I knew today would begin with a king-sized hangover and afternoon baseball hours might need to be occupied by a restorative nap. (You know it's going to be rough when you begin the day showering in the dark because the bathroom light feels like a Gitmo interrogation.) Anyway, given all this, 8 p.m. sounded much more promising for enjoying a couple of hours of baseball.
The only problem was I somehow forgot (or more likely blocked out) that Sunday night means Jon Miller, Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips.
Speaking of Gitmo.
I don't mind Jon Miller — he seems to genuinely enjoy himself and inhabits the game easily and mostly unobtrusively. But oh man, the company he's forced to keep. Joe Morgan's reflexive hatred of any kind of modern thinking about baseball is well-known and properly derided (there's this definitive takedown by Tommy Craggs, not to mention Fire Joe Morgan's entire existence), but what irritates me about his knuckle-dragging isn't the anti-intellectualism but the laziness — give me a couple of helpings of grit, season with intangibles and knowing how to win and call me next Sunday. Well, that and the fact that Joe Morgan's job is to watch baseball and talk about it and yet he seems to be having about as much fun as the guy at the end of the line at the DMV. When he's actually breaking down baseball instead of crabbing about the unquantifiable, Morgan can be interesting — witness his discussion of why some batters are unsettled by a runner going on a two-strike count. Unfortunately, I usually miss any such wisdom if it's imparted after the third inning, because by then I've willed myself to go deaf for fear that otherwise I might snap and try to perforate both eardrums with a chopstick.
And then there's whatever the fuck Steve Phillips does.
Listening to Morgan and Skill Set agree, kind of agree and not agree about “leadership” was slow torture, like being a lobster in a pot with the dial turned all the way to Suck. Ugh, Omar's stupid quote about the Mets and their lack of edge. … let me guess, Wright is too young and Reyes makes mistakes and Beltran is quiet … did Jon Miller pick out that shirt and tie because he fears he'll be lost at sea? … if Derek Jeter's name is brought up I'm going to fly to San Francisco and hit Joe Morgan in the face with a pie … good God, they're still at it, this has been going on for more than inning … HOLY FUCK PLEASE GOD MAKE IT STOP I WILL DO ANYTHING. Generally when Morgan and Skill Set were talking I was rocking back and forth and quietly sobbing, so I'm sure I missed some details, but I do seem to remember that Morgan said the Mets were 11-2 but not playing well, just taking advantage of other teams' mistakes (huh?) and that Skill Set advocated trading Carlos Beltran because he doesn't make game-winning plays. (Good Lord, shut the fuck up. Isn't there a secretary in Bristol you can chase around a desk or something?)
Oh yeah, the game.
Mike Pelfrey balked three times and spent an inordinate amount of time trudging around the mound looking like he was plotting how to get a flaming bag of dog crap onto each umpire's front doorstep without the second victim alerting the others. The Giants' astonishingly anonymous lineup — the last names make you think you're playing a videogame whose makers wouldn't pay the MLBPA — pecked out runs on singles sandwiched around Balk #1 and a starting pitcher parachuting a single over short after failing to bunt fair on a suicide squeeze. The Mets left 12 on base and got zero runs out of the following situations: Runner on third, one out (first inning), bases loaded, none out (second inning) and runners on second and third, none out (eighth inning).
In other words, if you had to pick the perfect game to be accompanied by Jon Miller, Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips, it would be this one.
Greg promises that the audiobook adaptation of Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets will not be read by Jon Miller, Joe Morgan or Steve Phillips. It's available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.