Suddenly this is what amounts to progress around here: The Mets' loss was merely aggravating instead of disgusting.
Oh, it didn't look good when Daniel Murphy, cast as a hapless plaything of the cruel baseball gods, mishandled the first ball put in play since Jeremy Reed mishandled last night's final ball put in play. And, logically enough, that led to a run. But other than that the Mets had one other defensive hiccup — Ramon Martinez seemed to go out fairly slowly for a ball that Carlos Beltran couldn't reach. Logically enough, that led to a Dodgers run as well. (I've swiftly remembered that Ramon Martinez only looked good late last year because Luis Castillo looked so stupendously bad. He is, in fact, useless.) Without Jose Reyes back in the fold making several nice plays, goodness knows how much worse it would have been.
Oh, and everybody touched every base that needed touching, with the exception of a desired three more foot-plants on home plate.
Casey Blake's blow sounded fatal on the radio, even without Wayne Hagin's aggravating habit of being so leisurely on play-by-play that the crowd reaction tells you what's happened before he does. BAM! Far too long a time for nothing to have happened, cheering rising, Met chins falling.
It wasn't so long ago that the Mets seemed almost to be toying with the anonymous Giants, swiping bases at will and waiting patiently for big clutch hits when things didn't go their way. And all that without Reyes or Carlos Delgado. Then there was Mike Pelfrey's festival of yips, with all of us watching TV reduced to twitchy irritation by ESPN's festival of dips. Seemed like a bump in the road — a close game undone by a couple of flukey plays. But then came last night's epic disaster, with various Bisons screwing the pooch in astonishing fashion and Ryan Church choosing the wrong time for a self-administered colonoscopy, and now tonight.
We've been officially kicked out of first place; listening to this team over the last 27-odd hours, the astonishing thing is that we were ever in it.
Ramon Martinez is not mentioned (best I can recall) in Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. There are lots of other reasons it's a great read beyond that, but it helps. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.