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This We Know How To Do

Posted By Greg Prince On August 18, 2009 @ 12:55 pm In Main Page | Comments Disabled

It’s the ninth inning. The Mets are losing 10-1. The Mets have been losing 10-1 essentially since the first of June. It’s been the ninth inning just about as long. This particular rendition of the same old song has featured the cream of Omar Minaya’s ambitious Fifth Starter Procurement Program [1] on lead vocals. The GM signed Liván Hernandez, Tim Redding and Nelson Figueroa presumably to create moments like this, moments that transcend the scoreboard because the scoreboard — even at 10-1 — couldn’t begin to reflect the depths of the reality.

There’s one out. There’s no hope. But there is, if nothing else, novelty emerging from the on-deck circle.

It’s the impending New York Mets debut of Andy Green.

He’s wearing No. 29, he’s swinging righthanded and he’s heading to the plate because the rules say somebody has to bat next. Jerry Manuel could forego the ceremony of the 26th and 27th outs. The way the Mets played in this game, surely they had made 30 or 40 outs by now. If we just went ahead and forfeited, we’d lose 9-0. Tell me how that’s any different from losing 10-1.

Andy Green it is, though, so Andy Green we cheer. We cheer the cheer of the cheerless. We have had nothing to cheer from a baseball perspective all night, so we cheer what we can get. We cheer a man who is about to be a Met for the very first time. We cheer like we mean it.

We do. To those of us who will be the last to forfeit our seats in Citi Field, this is Lion King [2] territory. Together, we the grizzled veterans of decades of ninth-inning 10-1 deficits for which we stayed when all others left hold Andy Green aloft to soak up the sunbeam of certifiabiity, for we know when we at last leave this baseball stadium tonight, we will tell one another and all in our village for years to come that we saw it — we saw the birth of a New Met.

We saw Andy Green officially join our ranks. That was us providing the welcome wagon. That was us calling out unto him. That was us theatrically, ostentatiously, you might even say obnoxiously standing and clapping and, yes, cheering Andy Green, despite our general ignorance regarding this object of our sudden affection. As he strides from the on-deck circle to home plate, we collectively know nothing of Andy Green other than Andy Green is a New York Met only because, for the next 14 days, David Wright isn’t [3].

We don’t know without looking it up that Andy Green was born on a July day in 1977 when the Mets were losing in Philadelphia to fall 20½ games out of first place. We don’t know that from there it took Andy Green nearly 27 years to become a major leaguer, a June day in 2004 when the Mets were losers in Kansas City. We don’t know that the last time Andy Green’s name was called in a major league ballpark, it was almost three years before this one. He was in San Diego, playing for Arizona. The score was Padres 12 Diamondbacks 2. Andy Green, pinch-hitter, led off the eighth inning. He walked.

That was late September 2006. That, as any Mets fan could confirm, was a lifetime ago.

Yet here we all were — us, the Mets and Andy Green — doing what seemed to come naturally. For us and the Mets, it surely wasn’t 2006 anymore, but in our souls, it’s never 2006; it’s almost always 2004 or 1977 or some year like that. For Andy Green…well, he was just happy to be here. Sunday he had been a Buffalo Bison. Monday, like so many in his herd, he was grazing a big league spread in a big league clubhouse. Why shouldn’t Andy Green be happy to be here? And why shouldn’t we be happy to have him? We would make the best of Andy Green because we knew how to make the most of moments exactly like this one.

Just as Andy Green knew how to enter games when they were hopeless, we understood precisely how to watch them.

So yes, we stood, and we clapped, and we cheered. We cheered the name of Andy Green when it was announced. When he took Ball One, we cheered louder. When he took his first swing, we cheered louder still, until it went foul. When Ball Two went up on the scoreboard, we were frenzied. We alternated phrases that fit a comfortable three-syllable cadence.





Ball Two begat Ball Three. Every Mets fan in Citi Field — by now we numbered in the dozens — lent his or her encouragement to what was now less a cause than a crusade.





This night had been for naught. The visiting Giants had commenced scoring in the third and crossed home plate every inning through the ninth but one. Hernandez, Redding and Figureoa each made a strong case for unconditional release. San Francisco starter Joe Sanchez — the one who isn’t Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Jonathan Sanchez or Juan Marichal — can be said to have gotten his throwing in. The Giants didn’t need Kung Fu Panda Monday night. They could have beaten the Mets [4] with Teddy Ruxpin [5].

But they weren’t going to deny us literally the last thing we wanted.

Ball Four.



Yeah! Andy Green’s first plate appearance as a New York Met yielded a walk! Andy Green is a high on-base percentage guy! We got a runner on first with one out! Nine to tie! Ten to win!



About two seconds later, Cory Sullivan grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

AMAZIN’ TUESDAY returns to Two Boots Tavern August 25 at 7:00 PM. Join Jason Fry, Dana Brand, Caryn Rose and me for a fun night of reading, eating, drinking and all things Mets baseball (Mets baseball optional). Full details here [6].

Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets is available from Amazon [7], Barnes & Noble [8] or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook [9].

Article printed from Faith and Fear in Flushing: http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com

URL to article: http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com/2009/08/18/this-we-know-how-to-do/

URLs in this post:

[1] Fifth Starter Procurement Program: http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com/blog/_archives/2009/1/10/4052050.html

[2] Lion King: http://www.wensy.com/uploaded/rad714A8alaer20012Dimg383x5662Dphoto017.jpg

[3] David Wright isn’t: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/mets/2009/08/mets-send-wright-to-dl-call-up.html

[4] beaten the Mets: http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=290817121

[5] Teddy Ruxpin: http://www.teddyruxpin.com/

[6] here: http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com/blog/_archives/2009/8/17/4290976.html

[7] Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Fear-Flushing-Death-Baseball/dp/1602396817/ref=sr_1_34?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225588371&sr=1-34

[8] Barnes & Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=Faith+and+Fear+in+Flushing

[9] Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Faith-and-Fear-in-Flushing-The-Book/88028715280?ref=s

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