It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that’s the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and…this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever.
—Ricky, the video-obsessed neighbor, American Beauty
Plastic bags floated above Citi Field. Everything lighter than a Collector’s Cup floated above Citi Field. The last item that anybody watched float above the relentlessly windy Citi tableau was a 1-0 fastball thrown by Guillermo Mota to Henry Blanco. Mota didn’t give it much movement. Blanco gave it plenty, and an afternoon that could have blown either way was whisked along most satisfyingly into the victory column.
The wind — not a cold one, praise be, but as persistent as the left field wall is tall — roared for eleven innings. The Mets’ offense simpered for many of them. Johan Santana was stronger than the gusts that surrounded him for seven and two-thirds. He should have been granted an opportunity to finish the eighth. Had he succeeded, the day would have been successful sooner. But if the day had been shorter, we never would have been compelled to hail Henry Blanco for that which he hit very long and tall enough, so we shall, without further ado.
Gotta love journeyman catchers who hit game-winning home runs to left, whether it’s remarkably often or once in a very great while. If I were as sturdy and indefatigable as Henry Blanco, I’d have inked my arms in tribute by now, but there’s only one Henry Blanco, and I ain’t it. That job is taken, as was this game from the grubby mitts of the Giants who had obnoxiously snatched it from Fernando Nieve and Pedro Feliciano, who had no business gingerly handling it when it was Johan’s to win or lose in the eighth.
But that’s all swirling trash under the Bill Shea Bridge now. Everything kind of drifts away gently in the shadow of a walkoff homer.
There was a point Saturday as I sat and sat and sat in Promenade when the contest below me felt as if it was going to waft into that category known as Games It Really Sucks (or blows) To Lose. The Mets maintained no given rally for more than about four minutes. The one instance when it seemed they’d get lucky was when a no man’s land double followed a no man’s land single. Had the double preceded the single, again, two fewer innings and much less worry would have ensued.
Then, however, we likely wouldn’t be so emphatic in declaring what we must be shouted from the windiest of rooftops again:
Better to Hail the Met Hero than duck from the hail I half-expected when today’s forecast included thunder, lightning and wind. Only wind showed up in gale force. But what’s a little wind when there’s a lot of Henry? Better Hail than gale any day.
“Sometimes,” as Ricky in American Beauty told Jane, “there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart’s going to cave in.”
I could always take a little more beauty like that which was presented by Henry Blanco in the eleventh inning Saturday.
And speaking of beautiful Americans as they relate to May 8, happy birthday to Harry Truman, who was born in Missouri 126 years ago; John Maine, who is now a 29-year-old starting pitcher for the New York Mets; and the greatest co-blogger I know, Jason Fry, who’s whatever age he says he is.
Tune into The Happy Recap Radio Show, 6 PM, Sunday, to hear Jason and Me talk, oh, probably Mets baseball. Listen here.