If I’d asked you on Wednesday night if you were disappointed to think about a Mets-free Monday, you’d have said that wasn’t funny. We were 5-13, still reeling from watching rainouts or doubleheader losses, and the idea of meaningful games in May had become a sour joke.
Four days later, well, whaddya know? That day off looms as a huge disappointment. No Jason Bay swinging free and easy, with nary a sign of an intercostal muscle out of whack or his shoulders slumped under the weight of $66 million in expectations. No Carlos Beltran, in there every day and looking like a coolly professional assassin with the bat instead of an aging liability. No David Wright, gone from fishing at off-speed stuff out of the zone to whacking balls around and out of the yard. No Ike Davis trying to bring down a satellite or two. No starting pitcher looking blissfully competent and eating up innings that recently were left for anybody else.
No Mets on Monday? Say it ain’t so!
Because I hadn’t paid sufficient attention to my own calendar, I wound up keeping track of this one piecemeal — we had a brunch with Emily’s relatives, so I contented myself with sneaking looks between and during trips to the buffet. As I was shaking a server down for more mint jelly I saw it was Mets 2, D-Backs 0 — that was good, particularly seeing that a David Wright roundtripper had been responsible. Then, amazingly, 6-0 — that necessitated a quick under-the-table delve deeper into Gameday, and the happily unexpected news that Jason Pridie had hit a three-run bomb. (I don’t know how you spent your weekend, but I do know it wasn’t as good as Pridie’s.) And then Wright again, heroics noted during an Easter puppet show that Joshua mercifully lost interest in once he realized there was no more candy he could scrounge. By the time I got an earbud in on the way to the subway most of the fireworks were done and the task had shifted to cruising across the finish line before the Diamondbacks could regroup.
At home I caught a couple of batters on actual TV before deciding that catch-as-catch-can was working perfectly well and going out to plant a new crop of hostas with WFAN as accompaniment. The first game of the year heard in bits and pieces as life allows always makes me happy, too — it’s the moment you relax a little and realize baseball isn’t going away, that it will be here until it gets cold again, on the TV at home and up there above the bar and glimpsed through a window and whispering in your ear as you walk down the street.
It was only later that I felt a little foolish — weren’t these the same Mets that had left me in a state of numb fury not so long ago? I knew they weren’t really this good, this automatic now, so didn’t it stand to reason that they hadn’t really been that inept, that tragic then? Well, yeah — and for a few seconds I swore I’d try to remember that when the scales tip the other way and guys are dropping pop-ups and waving at ball four. But fandom, at its core, isn’t rational — particularly not in April when we’re all still getting used to this again.