Remember Back to the Future Part II, in which Biff sneaks back through time to hand his younger self a sports almanac, and so makes himself a mogul in an alternate 2015? If I had a similar opportunity, I think I’d head for Vegas, use my Delorean and make a killing on this game.
1. Odds it’s even being played? Seemed slim given a forecast for this week that suggested gathering useful animals two by two. Then, when game time brought a continuous mist instead of rain, it sure looked like the Mets had shenanigans on their mind: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a general manager inspecting an infield minutes before game time, but there was Sandy Alderson, with Terry Collins and Edwin Rodriguez and Pete Flynn and the grounds crew in tow. Gary, Keith and Ron began openly speculating that the Mets were engineering a rainout, which would likely be followed by a more-natural one tomorrow, which would push this two-game set into a future featuring Ike Davis and David Wright. Seemed good to me, though I had to pause for a very long moment when Joshua asked, “Isn’t that cheating?” (Yeah, pretty much.) But after a lot of mysterious infield work, conspiracy theory debunked and game on.
2. Odds Mike Pelfrey would outduel Josh Johnson? OK, it was more of a draw, thanks to Pelf surrendering a cloud-piercing shot by Mike Stanton, whom I may soon come to particularly dislike for beating us while reminding me of Mike Stanton, warm-body reliever who made no secret of the fact that he preferred being a Yankee. (Minor point in Stanton the Elder’s favor: He once referred to the American League as “a beer league.”) Still, Pelf was impressive yet again, continuing a string of solid starts that of course began once our collective fan needle swung over to “Given Up on Him.” Johnson had an off-night — which, being Josh Johnson, meant he was merely very good.
3. OK, I bet you Jon Niese winds up with more triples than Jose Reyes. Niese? Ha ha, he’s not even starting! That one alone would have funded my own island with a hidden submarine base and a menagerie of lap giraffes. (Even though Emilio Bonifacio dropped it.)
4. Perhaps Willie Harris will win it. Or at least have a moment. Pressed into service at third with David Wright the latest Met felled by invisible ninjas, Harris looked like the Nationals’ version of himself, going airborne to make a terrific lunging catch and showing sure hands on a couple of tough chances. I decided that this would be the night’s theme, and that Harris would indeed have his moment, winning the game in the bottom of the ninth. But Collins pinch-hit for him, bringing in Chin-lung Hu as a right-handed bat instead, though Hu’s baseball card should really say “Bats: None.” That’s a bit unfair, as Hu smacked a Randy Choate pitch up the middle, but to no avail. (Update: Terry won’t be doing that again for a while.)
5. Weren’t you worried Hanley Ramirez would be the death of us? Of course I was. So were you. I wanted to scream when Terry had K-Rod intentionally walk Chris Coghlan to get to him in the ninth. It worked out, not that that made it a good idea.
6. Can even a man who has his own island and lots of lap giraffes be happy with just ONE submarine base? Good point. Excuse me while I go back in time with this blog post and this ESPN play-by-play info. Hmm, I wonder what the odds are on a Justin Turner grounder hitting Ramirez in the shoulder for an apparent Mets win, only to bounce perfectly to Omar Infante for a smooth-as-silk 6-4-3 double play?
7. How about the odds of Burke Badenhop collecting the decisive RBI? Burke Badenhop? Sure, he’s got one of those ya-gotta-be-kidding-me baseball names, but isn’t he 1-for-23? Holy Rick Camp, Batman. Ah well, more lap giraffes for me.
8. You seem awfully chipper considering Wright’s going on the DL, two pitchers had season-ending surgery and the Mets lost a cruel, cruel game tonight. Look, some games let their freak flags fly from the get-go, and this was one of them. Those several hundred diehards out there spent the night peering through mist at a theater of the absurd. Games like that, you just let go and see where the ride takes you. Great plays, weird plays, some skullduggery, a very long home run, unlikely pinch-hitters, and never knowing what’s coming next? I wish we’d won, but I can’t deny that I was hugely entertained on the way to not winning.
But do me a favor in the future — don’t say “chipper.”