1) Bottom of the ninth, Mets losing, Wright leads off. Grounds to short. Takes a nice play from Ramirez, but he’s out pretty easily. With that, I’ve decided, “Let’s just get this over with. The trains are all screwy as it is thanks to the storm that unleashed hail the size of hockey pucks on Long Island. The Mets are lifeless. I just want to get on the LIRR and go home…that is, unless the Mets plan on scoring at least two runs right now, which I doubt they can, but if they do, then I’ll happily stay.”
2) Pagan singles. Before I have a chance to process whether this is something that can be built upon for the kind of rally that will glue me to my seat, he’s stretching for a double, which I can figure out in a snap is massively inane. Being on second doesn’t particularly help anybody, and being thrown out at second will kill what lingering chances the Mets have. We already watched what a good throw could do when Mike Stanton’s outstanding fling from right nailed Reyes from here to LaGuardia in the fifth. “Angel, if you know what’s good for you, be safe — be very, very safe.” Angel beats this throw by a couple of eyelashes. He’s on second. It’s still inane.
3) Bay up. He homered earlier. They featured the Bay Home Run Graphic on the big screens. I didn’t know there was a Bay Home Run Graphic. I’m surprised that the Bay Home Run Graphic isn’t simply dust covering cobwebs. Anyway, I’m modestly confident in Bay here, which is a severely misplaced sentiment. Of course (and it is an “of course” kind of act) he grounds to third with no fanfare on the first pitch. Being Bay, he runs hard, but being Bay, he’s used up our second out. “Pagan at least stayed out of a double play because he was on second already, but I doubt they get a DP with Bay running, so it’s still inane from before. And Bay still sucks.”
4) Undeterred by Marlin defense, Pagan’s inanity and Bay’s futility, we’re screaming where we are for wonderful things to happen, even if they’re occurring only intermittently. As our group — I’m joined in grand shout by the Chapmans, the Kase, the Coop, the cousin of the Coop and the father of the Coop (Coop’s dad is a man kind enough to share a few Polo Grounds memories with me while Big Pelf was trying to outlose Little Al Jackson) — vocalizes our encouragement to our team, I begin to gather guilt, however, over disturbing the tranquility of Citi Field. We’re supposed to be quiet in the middle of ninth-inning uprisings so as not to rattle our visitors from Florida, correct? “You’re all a bunch of fucking zombies, you so-called Mets fans. And how come the only organic LET’S GO METS! chant that isn’t started by Kevin Chapman comes when the Mets are in the field, not at the plate?” In that same vein, I visited two concessions Monday night, neither with a long line, yet neither with a short wait. At the second of them, a fellow wearing a badge that said “SUPERVISOR” supervised his way past the waiting, unattended customers until one line member asked, in so many words, “WTF?” Slowly but surely (but mostly slowly), we got service. It was a direct callback to the SUPERVISOR in April at a wholly different concession who thought it was more important to address an underling at length than it was to allow said underling to take care of her customers. But it’s still deathly quiet in the stands, as quiet as it must be when Citi Field’s Best and Brightest pin their SUPERVISOR badges to their golf shirts to prepare for another night of sure slowness.
5) Lucas Duda emerges from the Citi Field solitude and changes everything about the ninth inning with one swing of the bat. Well, he’s not gonna do it with two swings, I suppose, but it’s always more dramatic to say “…with one swing of the bat.” Duda swings his bat and suddenly it’s not an impending 3-1 loss anymore. It’s a 3-3 tie. Noise control has gone all to hell. “Ohmigod, we’re tied! High-five! High-five! Who haven’t I high-fived? I’ll high-five you! And you! And you! I’m like Oprah: YOU get a high-five! YOU get a high-five!” Through several pokey train rides and concession lines, and then eight-plus innings of nothingness, my Monday night has been all about the back of my hand. I’m so delighted to share my palms instead.
6) Marlins closer Leo Nuñez has just given up the tying two-run homer to Lucas Duda and now he hits Scott Hairston to have us entertaining notions that we won’t even need extra innings — we can win it here. No disrespect to Marlins closer Leo Nuñez, but I go to the ol’ taunt by name: “NUUUUUU-NYEHHHHHHZ!” It rarely works for me, but I decide, in a fit of passion, that it can’t hurt. Marlins closer Leo Nuñez…again, no disrespect, but I had the same reaction recently to the phrase “Marlins closer Leo Nuñez” that Don Draper had to learning Roger Sterling was writing a book: “The Marlins have a closer?” Yes, Virginia, I suppose they do. And he strikes out Josh Thole to end the ninth.
7) I was so intent on getting out of Citi Field. Now I’m intent on settling in for a brisk top of the tenth as prelude to a triumphant bottom of the tenth and the gaining of ground on those awful Braves. I don’t mean to lean ahead a little, but what I envision is Jose will lead off and get on base. Justin will advance him in some clever fashion. Then Murphy…or David. “Yeah, David would be a better story, but Murph is bound to do something.” Never put it past Daniel Murphy to do something.
8) Izzy gets his first batter, that awful Brave Omar Infante (all ex-Braves are “that awful Brave” to me; Rafael Furcal is still “that awful Brave” in my book; so is Rico Carty, come to think of it). Gaby Sanchez, who, according to Elias, has shattered all mathematical models and has crafted a batting average of over 1.000 against the Mets, singles. That’s OK, I tell Sharon Chapman (resplendent in a marvelous fitting Bob Scheffing-era Tom Seaver t-shirt). I wanted Izzy to give Sanchez nothing to hit out of the park and he honored my wishes. Sharon turns baseball wisdom on its head: “A hit’s as good as a walk,” and she’s right on. But now Hanley Ramirez places a ball to the right of Reyes and it’s first and second. DeWayne Wise finds right field, which will load the bases, which is terrible, but Duda gets the ball back in and Murphy grabs the relay and Wise — Official Potato Chip and Cheez Doodle of the New York Mets — is caught off first. Murphy’s close enough to Turner, covering said bag, to play hangman. And together they can hang Wise out to dry. The other runners can’t go anywhere. Ohmigod, a second out couldn’t have come more gift-wrapped if we bought it at Tiffany’s. “C’mon Murph! C’mon! C’mon! You can do it! Just toss it to Justin and…hey, Murph, what are you doing? Why are you looking at second? Ramirez isn’t going anywhere. Just toss it…JUST THROW IT! OH MY GOD, WISE GOT BACK IN SAFE! HOLY FUCK ARE YOU STUPID! HOLY FUCK YOU ARE TEN TIMES STUPIDER THAN ANGEL PAGAN! HOLY FUCK YOU COULD BE A FUCKING CONCESSIONS SUPERVISOR AT CITI FIELD! THAT’S HOW FUCKING STUPID YOU ARE!” You and me, Murph. We’re not too bright, are we? You couldn’t throw to first with a clear shot at a second out, and me — well, I thought you would. I’ll meet you in the parking lot afterwards for a spirited game of javelin catch. That’s how stupid the two of us are. Anyway, never put it past Daniel Murphy to do something.
9) With one swing of the bat, Mike Stanton…see? It’s so dramatic when you say it that way. Stanton hits the kind of grand slam Manny Acosta (who’s growing a most handsome natural in tribute to Nino Espinosa) usually gives up and it’s 7-3 from 3-3 even quicker than Duda took it from 3-1 to 3-3. Baseball doesn’t have a clock, but this felt quicker. “Geez, were all three Marlin baserunners on third? It’s like they all just scored at the same time. And now here comes Stanton with the fourth run. Red Lobster doesn’t have that many fish cross its plate.”
10) Bottom of the tenth, Reyes leads off. Flies to left. Takes no extraordinary effort to catch it. With that, I’ve decided, “Let’s just get this over with. The trains are all screwy as it is thanks to the storm that unleashed hail the size of hockey pucks on Long Island. The Mets are lifeless. I just want to get on the LIRR and go home…that is, unless the Mets plan on scoring at least four runs right now, which I doubt they can, but if they do, then I’ll happily stay.” But they don’t , so I leave.