Whatever hopes we had of catching the Braves (and somewhere in our Ya Gotta Believe hearts we all had them) have melted away over the last two weeks. At the end of July, you may remember, the Mets took four in a row from the Reds; since then, we’ve won a grand total of four against everybody else — and even in those wins, it felt like the Mets were fighting themselves as much as the opposition.
To be philosophical, it happens. This is the time of the year when the marathon earns the name, when the chronic hurts and the innings and the travel and the endlessness of it all give a solid kick to the teams that aren’t quite ready or well constructed enough, booting them towards the back of the pack. And it doesn’t help that this is the time of year when overachieving teams realize they’ve Wile E. Coyote’d their way halfway across the gorge, but that’s only halfway and gravity has checked back in from its smoke break. It sure looks like that’s happening to the Mets now.
Which, on the one hand, is understandable.
But on the other hand, damn it.
I felt some sad, sickly blogger distant cousin of that feeling around 10 p.m., when I found myself thinking that Dillon Gee was getting whacked around and there was a long way to go tonight and there were more late games coming. It’s never a good sign when the prospect of a couple of hours of baseball makes you sigh — because you know you shouldn’t do that. You think back to winter and staring out the window and waiting for it to be spring, and you realize suddenly you’ve switched to thinking ahead to winter and staring out the window and waiting for it to be spring, and you remember how in early January you swore you’d do anything just be able to spend 10 minutes watching Dillon Gee pitch to Sean Burroughs and Cody Ransom and Ian Kennedy, and now it’s mid-August and Dillon Gee is pitching to Sean Burroughs and Cody Ransom and Ian Kennedy, so what are you complaining about?
And then Sean Burroughs and Cody Ransom and Ian Kennedy all hit doubles and you think, This isn’t really all that much fun.
But baseball being baseball, it’s still diverting even when extracting joy from your heart rather than adding it. An inning later, I watched Willie Harris’s ludicrous little bloop fall in among Ransom and the voluminously inked Ryan Roberts and Paul Goldschmidt and thoroughly enjoyed reading lips as Kennedy completely fail to hide his fury at his own infielders. WHAT? WHAT THE FUCK? THERE WERE TWO OUTS! WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? AND WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF NAME FOR A 35-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO ISN’T A GAY PORN STAR IS CODY RANSOM? I’M GOING TO GO SIT IN FUCKING CENTER FIELD AND GET MY SHIT TOGETHER WHILE YOU FUCKING GUYS REMEMBER HOW TO CATCH A FUCKING POP-UP. I MEAN, FUCK! *
David Wright was so startled that he immediately flied out. That was less amusing.
I was also startled to see Goldschmidt’s catch while descending dugout steps (a description that sounds vaguely like a painting) waved off by the ump because Goldschmidt had left the field of play. I never knew that, and it seems vaguely unfair. So I can race up the steps and shove a hot dog vendor out of the way and catch a ball, but Goldschmidt or Ike Davis or anyone wearing a uniform that has their own name on it for a non-embarrassing reason can’t? ** It’s disappointing, because there go my fantasies of going back in time and having Yadier Fucking Molina connect off Aaron Heilman only to realize that Endy Chavez has jumped not at the wall but over it and is now standing serenely in the bullpen with his glove up and a goofy grin on his face.
Anyway, Mets lose. It’s late in a number of ways. Let’s all carry on.
* This may not be exactly what he said. My lip reading is a work in progress.
** I’m just a blogger. I can’t do this anyway.