In tribute to those wonderful people who show up to share the 7 train with us Mets fans for two glorious weeks every August and September, let’s just say the Mets lost in straight sets to the Marlins Tuesday night, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 5-0, 0-0, 1-0.
Apparently you can only volley with Javier Vazquez for so long.
And how did the Mets gets bested in this match? By getting tangled in the net, though since there’s no net in baseball, let’s use the wheel as our excuse.
Oddly enough, the wheel came up in casual conversation between me and my BFF, Chuck, the other day. You know somebody’s your BFF if your casual conversation includes the wheel, though in our case “the wheel” rarely arises as part of an intense strategy session. It’s more like this:
HIM: What’s wrong with your Mets?
ME: I don’t know.
HIM: Maybe they’re not putting on the wheel enough.
I no longer remember why the wheel is funny to us. I’m not sure it was ever funny to me, but it cracks up Chuck in the same way football announcers invoking some receiver’s “explosive first step” tickles me every time.
HIM: We’re getting old.
ME: I know.
HIM: But don’t worry, we’ve still got that explosive first step.
Chuck and I have known each other for 27 years, and this stuff (unlike us) never gets old.
So where was I? Oh yeah, the wheel, and how it came off on the Mets last night.
Here’s how it went, according to the best of my recollection, which is a bit fuzzy now considering I fell asleep at the end of the postgame show, woke up with a nagging headache and hate the Marlins:
It was nothing-nothing (or love-love) in the seventh. Mike Cameron, whose Met tenure struck me as distant and brief even while it was in progress for 216 games across two seasons, doubled. John Buck walked. Vazquez — the last of the red, hot Expos as far as it pertains to tormenting the Mets — bunted.
And everything went to hell.
Vazquez didn’t bunt one of those bunts that gets through the infield for a Little League home run. Nor did he land his bunt on the square that qualified the Marlins for a triple run score. It was a bunt David Wright charged and had to eat because throwing to third didn’t strike him as an attractive option; and because Justin Turner had a notion about setting up a pickoff play on Cameron so he wasn’t covering first; and because Mike “They Have My Number” Pelfrey didn’t think (what a surprise) to pick up on Turner’s pickoff signal and throw over or at least step off
Quite a supercharged bunt: the Marlins went from two on and nobody out in a scoreless game to three on and nobody out in a scoreless game, yet a ball tapped no more than twenty feet from home plate was fingered for allowing five runs in the ensuing five minutes.
Sure. Blame the faulty spokes in the wheel. Blame Canada for not supporting the Expos and allowing Vazquez to pitch for Florida. Blame Pelfrey for being Pelfrey (I always find that handy). Blame one loused-up bunt for the Mets not doing a damn thing offensively. That’s the problem with sending plays like the wheel to the forensics lab for intense investigation. You wind up with evidence, but you don’t necessarily catch the culprit.
It’s no mystery why the Mets lost. They didn’t touch Vazquez, and Pelfrey — who tips his hat to the Marlins and calls them his daddy — was sooner or later going to crack. The wheel was just a convenient alibi.