Periodically you’ll read one of us insisting that subpar baseball is still preferable to sitting glumly around in the winter. I was thinking of that as the Marlins, having dispatched Chris Capuano, tattooed the even more hapless D.J. Carrasco, threatening to put 20 hits on the scoreboard of the hideous Soilmaster Stadium (or, if you prefer, Joe Robbie), which — blissfully — will be no longer part of our lives in a mere two days.
Anyway, it was 9-1 and I had to ask myself: So, Jace, would you really pay money to watch this debacle in January? Can you think of something poetic to say about the arc of Carrasco’s neck as he whirls to watch another drive hurtle up the gap? Would the highlights of this mess look good interspersed with wry commentary from Doris Kearns Goodwin and Roger Angell?
Well, no. It pretty much sucked from start to finish. But I hung around, and had a moderately OK time doing so despite the on-field horrors. Keith was irascible and Gary Cohen kept goading him, which was entertaining; I wanted to see if Jose Reyes could get some hits; I wondered if Lucas Duda or Ruben Tejada would do something that would make me happy about 2012; I wanted another glimpse of newborn Mets Josh Satin and Josh Stinson and Danny Herrera; and yeah, it was baseball and soon the only variety of that will be non-Mets baseball and soon after that there will be none at all. So I watched, and got to see a little of what I wanted and a whole lot more that I didn’t want at all, until the Mets had lost.
What else did I think about during those three-odd hours?
Mostly I thought about how thoroughly glad I would be to never see this stadium again. That feeling started with the amazing emptiness of it, with the fact that you could almost hear individual conversations. It continued with Kevin Burkhardt explaining that after they wheel the old stands back to their resting positions, the members of the grounds crew walk around in the outfield with magnets to find stray bits of metal that have been shed. And it culminated with Jose Lopez’s home run being celebrated with that au courant classic “Whoomp! (There It Is)”. The Mets are now .500 all-time in this soulless vomitorium, which seems impossible; whatever their record, let me say with great fervor that the closing ceremonies for Soilmaster should end with the deployment of a tactical nuke.
The rest of the evening brought little moments that were very Metsian. There was Jason Bay’s mammoth home run in the ninth, another one of those flickering lights that will probably turn out to be a train. There was Carrasco’s horror show, followed by the inevitable discussion that D.J. is guaranteed a contract next year. There was the sighting of Ike Davis in the dugout, along with the news that he’s being doing baseball drills for two weeks without pain — glad tidings, but ones that just remind you of just how bizarre his injury was. (As Ike told the Times, “I almost wish I’d just broke it in half — I would have been back a lot faster.”) There was word that Johan Santana might wind up pitching for the Mets this month not so much because he’s ready but because the big club will be the only one still playing games..
Better news? There was word of a call-up for Val Pascucci, about whom more tomorrow. And my hoped-for sighting of the tiny Herrera, with the flat brim of his cap pulled so low over an explosion of hair that his eyes are often invisible. He’s like a Li’l Abner street rat given a uniform and told to get out there and start chucking, and so far he’s done so with decent results. A little cartoon of a pitcher with a screwball should make any Mets fan smile, right? As should whatever else baseball brings us as this ever-shortening string is played out.