The 2012 Mets have been recalled from Cooperstown.
It was a night of firsts. They lost their first game. They lost their first game that made you roll your eyes and mutter and swear and stalk around. They lost their first game in which they looked absolutely hopeless and star-crossed and fatally flawed.
All of which was bound to happen, but it was still awfully nice to fantasize that it wouldn’t. And it was awfully cruel the way it all came unraveled.
First came the news that David Wright’s pinkie wasn’t bruised but broken, fractured on a hasty dive back into first. No sooner had we finished gaping about that than Dillon Gee — who’d soldiered uncertainly but courageously through five innings — ran out of gas and luck, yielding singles to Jayson Werth, who’s loathsome, and Xavier Nady, who’s not at all loathsome but still wearing the wrong uniform. On came Bobby Parnell, who promptly got Roger Bernadina to smack a double-play ball right to Daniel Murphy. Murph, a day removed from beating the Nats with bat and glove, clanked it abysmally. Parnell then gave up a deep drive to Wilson Ramos that Lucas Duda lined up … and failed to catch.
All of that trouble came with shocking speed, as if they’d announced Wright’s injury over the PA. Five minutes at most. Forget the air coming out of the balloon — this was the air blasting out of the balloon with such force that it propelled the empty skin into the open window of an orphanage where it smothered a puppy. Just like that, it was 3-0 Nats, and the game was essentially over.
The season, of course, is not. Wright has an injury of uncertain severity and duration — he might be back Friday, he might be stuck on the shelf for a few weeks of healing. That happens to teams all the time. We knew the Mets’ starting pitching was questionable even before Mike Pelfrey and Gee struggled, so there’s no news there. We knew the defense was shaky even before Murph and Duda did what you half-expect them to do on every play. Also not news.
So what is news? That the Mets are 4-1. That the Mets are 4-1 with definite signs of life from Wright, Murph, Johan Santana, Josh Thole, Jon Rauch and Ruben Tejada. If you’d told me a week ago that would be the record after five games and those would be the impressions, I’d have jumped for joy and you would have been jumping alongside me.
So stop — do not fall back into useless woe-is-us Metdom. There’s another game in a few hours — Santana vs. Strasburg, which ought to be can’t-miss stuff. You should sneak away from work to go see it, or at least palm a radio or MLB At Bat. The Mets are better than anybody thought so far, and their future is not yet written. Let’s enjoy the ride and not dwell too much on the occasional teeth-rattling jolt.
Still, yeah, those five minutes were pretty awful.