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With a Whimper

If the Mets get shellacked 7-0 [1] by the Cubs, does it make a sound?

I ask because looking around the series of tubes, I see a lot of first-half-of-the-season stuff, and not a lot of stuff about a normally patient club making like nine Jeff Francoeurs so they could get in their SUVs and be somewhere else as quickly as possible. (Time of game: 128 minutes.) Jon Niese was unlucky in the first and made a bad pitch in the seventh and was pretty good between, but it didn’t matter, because the Mets were hacking like they were up nine runs in the bottom of the fourth with a hurricane coming in. Seriously — if you attended this one, you ought to ask Mr. Met for your money back.

Why worry, though? It’s inconceivable that one lousy game could ever mean the difference between making the postseason and having an entire fanbase think about starting the car in the garage, right?

After the Mets finished not bothering anybody in putting the closing touches on a .333 mark against the .388 Cubs, Emily and I headed down to Coney Island for a date with the Brooklyn Cyclones, home of Brandon Nimmo, Phillip Evans, Kevin Plawecki and other potential Mets. They lost, though the Cyclones put on their usual great, goofy show, entertaining fans and never taking themselves too seriously. This was actually my second Cyclones game in three days, and every summer it’s a pleasure to get reacquainted with MCU Park. I love how the day’s heat gives way to the cool of the breeze coming off the ocean from right field and how the neon rings on the light towers slowly emerge from the darkness as night falls, mimicking the flashing lights of the amusement parks behind the left-field fence. Though here’s a weird thing: There were postgame fireworks Friday night, but apparently 10 p.m. is the latest they can be shot off on Coney Island, and when that hour arrived the game wasn’t over. Solution? The Cyclones made a brief announcement that sounded half amused and half apologetic, and started the fireworks show while the game was still going on. So guys hit with red puffballs blooming and white stars descending and shells thud-thudding right over the batter’s eye. Never seen that before.

Hey, maybe it would have woken up today’s Mets.

This isn’t to be too negative: The first half was better than any of us could have hoped (though I didn’t think the Mets would be terrible), the team is right smack in the expanded playoff hunt, and whatever happens the rest of the way, we’re done [2] with watching a ball plop down on the outfield grass and feeling resigned that we will go to our graves never having seen a friendly no-hitter. And though I’m wary [3] given our record of recent second halves, I’m excited to see what moves the team makes and how it does. There’s clearly bullpen help coming, and a quest for a right-handed bat (which, if you’re enough of an optimist, could be Jason Bay), and something tells me Sandy will be looking for a bigger move to make if it’s available.¬†And of course there’s plenty more baseball to be played, with attendant stories to be written.

I just hope the protagonists are a bit more engaged than they were today.