The first predictable part was the Mets scoring no more than three runs Sunday, a total they haven’t exceeded in their own ballpark since Robert Moses wore short pants, a span covering their three most recent Citi Field series (and, presumably, the late Robert Moses’s legs). They scored two, extending the frayed string in question to ten games, or one shy of the record for such things. Twice in their history, the Mets have scored no more than three runs in eleven consecutive home games. I could note the years those streaks occurred, but really, when you start invoking these sorts of anti-achievements, it all kind of speaks for itself.
The other predictable part was the Mets scoring one fewer run than their opponents Sunday, in this case the Braves. The Mets lost to the Braves. It took ten innings, but they stayed consistent. They lost all weekend to the Braves. They lost before and after frightful weather on Saturday and they lost in beautiful weather Sunday. They lost Friday, too. They’ve been losing to the Braves like crazy since opening the season by sweeping them and getting us giddy with a 3-0 start. Perhaps they lulled us into a premature state of euphoria. Bastards!
The unpredictable part was Chipper Jones got himself a pretty decent hand for his cameo appearances Sunday from a fan base conditioned to detest him. Fredi Gonzalez, killjoy extraordinaire, kept Chipper from the starting lineup because he (Gonzalez, that is) is a tightass with zero sense of occasion, but did deign to send No. 10 out with the lineup card, which rewarded the observant fan with the chance to reward The Enemy with a ripple of recognition. It was all very sweet, two No. 10s (Chipper joined by Terry Collins) shaking hands heartily at home plate — that’s where the runs score, in case the Mets have forgotten — and the two of them posing for pictures with the four umpires. Later, Chipper pinch-walked and was greeted kindly just for coming to the plate and then warmly for getting his ass the hell off first base when Gonzalez inserted the currently far more villainous Reed Johnson in his place. True to my plan, I stood, I applauded appreciatively, I booed instinctively, I sat and I LAR-RY’d throughout Chipper’s final moments with us and felt perfectly clean for the effort. Johnson didn’t score, thus I judge my acknowledgement of a Metsian-tinged legend and Hall of Famer to be worth it.
And that was basically Sunday’s game. While waiting in vain for Mets runs and inevitably for Braves runs and curiously for Chipper sightings, Kevin from Flushing and I (each wearing our 1999 playoff shirts in honor of the impending deChipperization of the vicinity) passed the time wondering, among myriad other things, which current Mets player was most likely to fall for the hidden ball trick. Then we switched our focus to which current Mets player was most likely to not fall for the hidden ball trick because we decided that basically every current Mets player is quite capable of falling for the hidden ball trick. We eventually exempted Ruben Tejada from our consensus that we’re not generally blessed with fundamentally sound players.
Sunday’s player of the game? Not adieu-bidding Chipper Jones, not homer/sac fly practitioner Brian McCann (bastard!), not freakishly effective Johnny Venters (three strikes to Ike to end the sixth, four pitches to Duda, Turner and Torres to eviscerate the seventh, and that was with Duda singling), but the guy in the Jets jersey who defied LIRR illogic and held the door to the Babylon train open at Jamaica long enough so those of us who were transferring could board. See, there’s a Long Beach train from Woodside that gets to Jamaica in time to allow you on the Babylon train that’s right freaking there across the platform, but the LIRR pretends the connection doesn’t exist and lets that Babylon train pull away from you so it can make you stand around and wait for the next Babylon train. And while you wait, you can stew over how the Mets never score more than three runs at home and how your 2012 record has plunged from 8-2 as of June 3 to 10-12 as of September 9…though that sounds about right, considering the Mets have lost 19 of their last 23 home games and it’s highly unlikely any loyal spectator’s 2012 Mets record is any good of late.
But the Jets guy held the door to the Babylon train and I slipped in and got home around 5:30 instead of around 6 o’clock…which may not sound like much, but neither is a three-run maximum. So ya take what can ya get on losing Sundays like these.