May my blood stop running orange and blue if I can’t deliver unto you an assessment of Shaun Marcum’s pitching, so here goes, albeit borrowed from John Adams as he critiqued a portrait intended to preserve Benjamin Franklin for posterity in 1776:
As ever, the soul of tact.
This blogger may be no Botticelli, but the subject of this blog is no Venus. I didn’t see every pitch Marcum threw Saturday night, but I got the gist early and often as he remained tethered to the Miller Park mound clear into the sixth despite his surrendering runs in most every inning possible. When the production he headlined was over and its predictable conclusion reached, it was revealed the righthander is prone to “numbness, tingling and coldness” in his right hand, sensations that grow worse the more he uses it to pitch. The decent human being in me thinks that’s probably a sign he shouldn’t be pitching. The Mets fan in me thinks 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA makes that case quite nicely, too. I’m not sure who would take his place at this point, but if you can’t dig up someone to replicate those numbers for a couple of turns in the rotation, you might want to reconsider your membership in Major League Baseball.
The Brewers cracked the shell of the egg that Marcum laid and I watched as little of it as bloggerly possible. The Mets, you see, had gotten in the way of the Princes’ proper Fourth of July observance, and we couldn’t wait any longer to get in our own makeup game.
Every Independence Day, Stephanie and I devote a chunk of our holiday to an annual viewing of 1776, the story of how America decided to become America, set as all grand historical sagas should be: to song. I first saw 1776 upon its theatrical release in 1972, reveled in a junior high assembly showing of it prior to the Bicentennial and dropped whatever I was doing whenever it appeared on television thereafter. I introduced my then-fiancée to its considerable charms on July 4, 1991 (a double feature, actually; An Amazin’ Era opened our VHS twinbill). The Mets had a night game in another country, so our afternoon was devoted to the Continental Congress imploring John Adams to sit down and shut up…which of course John Adams was never going to do. From there, as measured by the director’s cut DVD released in 2002, it takes a hardy band of patriots not more than 2:46 and 13 musical numbers — one for every colony, come to think of it — to form a new nation.
A tradition was born. Once in a while on the Third, occasionally on the Fifth, but usually on the Fourth, it was William Daniels as Adams batting leadoff, Howard Da Silva as Franklin moving him along and Ken Howard as Jefferson driving them and the concept that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights home. Through the commands of Generals B. Harrelson, J. Torborg, D. Green, B. Valentine, A. Howe, W. Randolph, J. Manuel and T. Collins, our viewing was inviolate. We would work around Mets game as needed/desired, but 1776 always got its due.
Then along came the Mets of 2013, who piddled, twiddled and resolved for five hours, forty-six minutes and fifteen innings this July 4. Their marathon loss to the Diamondbacks ran so long that it bumped 1776 from its projected late-afternoon/early-evening time slot. We just couldn’t get to it on Thursday. Then we couldn’t get to it on Friday. The Third, Fourth and Fifth of July had passed without confirming, per a proposal set forth by Virginia’s Richard Henry Lee, that these united colonies are (and of a right ought to be) free and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is (and ought to be) totally dissolved.
Hence, our tradition got pushed back to the Sixth of July, which is to say the Princes chose freely to immerse themselves in the spirit of 1776 Saturday night and otherwise kept no more than light tabs on the spirit of 7 to 6 emanating from Milwaukee. I observed a little on Fox (what a great network for baseball!), mostly followed the bouncing diagrams on ESPN Gamecast and supplemented where necessary via Twitter. I’ve now seen 1776 23 summers in a row and paid mostly uninterrupted attention to the Mets for 45 consecutive seasons. I generally know how both are going to come out in the end. Our patriots round up enough votes for victory. Our ballplayers come up a run shy in defeat.
I could tell you all you want to know about the movie. As for further details on the game, Faith and Fear in Flushing abstains. Courteously.