The Mets no longer require extra innings. They make the regulation amount go on forever. In their first two games coming out of the All-Star break — one a hopeless blowout loss, the other a relatively mundane win — they donated more than seven hours to the baseball-starved denizens of Queens inside a span of less than 22 hours overall.
Would it be impolite to let them know we’re full?
It’s not the number of games we mind. We missed them when we weren’t receiving our recommended dietary allowance of one a day, but maybe we can have something that takes fewer than three hours to consume? Overcooked baseball is like overcooked anything else. It tends to lose its zest after a while.
Besides, it’s confusing. I’m not sure exactly why a win that encompassed nine runs and eschewed a bottom of the ninth took eight minutes longer to complete than a combined 21-run salute in which the home team was compelled to bat last, but I’ll take the more pleasing result.
Friday night’s 3:27 slog couldn’t help but make Nas wait given the Phillies’ ungentlemanly scoring of eleven runs in the first two innings. When Gary Cohen is left to invoke Joe Sambito, you know you’re in for a night. Opinions can differ on whether the Mets fought back to make a game of it (Terry Collins actually called the five-run defeat “impressive” for not being worse) or whether garbage time is solely a basketball pejorative, but turning an 11-0 deficit into a 13-8 final proved more about endurance than encouragement. A Hefnerrible loss, no matter how extinct we thought they’d become, is still a Hefnerrible loss.
And Saturday afternoon’s 3:35 affair? Well, that wasn’t textbook either, except in remedial class, which is where Zack Wheeler remains enrolled until further notice. This time, the Mets scored early with their Byrderers Row lineup dicing and slicing the Phillies’ Hamels until he was Cole slaw. But Wheeler failed to pitch briskly once staked to a 3-1 advantage. No doubt the kid’s got some bulldog in him, yet it’s the chasing him around the yard that’s so far exhausting. Zack needed 106 pitches — seven of which went for hits, another two to certify walks — to find himself with two out in the fifth and the bases fully infected by the crimson plague. Somehow it was only 3-2 and somehow it stayed 3-2 after the increasingly legendary Gonzalez Germen struck out Delmon Young to unjam the situation.
By then, the game was taking the scenic route, destined to roll deep into a fourth hour. The Mets pieced together a pair of runs in the fifth and seventh; Germen, Scott Rice and LaTroy Hawkins went unscored upon; the ninth arrived wrapped in an innocent 5-2 lead; and it was still taking forever.
Should’ve known it would take a little longer from there. Bobby Parnell was Bachman and Turner but delayed Overdrive for an uncomfortable interval. Josh Satin was flummoxed by a hard two-out grounder and the Pepsi Porch was dented by a harder Chase Utley homer. It was 5-4 and, after Domonic Brown doubled, an overlong afternoon was in danger of extension.
But then Darin Ruf lined one low into Daniel Murphy’s glove — shades of Bobby Richardson snagging Willie McCovey’s last gasp in 1962 — and Parnell and his teammates could stop playing ball for their own good. Sunday, which we embrace as Harvey Day, also brings Smilin’ Cliff Lee to the mound, and the last time we saw him in action, Lee and his buddies were done toying with us in 2:29. So what I guess I’m saying is save some of that stamina for tomorrow, boys…you’re probably gonna need it.
You needed to know the All-Stars the Mets couldn’t wait to get rid of in order to win a valuable prize on Friday and two Faith and Fear readers sure did. Congratulations to Jonathan Weber (author of the sublime blog The Ballclub) and Mathias Kook for winning our MLB Productions quiz and each gaining a DVD copy of Johan Santana’s no-hitter. The answers to yesterday’s question regarding which All-Stars the Mets swapped in the same season they were Mets All-Stars:
1) David Cone, 1992, traded to Toronto for Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson
2) Bobby Bonilla, 1995, traded to Baltimore for Alex Ochoa and Damon Buford
3) Rick Reed, 2001, traded to Minnesota for Matt Lawton
4) Armando Benitez, 2003, traded to a local American League franchise for Jason Anderson and assorted pinstriped paraphernalia
5) Carlos Beltran, 2011, traded to San Francisco for Saturday’s starting pitcher, Zack Wheeler
You know you’re having a great season when getting rid of one of your best players from the first half makes all the sense in the world. (Sounds like a setup to discuss Marlon Byrd, but we’ll save that for another time.) Anyway, two more quizzes to come imminently for more great prizes. Stay tuned!
Can’t wait for my Doc Gooden bobblehead, which you probably know is the Citi Field premium Sunday. But did you know that on Tuesday night, August 27, you can pick up a Gary, Keith and Ron bobblehead? It’s part of a special offer from the GKR Foundation, the community-minded organization operated by Lynn Cohen. Fifty-nine dollars gets you a limited-edition bobblehead of the greatest television broadcast team in captivity; a ticket for the Pepsi Porch for that night’s game against these very same Phillies; the nosh of your choice (hot dog, burger or pizza slice) plus soda; and, if experience is a guide, some great company. A portion of the proceeds will support GKR’s good works.
That’s the deal, and what a deal it is. More information is available here.