The funny thing is I figured we were going to win this one.
The Mets have a way of hanging in there against Cole Hamels, then biting out his throat and letting us all unearth his ill-advised chokers comment to chortle over. So even though it was 2-0 and we were running out of outs, I was serenely waiting for sweet, sweet revenge.
And then Dillon Gee got in trouble and the normally reliable Josh Edgin came in and Chase Utley tried to get hit by a pitch and failed and then Edgin got a borderline call for a 2-2 count and Utley fouled one off and Utley fouled another one and then Utley hit one that I believe broke a guy’s rear window.
A guy who was parked in Islip.
Grand slam, 6-0 Phillies, and drive home safe everybody.
(Here’s a pause to cringe at the memory of the brilliant orange Los Mets jerseys. The Mets looked like traffic cones out there, and hit like them too. Still think black and pink would be a bad idea?)
But back to Utley. Forgive me, but I don’t loathe him. He’s not a shit-talker like some of his teammates, or given to domestic violence, or just generally loathsome. He just beats us, as he’s supposed to.
I don’t even hate the Phillies all that much — they’re too pathetic these days, the baseball equivalent of a broken-down car with people living in it. (Led by a shirtless Ruben Amaro Jr. waving a rusty machete and screaming for everyone to get away from his treasures.) Rather than hate Utley, I fear him — he’s expressionless and dead-eyed and always waiting for us at Citi Field, with his swing perfectly engineered for the right-field seats. I wish the Phillies would trade him somewhere he can’t hurt us — Japan might work as a start.
Anyway, you’re gonna win a third of your games and lose a third of your games and it’s what you do in the other third that matters, a baseball sage once said. Despite my seventh-inning delusions, toss this one in the pile of 54 that weren’t going to go our way. Oh well — at least the Mets will be right back at it tomorrow around noontime, and if they win that’s a series victory and a game closer to .500.
Which is increasingly what I want most out of this strange year — a milestone I’d be willing to call success. An 81-81 season, with tons of starting pitching teed up for 2015, some promising young hitters who could make the roster come July or August, and the possibility of a trade to improve the lineup before then. Is that a pathetic thing to shoot for? Maybe it is. But after these dreadful years of financial ruin and grim waiting, it would feel like a genuine step forward. We’d have a reason for honest-to-goodness hope. And we all need it.