Emily and Joshua and I have spent a week in this apartment on Long Beach Island for 11 years now. We’ve been here since before there was a Faith and Fear in Flushing. We’ve been here when the Mets were in first place and when the Mets were close to last place. But we’ve rarely if ever been here when the games have meant something.
I’ve seen a few great games — Carlos Beltran hitting a grand slam to beat the Marlins comes to mind — and some horrible ones, such as Shingo Takatsu bringing the funk against those same Marlins. But what I’ve rarely seen is baseball that matters.
The Mets’ drive for relevance stalled in 2005 while we were here — we arrived with them on the fringes of the race and departed with them exposed as not ready. In 2006 it was clear they were going to win and the drama was done. 2007 and 2008 brought real pennant races, it’s true, with Beltran’s blast a big blow struck for truth and justice. The fact that I don’t remember them that way says more about those years’ slide into disappointment/devastation than about how events actually unfolded.
But since then? The Mets have been utterly and completely irrelevant by the time we’ve arrived. This is the sixth straight year of games at the beach that matter not a whit, and I watch accordingly. Last night I registered that the game had started while we were getting ice cream, but didn’t bother turning it on until we got home. Tonight I followed along via At Bat, came back and watched Daisuke Matsuzaka let every available horse out of the barn. If you want more of a recap then that, well, Jon Niese pitched well but Mike Minor pitched a little better and hit a lot better, and the Mets — typically — hit not at all.
[SOUND OF NEEDLE GETTING RIPPED OFF RECORD]
Whoa. We interrupt this boredom to announce that the Mets are daring to be interesting.
David Wright and his busted shoulder are still in the lineup for no reason, but Daniel Murphy and his busted calf have been excused further duty for a while … and Murph will be replaced on the roster by Dilson Herrera.
Herrera has moved very rapidly from Other Dude You’d Never Heard Of in the John Buck/Marlon Byrd rental to top prospect, seemingly going 3 for 4 every night for Binghamton. (And making the Byrd trade look like another fleecing by Sandy Alderson.) Now we’ll get to see him, and a sleepwalking September suddenly looks a lot more interesting.
It’s not an earthquake of a move — Herrera needed to be added to the 40-man roster in the winter anyway, and his great season had earned him a look. But I hadn’t expected him before next summer, and it’s exciting to get a chance to see what he can do. The Mets have properly let kids such as Wilmer Flores and Matt den Dekker play. Now we get to see a 20-year-old join them … and suddenly the beach doesn’t feel quite so boring.