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1,001…1,002…

“Daddy,” Tatum Niese might one day ask his father, “can you tell me about the night I was born?”

“No,” would be the appropriate reply from the pitcher who had no answers for the Dodger lineup Friday but at least he had an excuse — the birth of the actual kid in this hypothetical conversation [1].

Far be it from us to cut Jon Niese [2] slack, but if you’re not going to look the other way from a six-run outing thrown by a man whose wife is giving birth during his shortest mound stint of the year, well, maybe you need to calibrate your priorities the tiniest bit. Tough to blame Niese for being distracted (I clearly remember the Mets benefiting from similar circumstances [3] eighteen years ago when the new dad in question was Curt Schilling [4]). Not so tough to blame the Mets for not having a tighter contingency plan in place than “you sure you wanna pitch tonight?” but blaming seems out of place on one of the better Met days to ever include a 7-2 loss [5].

Mazel tov to the Nieses, but we had our own blessed events to contemplate as the Dodgers were forcefully slapping Tatum’s daddy on the rear Friday night. For one, we had Met No. 1,000 inscribing himself in the book of life. Michael Conforto [6] showed up, faced live pitching, hit the ball hard a couple of times, drove in a run with a well-placed grounder and created a major league batting average for himself. Granted, it’s an average of .000, but he looked like he knew what he was doing at the plate (something most Mets haven’t) and he’s got a promising career in front of him and us [7]. Conforto is 22, yet I see that facial hair and I can’t help but think he grew it so he wouldn’t be hassled trying to buy beer.

And while we finally got the Met we’d been briefly but sincerely lobbying for, Sandy Alderson quietly went out and snagged us a couple more [8]. In an order yet to be determined, we have tentative Mets Nos. 1,001 and 1,002 on deck. All the way from Atlanta, prepare to meet the even newer parts of the solution, Juan Uribe [9] and Kelly Johnson [10], acquired in exchange for minor league pitchers Rob Whalen and John Gant [11]. Hopefully you’ll have gotten over the sadness of bidding adieu Danny Muno [12] (demoted) and John Mayberry [13] (DFA’d) and be happy to step right up and greet a couple of veteran ballplayers whose most attractive quality is they haven’t been in the Mets lineup already this year.

This is all we’ve been asking for: the guy on the farm who might be preternaturally capable of contributing and a couple of guys to solidify that which has been made of cottage cheese. Unlike Leah Niese, the Mets front office has been overdue to deliver. Since that dreamlike eleven-game winning streak in April that presumably took place in an alternate universe, the Mets have played the equivalent of a half-season of baseball that counts. In 81 games, they’ve won 36 and they’ve lost 45. If you double that, you get a full-season record of 72-90, not championship caliber in any league.

Good thing the 13-3 part of the season counted and good thing the Washington Nationals still have Mets-flavored gum on their shoes. They should be off in the stratosphere — or Strasosphere — by now, but they’re not. They’ve had injuries. They’ve had letdowns. They’ve had a schedule that doesn’t include nothing but the Mets. That’s their problem. The Mets have, despite pitching their hearts out, done almost everything wrong since late April, yet it’s still a race: a race played out between narcoleptic tortoises, but a race nonetheless. Who’s to say, when you have our pitching and a lineup that’s finally vamped, never mind revamped, that a three-game deficit can’t be made up?

It won’t happen if starters last three innings and the likes of Justin Turner [14] lurks round every non-tendered corner as the default response to “Who’s Your Daddy?” but soon the schedule will be kinder, Uribe will be ensconced, Johnson will be versatile, Conforto will be comfortable and Niese will be less distracted, if less well-rested. It should be too late, but it’s not.

You probably know what was going on the night Jon Niese was born [15]. It would be nice if we could arrange an occasion like that before Tatum Niese is eligible for the amateur draft.

While I prepare to reveal unto you The All-Time Met of Least Consequence, this seems an opportune juncture to introduce you to a swell new blog called MetsDaddy.com [16]. It’s not specifically about the paternity issues faced by Niese and Zack Greinke [17] this weekend, but the timing is eerily fortuitous enough to make us particularly excited to welcome this bouncing, baby blog [18] to the literary precincts of Metsopotamia.