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It’s Jake from 2014

“I’ll probably only make it for one more batter,” the sleepy fan said to himself as Hansel Robles [1] battled Trayce Thompson [2] with two out in the bottom of the ninth, the Mets and Dodgers tied at two. “I don’t think I’ll make it to extra innings.”

Funny how sometimes things just take care of themselves. The last things I saw before my eyelids’ insides were Robles shaking off Kevin Plawecki [3], Thompson showered in a bucket of bubble gum and grim men in suits on a set in New York daring me to dissect the whole mess with them well past one o’clock.

Nah, thanks guys. Click.

Lest a 3-2 walkoff loss to the unlikable Los Angeles Dodgers [4] seem all for naught, there were a few a highlights that survived to daylight from this nocturnal transmission. Somehow, the Mets scored two runs off otherwise impenetrable lefty Alex Wood [5], who, since he was pitching after midnight, could be derisively nicknamed Morning Wood by the puerile likes of myself, Beavis, Butt-head and the Tweetin’ [6] tyro, Lenny Dykstra [7]. Given his southpaw leanings, Wood stood firm against the Mets, especially phenom Michael Conforto [8], who has been mired (great baseball word) in a horrific slump (horrible baseball word when applied to one of your guys) ever since an enthusiastic blogger declared him the greatest thing since sliced pizza [9] (way better than just plain bread).

The “somehow” in that Met scoring involved enemy of goodness Chase Utley [10] playing lousy second base, and that alone was worth staying up for. Though every sight of his prematurely gray pate inspired calls to HIT HIM!!! from puerile types like myself, I’ve come around to the school of thought that Utley should be made to wait until the Dodgers visit Citi Field in a couple of weeks. First, the dread he experiences en route will be worse than the pitch to his let’s say ribs. Second, it will be 1986 weekend, so if there’s any trouble, Ray Knight [11] and Kevin Mitchell [12] will be on hand to keep the peace, wink wink.

Ron Darling [13], a 1986 Met himself, said something Tuesday night in the “in the day” vein he favors about pitchers policing hitters, fearlessly backing them off and putting them on their rear in retaliation for the crime of taking out beloved infielders in the midst of double play attempts. Ronnie talked about his experience as if he played in the Beer & Whiskey League of the nineteenth century. Baseball Reference confirms Darling’s career spanned 1983 to 1995, a period where it was intermittently bemoaned by Ronnie’s elders that pitchers “today” don’t police hitters like they used to when men were men and Bob Gibson [14] gave his cornflakes a close shave lest they look at him wrong.

Asdrubal Cabrera [15] made a sensational throw falling toward third from short to nail the loathsome Utley at first. Yoenis Cespedes [16] fired a majestic cannonball from the center field track toward second to eliminate not terribly speedy Adrian Gonzalez [17] following the world’s longest single. Spectacular defense kept the Mets in a 2-2 game from the second into the ninth. No hitting and lousy baserunning did the same. Most notable was Juan Lagares [18] slipping off first base in a pickoff attempt that became a pickoff. Darling said the dew gathers nights at Dodger Stadium and covers the bases and those things grow slippery as an eel as the evening ensues. That may be the keenest insight a player-turned-analyst has delivered since Tim McCarver [19] was telling Gibby stories on Channel 9.

The other reason it stayed 2-2 was Jacob deGrom [20] reverting to genuine Jacob form after opening the game (and much of 2016) pitching like Jake from State Farm. For a couple of innings, he was hideous. Then he was finding himself. Then, as the bumper stickers that were so ubiquitous when our family visited California in the ’70s put it, he Found It [21]. He seemed to rediscover the Jacob deGrom we remember from 2014 and 2015, including the version that toughed out the only Game Five the Mets won last postseason. Morning Wood was hard to overcome, but deGrom After Dark kept us up in a good way as long as he could. For the first time he lasted seven innings; for the first time he topped 100 pitches. It was vintage Jake, if you can refer to somebody not quite two years removed from his MLB debut doing something vintage.

We can do anything we want, even if we can’t always stay up as late as we’d like.