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Glancing Blows

Thursday night found me at Bergino Baseball Clubhouse [1] in Manhattan for my talk on Piazza: Catcher, Slugger, Icon, Star [2]. It was a wonderful — or 31derful — time, and I thank proprietor and all-around ace human being Jay Goldberg for inviting and hosting me. I also appreciate all who showed up to listen in and add their two cents on the Mets of Mike and related topics. I hope some day or night soon finds you at Bergino, especially if you’ve never been. It’s as baseball a place as there is without an actual baseball game going on around you.

Actually, just before we got started on our program, there was a baseball game going on nearby, as Jay had the Mets on the Clubhouse TV just long enough for me to witness a few token pitches, thus allowing me to continue my nearly seven-year streak of witnessing at least a little of every game the Mets play. Then Jay clicked off the television and we traveled back to the Age of Piazza, with a detour to the Age of Seaver and some stops in between. Eventually, the TV came back on. I only glanced at the action while engrossed in a series of scintillating conversations and never really focused on any of it, but did manage to absorb a handful of images.

1) Robert Gsellman [3] giving up runs. So he’s doing that again, huh?

2) Terry Collins and Ray Ramirez visiting Juan Lagares [4], and not at his beach house, but in center field, leading me to correctly assume the worst.

3) Gavin Cecchini [5] striking out. Nice to have him back, I guess.

4) René Rivera [6] homering. René has grabbed the bull by the horns when presented with playing time. Travis d’Arnaud [7] is apparently allergic to bull’s horns.

When I left Bergino, we were losing, 8-2. On my way I home, I learned we lost, 8-3 [8]. Lagares, who’s been playing some of the best ball of his big league career, will be out a while with a thumb that deserves a figurative rather than literal break, but why should Juan be any different from Neil Walker [9], Matt Harvey [10], Josh Smoker [11]…I was going to list all the Met disabled, but I don’t know if my computer can handle the stress.

Sandy Alderson issued an injury report pre-Lagares. Basically, everybody you figured was hurt is hurt; nobody is really getting any better; and quit asking about Amed Rosario, he’ll be brought up when he’s good and ready. Clarification: when Alderson is good and ready to bring him up. I’m mostly on the patience train where Rosario is concerned — it’s not like the organization’s plan is to have him top out at Vegas — but I’m beginning to believe we’re edging into “what’s the harm?” territory. Should Amed come up and bat under .200 and play less than airtight defense, then he’s already as good as the current shortstop. Highly touted rookies get chances. Sometimes they make the most of them. Sometimes they don’t immediately, they return to the minors for a spell, and they don’t necessarily suffer irreparable psychic damage. I’m willing to trust Alderson knows a little more about Rosario than I do, but my trust is growing fragile enough that it will have to sit out a few days and, if it doesn’t look any better by then, it’s gonna need an MRI.

The Mets missed an opportunity to pick up ground on the first-place club, which is too bad, since the first-place club was on the same field as them and it would be nice to keep them in the same universe. It might be an illusion to juxtapose these two entities as being in direct competition with one another for the same division title, but it’s the middle of June. Illusions should be allowed to bloom clear to July, if not longer.

You know about Piazza [2]. You should know about Yells For Ourselves [12] by Matthew Callan. It’s the 1999 and 2000 Mets framed in a unique style and context. Marvelously conceived, brilliantly executed, incredible fun. Get in on the ground floor of the Mets teams that circled the penthouse instead of the drain. Check out YFO here [12].