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And We Crawl Along

Congratulations to Travis Taijeron [1] for making his big-league debut after seven seasons in the minors — the last three spent at Las Vegas. With his 29th birthday looming, Taijeron had to be thinking he’d been pigeonholed as an organizational player, one whose impressive numbers at Triple-A wouldn’t interest his front office or anybody else’s beyond getting him another job offer as a roster filler.

That was Taijeron’s life Friday; one Yoenis Cespedes [2] hamstring strain later … well, OK, one Cespedes hamstring strain and a Michael Conforto [3] freak injury and two three outfielder trades later and it was Saturday and Taijeron was about to become an immortal. There must have been innumerable lonely nights, unhappy bus rides and sour spring-training cut days when Taijeron had to wonder if his best chance had slipped through his fingers, unnoticed and now unreclaimable. Whatever happens now, that peril is no more. He’s one of 1,038 New York Mets and 19,000+ major leaguers, and he always will be.

But Taijeron can be forgiven if he’s holding out for a second, smaller wish: to play a major-league game without being made to dress like a fucking rodeo clown.

There are some nice things about Players Weekend, if you squint — the Little League-inspired “evolution” logo is OK, and Darren O’Day [4]‘s nickname is a good story [5]. But if you stop squinting for so much as a second, yikes. There’s gobs of obscenely expensive shit you’re of course encouraged to buy, and broadcasters and team flacks and the media following orders to dry-hump this dumb idea with maximum enthusiasm (to his credit, Gary Cohen’s embarrassment has been palpable), and worst of all everybody looks like an idiot. Is your TV broken? No, it’s just Major League Baseball trotting out the latest “How do you do, fellow kids” initiative Power Point’ed into groaning existence by some dreary committee of well-coiffed, vacant-eyed marketing dipshits.

WARNING: I AM ABOUT TO ADMIRE THE YANKEES

Remember when the Yankees used to tell MLB to pound sand when confronted with stupid shit like this? What happened to that? Now the Yankees wear dumb holiday colors and moronic two-tone hats and send Todd Frazier [6] out with THE TODDFATHER on his back like he’s been possessed by Chris Berman, and even though I hate the Yankees it depresses the shit out of me, because lots of times what MLB desperately needs is someone to say, “Nah, the way we’ve done it for the last 90 years or so is good enough.” You used to be able to count on the Yankees to be that franchise, even if it depressed you that your own franchise was run by craven losers. Now the Yankees are just as addicted to moronic hashtaggery as everybody else, and it makes me sad.

OK, IT’S SAFE TO COME BACK NOW

Anyway, the Mets took the field looking like some kind of faddish candy your dentist would warn you to avoid, and awaiting them were the Nats, dressed like bridesmaids who’d pregamed a little too hard and projectile-vomited raspberry margaritas on each other.

Neither team looked like it belonged on a major-league field; one of them at least played like it did [7]. After taking advantage of the Mets’ shoddy defense and Robert Gsellman [8]‘s indifferent sense of pitch selection (start caring, son), the Nats’ attention wandered and they let our ragtag band of recent 51s draw within two runs. The imminent danger got their attention (WARNING: CREAMSICLE OBJECTS IN REARVIEW MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR) and they quickly unloaded on Jeurys Familia [9], newly returned and understandably rusty. Good teams do that, and the Nats are a good team.

The Mets are not. At this point another wretched loss is hardly worth noting. But for this weekend, there’s added reason to avert your eyes.