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The Joy of Excess

Why win by one when you can win by eleven? The Mets can win by eleven?

The answer to the latter is yes, apparently. The answer to the former is never win by one when you can win by eleven. Oh, if only it were so easy to test the theory. At Camden Yards on Wednesday night, it was easy as pie — or Pi [1], which the Mets scored more than four times as many. Or much.

However you wish to express a 16-5 Mets romp [2], go ahead. We earned it. We’d lost our three previous games with the Orioles, which kind of took the shine off playing a team allegedly far, far worse than ours. The finale between the two non-contenders had a real “Coward of the County [3]” quality to it, if you could portray a 36-85 opponent as a cabal of Gatlin Boy-caliber bullies.

We’ll tell ourselves anything to get through a season like this. I’m telling myself that this was a highly satisfying heap of revenge that was months in the making, not the pummeling of one of the least statistically impressive conglomerations of baseball talent since the 2003 Tigers challenged the 1962 Mets for reverse bragging rights.

Regardless, it was a win. A big win. Put it up in garish blinking lights:

HOT W BALTIMORE

All hail leadoff hitter extraordinaire Brandon Nimmo [4], he of the five-for-five plus a low-key hit by pitch (Ronald Acuña should have been so lucky in Atlanta [5]). The only thing Nimmo didn’t do was homer, which was OK, because how much smiling could one outfielder do? Hail Mets DH Todd Frazier, who made the most of his phony position with three hits, including a home run. Hail Kevin Plawecki and the grand slam that extended the Mets lead from enormous to gargantuan, topping off the nine-run sixth, the same inning during which Jose Reyes’s batting average soared to a season-high .201 (it dipped back to .199 at evening’s end).

Zack Wheeler [6] wasn’t quite as sharp as he’d been in recent starts, but the combination of Oriole lineup and aberrant support made him a one-run pitcher over five innings. Zack continues to deserve attention, but in a game like this, it seems more apropos to direct some to Jack Reinheimer [7], whose entry into the Mets organization as a July 31 waiver pickup might have escaped the notice of the Western world at large. We’re noticing him now, though, for Jack Reinheimer provided the kind of data set that makes deep-dive Mets fandom pay off in spades.

Jack Reinheimer entered the game as a pinch-runner for Jose Bautista in the sixth. That alone was worthwhile, for it put Jack the former Diamondback on the board as the 1,065th Met ever. When he trotted home on Plawecki’s slam, that meant Jack had scored a run as a Met before coming to bat in our togs. I immediately recalled Lou Thornton having done the same in a last-gasp pennant race contest versus the Cubs in September 1989. Like Reinheimer, Thornton had played elsewhere previously. Slightly more pristine were the three cases of Mets whose major league debuts went the same way. Luis Guillorme scored as a pinch-runner this past May before he ever batted. Tsuyoshi Shinjo could say the same in 2001. And on June 16, 1977 (not at all an emotionally charged date), Steve Henderson pinch-ran for Ed Kranepool and scored for his opening act.

There’d be more for Jack as the night went on. After scoring in place of Bautista, he also took over his position: third base! That made it 171 third basemen in franchise history, not to mention nine different Mets at the hot corner this season (five debuting there as Mets this year). And his being in the game at all meant we’ve seen — or perhaps blinked and missed — 53 Mets in 2018. We are one away from tying the franchise record, set in 1967. The standard of 54 Mets seeing action in a single season is one of the handful of Met marks that’s been in place for as long as I can remember. We need one new 2018 Met to tie, two new 2018 Mets to exceed. Now we know why David Wright (a.k.a.Third Baseman No. 129 [8]) is working so hard to come back.

Oh, and Jack Reinheimer collected his first major league base hit. That’s more of a Jack Reinheimer highlight, but he’s entitled to one for himself, just like we were entitled to a night of swimming in Mets-related jubilation. The pool has been empty all summer. What fun to find it filled.