Tuesday’s game at New Soilmaster marked an unhappy milestone for the new season: it was the first time I found myself deeply bored.
Seriously. The Mets scored a flurry of runs off Jose Urena  and the Marlins’ slapstick defense (that part was fun), and then the game bogged down in a quagmire and 50 dudes more or less waited for the tow truck. The Mets kept putting guys on and not bringing them home, turning a laugher into a chuckler and then a snoozer. Meanwhile, Jason Vargas  was on the mound, sweating like Niagara Falls — seriously, has a doctor looked at that? — and every time you took your eye off the Marlins they crept a little closer, as Marlins tend to do.
The Mets got another run but it came because Brandon Nimmo  took a ball off his knuckles, and meanwhile our manager was busy making his nightly contributions to the WTF, Mickey? fund. If you’re down your two best relievers and Seth Lugo ‘s sick, why in the world do you take Vargas out after only 74 pitches with a three-run lead? Why put a glove on J.D. Davis ‘s hand when you don’t have to? The Marlins got closer and closer, until the lead had shrunk to a skinny run and Justin Wilson  was on the mound with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth and suddenly I was sure all of this was my fault. I’d been bored, but the game wasn’t boring anymore.
It was terrifying.
And somehow it got scarier in the ninth. Wilson hit speedster Lewis Brinson . Peter O’Brien  hit a screaming liner that Amed Rosario  caught rather than allow himself to be decapitated by it. (Good choice!) Chad Wallach  singled, leaving the Marlins a modest hit away from a tie and a long hit away from a win that would have been oh so Soilmaster. Up came Miguel Rojas , who hit another liner — one just above Rosario’s head. Rosario caught it, Brinson fell down, Rosario flipped the ball to second, and the Mets had survived .
They’d survived, and are 4-1. They’re 4-1 despite important outfielders taking balls off hands and Mickey Callaway  looking like his bullpen-management skills have actually gone backwards and having to play the goddamn Marlins. Maybe those are blemishes, and months from now we’ll smile and nod when they’re mentioned and go back to talking about the starting pitching being awesome and the hitters using the whole field and the depth having proved so important. Or maybe they’re portents, and we’ll talk about all those terrible things and wonder, once again, “Why us?”
But for now, the screamers have been caught and disaster has been averted. I keep reminding myself that counts too.