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Blue Tops Forever

The Mets took the field Monday night having lost five in a row, three to the lowly Miami Marlins, and the portents were not good. Brodie Van Wagenen gave one of those sound-and-fury “full support for the manager” press conferences that make you even more convinced someone’s going to get fired [1]; revealed the surprising, confounding yet also oh-so-Mets news that Yoenis Cespedes [2] suffered multiple ankle fractures in an accident on his ranch; and then the Mets took the field wearing the now rarely seen but always thoroughly hideous combination of blue spring-training tops and pinstriped bottoms.

(All right, I’ll grant you the third item is less pressing than the other two, but oh man is this not a good look. I think it’s the cap’s white outlining around the NY that makes it truly awful, in a We Needed Another Cap to Sell way. At least bring back the plain white pants if you’re going to wear that top.)

Oh but wait — we’ve barely gotten started and I’ve forgotten something bad. Having been given a glib and hollow endorsement, Mickey Callaway [3] immediately demonstrated that he’s gotten no better at the “public face” aspect of being manager. He revealed that Robinson Cano [4] wasn’t playing because a) the Mets were facing a tough lefty; b) Cano was due a day off anyway; and c) a message needed to be sent about hustle.

Huh?

So Callaway gave two workaday reasons Cano would be sitting, then tacked on a meaningless third, punitive one? If you can find a message in that confusion, it’s that the manager lacks the courage of his convictions. I’ve known dads who communicate like Callaway, and they’re the ones whose kids would barely look up from doing feral shit because the threatened punishments were all over the map and would prove meaningless in the unlikely event they weren’t forgotten.

Oh, and then Cano said Callaway … hadn’t mentioned that third reason?

But here’s one of the many great things about baseball: After another The Sky Is Falling afternoon, the Mets went out and played a crisp, clean baseball game in which none of the trouble was visible. (Well, except the horrible blue tops-pinstriped bottoms part. Those were all too visible.)

The Nats’ Patrick Corbin [5] wasn’t as good as when they saw him at the beginning of the losing streak: Amed Rosario [6] and Pete Alonso [7] homered in the first and two innings later the Mets plated two more on a pair of walks, a Todd Frazier [8] single and a double from Carlos Gomez [9]. Later, Dom Smith delivered a pinch-hit RBI single to give the Mets some much-needed breathing room, as the Nats kept creeping back into it behind The Inevitable Anthony Rendon [10].

Edwin Diaz [11] would need that breathing room, putting the first two Nats on in the ninth but escaping unscathed. (One of the tactical knocks against Callaway is his rigid rules for Diaz have left him idle and less than sharp when needed.) Escaping more or less unscathed was a theme for the evening: Wilmer Font [12] was serviceable in going four innings, Drew Gagnon [13] was terrific for two more (and deserves higher-profile work), and Jeurys Familia [14] looked at least like something approximating his old self. Daniel Zamora [15] wasn’t effective and Robert Gsellman [16] was more lucky than good, but perfection is a rarely obtained goal. The Mets were good enough to win, and that’s what matters.

The Mets won [17], and for a night you could ignore all the dumb shit they’d done in the afternoon. Blue tops forever, I suppose.