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The Murph Game

Daniel Murphy [1] made an error. You probably noticed.

Murph’s error came in a house-of-horrors eighth inning at Citi Field, a frame that’s an excellent candidate to take up residence in the recesses of your brain, to be hauled out and fumed over at future 3 AMs.

But Murph wasn’t the only thing going bump in the night on what became a Halloween from Hell. Tyler Clippard [2] walked two guys, Jeurys Familia [3] wasn’t sharp, and Terry Collins [4]‘ dropped managerial toast finally started landing butter-side down. And while Yoenis Cespedes [5] was a bystander in the eighth, his night’s resume included striking out twice, fielding another ball with his foot (which led to a Royals run), and somehow managing to get doubled off first down two runs as the trail runner to end a World Series game.

Oh, and let’s please remember that the Kansas City Royals are a pretty damn good baseball team. Give them an inch and before you know it they’ve gobbled up a light-year. The 2015 Mets’ epitaph will probably read KEPT GIVING THE ROYALS INCHES.

Blame Murph if you want, or if you have to. But also remember that without Murph’s mammoth October at the plate, our happy postseason memories probably begin and end with recalling that game where the Mets clobbered the lone lousy starter in the Dodgers’ rotation.

It was the first World Series game I’ve had a chance to attend, and that part was fun … well, at least for the first seven innings. The World Series is terrifying on your couch, with every tiny facet of the game magnified into an omen of disaster or good fortune; from a stadium seat those facets of the game are invisible and the experience is like being strapped to a speeding train. The park is a cauldron of noise and the collective emotion sweeps you up so fast and so thoroughly that you find yourself struggling to judge events like you’re witnessing a normal baseball game. I misjudged fly balls, lost track of whether pitchers were righties or lefties, and basically gave up and held on for dear life.

One note that amused me until it ceased to: Given World Series prices, I assumed our neighbors in the Promenade would include a high proportion of rich front-running jackasses and bored scenesters. Not exactly: Our section loved the Mets, but the intensity of their embrace was more off-their-meds than anything you’d want to emulate — as was their consumption of massive Bud Lights, which caused them to turn on the team with shameful speed after Murph’s error. This wasn’t exactly a rattle-your-jewelry crowd — they would have been a perfect fit for Shea’s upper deck on one of those hotter-than-balls August nights in a 72-win season, the kind of game where you kept your head on a swivel after the third inning because you knew things would turn bad and the cops weren’t climbing all those steps unless they absolutely had to.

On the whole, I might have preferred rich front-running jackasses.

Anyway. It was the Murph Game [6]. I could talk more about how Clippard, Terry, Jeurys and Cespy conspired to make it the Murph Game, but it won’t matter, because it will be remembered as the Murph Game. Similarly, I’d try talking about Michael Conforto [7]‘s two home runs and how much fun it will be to have him in the lineup for a whole year, or look to dissect Steven Matz [8]‘s not-bad-at-all effort on the biggest stage in the sport. But let’s not kid each other — that good stuff went out the window when Eric Hosmer [9]‘s little bouncer went under Murphy’s glove.

The Murph Game. That isn’t fair, but baseball isn’t fair.

If you can do it, press reset. There’s at least one day left in the season — one more day of baseball, which even at its cruelest is better than a day without it. Matt Harvey [10]‘s pitching that game, and he’s pretty good. If the Mets win, they get to play again on Tuesday. Jacob deGrom [11] would pitch that game, and he’s pretty good too. And if the Mets somehow win again, they get to play a third game on Wednesday. Noah Syndergaard [12] would pitch that game, and he’s as good as those other pretty good guys.

It’s not likely, but nothing in the postseason is likely. And it’s better than thinking about winter. Win or lose, we’ll have our annual eternity to do that soon enough.