Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Game 7 - Mets

Mets 4, Florida Marlins 2
Record: 4-3

Al Leiter wasn't as sharp as he was in his first outing, but he was good enough. His defense and his relievers bailed him out once or twice, and he's often good for a key ground ball when he needs it most. The Mets rapped out 8 hits, 6 by Ty Wigginton (including an absolute bomb) and Tsuyoshi Shinjo. The Metropolitans are now hitting .238 on the season, as their foes hit .274 against them. Since they're at 4-3, does this make them "scrappy"? In the "Saw that joke coming down Main Street" department, either they better start hitting pronto or that'll be "crappy" by Easter.

Got to enoy the dialogue of the Marlins commentators who took advantage of Leiter's presence on the hill to reference the barn-burning 1997 World Series . . . 1,997 times. Funny, though, they didn't talk too much about the debacle that was Wayne Heizenga selling off the players he'd bought to climb to the mountaintop just hours after taking ownership of that trophy. Speaking of which, has there been another Fall Classic so regarded as legendary in simultaneously positive and negative lights? The Game 7 down-to-the-wire drama is Top 10 all-time material, while the '97 Marlins (and what they quickly became) stand as a universal symbol of much that is wrong with baseball in this era (out of control salaries, long-term small market woes, expansion, teal uniforms).

Pro Player Stadium looked nearly empty, not that it comes as any surprise. In fact, most of the games I was able to flip to tonight had seat upon seat still available. And although my counterpart accurately put much of the blame for Camden Yards' half-full -- actually half-empty if you have to watch the Birds -- status on Napoleon Angelos, they are clearly not alone in the fan blight. Stadia around the league are already thinning out in attendance, and it's only Week 2! Doesn't the fervor of the dawn of a new season count for anything? In truth, the weather has been horrendous (ah, so this is why they didn't used to start until mid-April . . .), with snow stoppages, freezing temperatures, and downpours all driving away less than die-hards. But tune into tonight's Orioles-Devil Rays (surely you require penance for something), or even Red Sox-Blue Jays or Reds-Astros and you'll see that even a comfortable domed climate can't entice folks. With ticket and concession prices the way the are and the economy the way it is, can you blame them for passing up a chance to see the home team blow a huge lead and pop up with the tying run in scoring position to end the game at 11:15 on a weeknight? Plus there's a war on, so they say. Plus you can get this MLB Extra Innings thingy and be in baseball heaven. Plus . . . well, I could keep coming up with excuses, but I'm not the one struggling to make a baseball franchise work in a medium-to-small market. Thank goodness.

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