Monday, August 09, 2004

Games 108 through 110 - Mets
Three Up, Three Down

Cardinals 6, Mets 4
Cardinals 2, Mets 1
Cardinals 6, Mets 2
Record: 52-58

The sweep in the Badger State (ah, the good old days) had me threatening to sing Randy Travis -- "is it still over, are we still through?" and sporting the reality blinders one last time. The sweep in the Show-Me-the-Gate State has me kicking the desk and looking ahead to football season. This Mets season is over, gone now, done for, doomed. And like anyone who just got dumped, I'm fairly bitter about it today.

The Mets certainly had their chances against the Cards, or so it seemed. Glavine, Benson, and Leiter as the three starters should have garnered them at least one win, right? They led or were tied in the latter half of the first two ballgames, but couldn't get it done. One problem was that the St. Louis pitchers didn't throw slow pitches without movement like they saw in Milwaukee, damn them. Matt Morris outpitched Tom Glavine, the Cards' bullpen outpitched the Mets', and Jason Marquis outpitched Al Leiter. You knew their defense would outshine ours. And the Cardinals outhit the Mets -- not so much outslugged them from start to finish, but were more timely in their success. They're clutch, and the Mets aren't. That's part of why St. Louis has 72 wins and New York has 52.

And the more I reflect on their taking it in the wazoo in ol' Mizzou, the more I feel like they didn't have their chances. The Cardinals are so much better than the Mets from top to bottom -- definitely to include their manager -- that it wasn't a fair fight.

Notes from the weekend: There was more adventure at the shortstop position. Kaz Matsui returned from injury and made a throwing error just like that. Sunday Matsui had to leave hurt again, this time with spasms (though I think that's just how he throws, doc), and Jose Reyes, who'd already made one error, slid over to short. Stay tuned . . . Al Leiter looked awful for the first time in a long, long while Sunday. He was due . . . Saturday Mike Stanton looked about the same as he has for a while. Which was awful. Stanton may have to join John Franco in Mets Relievers I Only Want to See Pitching on ESPN Classic . . . There is a series of articles unleashing the behind-the-scenes dirty little secret that Mike Piazza has been playing hurt. Stunning. 60 Minutes they are not. He's been slumping badly, and may as well be shelved in this floating corpse of a season. Just pull him out for big games like spoiler time in Atlanta.

And, as if to rebut my post last Thursday, the Sports Shark has once again bashed Bull Durham. Ignoring the fact that any writer who can pen 3,500 words on Varsity Blues should not be consulted for opinions on great sports films, and refraining from posting my 37 Reasons Why Bull Durham Is Not a Chick Flick (offhand, Reason #23: the words "cock" and "pussy," in the same sentence no less, are not uttered in any chick flick), I'll elect to take the high road. Bull Durham is a baseball fan's flick. Those most entertained by it seem to be those most empassioned by the national pastime. That collection of folks does not include the Sports Guy, who is a huge Red Sox fan but not much of a baseball fan. This depiction can be slung upon an enormous quotient of Red Sox Nation, unfortunately. People who follow / bitch about the Sox every season aren't necessarily big baseball fans; in fact, most aren't. It doesn't require much to be able to lump yourself in with those oppressed, denied masses of Sawx fans across the globe; you don't even have to keep up with them in The Globe. You just have to be from Boston, or the Boston area, or have had a relative once who lived there, or not. And then you can buy your Burleson-era blue-on-red cap and support the Sox and bitch about The Curse and holler "Yankees Suck." I must mention that this wicked label cannot be applied to Rob Russell -- not even close -- nor a few other friends of ours, nor a great number of folks on SOSH, Kyle at ECA, Peter Gammons, etc. But I'll bet you dollahs to dunkin' donuts that for every Sox fan with a broad base of baseball knowledge you've got a twelve-pack of folks who are "die-hard" fans because's it's fashionable, and who couldn't care less about baseball outside of Beantown, yet they blather with just as much bravado, perhaps more.

And if you're Sports Guy, you can have a national sports column without ever writing about anything baseball-related that isn't Sox- or Yankees-related, save an occasional "I went to the All-Star Game and all I brought back was this lousy column that reads like MTV News" piece to mix in with needless minutia about the NBA, rah-rahs on the Patriots, and which team his dog picked in the Browns-Bengals game. And in failing to ever illustrate any deep-rooted interest in baseball beyond Boston's borders, Sports Guy takes himself out of the candidacy of the baseball fans who most enjoy and appreciate Bull Durham. They aren't women, they're baseball fanatics. Maybe if it had been called Bull Braintree or Spinner Lowell, he might have been reeled in. But, no. Maybe, as rumored for years, John Cusack will finally adapt (and likely destroy) Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch (as a Sox National's plight instead of an Arsenal fan's) and that with resonate with him. In the meantime, lay off Bull Durham. Just because certain idiots like it doesn't mean it isn't great.

Wow, that came off as much nastier than I intended. I guess that wasn't the high road. I told you I was bitter today. I could assuage the anti-Sox fan sentiment by explaining that the ratio is far, far worse within the Yankee fan contingent, but I won't. And let's not get into Mets fans, please; Cuckoo's Nest comparisons hit a little too close to home.

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