Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Where Is My Mind?

Game 38 – Mets

Mets 8, Cardinals 3
Record: 24-14

Now this was more like it. Tom Glavine continued his unwavering pace last night, and the Mets rewarded him with a win – they scratched across a run to take the lead in the seventh, and the bullpen took it from there. The weather actually cooperated with the Mets this time, too, as a rainstorm delayed but did not truncate the game, allowing the go-ahead run to stand.

I was unable to observe any of the game save the highlights, wining and dining my wife in the nation’s capital for an early birthday celebration. While treating her to some of the finest cuisine, tastiest beverages, and wittiest charm available in DC, I couldn’t help but wonder how my beloved Mets were coping in St. Louis. After lambasting them to some degree in my latest post, I felt the remorse of the reprimanding parent, feeling justified on most counts but questioning the severity of the scolding. Somewhere in the District dusk, the New York Mets crept into my otherwise romantic evening, and they were there to stay.

We began the night at Hank’s Oyster Bar, an upstart establishment with an obvious menu. A Brooklyn lager was the first and most literal of many mental segues to all things Mets, and the queens strolling through the Dupont Circle neighborhood brought my mind even closer to Flushing. The first round of oysters included some Wellfleets, a name which always takes me back to long afternoons throwing back a bucket of suds at The Beachcomber on the Cape, as a Mets fans stuck in Sox territory watching Mo Vaughn tear it up for the Sox. The last clause in that memory, like the aftertaste of the oyster, left me salty.

Another beer, another round of oysters. The beer was a Pilsner Urquell, which despite my best cerebral efforts invariably made me think of Urkel, but which conveniently slid into wondering how my chums over at MetsGeek were undoubtedly following the game in my stead. (Rob had to figure I was coming his way with that one.) The oysters were Blue Points from Long Island, say no more. While hoping that I’ll be able to order up some “Lynnhavens” in the not-too-distant future, the ones I had were top-notch. I excused myself to find a men’s room and a game score, and returned with a mission only half-accomplished. Hammerin’ Hank’s it was not.

Dinner followed at another relatively new DC joint, Komi, and just as many avenues to MetLand were stationed therein. The first course, a soft shell crab, was fantastic but its mere mention inevitably reminded me of Carlos Beltran in those first couple of weeks. The wine was pretty good, somewhat aged, didn’t last too long, and I can’t remember where it was from. Call it a bottle of Jeremi Gonzalez. The main course was sea bass, which, no matter how resolute a man’s dedication to his team is, has only one mental connotation. At that point I hoped the Mets were kicking the Cards’ ass, and wondered if either a Braves’ loss or the film in question was airing on TBS – both have occupied many a slot on that station's schedule this season. It was at this juncture that I (and now you) had to wonder about my psychological stability.

And so the night went. After a quick walk (Brian Bannister), we made the questionable call (every umpire of every Mets game these days) to hit the Townhouse Tavern -- an old, rundown hole in the wall (Shea Stadium) where the beers are cheap but enjoyable (David Wright) and always ice cold (Cliff Floyd). The bartender was inattentive but not to an obvious degree (Willie Randolph), and the bar was just how I remembered it – still kind of crappy to look at, but fairly underrated and undeserving of the abuse it takes (Kaz Matsui). They do have the best juke in town (Jose Reyes), and bad-talent pool (Norfolk Tides) is always in effect. It’s a wonderfully eclectic place, where every kind of weirdo (Jose Lima) fits in just fine.

Finally, at last, I was able to catch the rain-delayed final and a few replays of the game’s pivotal moments. That the Mets could execute this osmotic seepage into my cerebrum on such a night is frightening. There’s no fighting it, though, so I’ll embrace it. The origin of “fan” from “fanaticism” isn’t a technicality by any means. Tonight I’ll be out and about again in Washington, carousing with comrades. With the game on ESPN, the night should provide as pleasing a mélange of my passions as thinkable. With my previously dormant hangover now awake and raging, we’re going to need tonight to start real soon.

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