Monday, June 05, 2006

Here & Now

Games 52 through 56 - Mets

Mets 1, Diamondbacks 0 (13 inn.)
Giants 6, Mets 4
Mets 3, Giants 2 (11 inn.)
Giants 7, Mets 6 (12 inn.)

Mets 4, Dodgers 1
Record: 34-22

Just getting settled in for tonight’s late Mets-Dodgers series opener. I didn’t have time to “recap” the previous slew of games, i.e., slap together some third-hand remarks about games I didn’t see nor lose sleep over while I was lounging about in North Carolina’s Outer Banks for a few days. Because of that, we’re just going to jump right in with a rare in-game live commentary from MLC HQ in Norfolk, VA. Enjoy.

I’m not sure my temperament is right for the ups and downs of nine innings (much less 162 games) when I just experienced the following bipolar symptoms:
[Game coming on] All right, Mets, let’s—
[Fox Sports West logo] No SNY?? Awww, crap, man, this is . . . oh, maybe Vin Scully?
[“Good evening everybody, wherever you may be . . .”] All right! Not a bad second choice!!

Mr. Scully is about the best in the business and has been for quite a while. Honestly, he jams more information – baseball-related and otherwise – about Jose Reyes into one at-bat than Baseball Tonight will in a season.

Wow. I’m serious, the emotional rollercoaster is already in the loop-de-loop. Follow along if you can…
1. Vin Scully announces that Jose Reyes’ boyhood idol is Roberto Alomar. Outrage on the sofa.
2. A split second later, Reyes drives the ball into the first row of the right-field bleachers. A one-man wave is created in my den.
3. The Dodgers fan who caught the ball throws the ball back, makes a crazy face, and hoists double-birds in the general direction of players and the television viewing audience, taking FSW by surprise. Hilarity ensues.

Damn. Three minutes in and it’s already a great game. Stay tuned.

* * *

After a Beltran flick into center, Carlos Delgado crushes one that . . . just makes it over the right-center fence. Hey, he's slumping and in Chavez Ravine against a usually solid pitcher. We'll take it. As Vin just quipped, "before the seats are even warm, it's three-nothing." In SoCal, though, aren't the seats always warm?

'Twould be very nice if this marked the beginning of the end of Delgado's terrrrible slump. (Guest crossover appearance by Bill Walton, thankyouverymuch.)

If this keeps up, I will in-game blog every game of the rest of the season. And if the Mets quickly blow this lead, I will punch myself in the groin for the obvious jinx.

* * *

The Dodgers go down in the first with just a Nomar single. As odd to see him at first base as it is to see him in Dodger blue, but that's a thought better left to the other side of the MLC aisle.

As the second inning comes and goes without a run scored, a few random thoughts:

-- The Dodgers have joined the ranks of those clubs forgoing the players' names on the backs of their jerseys. I'm not sure if the aesthetic -- and there is a palpable one -- of this look is just a less cluttered uniform or a subconscious appreciation for the eschewing of individual recognition, but it works.

-- L.A. currently sports a lineup that scares nobody -- well, nobody except Dodger rivals, fantasy baseball junkies, and box score buzzards like myself. Casual fans -- and by that I mean both those that exclusively watch ESPN for their baseball coverage as well asthose who are writing and anchoring at ESPN -- have never heard of Willy Aybar, Ramon Martinez, Andre Ethier, or Russell Martin, but these unsung guys are posting more-than-solid numbers and keeping the Dodgers in the thick of divisional contention.

-- Cliff Floyd has ownership of the only .232 batting average that has me pleased with where the hitter is headed.

-- Alay Soler is throwing tonight. He's gotten further without the big inning than he had in previous outings -- look out in the 3rd. I know what you're thinking, though -- so what the hell's his theme music? Yes, I failed to match my cohort's pitcher tunes last week. For Soler, I'll resist "Havana Daydreamin'" but stay relatively close in theme: "Immigrant Song" works for me, if only so I can mimic Robert Plant's high-pitched, siren-like wail when Soler gets himself into more trouble.

* * *

Soler has guided the Mets through five scoreless frames now. He even notched his first career hit, though his teammates could do nothing with it. Still 3-0. More thoughts:

-- Vin Scully has provided the height, weight, hometown, schooling, and multiple stories about just about every Mets player tonight. Die-hard Dodger fans must be the most league-wide knowledgeable fans in the game. Program vendors at Dodger Stadium, starving on the streets, have one man to blame. It's awesome to listen to -- my only (wee) complaint might be that sometimes the anecdotes supplant the play-by-play, which has to take precedence. A small knock.

-- The jury is no longer out. I'm pretty much never, ever going to like J.D. Drew.

-- For some reason, I think I'd feel significantly more comfortable if the Mets could plate one more run right now.

-- There were some who suggested that Soler be bumped for another starter , but word is that Willie Randolph said his gut instinct told him not to pass up on Alay.

Somewhere outside the range of this satellite dish, Keith Hernandez boos me loudly.

* * *

Wow, that was easy. Asked for one run, the very next three batters got hits and there it was. Why I didn't ask for more is what makes me so selfless/stupid.

But while I'm here . . .

For some reason, I think I'd feel significantly more comfortable if someone would ring my doorbell now and drop off 17 million dollars.

* * *

Okay, so obviously that didn't happen, but speaking of ding-dongs, Willy Aybar just ruined Soler's shutout night with a drive into the seats in right. Aybar's surname coughed up horrific nightmares of last April, when Manny Aybar was "pitching" for the Mets. I smile, though, both because he's long gone from the roster and because I remember the nickname Manny Aybar"f a little in my mouth every time he enters the game."

* * *

Bottom 8, Pedro Feliciano on in relief, and Willy Aybar at the plate as the tying run. Dinner: Part Deux is playing out as well as most sequels do.

* * *

Feliciano, then Chad Bradford get out of the mini-jam. In a move I've been beckoning for for weeks, Willie lets Bradford stay in the game, even in a save situation. The frequent work Sanchez, Wagner et al have been forced to endure lately, what with all of the extra-inning affairs, precipitated this strategy, but I'm still giving the skipper credit. As we've noted before, when the reliever looks to be on his game, don't yank him after four pitches just because the closer-save formula might call for it.

A 1-2-3 ninth for the Trolley Dodgers, and the Mets pick up a nifty, bullpen-resting, confidence building, reason-to-believe kind of win for Alay Soler. I can now happily retire to bed with a head full of Vinsight, a belly still full of food, and a heart with 108 pairs of stitches, a Rawlings trademark, and 25 sloppy signatures on it.

Much catching up still to do to approach the level of my peers in the Mets' 'sphere. I guess that can wait till tomorrow, but then some lines of Buffett stroll through my conscious...

It's one o'clock in the mornin'

Runnin' on adrenaline

What I'm tryin' to say is that tomorrow's today

And we got to do it over again

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