Monday, April 09, 2007

The Rollins Band

Game 7 - Mets

Mets 11, Phillies 5
Record: 5-2

Sometimes you just have to walk away before you say something you regret, or far worse, injure your television. After the aforementioned mental face-plant by Skip Willie, I turned off the TV in melodramatic disgust. In truth, it enabled me to get a few things done today; it may have also been the one cosmic alteration necessary for the Mets to regroup and . . . well, do what they did.

(I know, but hell, it worked in 1986.)

A pair of miracles of modern technology permitted me to actually view the crazy, seven-run eighth inning that catapulted the Mets to this win. First, my attentive partner in MLC ownership dropped me a message that registered on my mobile cellular texting thingmajig. Big thanks for that, little buddy; "whatever you did must have worked for the Mets" sent me barreling to the telly, and more importantly to the TiVo. With the prior 30 minutes of the contest automatically accessible (God bless TiVo), I backed it up and hunkered down for the onslaught. It lost some of the moment, since I already knew that good things were on the way, but it was still an enjoyable thing to see.

By "onslaught," of course, I overstate the Mets' role in all of this. I wouldn't want to be labeled an ingrate, so hearty thanks go out to the Philadelphia Phillies, most notably Geoff Geary and Jimmy Rollins. Three walks and a wild pitch by the reliever plus a crucial error by the shortstop certainly aided the Mets along the way. The Metmen did their part, for sure, but the Phils' assistance made a comeback a romp.

And so the crosshairs dart away from Willie Randolph's visage onto two obvious candidates: Rollins and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. In truth, neither deserves much more finger-wagging than Willie does; Randolph's blatant refusal to acknowledge an obvious threat to the Mets' tenuous lead was far less competent. Alas, in baseball as in life, a whole lot just isn't fair.

Jimmy Rollins booted a grounder with one out, the bases loaded and the Phillies up one, but for anyone thinking that it was an inning-ending double-play ball, all you need to know to have a second think on it is who the batter was: Jose Reyes. (Jose B. Reyes, of course; the much slower Jose A. Reyes was in the opposite corner of the Keystone State, presumably throwing on the tools of ignorance in hopes that the Binghamton Mets would actually get a game in after their entire first series was postponed thanks to Punxsatawney Phil being way, way off his game this year.)

I digress, but the point is that it would have taken a play for the ages to double up Reyes on that ball. Wasn't happening. The run was going to score regardless, and the game would have been tied regardless. Of course, just as in the '86 game I referenced, details hardly matter to the masses. For all intents and purposes, Buckner's gaffe gave away the World Series; on a seriously smaller scale, Rollins' botch is making its way into every headline on Ye Olde Interweb. (See "Rollins' error helps Mets rally past rival Phillies" on ESPN.com, for instance.) While not factually incorrect, it lets Geoff Geary's dismal attempt at a hold off the hook; same with Jon Lieber's clever prank of putting kerosene in the fire hoses. Just to stomp the point to death, if Rollins makes that play and Geary goes ahead and issues that wild pitch, the Mets regain the lead either way. So there.

Since I am already donning the Devil's Advocate horns, I might as well help young Jim out one more time. Even without making my rounds, I can already hear the Metsbloggers unleashing their banal barrage upon Rollins for his pre-season remarks. As I indicated, I neither disagreed with nor found much offense in what he had to say about his team's chances, and so I don't really relish his role in this bad Philly loss . . . nearly so much as I enjoy the mere thought of Joe Six-Pack everywhere from Malvern to Media to Merchantville to McGillin's throwing their half-empty Yuengling against the wall in a rage. Now that's worth stoking the embers for.

And finally, ol' Charlie Manuel will probably also unduly suffer thanks to Jimmy's prediction. If upper management bought into the new era of the Phightin's, 1-6 after a gnarly-looking loss like today's likely ain't sittin' too well with them. By all accounts, and there are many, Manuel is a great person, but he just sort of seems like your grandfather's crazy brother -- the one who was too close to too many shells in WWII and whom you wouldn't trust to bait your hook, much less drive you to town, much, much less manage your hundred million dollar ballclub. He seems to have a bit too much Ernie Pantusso in him, and while it makes for unintended hilarity, that's not really what you're going for with that post. I see Great Uncle Charlie watching the Kentucky Derby somewhere other than the clubhouse at Pac Bell, if you get my convoluted point.

And so goes the Mets' home opener. A wild seesaw affair to induce tantrums and reconciliations within the hour. Kind of a mess, not without its angst-causing moments, and a mighty roar of the crowd in the final act.

Wouldn't have it any other way - would you?

1 comment:

Mike said...

I see the Henry Rollins references were too low hanging for you to pass up as well.