Thursday, May 17, 2007

Midnight Oil

Game 39 - Mets

Mets 8, Cubs 1
Record: 25-14

A mere placeholder for tomorrow morning to demonstrate my dedicated fandom. (Yeah, I'm unemployed.) I actually witnessed two Mets wins tonight, waiting out the three-hour delay by watching the 1988 division clincher on SNY until the tarps were cleared, then taking in this dandy after cracking open my primer can at 10:15.

More tomorrow after some sleep. Prayers for Jose's hammy.

I was really quite surprised that they were able to get last night's game in. Delays and postponements have been peppering the scoreboard over the last 48 hours, and the downpour early in the evening had me watching the aforementioned "Mets Classic" as if that'd be the only bit of Metropolitans I'd get to see. Then about 10:00, they rolled 'em back and got set to play. 40,000 screaming fans provide a palpable sense of excitement, but a few thousand die-hards who stuck it out to see the Mets go past midnight added a great deal of fun just the same.

You need an inning or two to see how the rain delay will affect the starters; in last night's case, Cub stalwart Rich Hill was just a bit off his game, while Met fill-in Jorge Sosa (who etches himself a more permanent role with each outing) was decidedly on. Sosa went seven-plus, allowing one goddamn hit and one run -- the latter coming only after Joe Smith squandered his inheritance. With El Duque supposedly en route back to active status, Jorge may well take residence in the 5-spot that Mike Pelfrey recently relinquished -- the same one that call-up Jason Vargas will assume today. (Vargas!) Like an unsuspecting liver, Vargas has taken a beating in New Orleans lately. Time to channel Jorge Sosa and defy all expectation. (Vargas!)

On the other side of the box, Rich Hill dug himself a 4-0 hole by the fourth inning, as we hoped against a mirror image of the prior night's unfolding. The real damage came from another Damion Easley tater, this one a two-run high strike deposited somewhere beyond the left-field bullpen. In a story oddly similar to Sosa's, Easley was an off-season pick-up not expected to contribute much -- or need to -- who's had opportunity fall in his lap and who's made the very most of it. Stunning turn-arounds for each, and it looks like we'll need them to keep it up for a while.

The Mets' lineup was the first in baseball history to feature three players named Carlos, thanks to the inclusion of dazzling rookie Carlos Gomez. Not that exciting, no. Gomez went 2-for-4 with a double and a pair of ribbies, zipping around the outfield and the basepaths much of the night. For Met fans, very exciting. (Especially as Moises Alou finally hits the DL, as expected.)

Speaking of injured personnel, Jose Reyes seemed to tweak something in his left hamstring last night in the eighth inning, freezing the Township in panic. Early reports say it's just minor soreness, nothing to worry about. Yeah. Don't tell us what to worry about, okay?

And finally, in a non sequitur that can be reached with no sensible segue (hey, Latin and French; what a cunning . . . never mind), Keith Hernandez made his second mention of the timeless board game Strat-o-matic Baseball in two nights. With Jorge Sosa on the verge of notching wins in his first four outings as a Met, SNY flashed the stat about Mets who'd accomplished the feat before, including a pitcher named Bob Shaw on the 1966 squad. After Gary remarked that Shaw might not be a household name, Mex somehow pulled out that he had also been a San Francisco Giant. After it was confirmed that Shaw had, in fact, been a Giant the year before, Keith conceded after a pause, "I only know that because I'm playing the 1965 season in Strat-o." God bless him. Only the sickest of baseball addicts will trudge through a whole season of Strat-o-matic. Full-circle Seinfeldian conclusion: in 1990, I played the 1985 New York Mets season in Strat-o (while Rob took John McNamara's spot for the summer), featuring guess-who as my first baseman? Oh, yeah.


I.M. Forme said...

i heard mex talking about straomatic too, and at first thought it was a bit sad, a former major league star playing a dice game. but then i decided it was just another chapter in the quirky legend.

Whitney said...

It's a great game. The old school version with the dice and cards seems antiquated, and the appeal for me is at least partly influenced by growing up playing my grandfather and uncles, but it's still fun for any baseball lovers. Plus, it's antisocial, elitist, and with a case of beer, incendiary.

rob said...

i was with you all the way, right up until the incendiary part. ryan dempster was incendiary today, not so sure about strat.