Monday, May 21, 2007

Quiet Riot

Games 42 & 43 - Mets

Mets 10, Yankees 7
Yankees 6, Mets 2
Record: 28-15

The "Subway Series" phenomenon has generated plenty of press over the decade of its interleague life, most of it the dollar-store balloon quality of coverage. On the plus side, it's not as ridiculous in volume or melodrama as the 19+ annual Yankees-Red Sox media explosions are; in addition, the Bronx Bombers always, always dominate the spotlight, no matter what the scenarios are coming into the series. The Yanks are dominating? That's the story. Sucking? Even more of a story. Cruising along in between? Hell, make up some pseudo-compelling sidelight to draw camera crews from Stamford to Scranton to Singapore. Joe Buck took note of this practice during Saturday's telecast as if the Mets deserved more of the story. Gracious, no, Joe, we don't want it.

Nothing the New York Yankees Baseball Club does these days goes without media mention. Everything from Phil Hughes' hamstring massage schedule to Brian Cashman's toenail-biting woes are chronicled in print and online. The Red Sox are a close second, and the Mets come in somewhere down the list, if only because they dwell in a pinstriped shadow. Such worldwide attention brings bandwagon fans out the ying-yang, unnecessary scrutiny, and TV-made controversies galore. Playing in one of the five boroughs, the Mets are never going to fly under the radar, but relatively speaking . . . well, they kind of do. And it makes my following them with a close eye for 162 games more enjoyable.

That's why it's all right that the Mets let last night's contest drop like a bloop in short right. To say I didn't really want the Mets to win would be sour grapes and a lie, but once they couldn't solve the riddle of adolescent pitcher Tyler Clippard (honestly, Jeffrey Maier looked older), it's not such a bad thing that they couldn't execute the sweep. Rubbing the currently-but-not-permanently beleaguered Yanks' faces in the infield dirt would end up being its own storyline in some new saga and future bulletin board material, stuff the Mets do not need.

Take two of three, move along in workmanlike fashion, and fixate on the Atlanta Braves waiting at Liberty Media Field. That's the target. That's the story. That's the rivalry. There isn't even bad blood these days between the Mets and Yankees. The most ire you could drum up would be the Yankees pissed off at the Mets for telling them Doug Mientkiewicz would be a "half-decent" off-season pick-up. Even the creative writers in the tri-state media can't make a storyline here . . . until . . .

Oh, yeah. When Roger Clemens comes to town, things will be different. Granted, nobody on the team remembers the 2000 World Series or the Piazza-plunking that added fuel to it. Willie Randolph was even in the other dugout. No, it won't be a real issue, not with the players, but we fans will want blood. The blood that should have emanated from the Rocket's mouth after Piazza jammed that broken bat into his bloated belly. Uh, okay . . . maybe that's too much. Back away from the keyboard, Whitney.

Anyway . . . for now two of three from the Yanks is indeed a good thing. John Maine unfortunately continued his three-week, gradual stroll towards mediocrity last night, helped out in large part by Shawn Green's mastery of right field. First-step back, especially with two outs is great, but two steps back, fours steps to the side, then a mad charge in as the bloop falls in and directly leads to four early runs is grating. It's a darn good thing for him he's still hitting the ball. Speaking of which, in a not-so-much kind of way . . .

I bit my tongue in April while David Wright appeared to be holding the wrong end of the bat. He's now demonstrating why such reservation was prudent. It's taking all I've got to do the same for Carlos Delgado. He has been clean-up quicksand for most of the season, and last night was a trial size container for the national viewing audience. Bad swings, bad judgment, terrible timing. Two K's, a GIFDP, and his best effort, a groundout to first. Carlos Delgado is an MVP candidate year in and year out, a few more good seasons from HoF consideration, and a great all-around fellow. He's more than capable of brilliance, which is why it's so painful to watch him flounder in his current state. He's had wrist issues, and maybe he needs some time off to heal so we can get the real Delgado down the stretch. (What's working against that is his replacement, Julio "Pet Rock" Franco, who's basically becoming a useless novelty on the Mets' bench.) For now, though, I promise to lay off the big guy, acknowledging his résumé and knowing he will be an integral part of this club's success. I just might time my beverage refills to coincide with his at-bats for a while.

This is simply the kind of chatter murmured at low volumes among concerned fans. We certainly don't want public dissection of the matter; that's a reasonable expectation, what with all of the attention on Jason Giambi's idiotic ramblings, Joe Torre's clouded future, or Carl Pavano's new Brazilian. To quote a Township all-time fave, "Just play baseball."

1 comment:

Mets Grrl said...

See, when I think of a pet rock, I think of Moises Alou. I think I had a pet rock that was faster than he is in left field.

Yes, he can hit.

Sometimes.

And my word, did they show Brian Cashman more than they showed, well, just about anyone?