Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Blood, Sweat, & Tears

Games 134 through 137 - Mets

Mets 7, Braves 1
Mets 5, Braves 1
Mets 3, Braves 2
Mets 10, Reds 4
Record: 77-60
Off to Atlanta, where the weekend could provide more nightmarish results. But it's a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up game, this baseball, and there's every chance that after looking hapless against the Phillies' fourth-string rotation and Grade E bullpen, our lads will shine against the Braves' stellar arms. And if the Metmen can take two of three, the confidence comes right back.

Sounds stupid, doesn't it? It works. Sounds improbable, right? Okay, then, go ahead and tell me with any accuracy how this season is going to write its last chapter. You can't, and that's why I'll continue to tune in despite all good judgment. Sometimes in the movie theater you stop trying to figure out what's going to happen, you turn your brain off, and you sit back and watch, hoping you'll be entertained and that the ending will satisfy. Doesn't make for very insightful blogging, but that's where I am today.
What a silly game baseball is, eh? Four days ago I'm distraught because of the results of the New York Mets, and now everything's back to peachy. Our guys are humbled one trip out, heroic the next. Rhyme -- we've got a little of that, but the search for reason goes on in baseball season.

Maybe Willie Randolph is onto something. (I said "onto" this time.) Perhaps the stoic, measured, even-keeled-to-a-fault isn't really to-a-fault. Willie knows that highs and lows come and go, and they're rarely as high or low as they seem to be at the moment. Maybe as football season is now between the horizon and ourselves, we let that one-game-matters notion creep into our otherwise sensible baseball brains.

Maybe, though, any and all discussion, analysis, prognostication, or outlook based on a single baseball game, a single series, or even a single week of play is futile, unnecessary, and enormous ado about nothing.

Maybe blogging about every single game is preposterous, inviting immediate thoughts and personal reaction to supersede perspective and balance. Maybe the four years Rob and I have spent at MLC HQ has been a colossal waste of time, energy, creativity, and output. Just read through the annals here for daily doses of misappropriated excitement and woe, misdiagnoses and misinterpretations of what any one game means in the big picture. Hindsight and permanent records never go well together, but a-post-a-day blogging makes it something of a boilermaker. Maybe we should sober up.

Yeah. That's likely.

Beyond our addiction to this stuff and our sense of duty to Readers #3, 4, and 5, we also know that the fun of baseball is the emotional investment to your team. It's leaping from your couch at the sight of a game-ending tater, even in May, or the prospect of head-shaking misery when the club gets swept in a critical series nearing the home stretch. Sensibility, as we know it, is unknowingly shelved for six months -- even as we tout the tenets of a reasonable and practical view of our club's chances. Statistics and historical perspective accompany our well-rationed arguments about the merits and flaws of each team, but binders full of mathematics and old standings cannot sway the hearts of the most deeply-rooted rooters.

When it's going well, we're on top of the world, and when it's going poorly, we're down in the dumps. So be it. In the same vein of suspending disbelief for entertainment purposes, ours is a willing suspension of better judgment, so don't apologize for it any more than you would for liking Field of Dreams or The Natural.

The most prudent approach would be to stave off excessive agitation or elation until late September, when you really know what's what -- but if you can wait that long, I don't think you're really much of a fan. It's simply impossible not to get caught up in when you care about the team -- and we care a lot. So long as we do have one foot grounded in reality and are still trying our best to incorporate reason into our madness, I believe we can justify the couch-kickings last Thursday and the fist-pumpings of the past couple of days. The latter is no more a statement of surety about future successes than the former is an abandonment of hope.

All of which is to say that while the "Spinning Wheel" philosophy I brilliantly employed over the weekend (also spoofed here in a post that gives me much perspective) is indeed the wisest route, I still reserve the right to exhibit cursing, rejoicing, fret, sweat, celebration, exasperation, worry, fury, and extreme bouts of utter happiness and despondence over the next four-plus weeks. Enjoy. Should be kind of fun.

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