Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Pedro vs. Smoltz II

Pedro's starts have become an event in our house. The other day, Allie told me that, in general, she's found herself looking forward to watching Mets games after work, but "Pedro's pitching" has a special ring to it, makes her want to get home sooner. And that's saying a lot for a guy who's only played four games as a Met.

Whoever gets home first has to/gets to walk the dogs--Rosie, the 80-pound elder stateman, and Kaiser, the younger, 60-pound spazz. Last night the chore/honor was mine. But, like I said, Pedro was pitching, so I fended off anxious hounds for the first two innings. I was willing to wait nine, but the Braves were on Pedro like cold on ice, scoring three, two-out runs in the first inning.

By the bottom of the second, Rosie's stare was burrowing into the side of my head and Kaiser was bucking around in cirlces, like a bronco on acid. It was difficult to ignore their protests--and try to convince myself that the game was more important--with the Mets getting spanked. MSG announcer Keith Hernandez didn't help my cause...

Ted Robinson: This night in 1988, Keith Hernandez hit a grand slam in Atlanta. He drove in seven runs for the Mets that game.

Keith Hernandez: I also got divorced that day. Let me tell you, I was out late that night. HA!

Which reminds me of another Hernandez gem, this one from the night before. Bottom of the fourth, Mets down 1-0...

Fran Healy: He's been terrific!

Keith Hernandez: Who?

Fran Healy: (The Mets') Chris Woodward.

Keith Hernandez: I wasn't paying attention.

Error #1: daydreaming on the job. Error #2: telling everyone about error #1 just in case they missed it.

I think it's about time MSG sprung for one of those seven-second delay modules, one of those devices that allows the guys producing the game to hear everything a few seconds before the TV audience does. I'd take awkward silences of Keith.

In the meantime, I finally gave in and walked the dogs. When I got back, the Braves had pushed their lead to 4-1. Inning after inning, the Mets had baserunners but failed to muster anything approaching a comeback; John Smoltz would bend but he didn't break. Yet I stayed tuned in the whole time, this is the new Mets, afterall, even when Allie came home, saw the score, and asked if we could watch House on Fox. With all due respect to Dr. House and cast, I was planning to go down with the ship last night.

And so was everyone at Shea. There were a lot of people on hand making a lot of noise when Piazza pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth. Before I knew it, the Mets were back in the game: 4-3. Then Beltran singled and Piazza went first to third (When's the last time we saw that?); Reyes was dancing on the dugout steps. Two out, bottom of the ninth, and the team's hottest hitter, Cliff Floyd, at the plate. Bobby Cox went to the bullpen, pulling his closer, Danny Kolb. Unfortunately, Cliff popped up, but that's how you want to end games--a ninth inning with five hits, two runs, and a good chance to win. Tonight the Mets go for the series with Glavine facing Hampton. It's good to be a Mets fan.

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