While watching the New York Mets this past weekend, I spent every game looking for a sign from God—well, maybe not from God, but at least from Tug McGraw.
I was looking for anything—no matter how little—to show me that there may be a miracle coming in the last two months of the season for the Metsies. I looked on the field, in the batter’s box, on the pitcher’s mound, in the dugout, under my TV—everywhere and anywhere.
And on Friday, I thought I had it.
After Angel Berroa grounded out on the first pitch he saw, pinch-hitting with the bases loaded (I think the ball actually bounced in the dirt...it would have been a good pitch to hit if he had been playing cricket), and Sean Green’s wild pitch cancelled out Daniel Murphy’s slick double play, Arizona third baseman Mark Reynolds dropped an easy pop-up with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
That was it!
The Mets are going to take advantage of another team’s bumbling embarrassment for a change and springboard themselves to an 18-2 tear. My giddiness and hopes lasted about eight seconds, as Angel Pagan quickly grounded into a double play to end the game.
It wasn’t a sign from McGraw after all, but probably more from Bobby Bonilla.
When Saturday’s game started, there was still hope. The Mets had taken two out of three in Houston, three out of four against the Colorado Rockies, and still had a chance to take three out of four vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Oliver Perez weaved his usual magic on the mound—meaning, of course, that he stunk. But when Berroa actually got a hit, when he came in to pinch-hit, to keep a rally going (where was that the night before?), it was time to seek out a sign once again.
Berroa got a hit against major league pitching? That’s a miracle in and of itself. And when Pagan atoned for his deflating 6-4-3 DP the previous evening with a dramatic grand slam, which ultimately proved to be the game-winning runs, that had to be a sign, didn’t it?
"It ain’t over, 'til it’s over." "You gotta believe"—here we go again. Wasn’t that Yogi Berra shaking Pagan’s hand when he reached the dugout?
But on Sunday, the only sign I saw was the one that said, "This way to mediocrity."
Mike Pelfrey was shaky, and the offense couldn’t get anything going—yet again. Since the team’s five-game winning streak last week, they’ve now gone 1-3. Weren’t they supposed to beat up on the lowly D-backs? I guess the Mets are pretty lowly themselves, so why should we expect anything different?
The Mets are 50-54, nine-and-a-half games out of first place and seven-and-a-half behind the the Wild Card leader (with seven teams still ahead of them). They’re right where they were last Monday morning.
Those .500-or-bust beards are going to get pretty damn long.