THIS ONE GOES TO 14. [7-21-10]

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However bad you think it might have been, sitting in Chase Field tonight, let me assure you it was worse. It was worse because there was, again, negative offense; because Jason Bay achieved the Golden Sombrero, because the guys behind us said things like Luis Castillo was the Mets’ version of Eric Byrnes, because the dad in the front row behind the dugout wearing the Affliction shirt waved at the cameras and taught his son to wave at the cameras at every single goddamn opportunity. There was that goddamn snake noise, there was an acrobatic mascot with a mask that looked like a homeless Disney fox running around the field, there was a large scary Randy Johnson running around the other side of the field.

The Mets lost. In extra innings. To the Diamondbacks.

And it was not surprising.

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We arrived at batting practice to the news that there was a closed door meeting going on. It couldn’t have been going on that long, because the Mets were on the field not long after doors opened at 4:30. They took BP well after we abandoned our places to the autograph hounds to go in search of food – as well they should have. I did not expect a win tonight, although TBF did. What could a closed-door meeting possibly do to make them start hitting? Nothing, that’s what it could do. Alex Cora is angry that Mike Pelfrey is yukking it up with beat writers? That’s a great story in, say, April, provided it’s followed by the team rallying together to take the division lead. In July, it starts to feel a little bit like showboating.

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The game wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible, at least it was close. But it shouldn’t have been that. The Mets should have gone out there and put some runs on the board, and given Niese a comfortable lead to work with. But there weren’t enough opportunities to score and when there were, there was precious little effort to bring them in. Ike Davis had a terrible series. David Wright had a terrible series. Jason Bay continues to be Jason Bay, and anyone who expects him to suddenly start being Jason Bay is smoking something. Even Jason Bay himself rates his season as a C/C+, which I personally believe to be generous. (“THANK YOU FOR LEAVING BOSTON,” a Dbacks fan yelled at Jason Bay at some point after whiffing during one of the extra innings.) It was funny to listen to Dbacks fans yelling “SIT HIM DOWN” when Jason Bay was up. I actually resorted to turning around and saying, “Of course he’s going to sit him down. Have you seen his numbers this season? Save your energy.”

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In the 8th inning, I sent a text message to some friends who were sitting in the first row of the upper deck; the family next to us had vacated after the stretch since they had a very tiny baby with them. In the 11th inning, the Affliction-clad dad (who had been complaining from the end of the 9th onward that he had an 8:30 meeting) left. The section was suddenly filled with well-dressed former classmates of Ike Davis’, and in a split section, I grabbed my bag and headed to the first row behind the dugout. One, I’ve never sat there; two, I didn’t want anyone getting in front of the camera. Greg told us later that we were on camera often – at one point when Gary was commenting on all the Mets fans at the game, and then we became the background for Jerry. I would like to tell you that we offered an abundance of choice commentary at Jerry, but the best we did was when someone yelled “ARE YOU SURE THIS IS A GOOD IDEA, JERRY?” when Oliver Perez was brought in. “It’s either going to be the greatest win ever, or the biggest meltdown you’ve ever seen,” I offered to a friend-of-a-friend who is a Dodgers fan, in trying to explain the phenomenon that is Oliver Perez.

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And then Aaron Heilman came in.

Except that he wasn’t the Aaron Heilman that got booed in Flushing. He was some other bizarro Aaron Heilman that was reasonably effective.

None of this surprised anyone.

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I was praying for it to end by the Mets winning as much as I was praying for someone on the Dbacks to get a hit and end the nonsense. Except that when the latter did happen, I couldn’t believe it. And this time, the sound was sucked out of the ballpark momentarily, as the Mets fans who were LET’S GO METS-ing for the last 5 innings had nothing left to say, and the “Rally Backs” came hopping on the dugout with their perfect toothpaste smiles and Dbacks flags, and that stupid song they play when the Diamondbacks win (which is so puerile that TBF asked me if that was the song that Scott Stapp had written, him temporarily confusing the Dbacks with the Marlins). The only good thing was that there was no way we were going to be heckled on the way out of the ballpark because 1) there were so many Mets fans there, and they were the ones who stayed and 2) what could the Dbacks fans possibly say? And what could we possibly say back, anyway?

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This is not good writing or prolific or even funny. I could relate interesting or stupid or amusing things that transpired during this 14 inning debacle but all I can think about right now is that the season is now slipping away between our fingers, and the fact that the Dodgers have also been losing is no comfort, because the Mets will undoubtedly find a way to lose to them as well.

See you tomorrow.

[Sorry, no slideshow yet; I have to go through the photos and didn’t have enough time because the game ran late and I have a flight to LA in the morning.]

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