Today’s Mets game started before I even remembered about it. 12:10 rolls around and I get an IM from Joe reminding me. Because of lousy work all I could do was follow it online while checking the pithy commentary over at Mets Geek. A first inning run. Yay. Much mirth and merriment over Ramon Castro attempting to stretch a lead-off hit in the second into a double, and of course he doesn’t, because that man is a beached whale (whom I adore, but nonetheless…watching this guy try to slide is funnier than Woody Allen’s last ten movies combined). Oliver Perez just dealing against his former team, allowing one hit through five innings. Yes yes everything’s great lalalala let’s sweep the lowly Pirates.
Oh but then. But then Ollie reverts back to form, experiencing one of his all-too-familiar meltdowns in the sixth (getting help from some shoddy defense all around, himself included), leading five runs to score. In the next inning, Scott Schoeneweis gets runners on the corners (of course!), so Joe Smith is brought in to try and take care of that mess. Of course, Joe Smith of the past two months–and especially the last week–has not been the Joe Smith of the first two months, and three runs score. Bah. Fast forward to the end of this miserable game and it’s the Pirates who win, 8-4.
And then Joey’s sent down to the minors. It is obviously depressing, considering the 5,635 lewd comments and/or declarations of love (depending on your perspective) I have made about him on this here blog. I have been worried about this for some time–had actual nightmares about it even, the last one coming around the All-Star Break. And as much as it pains me to say it, as much as I will miss watching him pitch, I really do think it’s the best thing for both the team and for Smith. More and more, Joey’s become a bit of a liability (it says something about your performance when even Aaron Heilman starts to surpass you). Many reasons abound: he’s tired, for one. This is a kid who was in college a year ago, played some minor league ball, zoomed through spring training, and made his major league debut in April. The fairy tale had to end some time.
I think in the long run that this is a good thing for Smith. Take some pressure off. Regroup. Get a little rest. Maybe eat some good gumbo and go to a crawfish boil or drink some chicory coffee with beignets. Come back well-rested and ready to show off what made us all fall in love with him in the first place. Think of it as second April. Let’s hope it works out this way. He’s too good to not be on this team.
I need a damn drink.