After Jason Marquis’ grand slam on Monday, Cubs fan Michael texted me “Suicide watch?” After Kosuke Fukudome’s RBI double yesterday, Cubs fan Josh texted me “Bye bye season!” (I responded “Fuck you dummy!” which I admit is terrible, but give me a break I’m an angst-ridden Mets fan). Another Cubs fan who I used to work with is a total hipster douche with awful opinions (Q: redundant?) and a superior attitude (A: yes), and earlier this season laughed in my face and jigged while Jorge Sosa (remember him?!) gave up eighty home runs in a two game series against the Cubs. On WFAN after the game, a Cubs fan called in to say that the Mets were lucky that Reed Johnson was in the game, because he’s terrible. Reed Johnson, who had two hits last night and is now 12 for 22 against Johan Santana. Hey Chicago, when did you turn into Yankees fans?! Keep your hubris in check, considering your history. (And I like the Cubs!)
I was all set to talk about Johan Santana’s insane hit, which really seemed to be the turning point of the game, comparing his broken black bat to Ron Santo’s black cat, but it seems as if the NY Daily News already has that covered. It’s funny, at least. And I’m not one who believes in curses but I do have a (non-Mets fan) friend going to the game tonight who offered to dress up as Bartman. Is Alou around too?
Why Santana’s hit, leaving aside the idea of divine intervention and whatnot, was important was because it seemed to wake the Mets up. After a dismal game Monday and half of one yesterday, it really did seem like the team was ready to go down meekly. Prior to Santana’s “magic bat trick” (see: Piniella), the offense’s turning point seemed to happen in the first inning, when Luis Castillo followed Jose Reyes’ single by grounding into a fielder’s choice. This guy is supposed to move runners up and get on base, hopefully at the same time, but with every swing of the bat it has become Automatic Out. I can’t stand three more years of this, like he’s 2001 G.W. Bush. He is terrible, surely, but even worse is hearing the boos that cascade on him before he makes an out. It’s not motivating, guys, and it’s pretty embarrassing to boot. In fact, it seemed like everyone aside from Reyes/Wright/Delgado/Santana was getting booed after striking out/grounding out/popping up, up until the bottom of the fifth. Because it was You Ain’t Got No Alibi time until the bottom of the fifth: Nick Evans getting hit, Santana’s crazy hit, Castillo walking (!), and David Wright coming through for only the fourth time all season with the bases loaded to tie the game.
And after that, you just knew this game had to be ours, right? You don’t get a nutty play in your favor and just throw it away. A bases-clearing Reyes triple (200th hit of the year) the next inning provided the cushion, and even Pedro Feliciano didn’t blow it (because Luis Ayala relieved him of his duties).
But it was Santana’s night, as it always seems to be when he’s on the mound. Slightly shaky in the first few innings, he settled down and became dominant again, in a game he knew was the biggest of the season. And it was, until tonight, and the one after that, and so on. Hopefully, the last game he pitches this season (scheduled for the last day of the season) won’t turn out to be the biggest one. Hopefully, by then, it won’t mean a thing.
Oh also, the Yankees were officially eliminated last night. Surprised it took this long, frankly.