I trust that GC — once he’s done belting out karaoke favorites (here’s a clip of our camera-shy webmaster at work) and drowning his memories of tonight’s 9-4 Mets loss in the cocktail of his choice — will eventually deliver a more in-depth summary of the gala CSTB event that unfolded parallel to the three-plus hour tumble down the stairs that was the Mets’ surpassingly out-of-it performance tonight. But I thought I’d get in there while he’s still singing.
Excepting the fact that the Mets were weapons-grade terrible, the evening itself was quite enjoyable — I met some nice people (one of whom, reader Colin, is actually at work right now: hang in there, homey), somehow managed to score two beers for the low, low price of $16, and got to see the Home Run Apple come up for what’s probably the last time in celebration of a seventh-inning David Wright home run. The game itself, as you’ve probably learned from Ben Schwartz’s CSTB live-blog, was pretty rough from a Mets fan’s perspective.
Unfortunately, without my internets near at hand, I was unable to answer some of the questions that came up during the game. Now that I’m home, I’ll field a few.
Q: “What’s the record for grand slams given up to pitchers in a season? This has to be it, right?” — Ira, Hoboken, NJ, after Jason Marquis’ home run slipped over (by like 20 feet) the right field fence.
A: I would’ve guessed that the Mets had set that record tonight. Marquis’ homer, along with Felix Hernandez’s opposite-field grand slam off Johan Santana earlier this year, makes two pitcher-authored slams on the year. It turns out that the Mets are indeed the first team to yield two grand slams to pitchers in the same season…since 1977. The other team to do it? That would be the 1977 Cubs. This bunch of buttheads, who employed both Donnie Moore and Rick Reuschel’s brother, and whose double-play combination was Manny Trillo and Ivan DeJesus. It’s been that long since a team managed to poop itself in this way twice in the same season. Thanks for asking, Ira, that was fun to look up!
Q: “Is there a way that Luis Castillo could be any worse?” — David Roth, New York, NY
A: You are kind of pushing the limits of the FAQ format here, hombre.
Q: “How so?” — David Roth, New York, NY
A: It’s the meta…
Q: “Maybe just answer the question? And we can do the ontological stuff offline?” — David Roth, New York, NY
A: Thanks so much for making this so easy. The answer to your/my question: no, absolutely not, there’s no way Castillo could’ve been shittier in this game, unless he could somehow have also been Brian Schneider (0-3, GIDP with a strikeout), which thankfully he is unable to do as of now. Castillo made Miguel Cairo look like Chase Utley. The worse news being that Damion Easley, during his pinch-strikeout, did not make much of a case for being ready to take over at second. Castillo’s the guy for now, and I guess for the next three seasons, if you believe in things like “contracts.” Which I do not: I worship an awesome God who will somehow deliver Brian Roberts to the Mets next year in exchange for Aaron Heilman and a photo of Ricardo Rincon in an undershirt.
Q: “Two-part question: do you guys need a decent-ish spot-starter type or fireballing set-up guy? We’ve always thought the Mets have cool uniforms and fit those descriptions, respectively.” — Brian B., Kansas City, MO and Matthew L., Miami, FL
A: We have no positions available at this time. Thank you for your interest in the Mets organization, but we’d prefer to trade you for a domestic-abusing washout and a guy who looks and pitches like Jonah Hill. Respectively.
Q: “Is there really a chance the Mets could miss the playoffs again?” — Any Attendee Tonight, Queens, NY
A: Yeah, sure. If the Brewers can turn around their even-more-extreme tailspin, the Mets — currently a game and a half up in the Wild Card standings — could easily give this away. But the bigger question is…
Q: “Why do you really want to see this particular Mets team make the playoffs?” — David R., New York, NY
A: You again.
Q: “Indeed, ‘you.’ Again. Answer the…” — David R., New York, NY
A: Okay, yeah. I don’t know why. I guess because I don’t want to have seen my favorite team blow things the same way in two consecutive seasons. Last year’s Mets team, right up until the moment that their season finally crashed and burned, seemed like a team that could win a World Series to me. I harbor no such fantastical optimism about this depleted, defeated bunch of humps. The bottom third of the batting order as presently constituted is as thoroughly useless as it has been since Wilson Delgado and Danny Garcia were holding it down, and even if the team were getting any offensive push from anyone but the first four batters in the lineup, the bullpen is so blown-out that a postseason run would require a truly miraculous run of starting pitching, in addition to some 18 Again-style twist in which Francisco Rodriguez suddenly enters the body of Duaner Sanchez. I’ve tried, because I have the time and the unfortunate inclination, to imagine Luis Ayala getting the last out in the World Series. It’s incredibly difficult. Harder still, after having heard his transcendently un-intimidating ranchero/polka intro music when he entered tonight’s game.
In the end, the Mets are probably about at the level of the team currently fouling its beery nest in Milwaukee. Whether the Mets make the playoffs and get in a last postseason game or two at Shea or whether the Brewers somehow sneak in after losing 50 of their last 52 doesn’t matter much, except to those of us for whom it matters too much. Neither team is going far, and both will face the same task entering next season: finishing the process of taking a roster comprised of four really great offensive players, a few solid role-playing hitters and some good starters and turning it into a viable winner.
I love these Mets, much as I’m sure the Brewers fans love them some Brewers. But the real answers to the question of why it matters so much to me that the Mets make the playoffs all have to do with me, my goofy life, my own weird tendency to ask athletes I don’t know to toss me some free-of-charge fulfillment when I’m feeling thwarted and small. The answer to the question above, and I know this now, is certainly not because I think these Mets are going to win a World Series. I still hate watching them lose, but despite myself and against my better judgment, I still somehow want to watch them try.