I should admit, right off the bat, that I was not riveted to my TV from inning one through the post-game pie. I did not sit there chewing my nails to my knuckles when there were two walks in the second inning. I did not see Carlos Beltran’s fair foul in real time.
I was out to dinner.
My wife and I and another couple had made plans for a semi-damp Friday night, a night which started out not at all extraordinary. I caught the first two frames at home, then resolved to follow best as I could. Just your garden variety Friday night. Yes, I knew Johan Santana was pitching, but I didn’t think he’d be long for this game off his route-going performance the previous Saturday. I thought Terry Collins would treat him with the kid gloves he’d been using all year to keep that egg-shell shoulder intact through September. And it was the Cardinals. Their World Championship patches – a crass uniform adornment, in my opinion: imagine if the Yankees put one of those on every year! – and 2006 nostalgia notwithstanding, the Cards really aren’t that big a deal anymore. Yes, they won last year, but it ain’t the Phillies, Braves, Yankees or Red Sox, y’know? They may as well be the Pirates or the Rockies or the Padres: just another team from the hinterlands making their only foray of the year into the Big Town. I was interested, in the sense of “Hey! There’s a Met game tonight. Hope they win,” as I am every night there’s a Met game. There just wasn’t any blood lust or angst present. So we went out to dinner.
The restaurant was packed. It seemed every Little League team in the Tri-State area was having postgame dinner. As we waited, I peeked around the corner to catch a glimpse of the score on the lone TV in the bar area that had the Met game on. Still scoreless as the fourth began. I had resigned myself to following along on my Blackberry. Finally, we were seated, as luck would have it, in the bar area. So my phone could rest awhile. Good news. Our booth was waaaaaaaay down the other end of the room – about a subway car’s length – from that lone TV. Bad news. Ah, well… I could carve out a rough narrative from a silent, disjointed image. I’m just that good. We had our orders in as the bottom of the fourth started. That’s when the fun began. I’d lean over to see the screen occasionally, and every time I did, there was some Cardinal or other rooting around the base of an outfield wall. A lot of blue pinstriped legs churned around the bases and across the plate. This could only be a good thing, I posited.
We ate. Couple more innings went by. More outfielders rooting, more legs churning. Pretty cool game, I thought. Nice to win after dropping two-of-three to Philly. Seeing as my friend was driving, I thought I’d get caught up when we got in the car. I saw an 8-0 tally and told my wife. “Cool!” she said. I checked the scoring summary and delighted in Lucas Duda’s three RBI, Daniel Murphy’s triple and David Wright’s general David Wrightness. I decided to “watch” the rest until we got home, pitch by pitch. Cards were up in the eighth, Rafael Furcal the batter. They had Johan’s pitch count at 122. Why the heck is Collins leaving him out there in the eighth at 122 pi-WOOOOH!
I checked the stats and saw the big ol’ goose egg under the “H” column. We got home, just in time for the Mets to finish batting in the bottom of the eighth – a mercifully scoreless frame, then commenced to counting down the outs while having the feeling of a mild stroke. Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and David Freese became history book fodder and the New York Mets finally, finally, FINALLY had their no-hitter.
Tough going to bed right away…
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