Random Thoughts From a Very Tense Evening:
I’ve been a huge fan of Jacob deGrom since he came up. He is always smiling in the dugout, connecting with his teammates, the center of things. I love his whippy delivery and his competitiveness, but I didn’t think he could win twice in Chávez Ravine against the pitchers Terry Collins respectfully called “those animals.”
So deGrom did win. He pitched six of the gutsiest innings you will ever see, getting by with whatever he could find in the tool box. It was one of the great games ever pitched by a Met because of what was at stake.
Four of their regulars remained in their slumps, more or less, but Travis d’Arnaud contributed a run-scoring fly, and Lucas Duda wangled a walk that led to Daniel Murphy’s alert steal of an unoccupied third base.
Murphy had an epic game. I’ve been reading he’s gone after this season because his contract is up. Maybe his defensive liabilities make him an American League player. I’ve used the word “klutz.” But I got an email Friday morning from my Yankee pal Big Al comparing Murphy to Billy Martin and Hank Bauer from the era that still gives me nightmares.
Murphy is a gamer. Keep him. Let him grow old, ungracefully. Let Cespedes make his nine figures elsewhere. He is 30 and does not know how to make contact with runners in scoring position.
I forgot that Terry Collins was a coach with Jim Leyland in 1992, when the Pittsburgh Pirates lost a heart-breaker to the Braves, as two more stars were packed and ready to leave. End of an era that never quite happened. On Friday night, Collins out-managed Don Mattingly. Donnie Baseball was a better hitter. Irrelevant now.
We had four people connected via smart phones Thursday night – CA upstate listening to the radio, Laura in town, me in front of the tube, and a nameless bloke keeping track at work. I probably should scrub some of the comments we made when Collins brought in Familia to start the eighth. The big gentle guy got six outs. I take it all back about totally breaking patterns for a closer. When it was over, CA texted: “Pipe Down!” How did she know?
Never thought the Mets could win out there, but they did. Today is a rest day.
"Among the things that have long fascinated people about Jesus and explain his enduring appeal is his method of dialogue and teaching. "He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. In fact, parables form about a third of Jesus’ recorded teachings. The Gospels were written decades after he died, so his questions and parables clearly left a deep impression on those who bore testimony to him....
"Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; others were meant to challenge or even provoke. In some cases, Jesus used questions to parry attacks by religious authorities who set traps for him. In others, he used questions to enter more fully into the lives of others and to help people look at the state of their hearts. He asked people about their fears and their faith. Jesus used questions to free a woman caught in adultery from condemnation and to inquire whether people considered him to be the Messiah. He probed deeply into questions not many had asked before him, like “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
---(Peter Wehner, long-time White House consultant and writer, in the NYT last week about Jesus Christ’s method of teaching by asking questions.)
"Would that I could mention all the illuminating details in this biography, for example, why Wells praised Black Americans so highly, saying, 'I took a mighty liking to these gentle, human, dark-skinned people,' and 'Whatever America has to show in heroic living today, I doubt if she can show anything finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast efforts hundreds of black and colored men are making today to live blamelessly, honorably and patiently, getting by themselves what scraps of refinement, beauty and learning they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied.''
-- "How H.G. Wells Predicted the 20th Century," Charles Johnson, NYT Book Review, Nov. 19, 2021. ***".
...the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)