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.
Welcome to World Cup 2022, the most absurd thing that the routinely absurd world of sports has ever produced.
Those extreme descriptions were what virtually the entire world, save for those who had walked off with bags of cash from Qatar, called the awarding of soccer’s greatest event to the incredibly tiny, incredibly wealthy country back in 2010.
Twelve years ago, many were convinced this event couldn’t possibly happen: staging the world’s biggest sporting event in a country the size of Connecticut, one with zero soccer culture and even less soccer infrastructure? The tournament couldn’t possibly take place in 120-degree heat, and FIFA, the governing body of soccer, most certainly wouldn’t upend football leagues around the world to change the traditional summer schedule, could it?
And, for God’s sake, what about the beer?
Those were just the logistical concerns. The moral concerns are far more distressing. FIFA, so busy paying lip service to equality, couldn’t possibly expect the world to embrace a country where you could go to prison for being gay, where women’s rights are severely curtailed and female victims of sexual assault could go to prison, charged with engaging in extramarital sex. And all those questions came before the global realization that the World Cup was being built on the backs of migrant labor: modern-day slaves held in Qatar with virtually no rights, low wages and no ability to leave. Migrants make up 90% of Qatar’s stated population of 3 million. The country’s native-born equal about 300,000, or roughly the size of Anaheim.
---Ann Killion, columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.