My wife could hear me shout, one floor away.
“Are you all right?’ she wanted to know.
No. I am not all right. Déjà vu all over again.
I saw the botched play coming. As soon as Bobby Parnell wheeled to second with the easy come-backer, I had a flashback to nearly 15 months ago.
My question is, if I remembered, how come the knuckleheads on the field could not remember?
This is the agony of the fan, now that the Mets are actually in contention.
It’s been so long. Every game, every play, every tapper to the mound, is fraught with meaning.
This was Sunday. The Pirates had a runner on first base, nobody out, tie game. The Mets were on a two-game losing streak all of a sudden.
Parnell induced the batter to bounce the ball right to him. Parnell turned toward second base and I could visualize the same play, May 21, 2014.
The only constant was Daniel Murphy at second base. Right.
I had a memory of a Met pitcher (Jeurys Familia) making a perfect toss to second base to start a double play, only to have the shortstop (Wilmer Flores, that day) and Murphy turn it into a mere force play, as a run scored, the eventual margin in a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers.
The lads had not bothered to communicate who was covering second in case of a throw. Simple stuff.
Last Sunday Ruben Tejada was the shortstop. He floated toward second. Murphy also moved toward second, either flinching or gesturing. Either way, Tejada was distracted.
My Munch scream was piercing the air long before the ball bounced into center field. Soon, three-game losing streak.
Manager Terry Collins later sputtered that reporters are always trying to assign blame. “We” – the ubiquitous “we” – did not make the play.
To be fair, Collins has contributed to the instability – and so did the cancelled trade involving Flores. Because of injuries and platooning, the Mets essentially have two utility infielders sharing shortstop. Murphy has willingly played three infield positions with his mix of grit and klutziness. .
Still, how hard is it to make eye contact before each batter? Before each pitch?
That’s what Tinker and Evers did. What Trammell and Whitaker did. What Marion and Schoendienst did.
Of course, a fan’s memory is not the same as the muscle memory of a major-leaguer in real time.
The scream was involuntary. It shows a fan cares.
"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.)