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.
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.