Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Look Out Lastings!

Summer June night, the present. An everyday fly ball hit by a not so everyday man known for greatness, and goofiness at the same time. Enter a young rookie, Mr. Lastings Milledge. He is a man once thought to be exchanged for the very man who hit the spherical paradox that would change this young rookie's life. And now, in this battle of division leaders a link between young and old is bonded forever by an everyday fly ball that would transfer said goofiness from old to young. But before it would make its harrowing descent, it would reach an apex that scraped the atmosphere of...the twilight zone.

Apparently Lastings Milledge is auditioning for the role of Bernard Gilkey in the "Men In Black" remake.

As long as we're reminiscing about the 1986 World Series, let me give the thumbs up of the day to Baseball Tonight, who played 86 degrees of separation tonight...tying everything back to 1986, the Mets and the Red Sox. But the thumbs down of the day was to whoever made the decision to wear the black uniforms today, ruining any chance of me being able to squint and pretend that Alay Soler was actually Ron Darling. Let's hope this is rectified for Petey's start.

One of the things I remember from the Fenway trifecta of games from 20 years ago was the video montage played on NBC sometime during game three, showing Mookie Wilson practicing fielding fly balls off the wall before game three to get used to that green monster. Mookie, who was in the SNY studio tonight and will be all series, made that practice pay off as he played a flawless series in Fenway's own twilight zone.

I thought back to that as I saw Milledge struggled with the mere existence of the wall without it actually coming into play. All Manny's fly ball really amounted to was a fly ball. Catchable, yet elusive. An easy third out which turned into two runs. Unfortunately, the education of Lastings Milledge occurs on an in-game basis.

So too, does the education of Soler, who learned dipping and darting out of the strike zone might work for some teams, but not on these Red Sox oh no. Soler's struggles in the first inning set the tone for his entire night. Both teams seemed to work high counts on respective rookies Soler (107 pitches in 4 and 1/3) and Jon Lester (116 pitches in five innings). The difference being that the Sox lineup put the bat on the ball when it counted, and the Mets did not. Because when pitch number 116 from Lester struck out David Wright with the bases loaded in the fifth, and Lester pumped the same left fist that pumped the life out of the Flushing nine, the game was over and out.

***

As for Petey's start, you can tell that it's going to be one of those moments that needs to be put in a time capsule and saved forever. Sometimes, it takes leaving a place to be appreciated fully by the people in that place. Sure, Pedro was revered in Boston when he wore red...but there were always the stories that were magnified to the umpteenth degree from the lateness to the nutso dugout antics to the diva tag to the midget (who still may not have forgiven Pedro for leaving). But now that he's gone, the relationship between Petey and Boston has only grown fonder. Couldn't you tell from the two minute ovation he got in the visitors uniform? And it didn't hurt that unlike Johnny Damon, Martinez didn't return in a Yankee uniform. So the relationship between Red Sox fans and Pedro can now blossom into mythical status.

On Wednesday, the man who as a boy sat under a mango tree without 50 cents for the bus now gets to revel as the center of attention again, a place that Pedro loves. And for a man who has a definite sense for the moment, I expect nothing but the effort of a lifetime from Pedro Martinez...a thanks to Boston, and a gift to New York at the same time.

10 comments:

Unser said...

Best thing that happened last night - Reyes was NOT seriously hurt. Anyone else hold there breath along with Omar? I sure did.

ajsmith said...

If the great Metsradamus will indulge a guest prognostication, here's one for ya...

On what everyone knows is Petey's big night, the home plate ump will give him three inches off of either side of the plate to insure that he pitches a gem.

He won't disappoint.

7 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 8 K's
Mets 6, Bosox 1

Bonus round: D Wright makes up for last night's bases loaded K with one shot over the monster, and one off of it for a double.

Anonymous said...

ajsmith....
your mouth to God's ears!

Ed in Westchester said...

Metstra - Since you already have a link to that "blog" by Darth Marc, I think if the Mets Win, his should be removed, and you added to his. Though judging by the lack of comments on his site, he may not get much in the way of readership that actually knows how to post.

the ghost of bill buckner's glove said...

gotcha!!!!

Metstradamus said...

Ed,

He does link to me. I am under "Infidels who deserve death".

Shea Gadfly said...

You my man are gold...I usually read other comments to gague where the opinion lies and then make mine but I am appreciative for this post...not because you don't always write well but because any mention of Mookie is a good thing. The Mets need to retire #1 so future genereations Met's fans will need to know him. They won't find out what Mookie was from a stats page but I am not kidding when I say that I think he was the greatest Met ever. He just played the game the way it should be. He wasn't the most talented but he was usually had the most dirty uniform and smile that even dwarfs Jose Reyes. Simply put, I am kooky for Mookie as the bedroom sheet read on a bygone Banner Day at La Shea! Good stuff man...

Grey said...

ESPN's guys said that LM was taking extra practice in left before Pedro's start. Didn't help, but the fact remains.

Metstradamus said...

What exactly was he practicing?

Soccer?

Ballet?

Oboe?

Karate?

Obviously it wasn't pop flies.

Ed in Westchester said...

Lastings was practicing his Hi-Fives.
It is amazing how many people have turned on him on other boards. He is now trade bait in many eyes.

If this is true, I'm not quite sure how to react.