"And Jeff Weaver pitches the game of his life...a two hit shut out to give the Cardinals a one game lead in the NLCS." -Yankee fan attempt to scare MetstradamusI kept saying no. No way it would happen. Jeff Weaver is not...I repeat not coming into Shea Stadium and making the Mets lineup into his personal lapdogs. I refused to believe it. No, no...not at Shea.
But damn it if that Kenny Rogers gem against the Yankees gave me freakin chills down my spine...because that game is the measuring stick now. If Rogers can shut out the Yankees, then anything is possible, right?
No. I steadfastly refused to believe it. In fact, I basically went out and guaranteed that there would be no "game of Jeff Weaver's life" at Shea for Game One of the NLCS.
So sure I was that I didn't even feel any tension by enjoying a birthday present by being at the Rangers game tonight while keeping one eye on the scoreboard...even though I had designs on watching the game later on in full.
0-0 in the first.
0-0 in the second.
0-0 in the third.
0-0 in the fourth.
0-0 in the fifth.
As Sidney Crosby's centering feed went off of Aaron Ward's skate and into the net with 3.3 seconds left to doom the Rangers, I looked up and saw that the NLCS was still scoreless in the fifth. Joe Buck's voice started creeping in my head about what a performance Jeff Weaver was having at Shea Stadium. So not only did I miscalculate how slow a game this would be...figuring I'd be home in time for the fourth inning (if it weren't for Tim Welke and his throwback strike zone, maybe I would have)...it seemed that I completely miscalculated Jeff Weaver.
"What a performance by Jeff Weaver!" -Joe Buck, completely infiltrating my imagination.So here I go on the E train wondering why I'm being tortured...by myself and my horrific imagination. Damn it, Jeff Weaver is going medieval on the Mets and I'm going to get home just in time to see the Cardinals steal this damn game.
DVR is such a great invention...it enabled me to come home and watch the entire game from the beginning if I had wanted to. But already having known that the score was 0-0 in the fifth, why put myself through that torture? So here I go hitting that FF button and scrolling through and scrolling through and fast and all and first inning second inning third inning fourth inning fifth inning sixth inning one out two out base hit...
I knew about the fifth inning score. Not the sixth inning score. But I breezed through the sixth with such reckless abandon that I could have missed ten runs if I had blinked. But with Carlos Beltran up and Lo Duca on first base and two outs in the sixth, I stopped.
And I hit play.
And my wife is imploring me to just pick the game up live because she cheated and actually knew what the current score was but NO! The same voices in my head that were taunting me with Jeff Weaver told me to watch what Carlos Beltran does. I must watch this at bat as if it was happening right now. I must...watch...Beltran.
Maybe it was the image of Carlos Beltran smacking a game winner off of the Cards back in August that made me stop.
Or perhaps it was the fact that Straw was in the house throwing out the first pitch that made me stop...subconsciously hoping that Beltran would hit the same spot on the scoreboard that Darryl once did against Fernando Valenzuela...which was the spot that read "17 1B".
Maybe because so many times before, Jeff Weaver hit the wall at about this time.
Whatever it was, I stopped. And I watched.
"Use the force Metstradamus, use the force." -Steven Spielberg, written at this point in the movie about my life that will be produced in the future.It was like August. Jeff Weaver tried to come inside, just as Jason Isringhausen tried to come inside. Same result...ten times the importance.
And it did hit the scoreboard...albeit six spots lower in the lineup. They say Straw's heart grew exponentially at that very moment.
And yes, it was time for Jeff Weaver to implode. Carlos hits the scoreboard, Weaver hits the wall. Instead of the "game of Jeff Weaver's life", it was "game of Tom Glavine's life", except for the fact that he's Tom Glavine and it's October so this was just going to be a "game of Tom Glavine's week" type game.
After the Beltran monster, I commenced fast forwarding, and caught up to the present time, ensuring that I wouldn't be sucked into a time warp that would bring me back to 1993 (yes, I worry about these things...DVR is a wondrous technology that I still feel is beyond my comprehension). So the baseball gods did me a favor and made sure I was caught up, with the important moment experienced the correct way. They made sure that I was able to enjoy the rest of the game without fear of the Kenny Rogers effect ruining not only the NLCS, but my birthday as well.
I hope from here on in that the baseball gods move on to something important, like convincing Cliff Floyd that there is a plan for him.
He must be wondering why he all of a sudden can't last past a couple of innings without that achilles imploding on him, while Endy Chavez comes in making diving catches and gets his name chanted and is the cult hero of Shea Stadium. The same gods of baseball that told me to stop the DVR right when Carlos Beltran was ready to remind Jeff Weaver that he's Jeff Weaver, need to visit Cliff.
Tell Cliff that there was a reason that Endy needed to be in the field for Ronnie Belliard's dead duck (Note to Rafael Santana, that's a euphemism. No fowl was harmed during this baseball game) to left. Baseball gods work in mysterious ways...especially when it's going good.
Tell Cliff that the double popping of his left foot, in a roundabout way, helped the Mets get off on the right foot.
..and tell him that his moment is coming. Tell Cliff that all his rehab and all the times that he played through excruciating pain is going to pay off in one mighty swing. Tell Cliff the tale of Kirk Gibson, and tell him that the baseball world is overdue for a Kirk Gibson moment.
Yes, tell Cliff that. Even if you don't really mean it...he probably really needs to hear that right now.