"My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos. Ruined dreams. This wasted land. But most of all, I remember The Road Warrior. The man we called 'Metstradamus'". -Narrator from Mad Max 2 (with some blogging license at the end)I have returned.
And I bring you the head of J.D. Durbin!
All right, maybe it was more like a Phillies mini-helmet which I ate my ice cream out of. Still, as the Empire State Building appeared on the horizon as I rolled back on New Jersey Transit, I felt like one of those warriors from Mad Max or something, holding up my symbol of victory in proxy of young Mr. Durbin's head. An offer to the gods of the New York Skyline, as if the city told me upon leaving: "If you don't bring back a win, don't come home."
Thankfully, now at 4-0 on the road, I've always been able to come home.
It was an interesting day to say the least, starting out with a smooth ride on NJT to meet my ride (in spite of my floundering inability to find the track at Penn Station, and find my way off the train...wondering why the doors aren't opening even though there's no platform). Then the rest of the way listening to Paul Lo Duca gripe about the media on the car ride. (Why is everything interpreted in the most damning possible context? And why hasn't Lo Duca figured out by now that the best way to keep the media off his back is to not bring up anything about "speaking English" in a lockerroom famously known for its Latin players...although this is the first time I've ever heard someone get tagged as racist for saying that someone can speak English.)
Then, a bad exit choice by us, and some terrible directions from a couple of gas station attendants who looked at us like we had three heads when we mentioned the Walt Whitman bridge put us in downtown Philly, forcing us to take Broad St. to the complex. Now for those who have never been to Philadelphia, stay away from Broad Street! The traffic lights may be the most disjointed in the country, taking the "flow" out of "flow of traffic". (And take Exit 3, not Exit 4.) But we still got there on time and in our seats for the 1:30 start, which was better than my last trip, when I didn't even have a seat, and got there late.
(Food note: Last year, it was the cheesesteaks that lured me to Philly. This year, the attraction for me, thanks to Mets Grrl, were the crab fries. Highly recommended.)
I loved the Philly fans today, constantly reminding us through the Mets early game offensive run that "hey, you know you're doing this off of a single A pitcher, right? Wait until the nightcap when you face Cole Hamels!" (Oh, much more on him later.) For the record, yes we were quite aware of who your pitcher was. And at the end of play today, he's still employed by your team. So we are not the ones hanging our heads in shame for being able to hit him. Thank you, drive through.
There was one guy sitting next to me who saved his most fervent Met bashing for when I wasn't sitting in my seat. Yeah, that's manly. I mean, he had ample opportunity to kill us when the Mets were trotting out Guillermo Mota and Aaron Heilman, who are about as useful as a bag of plastic hammers right about now. (Flippin' Heilman...0-2 count on a .202 hitter and he lets Pat Burrell hang around until he gets a pitch he can serve up to center field to make it a 6-5 game. Way to go, clutch!)
Thankfully, there was Billy Wagner (with no Burrell at the plate) to finish things off and send us home happy...if not swiftly. Damn, the traffic coming out of the Bank is simply atrocious, as one lane of traffic was allowed to pass while the rest of us were made to crawl along. It was like coming home from a Jets game! We were moving so slow that...and I can't be sure of this...I could have sworn that I saw a couple attempt to get busy in the back of their SUV while waiting for the second game to start.
Heck I was even able to leave the car in traffic to ask a policeman about the easiest way to get to the elusive Walt Whitman bridge, when a kid then comes up to me in my Pedro Martinez jersey and warns me "man, don't wear that jersey in the hood." What? Your fans can't heckle me to my face and I can't wear my jersey in your hood? I'll tell you what, if I wear my Brian Leetch jersey to a Flyers game, then I'll worry (and wear armor underneath...because, as you know, we must protect this house). Until then...
Silly me thinking I could get back to New York in time to watch the second game (I blame the traffic, but I also blame Charlie Manuel's waste of time at the beginning of the game, checking Orlando Hernandez's cap for pine tar or chocolate or whatever Manuel was searching for). Instead, I stepped into my hood just as the second game ended, with only time enough to watch highlights, which included Cole Hamels not only throwing 3,287 pitches in three innings (oh yeah, wait until you face Cole Hamels indeed), but throwing behind Jose Reyes on a 3-0 count after thinly veiled threats to go after Paul Lo Duca.
Here's another fact about Cole Hamels that you may not know: Do you know what you get when you take Cole Hamels, take about 15 mph off his fastball, and add about 15 points to his IQ, do you know who you get?
You get Shawn Estes!
Yes, we haven't forgiven Estes for missing Roger Clemens' girth in retaliation for Mike Piazza. But Cole Hamels, who talks like he's been in the league for 100 years, was so dumb that in his lame attempt to send a message on a 3-0 pitch to Jose Reyes behind his back, that it went all the way to the backstop allowing the run to score. Not even Shawn Estes pulled off a Merkle like that! Way to go Cole. And shame on that umpiring crew for saving Hamels' bush league hide for immediately issuing warnings, ending any chance that John Maine would send another "fact" Hamels' way (not that Maine would have retaliated but still.) I initially thought from the radio broadcast that Hamels had been wild all game so this was just a by product of that. But after seeing it with my own eyes? There's no way there wasn't purpose to that pitch. No way. I'm not sure I can be convinced otherwise on this.
"YOU! You can RUN, but you can't HIDE!" -Vernon Wells (not that Vernon Wells) from Mad Max 2Your day is coming.