Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dead Air

This afternoon's game was kind of bittersweet for me, although what went on during the game itself had very little to do with it. It's no secret that the Mets won't be on WFAN any more after this season. Although my initial reaction was of disdain and disgust for the Wilpons for allowing this to happen, I later found out that apparently WFAN lowballed the Mets during negotiations. But regardless of that, it's really the end of an era, since I basically grew up with the Mets on WFAN (and, yes, WHN before that), and WFAN and the weird, wild voices of New York have sort of become the background noise for my life. Sure, you get all sorts of perspectives and personalities, and I tend to agree with very few of them, but it's almost always entertaining. And, of course, this station that seems to be the quintessential New York station was the home of my team. And now, it's not going to be. And that's really weird.

So, at any rate, this was the Mets last Weekday Afternoon game of the year, and as such it was going to be the last time I'd be listening to the Mets on WFAN in my office. As I've mentioned, I usually stream WFAN, but thanks to Slick Bud, the Mets games are blacked out from streaming audio unless I open up my wallet. It's for this reason that I keep a portable radio on hand. Unhappily, after making it through the entire season without an issue, only today did the batteries in the radio die. That wasn't so bad, except that the radio is one of the 6 devices remaining on earth that uses "C" batteries. I know this because if you go anyplace to buy "C" batteries, they're usually buried at the bottom of a rack, covered in dust with an expiration date about 4 years shorter than any other type of battery. Compounding the problem even further was the fact that the battery cover on the radio was stuck. I couldn't open it with my hands, and found no success with a variety of other tools and objects. So, no matter how hard I tried, there would be no final WFAN with Howie and Josh this Wednesday afternoon.

Relegated to MLB Gamecast, the game really existed on a rumor level. I know it's hard for me to follow the game in my office on the radio. On Gamecast, forget it. It may as well have not gone on at all. I clicked it on, started working on something else and by time I looked at it again, it was the bottom of the 8th inning. What I missed, apparently, was Daisuke Matsuzaka dialing the clock back to 2008 or perhaps back to Japan, because he basically stepped on the Reds throats completely over his 7.2 innings of work. The Mets got a run on a little scratch of a single through a drawn-in infield by Eric Young, Jr and that was it for the scoring. The rest was all Daisuke, who, amazingly, started out looking like one of the worst embarrassments in Mets history and has improved, start by start, to the point where hey, maybe he is part of the discussion. How the hell that ever became possible, I don't know, but his last 4 starts, all of them Met wins, have certainly done wonders for his public opinion among Mets fans. And his swan song today (assuming this is his last start this season), against a Playoff-bound Reds team, was easily his best start yet.

Matsuzaka is certainly the story today, and if he's not back (and I'm still hard-pressed to think he will be), he's if nothing else proven he's still able to compete. Today, although he didn't get much help offensively, he made his 1 run stand up, partially due to his Catcher Juan Centeno, who became the first Catcher to successfully throw out the hotshot speedster Billy Hamilton after 13 straight successful steal attempts to start his career. The rest of the game, from what I could gather, was fairly uneventful. Pedro Feliciano and LaTroy Hawkins finished things out for Daisuke, and the Mets, long since left for dead, went into Cincinnati and kind of pissed on their parade a little bit, making them look bad last night and lifeless in Wednesday's 1-0 victory, beating them 2 games to 1 in the series, and giving the Pirates and Cardinals a decided leg up as they continue to fight for position. Then again, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh play this weekend, so maybe they'll just beat each other up before they meet in the Wildcard Play-In Game (more of a mouthful than it needs to be).

So, the Mets are done for this season on the road, where amazingly they ended up just barely over .500 at 41-40. Their problem, obviously, lies at home, where they come now for 4 final games to close out the season. The Milwaukee Brewers—Remember them?—are the final team to visit, and they arrive fresh off a near-riot in Atlanta caused by old friend Carlos Gomez. Unfortunately, Gomez was in the wrong in this particular incident, so it's hard to get on the Braves too much, but they seemed to be doing an awful lot of whining afterwards (and while we're on the subject of teams I don't like, Wednesday night officially confirmed what was brewing for weeks—New York will be Baseball-free come Sunday night, although don't be surprised if fans of the other team continue to insist that "Dey still gotta chance (garble snort drool)!"). But that's scarcely the concern of the Mets. Right now, the plan is to keep what could be a really nice, strong finish going through the weekend.

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