Monday, August 22, 2016

Suck It, ESPN

The Mets have a long and storied history of being treated as a punchline whenever they appear on a Nationally Televised game. Generally, they seem to be all too happy to oblige the ridicule, as they often do stupid things, or lose in stupid fashion, and thus are branded as a general laughingstock. As such, when they do appear on these National TV games, they're generally scoffed at as the undercard to their opponent, and when the fluff-filled broadcast goes on the air, the game mostly becomes sideshow to whatever idiotic ADD-induced features the network feels they can shove in our faces. Because, you know, who cares about the game?

ESPN used to be good at covering Baseball. I know that everyone hated cranky old Joe Morgan and crotchety Jon Miller but they were legitimate, good announcers that made me feel like I was actually watching a game. Now, I have no idea who the hell is announcing the game for ESPN, but they have Aaron Boone in the booth for comedy relief and then they stuck a woman in the booth. Now, I have no problem with a woman announcer. But much like I have a strong disdain for stupid male announcers, well, you get the picture. I get the impression that she's there as a pawn in some dumb PR game.

But then again, maybe this is their trick. They want me to get so irritated by their half-assed coverage that I spend more time talking about that than I do about the game itself. If that's the case, well-played, ESPN. You've sucked me in again. Also, fuck you. That's not what I'm here for.

There was a game underneath all the crap and it was actually pretty good. See, FOX and ESPN love to kick the Mets around, I know, and most Baseball fans love to kick the Mets around too. It's my impression that everyone wants the Mets to lose. Even Dodgers fans that hate the Giants want the Mets to lose to the Giants. Hell, I'm not convinced that there aren't some Mets fans that want the Mets to lose (You know, the BACKMAN BABY crowd). But sometimes, the Mets fight back and win these games, and I find it particularly gratifying. My sense is that the networks and Joey Bagodonuts in St. Louis, and Goombah Vinnie in South Jersey, and the 4 Marlins Fans in Miami have put up so much time and effort into hating the Mets, that a Mets victory just ruined their night. Or, at least, I hope that's the case (the flipside of this is that a Marlins victory can ruin my night, but ESPN hasn't deemed the Marlins relevant enough to put on The Biggest Game In The Galaxy, and rightfully so).

At least for part of the night, though, things were going everyone else's way. While Noah Syndergaard looked like April Noah Syndergaard and efficiently mowed down the Giants, his opponent, Jeff Samardzija, was even better, and had a no-hit bid going through the middle innings. You could feel the erections forming in the pants of the announcers as Samardzija kept the Mets out of the hit column through the 5th and 6th innings. Wouldn't that be the perfect storm? Put the Mets on Sunday Night at their low water mark of the season with the intent on humiliating them, and they oblige by getting no-hit?

But the Mets refused to cooperate as the game turned to the 7th. Curtis Granderson led off the 7th with an opposite-field double that Gregor Blanco probably took a bad route to, but sucks for him. Two pitches later, not only was the no-hitter gone, but the shutout was gone and the Mets, gasp, had the lead when Yoenis Cespedes tucked a bomb of a Home Run just inside the Left Field foul pole.

So, to the abject horror of ESPN, they actually had to stoop to the Mets, and stoop to Syndergaard, who continued to shove the bats up the asses of Giants batters through the 7th and 8th, in the process allowing 2 hits and striking out 6. So, instead of brushing the Mets under the rug, they had to show some respect for Syndergaard. He made them have to do it. Good for him.

And for good measure, Syndergaard showed the kind of temperance rare for a pitcher of his age and did not feel he needed to push himself and be a hero, ostensibly removing himself from the game after 8 innings and turning the ball over to Jeurys Familia, who allowed a measly single and nothing else in finishing off a crisp, gratifying 2-0 victory.

So, yes. After all that, the Mets come away from San Francisco with a split, they've inspired a shred of optimism among Mets fans as they go into St. Louis, and, perhaps most importantly, they kicked all the haters in the nuts, at least for one night. And isn't kicking the haters in the nuts one of the most important things you can do in Baseball?

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