Friday, June 03, 2005

"Water is a blessing."

Whatever you say, Pete. I'm sure the grounds crew could arrange to have the infield sprinkers turn on every second inning if it you think it helps.

Plenty of excitement last night at Shea, where I was sitting in Section 1, Row U, which provides almost exactly the same view of home plate as the overhead cam used to replay pitches on/off the corners.

The audio was provided by a group of obvious regulars, led by a large, curiously dressed man to my all too immediate left called "Fuzz." Rather than sitting in adjacent seats, these guys, all except Fuzz fully decked out in team apparel, were spread out over about four rows and five or six seats across. But from the volume of their near-constant and only occasionally game-related banter (which had its own vocabulary including a not so clever term for "blown save"), you would think they were in different time zones. Fuzz was without question the loudest person I've ever heard.

Fortunately, the game was a thing of beauty.

The first three innings were uneventful, as Pedro struck out five batters but gave up a towering home run to Tony Clark, and the home team struggled against former Met Shawn Estes.

Then in the fourth Carlos Beltran ripped a line drive an estimated 415 feet to right center (what is it with him and Pedro's starts?) Piazza walked and Floyd doubled. Had I been coaching third base, I would not have waved Mike home on this play.

Mike may actually be more exciting to watch run than Jose Reyes, who scampers from base to base in a heartbeat. With Mike it feels like he's tempting fate every time, lumbering around the diamond so slowly that it's hard to imagine him beating any reasonable throw to his destination base. It's like that scene in Jaws with the guys on the dock ("Swim, Charlie, SWIM!"). Had AZ's catcher, Snyder, fielded the ball cleanly, he was a dead man.

In any case, they put three up in that inning, three more in the sixth, and that was all she wrote. Pedro made the D-Backs, especially multiple strikeout victim Troy Glaus, look foolish at the plate, ringing up nine, walking none, and only getting hit hard by Tony the ex-Tiger.

The play of the game was of course Cameron's wipeout catch in right field. On the one hand, he shouldn't have fallen down going back on the ball. On the other, it's astonishing that he still knew where the ball was and caught it lying down. It was cool to see in person something that you know right away is going to be #1 on SportsCenter's "Top Plays."

The team's record stands at 28-26, a game and a half behind the Marlins and Braves, entering tonight's series opener against the Giants. Lefty vs. Lefty as Glavine gets the start against Noah Lowry, who may not be as bad as his current numbers suggest. I look forward to seeing if the fellas can put together an honest to God win streak against the Bondsless wonders.

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