Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Two Mike P's

Well, I did my annual incognito mission to The Other Team on Friday night. Every season, I resolve to visit all 3 nearby major-league parks at least once, and to see one Yankee game on the road.

The latter, I don't always accomplish, due to the distance and cost, but knocking both New York parks and Philly off my list is usually done quickly. It took me until August last year, simply because the Phillies have been selling out virtually every game, but I did get all 3 and a Yankee game in Baltimore.

The first game I saw in Philadelphia, Bruce Ruffin was the starting and winning pitcher for the Phillies. He turned out to be the Phillies' starter in each of the first 5 games I saw them play, and that includes 1 against the Cubs -- at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Well, I've now been to Citi Field, new home of the Mets, a.k.a. Pity Field (and one other unflattering, rhyming nickname I can think of) 3 times.

All 3 times, the Met starter has been Mike Pelfrey.

In those 3 games, in 29 innings (1 went 11), the Mets have allowed a grand total of 3 runs -- just 2 of them earned.

In all 3 games, the Mets won.

Am I Pelfrey's good luck charm? I don't know. I do know he went into last night's game with the Arizona Diamondbacks winless and with an atrocious ERA. But he went 7, and allowed just 1 run. Unearned, thanks to a dropped popup by the once-heralded David Wright. A real Luis Castillo play. Still, after 7, the Mets were only 1-0 down. If you're a Met fan, and I had told you Pelf would have allowed 1 run over 7, would you have taken it? I'd sure take it if you told me any Yankee starter would do that.

Why did I choose this game? Simple: It was the Diamondbacks. This had little to do with their victory over the Yankees in the 2001 World Series. It did have something to do with Arizona and its bigoted conservatives, from Governor Jan Brewer to the "Minutemen." I figured, if the Mets win, New York has beaten that bigoted Red State; and if the Mets lose, well, I'm a Yankee Fan, and seeing the Mets lose is good. I couldn't lose.

Actually, I could, but the Yankees' game in Baltimore was rained out. In fact, for a while, it looked like there might be 4 rainouts in one day, which I don't think I've ever seen -- at least, not since that blizzard wiped out the first few games of the 1982 season, postponing the Yanks' first 6, although I don't remember who else's games were knocked out. But Washington at Pittsburgh and Cleveland at Minnesota (the Twins moved out of the Metrodome) were also rained out, and Cincinnati at St. Louis was also held up for a while due to rain. That's not just 4 games, that's 4 different regions of the country: The Northeast, the Ohio Valley, the Upper Midwest and the Lower Midwest.

In the bottom of the 7th, with Wright on, Ike Davis -- who'd struck out looking twice earlier in the game, getting him perhaps the first boos of his major league career -- hit a shot to dead center. At first, I thought it was gone. But it seemed to bounce off the top of the center field wall for a double. Tie game? Not so fast, the Mets appealed, the umpires checked the instant replay, and ruled it a home run.

The 26,500 fans on hand cheered, sounding like twice as many. The Mets added 2 more runs in the 8th, and Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez, though a little shaky, shut the door in the 9th. Mets 4, Diamondbacks 1.

I thought about going to last night's Yankee game, to knock the "Yankee road game" off my to-do list for this season, but it was a night game, and the bus situation (Greyhound and the discount lines) didn't have cooperative schedules, and the only remaining Amtrak train of the night was $105 just from Baltimore to Trenton (where I'd switch to New Jersey Transit back to New Brunswick, that's another $10, and then a cab back home, that's another $12). No way. Not this weekend, anyway.

Fortunately, the Yanks will make 2 other trips to Baltimore this season, and are at home all week, first to the Chicago White Sox, and then to those Pesky Blue Jays of Toronto. So the chance is there.

Due to rainouts, the Yankees had a stretch where they played only 2 games in 147 hours. I've seen Arsenal get stuck with more action in such a span. The weather forecast for yesterday and today, at the time, was also looking good, which is why the Friday game was not rescheduled as a Saturday or Sunday doubleheader. But they got the Saturday night game in. Good thing, too. I like 15-3 wins.

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