The way I see it, the Mets owe us big time for spending so many hours watching them lose two games in a row in Kansas City to a superior team. How they repay us is obvious. They have to host a victory parade down Broadway in Manhattan, and make sure we all have the day off so we can sleep in late.
The opener on Tuesday was grueling enough—the longest World Series game in history measured by innings. By the time the final out was recorded in the 14th, five hours and nine minutes after it started, I was numb, both spiritually and physically. My eyes could barely see. My mind was shot.
As they taught us by their debacle the following night, the first matchup was one the Mets had to win. All that effort gone to waste. I mean, on our part, as demoralized fans too masochistic to turn the damn thing off until some distant voice of reason, probably female, penetrated our consciousness with these words: “Go to bed!”
After all, hadn’t we done our time already this season? Didn’t we stick with the Metropolitans back in July, when the needs of our families and our communities—hell, our republic, for that matter—went begging for 18 innings? It was July 19th, and the Mets only took a 1-0 lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in the top of the 13th inning, only to blow it in the bottom of the same inning when Jeurys Familia gave up a leadoff homer. No, I don’t want to remember it well—they did go on to prevail 3-1—but it came back to haunt me when Game 1 entered the midnight hour after he’d blown it in the ninth inning. I turned to my viewing companion, my son who had to get up even earlier the next morning than I so he could catch a train to the city, and asked him rhetorically, “How much longer should we watch this?”
Well, the answer was obvious. To the bitter end. After all, past was prologue. We both stuck with the team in July, when the World Series seemed like a pipe dream, why would we be sensible now? Back then, Ruben Tejada—bless his soul, and curse Chase Utley’s—hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Wilmer Flores to score the go-ahead run. We got an insurance run on a squeeze bunt by Eric Campbell. Ah, those were the days, weren’t they? And let us recall that it was a day game, too.
Tuesday night seemed to last forever. My son said he had a dream (perhaps a nightmare) later that it ended at 5 a.m. Let the record show it was over way before then. Apparently, we were not alone. The game was the most-watched World Series opener since 15 million viewers tuned into the 2010 matchup.
This game, let’s face it, did have a little bit of everything. There was the first inside-the-park homer since the World Series of 1929 (and the anniversary of the Stock Market crash was this week, too, come to think of it)—and it came off the very first pitch that our Dark Knight, Matt Harvey, threw. That in itself is a rarity.
And, laughing at their expense because it is Fox after all, there was a “rare electronics failure” that blew the game off the air—and onto our radios—in the fourth inning. Just like that, we all had to hunt for our AM dials, but just before we could settle in, the network figured out how to stream the international feed for domestic consumption. I just felt sorry for the hapless chaps back in the studio who had to make small talk while the engineers figured out how to override the meltdown. We haven’t seen anything like this since the Oakland A’s-San Francisco Giants World Series—dubbed the Battle of the Bay—was disrupted by a severe earthquake that struck in 1989 just as Game 3 was getting underway and knocked ABC off the air. By the way, the Giants were down two games to none. The bad news is that the Athletics went on to sweep them four-zip.
Tuesday’s snafu also illustrates just how dependent America’s pastime has become on modern technology. The four-minute on-field delay was reportedly due to the replay capability being lost in both team’s clubhouses. We wouldn’t want to lose that, would we? Why, without replay capability, how could the game go on? Now, since it was Fox, nobody dared to blame the liberal media for screwing up, but the thought had to be in the noosphere. But they found the right switch and the game went on at Kauffman Stadium. For the record, the 2013 Super Bowl was delayed when the power went out in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. That’s a more old-fashioned problem, but it certainly couldn’t have helped the automaker’s brand since play stopped for 34 minutes.
Once Fox resumed its World Series coverage, it was amusing when Joe Buck—he of the five o’clock stubble—told the viewing audience that they had enough quarters to keep Game 1 on the air for the rest of the evening as he traded microphones with Matt Vasgersian and John Smoltz, who were handling the game for MLB International. Little did Buck know that the night was still young.
Going into Wednesday night’s game from the Mets’ point of view, they probably figured that all their East Coast fans could use some shut-eye but they took it one step further, and seemed to nod off at the plate, getting only two hits off the Royals’ mighty-dreadlocked righthander Johnny Cueto, who pitched the whole damn game, while our long-haired phenom Jacob DeGrom hardly struck anybody out and got rocked instead. Our reputed ace gave up four runs in the fifth inning, and then it was lights out for him. For good measure other Mets pitchers came in in relief and allowed three more before the game was mercifully over, 7-1 the final score.
Sleep, perchance to dream, never sounded so good Wednesday night. For the superstitious, the Mets lost by one run in the first game of the 1986 World Series and by six runs in the second game—and that was at Shea Stadium, where we teach future generations the Mets beat the Red Sox in Game 6, and, just as important, in Game 7.
Whether history can repeat itself this time against Kansas is a question that remains to be seen. Too many Mets fans woke up Thursday morning thinking the world had ended, let alone the Series. But let us remember they’ve only played each other twice, and they have at least two more games to go.
So, the message to us all: stay tuned. And hope the blessings flow.