For just a moment, spare me the technicalities. The Mets just won the Bronx leg of the Subway Series, and it’s a beautiful feeling, even if, in a literal sense, it’s a lie. We all probably experienced the same set of feelings today, anger to despair to hope to celebration, and it’s hard to come away from the six hours of baseball without feeling like you’ve experienced anything but a win.
Around 7:15, right when the Mets were taking their first hacks of the game against James Paxton, I was riding a tandem bike around Central Park (and let’s just pretend that’s a normal thing to do). I felt my phone vibrate twice in my pocket. Once for MLB At-Bat, once for ESPN…a well-known sensation, meaning — since the Mets were away and it was too early to be anything but the top of the first — that the Mets had scored. I had my money on a J.D. Davis home run, not to appear prophetic, but eventually we managed to pull to the side of the road without upending ourselves or fellow bikers, and I saw that in fact, the home run had come from Pete Alonso, the polar bear himself. J.D. Davis didn’t homer until later.
That, really, was enough. I’m sure I’d feel different if we’d lost, but Pete homering in the first, before those loathsome Yankees could even come to bat…it was satisfying in a way that few things are. And satisfaction, in the end, carried the day.
Look at these Yankees, these putridly irksome, undeservedly successful Yankees, the evil juggernaut so good that they’re good even when they’re not. Surely we were expected to lose both games, what with our starters, the not-quite-there Zack Wheeler and Jason Vargas, whose proximity to success, at this point, seems more or less impossible to judge. Even tonight…I will go to my grave, I think, still uncertain whether Jason Vargas’ start tonight was a good one, which is usually a fairly simple question to answer. Coming into today’s doubleheader, surely, we were underdogs in both games.
Let’s just pretend that game one never happened, except to say that it was completely typical. It was the kind of game that bad teams lose to good ones, and the only disappointing thing was that the Mets aren’t supposed to be this bad, nor the Yankees this good. This Yankee group of no-names and over-the-hill veterans…Gio Urshela, Luke Voit, Kendrys Morales…is the kind of squad the Cardinals are supposed to put together, and it’s annoying enough when it’s just another midwestern team with a superiority complex. For this sort of luck, though, to come to a team that can also afford to blow exorbitant sums on Jacoby Ellsbury and C.C. Sabathia and Giancarlo Stanton…how can that possibly be fair?
It’s not, is the answer. Fortunately, game two squared everything away. Early runs; Jason Vargas bending, to utilize a descriptive cliche, but never breaking; a two-run homer from J.D. Davis, my pride and joy…game two was a win if I ever saw one. Who cares that technically, we split the day? These were the Yankees, the model franchise, the big bad wolf, the team that sweeps away everything in its path. We’re the Mets in the Wilpon/Van Wagenen/Callaway era, a laughingstock, losers of players to the disabled list, acquirers of Keon Broxton via trade, possessors of no secondary bullpen worth mentioning. And for us to take a game, let alone in a blowout? You can bet that Yankee fans hated to see that.
So now we move on, to a June that promises a long series of tough series. But Mickey Callaway says we’re going to get to .500 and then take off. It figures. One of these times, we’re finally going to succeed at winning as many games as we’ve lost. The chance comes Thursday, back at home, Jacob deGrom on the mound. And honestly, we’re going to take it. Then we’re going to start winning. Right now, there’s nothing we can’t do.
Why not? After all, we just won the Bronx leg of the Subway Series. Or at least, we feel like we did, which, honestly, is half the battle.