April 10, 2007

Julio Franco is Getting Too Cold For This Shit

I have a new nemesis: Geoff Geary.

Who, you ask? I had never heard of this inoffensive Phillies reliever either, but he earned my undying wrath yesterday in the eighth inning of the Mets home opener: after three hours of shivering in the shaded Shea upper deck, four innings after I’d lost all feeling in my fingers and some of my toes, Geary agonized, fretted, contemplated, studied and pondered every goddamn pitch; it must have taken him fifteen minutes to walk Julio Franco on four pitches. Now, it’s a free country, and if you’ve really got your heart set on walking Julio Franco on four pitches, I’m not going to stop you. But in 35-degree weather, this is a task that can easily be accomplished in, say, two minutes. Have a little consideration, Geoff, you know? I will be following your career with schadenfreude.

So yeah, it was cold at Shea yesterday. But the Mets took their revenge on Geary (and the rest of the Philly bullpen, including former Yankee John Lieber, whose ERA is currently 27.00), and after all was said and done it was a fun come-from-behind opening day win. Mets fans are pumped this year. There were a couple of guys in full-on tights wearing capes that said "SuperMaine," which I hope catches on, because “Remember the Maine” is a bit esoteric, and also very difficult to dress up as. There were painted faces, and signs, and huge cheers for Howard Johnson and Jose Reyes and Endy “Death to Flying Things” Chavez and everyone, in fact, except Aaron Heilman (can’t say I really get that one). As Matthew Cerrone points out over at MetsBlog, there were a few issues at Shea, notably with the lines for the men’s room, which I gloated over all day, and the hot chocolate situation, which I did not find amusing at all.

I don’t honestly think Jimmy Rollins did anything wrong by saying the Phillies were the team to beat in the NL East, but what the hell, it’s always fun to get riled up for a rivalry. Because of that innoffensive little comment, Rollins will be booed at Shea for all eternity; he can switch teams, win the world series, cure cancer, marry David Wright in a civil union with a touching televised commitment ceremony, it doesn’t matter. He’ll be booed at Shea. Fortunately, it sounds like he’s having a good time with it.

In other news, Carlos Delgado reached first base in the second inning by bunting to third, thereby foiling the shift that the Phillies' defense always puts on him. (My friend was thrilled on behalf of his father, who, he said, has been advocating this for months and months). Delgado also had a nifty sideways slide later in the game that allowed him to just barely, by a fraction of a second, evade the catcher’s tag and beat the throw to home plate. It’s fun to watch smart people play baseball...

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