April 11, 2008

Pagan Idolatry

Nice wins last night, as both New York teams pulled themselves back up to .500 -- 1.5 games out of first place in their respective divisions -- and quieted a few early anxiety pangs.

The Mets had the more dramatic victory, a tense 12-inning grudge match against the Phillies, further building up a rivalry that still has that new-car smell. I imagine I wasn't alone in doubting the Mets would pull this one off, after Aaron Heilman coughed up the lead. But eventually Angel Pagan (owner of the best name in current New York baseball, even if Pagan isn't pronounced the way you want it to be) singled and Jose Reyes, who'd been at second, beat the catcher's tag by a fraction of a second to score the winning run. Or maybe not; it was too close for me to call, frankly. Either way, while noting that everything is amplified this early in the year, it felt like a big win.

However, I don't think I'll really feel like this season is seriously underway until the Marlins and Orioles are out of first place in their divisions. I know it ought to be a fun story, a couple of disrespected underdogs getting their moment in the sun... but instead I just find it unnerving. And the Tigers are five games back from the Royals? Up is down, black is white, Jason Kendall has the highest batting average in the majors.

Back in the AL, the Yankees looked pretty good, as they tend to do when they manage to score more than three runs. Andy Pettitte had one of those games, increasingly common with him over the last few years, where he gets excellent results despite not actually appearing to be pitching all that well. Makes it all the more impressive, as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, tonight is the first Yanks-Sox game of the season, and also the first Mets start for Nelson Figueroa, who is awesome. In general, if maybe not at pitching. He's a multi-lingual graphic artist from Coney Island who's thrown in six different U.S. organizations, Mexico, and Taiwan (where he was the 2007 Taiwan Series MVP); when asked this spring what he'd do if he didn't make the Mets, he said:
"I'll play until nobody in the world wants me."
So you've got to root for this guy, clearly. And who knows? Maybe he can be this year's terrifically unlikely Aaron Small-type success story. Unless Angel Pagan's already got that covered.

Finally, via Deadspin, it seems the Rockies are close to trademarking the word (or "word") "Rocktober." I hope they succeed, if only to prevent any organization I actually like from ever using that term.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to rush off and secure the rights to "Emovember."


Ray said...

I wish Colorado well with that, if only to end the annual pall of classic rock radio stations who've been beating us up with that word, worse than a Pete Townshend guitar, since long before there was a MLB team in Colorado (for that matter, since before there was a you).

Figueroa's got promise, but I remain more in love with Matt Wise, for reasons recently discussed. If he lasts until the arrival of the new and better food at Citi Field, a sneeze guard might just kill the man.

Todd Drew said...

The Rockies aren’t going to pull that off because everyone knows that Scooby-Doo is the first one to say “Rocktober.”

I would love to see Nelson Figueroa put together a great run here. He certainly deserves it.