« The Real Meaning of Ralph Kiner Night | Main | Another Strong Start from Perez »

The Fine Art of Scoreboard Watching

NostraDennisFriday, July 20, 2007
By NostraDennis

"I t'ink we ought to knock his block off" - Mickey Goldmill to Rocky Balboa, Rocky II

"He's spinning the ball on his finger! Just take it!" - Krusty the Clown at a Globetrotters game, The Simpsons

Being a Mets fan this summer brings both these quotes to mind for me. They really ought to knock the Braves' block off, but all we fans can do is stand in the corner shouting, with a towel in one hand and a hearing aid in one ear, trying to will them to victory with advice like this. And while Krusty had money bet against the Globetrotters, all we've got riding on these games are our emotional well-being and the fate of the free world.

It's frustrating to feel as if the Mets are pissing away chance after chance to distance themselves from the teams on their heels. I thought this was just my "oh, ye of little faith" imagination at work, but it's a fact. Since June 6th, and up until Thursday's games, the Braves had finished playing before the Mets took the field eight times. The Braves lost all eight of those games. Our boys started play eight times in the past six weeks, knowing they had a chance to pull one precious full game further ahead if they could just win that night. The Mets lost six of those eight games. One of the two games they won in those circumstances took 17 innings to finish. "Just take the ball. TAKE IT!"

Fortunately, the Mets answered the Braves' win Thursday night with a victory of their own, albeit a grisly, ugly one. But the fact remains that the rest of the NL Least is leaving it out there for someone, anyone, to make a run at it.

Some MLB players will tell you they don't indulge in scoreboard-watching. Some MLB players are liars. You can't tell me that the Mets, sitting in some West Coast visitors' dugout, weren't eyeing each of those Braves losses all game long, knowing their game that night could be the one. The 20/20 hindsight turning-point game of the year. The statement game, the defining moment when they stood up as one and said this was their division title to defend. All too often, the statement instead has been a long, silent yawn.

I have my own approach to scoreboard watching when the Mets go West. It's called the Old Man/ESPN crawl approach. In my youth, you could tell by my bloodshot eyes when the Mets were playing three time zones away. These days, I watch the bottom two inches of the screen, ignoring the 2003 World Series of Poker, or some light-heavyweight boxing match, or a World Cup of Softball semifinal game going on in the top of the screen. Once the Mets make it through the third inning of a late game, I figure I've got a good idea what I'll hear in the morning on SportsCenter. If they're winning, I chalk up a W. If they're losing, they will lose. If they're tied after three, flip a coin. (Side note - why do they always seem to dump the crawl for commercials just as the Mets' update is about to come up?)

So far this season, this method has been nearly foolproof. As Adam Warner noted earlier in the week in this space, the Mets and their fearsome offense have very rarely overcome any significant deficit to win a game. Including last night's 299th victory-free win, the Mets have taken the field in the top of the fourth inning of a late game (West Coast, Colorado or Arizona) behind in the game seven times, and lost six. They've been ahead seven times, and won five.

I can hear the angry posts already. "You're no Mets fan if you turn the game off early. That's like leaving Shea early." Au contraire, mon frere. As a 12 year old, my dad tried to extract me from my seat at Shea to beat the traffic one night. But I refused to leave. Not until Leron Lee got that first hit off Seaver in the ninth. There are things more important than creature comforts, and I agree that leaving Shea early under any circumstances is a no-no. Unless it's that day when the Jets lost to the Buffalo Bills, 14-12, on two missed extra points. That game was well worth hitting the parking lot early.

As Mike himself mentioned recently, I've seen this particular Mets game several times. You know, the one where the Mets get behind early and never catch up. 2006 brought us what seemed like dozens of late-inning Mets rallies. The 2007 basket of eight- and ninth-inning pleasant surprises is rather skimpy. There are only ten weeks left to fill that basket. Heck, let's be honest. Who really cares whether they're comeback wins? Just win, Metsies. Knock his block off.

About Dennis McCarthy: I was born in the Bronx in 1960, but moved to Long Island four years later. I became a Mets fan in '69, thanks to my Aunt Ellen, who still lived in the Bronx.   Read More -->

Support Mike's Mets by shopping at our Amazon Store

More Mets Stories:
SportsSpyder Mets

Continuous Mets Coverage:
Hot Foot

About Mike's Mets

Please support Mike's Mets:

Disclaimer: Mike's Mets is an independent, unofficial fan site, and is not affiliated in any way with the New York Mets or Major League Baseball.

Other Links

General Baseball Links
Internet Radio Shows
Video Blogs
Other Team Links
Other Sports Links
Non-Sports Links
Video Direct

Looking for great deals on MLB Baseball Tickets? Visit JustgreatTickets.com for Cubs Tickets, NY Mets Tickets and a huge selection of Red Sox Tickets, Yankees Tickets and plenty of great concert Tickets for Dave Matthews Band Tickets and Buffett Tickets

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 4.1