Pat Misch, Brian Stokes, and the Mets could’ve used an act of God today.

Misch, in his first start replacing… I’m guessing Perez… yeah… Perez… pitched a game more efficient than most we’ve seen this year.  Seven innings.  Ninety-eight pitches, sixty-six for strikes.  Six hits, one earned run, two put-outs, two walks.  The bottom of the eighth inning started with a one-run lead for New York.

Remarkably–and I pointed this out in the preceding post–Ted Lilly pitched seven and a third on ninety-eight pitches, sixty-seven of those for strikes, giving up two earned runs on six hits with the same number of put-outs and walks.

Let that sink in for a bit.  Go to the ESPN Box Score if you’d like a deeper breakdown of the pitching performances.

So two teams, mediocre at best, managed to present pitchers who produced fairly identical results.  Lilly got the worst of it.  But this one could’ve been watched again in the off-season.

Now: that act of God.

Any nut who’s found the time to read Veeck As In Wreck: The Autobiography Of Bill Veeck, or has hung about their basbeall-obsessed grandfathers, fathers, or trivia-obsessed friends knows the story of Bill Veeck’s adventures in game tampering.

Since I know it’s in the autobiography (I wanted to get it right and, lo and behold, most of the book’s text is on Google Books) we’ll call the story true enough: Veeck–at that time owner of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers, sees his team on the ropes against the rival Indianapolis Indians during a night game, with weather rolling in.  Veeck sends a signal to a house electrician, who blows out the control box rather handily.  According to American Association rules at the time, the game would be replayed.

The next day, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, commissioner of baseball, calls Veeck into his Chicago office.  Veeck comes in from Milwaukee and is asked, point blank: “So? What happened?”

Veeck replies, “I dunno.  Act of God or something.”

Landis takes in a breath, and ends the conversation simply: “There will be no more acts of God in Milwaukee this season.”

I could see Jerry Manuel sending Sandy Alomar off to come back into Wrigley done up as the Fan Man, landing somewhere between Milton Bradley and those mean folks in the bleachers  (I kid; if it turns out he’s right about the abuse, that’s awful).  

Or Pat Misch himself, determined to make his own luck, absconding with every baseball in the greater Chicago area and starting the Great Rawhide Fire of 20-aught-9.

Or equipment manager Charlie Samuels sending the defense out dressed in identical Cubs uniforms.  Rule One of Combat: blend in.

What I couldn’t see was Brian Stokes imploding.  A deep double, a flyout to move the runner over, a single to drive the runner in.  A walk.  A three-run homer.  Brian Stokes threw nineteen fairly ineffective pitches.  Pretty much leave it at that (L; 5-2).

Plenty of force majeure sending insurance rates skyrocketing in Flushing; at least Pat Misch’s ERA ticked down.

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