Archives for posts with tag: The Catch

Woof, Endy.
ACL, MCL, cartilage, all busted, along with the season, and next season’s spring training, at least.
That should not be the consequence of playing hard. Playing hard should earn you fame, cheers, and a good night’s sleep. Instead, Endy Chavez gets an indeterminate amount of time on the Mariners’ DL.  Not.  Cool.
I’ve seen the replay; can’t really fault Yuniesky Betancourt, either.  He was chasing for it hard; maybe he didn’t hear Endy calling for it… .  It was just nasty luck.
The guy could barely hit a lick in ’08 for the Mets, but I love Endy Chavez still. My plan tickets have me entering Citi Field, regularly, through the Left Field gate, and observation as well as a note from Metsblog from way back leads me to believe that the silhouette at the gate is that of The Catch. Spectacular.
I attend my Friday games with a Mets fan and a Yankees fan, and they were with each other, at a bar, during Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. The Yankees fan (he’s a SHINING example of one of the good ones; find yourself a Yankees fan who loves baseball so much that he’ll gladly plunk down $300 on fifteen METS games) regularly tells the story of how he believes he blacked out briefly when Endy made The Catch, and as soon as the relay was coming in to first, he was standing on his bar stool.  Cheering his guts out.

I was home, and shaking on my floor, on my knees, fist pumping in the air. My landlord–the octogenarian war veteran living (by choice!  by choice!) in the basement–was shouting as loud as I’d ever heard him. My sister, living with me at the time, came out of her room believing someone had broken in or I’d fallen from the roof.  Neither was the case, but had a thief broken in, we’d’ve stood in front of the TV together and watched the replay on my DVR; had I been watching on my roof and fallen out of excitement, then adrenaline and euphoria would’ve been enough to sustain me while I took in the rest of the game, and walked to Lutheran Medical.
I cried in 2006 because of The Catch. I drank HARD after strike three to Beltran, but I cried after The Catch.

The MLB highlights promo that runs at Citi before every game draws my loudest cheers for The Catch. Not the Grand Slam Single or Piazza’s home run at the game post-9/11.  The Catch was one of the greatest grabs in all of sport.  And I’m going back to when the ball was invented. I’m talking centuries here.  

The only way I could be hyperbolic about this is if I were to say that a greater catch has never been made in all of imagination.  I once scaled a sixteen foot-high wall to rob Ryan Howard of a home run, then flung my glove, El Duque-style, at Shane Victorino off second for an unassisted double-play that ended the inning. On my way back to the dugout I flipped off Oliver Perez, who was heading to the mound (in this version, he’s been traded to the Phillies).  That catch was SLIGHTLY better than Endy’s.
A knock against my Yankees fan friend is that he repeatedly states that The Catch can’t truly be considered great because the Mets wound up losing that game. Obviously I disagree.

You can’t deny Endy’s spirit, Endy’s hustle. (By no means am I saying he was the only one on that 2006 team that had it.) It’s a great play because, in that moment, the Mets were alive, and the potential for turning the tide, rather than just holding it off, was there.  It was the physical manifestation of that feeling I got when the Mets won games in late September, chugging to the finish line, and DiamondVision showed the crowd one word: “BELIEVE.”

We could believe then because of Endy.  I will continue to believe because of Endy.  I believe he’ll get better, and I hope he still has many playing years ahead of him.

Of starting this blog I will only say this: I hope I can keep various defunct presences on the web straight.  We’ll see.

Now then:

I should’ve paid attention in high school when certain friends showed a talent for remembering statistics, and cracking jokes.  See, I’m a guy who enjoys being outside or at least near fresh air on moody summer days such as these, and I thought to myself on my way back from a sugar run that had I paid attention to the stat minders, I’d’ve learned how to mind stats myself, and parlayed that ability and a decent wit into a job as a sports writer.  I could then be near a field or on a bus or plane on my way to a field today.

Sadly, I didn’t pay attention, and that didn’t happen.

By way of inelegant segue, watching baseball for me is a window to a literal and figurative field I envy both for its grand stage and sense of community.  I’ve been fortunate enough to bear witness to some late-breaking history: Gary Sheffield’s 500th home run, Johan Santana’s 100th win; and have had the pleasure of introducing the game to several people.  But man, do I want to get on or near that field.

Except for this past weekend.  Keep this past weekend.

Rather than rehash the atrocity that was Friday night and the horrible, horrible mayhem that was Sunday afternoon, I’d like to offer some (perhaps overly) hopeful words:

  • Billy Wagner’s rehab is progressing nicely.  I trust he’s seeking redemption, and should be back the split-second there’s any chance of Brian Stokes getting more playing time.
  • There’s not been a whiff of surgery talk regarding Jose Reyes.  I’ll take that as a minor victory.
  • Carlos Delgado will be a novelty in the batter’s box if he keeps his goatee shaved.
  • Neil Diamond and his hateful repertoire appear to have been banned from Citi Field.  For the time being.
  • I have no clue where Oliver Perez is, and you should love that as much as I.

There will be more on each of these points as the days and weeks and months progress.

Actually, let me say one thing about Friday night, versus the Yankees (June 12, L 9-8).

I haven’t seen the play.  Or maybe it should be The Play, unless Initial Caps are Intended Only For Awesome Things, such as Endy’s Catch (which is, gratefully and phenomenally, the near sole-owner of the term The Catch [in Mets circles, anyway]).  In any event, I haven’t seen it.  I returned home after watching The Taking Of Pelham 1-2-3, and swore I wasn’t going to watch a bit of the game, after the toll the Phillies series took on me.

But in between watching DVR’ed repeats of The X-Files and avoiding Kent Jones’s shtick on Rachel Maddow’s program (I know he’s a nice guy, but I can’t handle him or his voice), I flipped over to the game for a few minutes at a time.  I know on the whole I was missing a wild ride.  But in addition to the Phillies-addled time I’d had in the days prior, my wife (My Wife? The Wife? The Wife.) was coming into town for the weekend.  It was time to let one go.

She arrived I guess around when the Mets were sending Frankie R. to the mound to wrap it up.  She asked me the score; I was already in bed and said I didn’t know.  I checked my Blackberry as she was brushing her teeth.  And there you go.

Yet I still have not seen The Play.  I was spared the inundation of replays by dint of a trip out to Butler, NJ for a birthday in a VFW hall–random–and cocktails and pizza afterward with The Wife.  I was nowhere near a TV at any point that Saturday.  And PIX spared me a replay of The Play yesterday.  Probably because nearly every time the Yankees hit a ball, it was to the outfield, and not anywhere near Luis Castillo.

So I haven’t seen The Play.  At this point, it’s an endurance test.  How long can I last without seeing it?  Think of this: I was–also random–in a hot tub when Sean Green walked in that run against the Phillies in May.  I was in Loge at Shea in ’07, when Oliver Perez walked in three runs against the Marlins in the first game of that last weekend series.  I’ve cheered Jeff Conine in my lifetime.  Considering all the other awful and pathetic things I’ve witnessed, maybe I can let this one go?

Or is the true result of die hard fandom the masochistic big nut bar that comes from subjecting oneself to such debilitating crapulence? 

You parse that sentence; I’ll think about it.

More, of course, later.