10.8.06

Traitorous, Treacherous At Shea

What's this?

Mike Piazza hits two solo shots in Shea Stadium off Pedro Martinez and the Shea partisans are not going crazy with joy, Piazza is not leaping into the stands to celebrate with his groupies?



Maybe three years ago.

But in 2006, those two homers, damaging but not deadly, were sufficient to finally silence the jackals who spent the game before worshipping his every fart, his every gesture, his every facial tic.

Well, not precisely silence and certainly not until the second homer.

The first homer filled the stands with euphoric festivity sufficient to cause an unprecedented curtain call for Piazza by his addicts who might have uprooted themselves and moved to the West Coast just to have been closer to him had the precedent of 1958 not been such a bitter taste in their collective misguided mouths.

Imagine how Pedro felt watching an opposing player given a curtain call by Pedro's own alleged supporters after homering off of him. Sure, Pedro tipped his hat to Piazza prior to striking him out, the gentlemanly thing to do but you couldn't help but wonder what might have happened had it been Roger Clemens on the mound instead of the playful Pedro.

The second homer produced a slightly different reaction, a kind of ok douchebag, you've had your fun now go back to being the selfish, unproductive roster liability that you were for the Mets the last three seasons sort of support - cheers mixed with a smattering of boos. It was also Piazza's sixth homer off Pedro in 26 at-bats against whom he is hitting .386 lifetime.

I can only imagine that it is the bulging NL East lead and the lack of fear in Mets fans about the season, being 24 games over .500, having won 9 of their last 12, that would prompt such an absurd spectacle.

It wasn't until the 8th inning that Shea supporters finally began to regain their senses and with Pedro out of the game, Piazza came to the plate to face Aaron Heilman and heard jeers instead of cheers by the 49,979-strong crowd.

Fortunately for the Mets, if not the Mets fans themselves, (some of whom may have been traitorously disappointed not to see a hat trick of homers from their hero,) Piazza's next blow settled into Carlos Beltran's glove after a long, gut-twisting flight to the warning track but without further ado and the Mets in spite of yet another shaky performance by Billy Wagner, 4-3.

*****

For the second night on the trot Piazza was almost a bigger story than the game itself. The proof that some kind of benevolent Mike Piazza Shea God was hovering over last night's spectacle came not in the form of those two homeruns but in the unimaginable throw by Piazza to second base which caught Endy Chavez stealing.

Endy me boy, didn't anyone ever tell you that getting thrown out by Mike Piazza trying to steal second is like suddenly discovering before a crowd of nearly 50,000 that you've put your pants on before your underwear?

And were the cheers for Jose Reyes as loud as those for Piazza? Did Jose Reyes get a curtain call after he started the bottom of the first with a double and scored the game's first run? Did he get a curtain call after he singled Lastings Milledge home in the second inning to give the Mets a 2-0 lead?

Fortunately for the Mets, a performance from the Shea crowd which bordered on blasphemy, wasn't enough to derail this efficient machine.

Better still, Pedro, in spite of those two homeruns surrendered to Piazza, had a very promising outing throwing into the 8th inning before tiring after 108 pitches and being removed with 3 hits and 2 runs surrendered in 7 1/3 innings. He earned a win that was not skewered by the bullpen or a paucity of run support, his 9th win of the season and perhaps that's why he could afford to be so generous to Piazza:

"It was well deserved, well earned, well done by the fans," Pedro said reluctantly of the curtain call. "I think players of Mike Piazza's category that have done what they've done deserve the credit."

This giving up gopherball business is getting to be auld hat for Pedro. Piazza's second homer was the 17th homer Pedro has given up all season, just 9 from his career high of 26 homers surrendered in 1998 and 2004. It's far off of Jose Beckett's ridiculous 31 homers surrendered and frankly doesn't even lead the Mets (that distinction goes to Tom Glavine, who with 19, is only 5 off his own career high of 24 set in 2000 and 2001.)

*****

At least now with Cliff Floyd hitting the 15 day disabled list we know the motivation of signing Ricky Ledee.

The Elias Sports Bureau determined that before Tuesday night, the Mets and Padres hadn't played each other as first-place teams since 1985 -- May 20-22 at Shea and May 31-June 2 in San Diego.

Piazza became the fifth player to have a multihomer game off Martinez. Philadelphia's Chase Utley was the last to do it, last Aug. 31, Elias said.

Today El Duque pitches and Piazza will likely make only a cameo appearance (you know the drill, auld catcher, day game following night game, etc.,) and wouldn't you know it, a rare day game which would allow the Army to listen to the game at a more sane 5:10 UK afternoon time comes at the same time the Army's favourite football team, Newcastle United are scheduled to face the dreaded if unknown FK Ventspils in a UEFA Cup qualifying match in Latvia.

2 comments:

kyle in newport news said...

Jose Beckett, eh?

But what I really wanted to ask you was: Is "auld" the contemporary British standard spelling?

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