I was sitting here lamenting the fact that I have to work tonight. I would much rather stay home and watch the Mets game. Truthfully, I would rather do that every night, but tonight’s game is special and it is special for a couple of reasons.
The first is that if we win tonight we will be six games in front of our nearest competitor — The Washington Nationals — in the NL East. Beating the Nats tonight will be as much of a psychological victory as a physical one for the Mets (and, yes, their fans).
Not one sports analyst or writer of any note chose any team other than The Washington Nationals to win the NL East at the beginning of the season. Why would they? On paper, The Nationals looked like they couldn’t lose. But that, my friends, is why they play the games.
The other reason that I would really like to be sitting on my couch biting my fingernails tonight is that Matt Harvey will be on the mound. There has been some controversy this week regarding whether or not Matt, who is coming off of Tommy John surgery, would be available to pitch the rest of his scheduled starts in the regular season and still be able if, God willing, the Mets make it to the post-season.
It was a bit of a circus. Heaping doses of bloom and doom and all that. Then Matt penned an article for The Player’s Tribune, in which he stated that he is working in conjunction with his doctors, his agent, and the Mets organization to insure that he can pitch in the post-season. Crisis averted. (I hope.)
As I was having my coffee this morning and dreading the fact that I had to go to work tonight, it occurred to me that I might not be the only one filled with dread. What about Matt? How is he feeling today?
The pressure is on. This is the biggest game of his career. One mistake and it could all blow up in his face. If I make a mojito incorrectly tonight no one will write about it tomorrow or, hopefully, instantly tweet bad things about my skills as a bartender. I can just remake the stupid drink. Matt won’t be able to retrieve a curveball that doesn’t break.
If Matt Harvey misses his target tonight and Bryce Harper takes him deep, oh, boy, I would not want to be him! Not for all the money in the world, not for all the tea in China.
Yesterday Jon Niese had a terrible game. His performance was well-documented on Twitter and, I am certain, many other social media outlets. As I was reading them, it occurred to me that he, too, could read them. I hope that he chose not to do so. They were brutal.
Certainly it was not Jon Niese’s intention to go out and pitch a bad game yesterday, just as it is never my intention to make a margarita with vodka instead of tequila, but it happens. I will be hard at work tonight making a valiant effort, as I always do, to use the correct ingredients in my cocktails.
I am sure that Matt will be making the same effort where pitch selection is concerned. The difference is that he will be doing it while millions of people watch and, yes, judge him. I really hope, for his sake, that he doesn’t hang that curve.