July 4th or Groundhog Day?

For some reason, during my morning run today, that quote from George Santayana (“Those who cannot remember the past  are condemned to repeat it.”) was floating through my head. If only I knew it was a warning about today’s Mets-Phillies game at Citi Field. I could have steared clear of Flushing and saved myself the agony.

A little background: on April 15, I made my first trip to Citizen’s Bank Park. The Mets were looking to sweep the Phillies, a very rare occurance in recent years, especially in South Philly. After six innings, the Mets were up 2-0 behind the stellar pitching of Mike Pelfrey (remember him?). And then came the inevitable. The Phillies tied it in the 7th and then blew it open in the 8th with six runs against the Mets leaky bullpen, capped by a grand slam from ex-Met and now Mets killer Ty Wigginton.   

Fast forward to today. Brutally hot in Flushing, but it’s day baseball on the Fourth of July, Mets-Phils a day after the home team’s 11-1 thumping of Charlie Manuel’s reeling side. A Shack Burger in my stomach before the first pitch.  Chris Young vs. Cliff “Winless” Lee. What’s not to like?

After six innings, the Mets are up 2-0. Young is pitching a beauty. He’s only thrown about 65 pitches. Despite the heat, he could go the distance today.

Then again, maybe not. A leadoff hit by Juan Pierre and then Case Utley hits one of his signature homers to right field (why can’t  Mets lefties replicate his swing?). Then Carlos Ruiz clubs a homer to left and the Mets are suddenly down 3-2. Lee settles in, the Mets bullpen implodes (what else is new?) and yields six more runs over the last two innings, including a two-run shot to — you guessed it — Ty Wigginton. Final score 9-2.  Fortunately I was in the car heading home when Wigginton took Jeremy Hefner deep, otherwise I would have coughed up the gluttenous helping of cured meats, knish, and beer that I wolfed down on this sweltering afternoon.

The game was so eerily similar to that meltdown in Philly back in April that I couldn’t help thinking: did the bad karma from that game follow me to Flushing like  a noxious cloud of vapor on this Fourth of July?  I should have known something was amiss when I saw the vast legion of red-clad Phillies fans in the ballpark before the game. The line at Shake Shack alone had to be 50-50, Mets-Phillies fans. It was like I was back at Citizen’s Bank Park, waiting on line at Tony Luke’s for a cheesesteak.  But I have to give them credit: their guys are struggling and they still roadtipped up the Turnpike and Parkway to cheer  their team and eat our meat.

Maybe I should have heeded the warning from Santayana and blocked out that ugly game from April 15 instead of carrying it with me to the game along with my iPhone and sunscreen. Or maybe the Mets should figure how to shore up their bullpen. If that fails, at least pitch around Ty Wigginton.   

 

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