Darryl Strawberry and his new friends all look so sad:
Mets beat the Braves. But wouldn’t you know it, that’s just the beginning. Box score:
I’ve always thought that villains in movies are far more interesting than heroes. I want to write a movie that is nothing but villains. All evil people, all thrust into a situation with each other where their evil overwhelms any possible good in their environment. This movie will be called “The People Who Sit Directly Behind Home Plate During Sunday Night Baseball And Wave At The Camera.” Here’s the cast:
The guy in blue at the top right is always telling his friends, “Look, I don’t approve of what he did, but you have to admire Hitler’s genius.”
The older fella at the top left steals Andy Rooney observations and passes them off as his own.
The woman in gray at the top center writes a baseball blog. When the Nationals signed Jayson Werth, her headline was “Will he be Werth it?”
The girl in gray on the bottom left was the inspiration for Precious’ mother in the movie “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.”
The man in the black jacket makes crush videos.
The guy in the front row isn’t even a real person. He’s just a very convincing spambot.
The kid in red on the left, and his dad next to him, are planning a vacation this summer. They’re going to drive to the East Coast, camp out in their car, check out the sights in Washington, D.C. and recreate the 2002 Beltway Sniper spree.
The guy in blue is Brian Sabean.
That hipster on the left doing the metal sign always does the metal sign. Ruined the entire senior class panorama photo, his classmates agree.
The guy in the second row on the left starts every conversation with “I’m not racist, but …”
The two people in the front row — the brown-haired boy, and the blonde woman next to him (it’s hard to see it in this grab, but they’re definitely enthusiastically waving) — didn’t actually pay for those seats. They had seats higher up in the section, and snuck down to those seats. And murdered the people sitting in them.
That kid at the top isn’t even sitting in the section, but he’s trying to front. He and his family all say they live in Darien but really they live in Westport.
These tickets, incidentally, have a face value of $440 apiece. All in all, I counted 17 people (not all pictured here) waving at the camera, out of about 50 in the section. If you removed all the wavers, you’d have the scouts left.
Jonny Venters, who didn’t get into this game but who does have a rockin’ 80s video game name, has been tremendous since the Braves called him up last year. He’s been particularly staggering against left-handed batters, striking out 40 percent of left-handed batters in his career. This year, in 30 at bats, lefties have 14 strikeouts and just four hits. Which made me wonder: How the heck did anybody get a hit? So these are those hits:
Joey Votto got a hit off Venters. That’s fair. Joey Votto is great at baseball! He gets hits off even the toughest pitchers. Except Venters got two strikes on him on amazing pitches — a fastball that Votto missed by about a foot, and a slider that had Votto ducking out of the way before it cruised through the strike zone. On 2-2, he threw Votto this pitch:
How did Votto get a hit on that pitch? Like this:
Chipper Jones charged it and lost in on the transfer. It was an error. A very obvious error. It was ruled a hit, but it was an error.
What Venters did wrong: Let Votto hit a ball weakly and directly at a fielder.
Another of the hits was to Aubrey Huff. Huff’s good too, so no shame. Let’s see the pitch Huff hit:
Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me. He hit that? Barely. Weakly. Up the middle. Alex Gonzalez got to it, threw it to first …
… in time to beat Huff, but Freddie Freeman couldn’t hang onto the throw. This one, at least, was properly scored a hit, but it could have easily been an out.
What Venters did wrong: Induced weak contact in the infield against a very slow runner.
Raul Ibanez also had a hit. And this one actually left the infield, on about the ninth hop:
What Venters did wrong: Fell behind in the count, threw a fastball that caught too much of the plate, and played for a team that lets Dan Uggla play second.
So there are three hits that could have easily been outs. The fourth was a legitimate hit, by Brad Hawpe. Venters fell behind in the count, Hawpe timed the fastball, put a good, balanced swing on it and lined it to center field.
A clean, crisp single. But even this one might have been caught, as center fielder Jordan Schafer pulled up at the last moment to play it on a bounce.
I’m giving Hawpe full credit for that hit. But it’s otherwise fun to imagine all the others being turned into outs, and lefties hitting .033 against Venters.