The Many Faces of Armando Benitez
A few weeks ago, I had a post entitled "This Man Is No Longer A New York Met. Rejoice." That one was after our old friend melted down in San Fran after being put in a tie game in the 9th inning against his old club. In light of that performance back on May 9, it made perfect sense for Giants manager Bruce Bochy to bring him into a save situation on the road against that same club, with 47,000 fans screaming for his blood.
The result? Walk, balk, balk, blast, ball game.
I must say, these Benitez performances are infinitely more enjoyable when he's wearing a different uniform.
In any event, what a classic ball game that was. I was lucky enough to be in attendance for all 12 innings (section 102 of the field level), which means I finally broke "The Curse of the Tostito" in grand fashion. (As you know, I had been 0 for 4 on the year. Ugh). What a way to get off the shnide. You had great starting pitching, outstanding defense, a couple of long balls, some timely hitting, and some intriguing high-pressure confrontations on both sides. Of course you had to know that a good, clean game like that would get decided by a total psychotic meltdown on the mound. Regardless, just a great night at Shea and one that I will not soon forget.
(1) Here's my pathetic cell phone pic of the scrum welcoming Delgado at home plate. Apparently when you use the "zoom" feature, it shrinks the entire picture. Damn you, Motorola.
(2) This Lincecum fellow looks to be the real deal. He was lighting up the radar gun in the first few innings, and then wheeled out this ankle-breaking 77-mph curve that made more than one Met look foolish. I was impressed. Kid can't hit for shit, though.
(3) In the first inning, Ollie was serving up more meatballs than Chef Boyardee at San Gennaro. Fortunately, only 2 left the yard, while three others somehow died at the warning track. After that, however, he was positively off the hook. Another stellar outing that shouldn't get lost in the shuffle when we look back on last night.
(4) Oh, and while we're at it, hats off to Heilman again. He's really turning into Willie's go-to guy with men on base in the late innings. It's when he starts innings that I get nervous, but when he comes in with ducks on the pond, he's been damn near automatic (see, e.g., Jeter, Derek). As you all know, I'm not a Heilman guy, but you gotta hand it to him lately.
(5) After all these years, Omar Vizquel is still a fucking wizard at shortstop. Seriously, they should just let him play shortstop wearing one of those wizard hats.
All in all, there was a terrific buzz at Shea last night that just seemed to grow and grow as the game progressed. And as soon as Benitez threw ball one to Reyes, the whole place started going nuts, since basically everyone knew what was about to happen.
God bless you, Armando.