The Understudy and The Ingenue


I was confused when we were all handed Playbills at the park that read “Playing the part of Willie Harris today will be Roger Bernadina.

I mean, come on. When it comes to Met killing, taking out Harris in the seventh inning and thrusting Bernadina in the title role is like Pacino being replaced by Dave Coulier, right? Right???

“Playing the part of President Lincoln will be Francisco Rodriguez.”

Both performances were flawless. This is why I hate the theater.

I would love to walk away from this series thinking “well, the Nationals are pretty good this year”, and they are. I thought they would be better last year too. And that’s why I can rationalize that the Nats have taken four out of six so far this season. But I also thought that there would be this wave of good cheer from one game that would carry over into another. Well, that’s the fan in me thinking that. In the real world, good cheer and momentum is that day’s starter (or in this case,that day’s reliever and right fielder) and not anything that was done the previous night …or in this case, anything that was done in Bernadina’s previous 126 plate appearances, which resulted in zero home runs.

Wednesday, there were two homers, including one big one off the closer. Snoop Manuel was “very shocked” at the home run. At least three people were not: Everth Cabrera, Justin Maxwell, and myself.

Oh, and there was that great catch against Jeff Francoeur with the bases loaded and two outs as well. That was the one where I had to make sure there wasn’t a triple switch which resulted in Harris being shifted to right field.

I can’t help believing that even though the practical side of me believes that there is no momentum carryover from game to game, that pesky irrational side of me can’t help thinking that it’s all my fault. You see, I was there today. Had a great seat, and spent four innings in the Acela Club for the first time gorging on premium food (hint: potato pierogies with sour cream …. Mmmmmmmm.) And while I’m there I’m reading on my smart phone about Greg Prince’s adventure in the Acela Club Tuesday night,and how he was celebrating the day he met his wife by spending it at the glass enclosed restaurant in left  taking his positive mojo to the stands and sparking the eighth inning rally. I thought “I have to quickly digest this burger, cheesecake and beer (not in that order, mind you) and get my sorry self down to the stands and make it two in a row!” And my first inning in the seat saw the Mets tie the game in the fifth. See, I can do this too!

But then comes Bernadina’s catch to end the frame. Thus the realization: I’m not Greg Prince. I’m baseball’s Schleprock. And when Schleprock comes in contact with Tyler Clippard, he gains a power that can’t be contained by mere humans. Think about this: Clippard now has 15 major league wins. I’ve been present for three of them. That’s 20% of this guy’s victories that I’ve been present for. To the best of my recollection, I’ve been present for as many wins by Clippard than I’ve been for Johan Santana, who’s pitched for the home team for more than two years.

Clippard is obviously the ingenue with the 95 mph fastball in this long running performance called baseball, which is very entertaining. It’s just that on most nights, the ending needs a rewrite.

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