It must be something I give off. I wasn't wearing any Mets stuff early in my day on Wednesday. Yet all I had to do was mention to a couple of other people in the hotel I was staying at that I live in Queens for them to tell me that they were big Mets fans and start talking baseball.
Then I got to a restaurant to enjoy a meal while wearing swim trunks and a ratty Eric Clapton t-shirt. It was the Parkshore Grill by the pier in St. Petersburg. When I was paying for the meal the waiter asked me if I was going to the game tonight. No Mets hat, no David Wright t-shirt, but still he asked me if I was going to the game. When I said that I was indeed going to all three games, he told me that at that very restaurant, some of the Mets dined on Sunday night upon arrival, including Wright ... who was with about five other players.
Was one of them really big?
Yeah. Had to be a catcher, no?
No, that was Jon Rauch. A reliever.
Really? Who's pitching tonight?
R.A Dickey. Beard? Longish hair?
Yeah, he was here too.
I don't know what they fed them at the Parkshore Grill, though if it was the Parkshore Burger with the chicken chili wraps as an appetizer and the vanilla bean creme brulet for dessert, then I know they enjoyed themselves. More importantly, keep going there. Even when they go to Miami, stop in St. Pete, eat at this place, then continue on a bus to Miami. Because the Mets have now outscored the Rays, part of the elite class of baseball, 20-3 in two games. And more incredibly, R.A. Dickey pitched a one-hitter*.
*See, St. Louis Post Dispatch, I can use asterisks effectively too. Because as far as I'm concerned, I saw a no-hitter on Wednesday night. Because that dribbler by B.J. Upton that David Wright tried to barehand and bobble for a hit shouldn't have been a hit. And this isn't hindsight, we all knew it then. People back home knew it, and the people in the ballpark knew it. Of course it was the only hit all game. But it shouldn't have been.
Remember, after Johan Santana's no-hitter I imparted upon you that part of the reason I booked this trip to the Trop was because if the Mets threw their first no-hitter and I wasn't there to see it, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. (And in my mind, it was going to be R.A. Dickey) Well, it wasn't the first. And technically, it was a one-hitter*. And yes, who knows if Dickey would have gone the rest of the game without giving up a hit if he had the pressure of a no-hitter weighing over him rather than have gotten that first hit out of the way early. Valid point. But I saw a no-hitter on Wednesday. And for all you folks who wrote and blogged and tweeted things like "Johan Santana pitched a no-hitter ... except that he really didn't", well first off he did. And second off, if you want to believe that, then we're even. As far as you are concerned, the Mets have a no-hitter whether it's Santana's official no-hitter or Dickey's one-hitter*, the Mets have earned their first one. (Umpire screws up, official scorer screws up, what's the difference?)
Still, Dickey made a bit of history as he passed Jerry Koosman for the Mets all time longest scoreless streak as he furthered the notion that knuckleballerslove indoor parks (and meals at the Parkshore Grill, apparently). Those swings that the Rays were taking were going to screw themselves into the ground. Carlos Pena and HidekiMatsui looked particularly atrocious. And with his 12 K's and 22 straight batters retired, Dickey proved that he should not only cruise into Kansas City with the rest of the N.L. All-Stars, but start the game. Look at his ERA. Then take out the bad game against Atlanta. Re-calculate it, and tell me Dickey shouldn't start the game.
And tell me that Dickey didn't pitch a no-hitter. Well, you can because he technically didn't. But in my mind, with my asterisk, he did. It was why I came to the Trop ... to witness history. As far as I'm concerned, I did.