Man, I don’t know who to thank more.  The 15 or 16 of you who stuck around for all 3 1/2 hours of miserable baseball (perhaps not so miserable for Ms. Clayton) at Shea last night, Ben Schwartz for the partisan live blogging, Mr. Roth for the unhappy recap, or the staff and management of St. Marks Place’s Sing Sing for graciously including Sham 69’s “Borstal Breakout” amongst their karaoke offerings.  Were it not for  Jon Niese serving up-a-spicy-meatball to the Cubs’ resident Mark E. Smith acolyte Jason Marquis Cha Cha, the ballgame itself might’ve been something or other besides a footnote in what is feeling more and more like Collapse II.

Besides the camraderie of a tremendous bunch of humans, I am struggling to take something positive away from the Mets’ 9-5 defeat.  It boggles this very hungover mind that this team is reduced to leaning on the likes of Niese and Brandon Knight during the final week of a pennant race, much as I cannot quite remember the last Mets position player (Carlos D.?  Roger Cedeno? Robbie Alomar?  Sir Bonilla?  Rafael Santana? Hey, my memory’s coming back!) to generate as much genuine hatred as Luis Castillo.  But here’s all I can come up with :

a) Aaron Heilman pitched a scoreless 8th inning.  I know, BFD, but given the workload the rest of the pen is likely to face over the next 6 days, sparing any of Heilman’s colleagues just one more appearance might actually be consequential.

b) Carlos Beltran hit with the centerfield wall while making a fine running grab of Mark DeRosa drive in the top of the 7th last night, sustaining some damage to his ribs and left knee.  Beltran stayed in the game despite the Mets being down by 6 runs at the time, and emerged from the trainers room to take his at bat in the last of the 7th, singling off Neil Cotts in the process.  This made no difference in yet another must-win turned into a defeat, but at some point NYC’s legion of hate fuck radio screamers are gonna have to acknowledge Beltran’s determination and character have been grossly misjudged. This is the same player who had his face rearranged in a violent collison with Mike Cameron in 2005, yet returned to the lineup shortly afterwards, despite the club being far out of contention. We’ve routinely heard the whispers from certain WFAN hosts that Beltran is “aloof” or “not a big game kind of guy”.  Not for the first time, this bullshit agenda has been exposed.

Back to internal affairs for a minute, I’m still trying to figure out what’s up with Live Nation advertising a Dice Clay show on CSTB. Maybe it was all those old references to “Hitz”.  Either way, I’m not about to tell the planet’s premiere concert promotion monopoly firm they don’t know their demographic.