Mets 9, Brewers 8

Your latest nominee for Mets Game Of The Year had a little bit of everything. For the second night in a row, the Mets jump out to a 3-0 lead over the Brewers, this time courtesy of a Carlos Beltran bomb, only to relinquish the lead to a Milwaukee club that resembles (appropriately enough) a pretty fearsome bear league squadron. The end result was markedly different this time, however, along with bizarre circumstances along the way : Jose Valetin’s 4 RBI night (!) and a sparkling catch of a long Damien Miller fly to left, a Prince Fiedler HR that wasn’t, the suddenly-ineffective Duaner Sanchez being clobbered in the 8th by back-to-back HR’s from Corey Koskie and Miller, Sanchez’ subsequent ejection (for hitting Brady Clark in a tie game), Paul Lo Duca hit a tiebreakering HR in the top of the 9th off the previously untouchable Derek Turbow (above)….and the embattled Billy Wagner blew away Fielder and Koskie with the tying run on second in the form of Carlos Lee.

Randolph’s gambit of giving the slumping Cliff Floyd the night off in favor of Valentin paid off handsomely : the same cannot be said of Jeremi Gonzalez’ first big league outing of 2006 (not counting this outing, which was totally bush league, I admit). The tandem of Gonzalez and Lima are doing a poor impersonation of no. 4 and 5 starters respectively, and maybe, just maybe, the Mets will opt for someone not nearly as long in the tooth before too many games are squandered. Ewan MacLane (above) struck out 12 over 7 scoreless innngs in his 2nd Triple A start earlier tonight, as Norfolk beat Columbus, 7-0.

A mite early perhaps, to be talking about must wins, but given that a) the Mets had dropped 4 of their last 5 heading into tonight and b) the Phillies continued their torrid pace as Jon Lieber flirted with history (generally safer than flirting with Too Cold Scorpio) in a 2-0 complete game defeat of the Reds, this was as crucial as it gets for May 13.

SNY’s Chris Cotter participating in the Sausage Race wasn’t very funny, even if it gave Gary Cohen a chance to utter the inevitable “look out for Randall Simon” line. Having noted thespians Keith Hernandez and Bob Uecker reenact scenes from the the former’s favorite episodes of “Mr. Belvedre”, however, would be a total gas, and I’m disappointed no one thought of it previously.

Other than his tendency to profile some of society’s biggest sad sacks, I have no reason to believe The New York Times’ Vincent M. Malozzi is anything other than an OK guy. But I continue to be amazed at the uninspired selections for his weekly “Cheering Section”, tomorrow’s being a no exception —- a 50 year old schlub from Southern California that happens to sport a big New York Yankees tattoo.

Pete Whitman, 50, has his own version of Monument Park tattooed on his right arm, a nearly 8-by-10-inch depiction of his favorite Yankees ” Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter ” along with each of the 26 years that the Yankees have won the World Series. Above it all is the logo of Major League Baseball.

“I wear it proud, and it generates a whole lot of excitement,” Whitman said of his Yankees tattoo. “My wife, she just can’t figure it out. I keep telling her it’s a guy thing.”

Have New York Times writers, editors and readers led such a sheltered existence that in the year 2006 they believe there’s something remarkable about the lengths Whitman has gone to express his devotion? No offense to anyone who wants to have Derek Jeter’s signature permanently engraved into his or her flesh, but there’s over the top…and there’s totally over the top.