I fried my brain this month watching international baseball. I found myself cheering for men in a hideous USA jersey, only slightly wishing that American national teams would go back to the way they dressed in the '50s, and leave navy blue to rot. When the US got eliminated, I cheered for anybody else I could find. (And loudly—on Sunday night, I found myself yelling at Japanese men on my TV, "Come on! String a few hits together!" then muttering my traditional, affectionate, "fucking bastards." When I love a sports team, that's how I show I care. When I love a person, I'm much nicer.) So, as I do, I wrote about it—once again, for The Classical.
Before the rest of the people—who and how many remain unclear—who cared about Team USA learned it, every Mets fan knew it couldn't last. David Wright was on the big stage again, for the first time since Adam Wainwright's curveball to Carlos Beltran began its fateful, unhittable break in 2006, and he was playing like an Avenger. Square-jawed, muscle-bound, tongue stuck out like bush league bowler, Wright kept coming to bat in high-pressure situations, and kept delivering—none more fantastically than the grand slam that sent the United States into the second round. Articles were referring to Wright, the Mets' captain, as Captain America. Mets fans knew what was coming next.
For a long, happy moment, it seemed the last star of Flushing was about to do the impossible: get American fans interested in baseball's would-be World Cup. But because every superhero needs a weakness, Wright was playing hurt. For the entirety of the Classic, he had been nursing a rib injury: a lingering soreness that pained him not in play, but while he was sleeping and "just lounging around." When Wright was recalled to Camp Wilpon in Port St. Lucie on Friday of last week, the Mets medical staff—doubtless through a state-of-the-art application of leeches and a scientific bleeding regimen—decided that Wright should be encased in bubble wrap until after the start of the regular season. Wright's back has been an ongoing concern ever since he and Ike Davis ran into each other in 2011—an all time Metsian play—and Captain Flushing must not get hurt again. Mets fans always think the end is near. This time it happened to be true.
Have no fear, the rest of it isn't about the Mets. And unlike the article I posted below, which the Internet hated, people seemed to like this one. Good thing. It was hard, and I didn't get paid. Don't tell anybody—I'll watch baseball for free.