Thursday, April 3, 2014

Opening Day, 2014

It was opening day, and the Mets were jazzed. Imaginary little musical notes emanated from their struts.
“Wright year!” declared the star third baseman, pulling on his cleats in the clubhouse.
“It’ll be grand,” agreed Curtis, their well paid acquisition, as he chose from his 42 baseball gloves.
“I’m kind of the best human at baseball,” Lagares noted.
Standing in the middle of the room, nervously cupping his hands, stood Terry Collins. He had to give one of those beginning of the year speeches. Everything that went wrong for the next six months would make him think of whatever he was about to say next, and wonder if they were connected.
“We all have dreams,” he began, and then he snuck in a quick fist pump, because that seemed like a really good intro.
“I’m really glad you brought this up,” said Ike Davis, jumping in. “I had a dream about this team last night. I was riding a horse through a pretty badass field, and I just felt really free and optimistic. It made me think this is going to be a big year for all of us.”
“How does riding a horse relate to the Mets?” asked Travis d’Arnaud, who was a rookie, and still had so much to learn.
“Oh yeah, I left that part out,” said Ike. “See, last year right before the season started, I had this dream where—you know that scene in The Iliad where Achilles’ horse turns to him, and the horse is like, ‘You’re gonna die in this war, and there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s just how it works in this Greco-Roman mindfuck?—I had a dream that I was Achilles, but I was kind of also the horse, and Achilles was sort of the Mets. Then LBJ was there for some reason, and he said something about how ‘don’t worry, no one’s perfect,’ and I said, ‘yeah, but this still sucks,’ and the horse told me that I should have seen this coming.
“Last night’s dream also had a horse, but it wasn’t foreboding like the one I had in 2013, and 2013 turned out to be truly sub-optimal.”
The Mets nodded sagely. Ike’s dream was good news indeed.
“Yeah, um, good,” said Collins, trying to salvage his speech. “So listen, this is going to be a long year.”
“Because nothing lengthens time like success!” interrupted Eric Young.
The outfield high-fived each other in response. Collins nodded anxiously. He was already planning to say “nothing succeeds like success” at some point, but  he felt like he couldn’t now.
“But baseball is,” Collins paused for effect. He wanted his next words to sound well thought out.
The Mets all jumped and cheered on being reminded that the sport they play for a living exists. With no one saying that they should do so, they trotted out of the clubhouse on to the field, filled with exuberance.
Only Bobby Parnell hung back. As the closer he wouldn’t be needed for a while, but that wasn’t why. He had somehow forgotten to put on pants. Fortunately no one seemed to have noticed.

Collins did notice, however. Because he’s a good manager, he pretended not to. He couldn’t help but think that for Parnell, the start of the year was like a bad dream. 

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