The talk today is not about another home run given up by Francisco Rodriguez, and how the multi-year contract he was given in the off-season is being to look mighty worrisome. It's not about the grit that the Mets' Quadruple-A lineup showed in scoring three runs in the eighth to temporarily tie the score in what eventually became a 5-4 loss.
No, the talk today is apparently about how many ways the New York Mets - and presumably their fans - can desecrate the bloody and beaten corpse of Matt Cain.
Cain is a marked man today, for having the temerity to lose the handle on his fastball in a 0-0 game in the fourth inning with a man on first and nobody out. Mets fans at the game, momentarily stunned into silence by the sight of their last remaining superstar face down and motionless beside home plate, began to roar their disapproval for Cain as it became clear that Wright was going to leave the field under his own power.
Cain certainly did not help matters with a saucy tip of the cap to the Mets fans has he departed to boos in the eighth inning, with the Mets in the early stages of a game-tying rally. And Wright's beaning surely was a scary sight, especially from my vantage point in Promenade 516 Row 16.
Angst and I, sitting together at a baseball game for the first time this season, heard the sound of the ball cracking Wright's helmet even from the top of the stadium. Since we were so far away from the action, all we could see was Wright lying completely motionless; we could not see any of the subtle movements that TV viewers saw just moments after the beaning.
But that doesn't mean that Matt Cain tried to hurt David Wright yesterday.
He threw an inside fastball that veered too far inside and ended up richocheting off of Wright's head. It was ugly and it was scary, but it was not an invitation to violence. Mets fans have no reason to revile him today - Wright's beaning was an unfortunate accident that can happen within a game that can never fully correct for simple human error.
Cain was not trying to hit Wright; the Giants are actually in a playoff race and can ill afford to give games away to bottom feeders like the Mets. There's no history between Wright and Cain or Wright and the Giants, so intentionally hitting the batter in that spot means nothing more than another baserunner in what was shaping up as a tight, low-scoring game.
It's a sad commentary on society today that baseball fans have become so bloodthirsty for violence that they expect batters who have been hit by a pitch to attack the opposing pitcher and to start a brawl in the middle of a sporting event.
Wright, of course, was so incapacitated that there was never any thought that he was going to charge the mound on Cain. However, reading my favorite Mets blogs this morning and remembering various conversations I've had over the past 24 hours, I find myself puzzled and saddened by the lust for mayhem on the diamond so many people seem to have.
Charging the mound is stupid, plain and simple. Baseball players are generally not fighters, and the whole thing often disintegrates to amateurish slap fights and tackle fests that do nothing but make the combatants look childish. The batter is always suspended and sometimes the pitcher as well, which does nothing but hamstring their respective teams. On occasion a player also ends up seriously injured, making the whole spectacle even more costly and ridiculous.
The unwritten code of the game is that someone on the Giants had to expect retaliation from a Met pitcher. (By the way, I wish someone would write this code down one day, so we could all marvel at its stupidity and myopia. Every moronic and ill-advised rationale for nonsensical behavior on the baseball field inevitably harkens bask to this "unwritten code.")
Johan Santana wasn't going to intentionally put a runner on base with a 1-0 lead, but once the Giants scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning, the stage was set. Santana intentionally threw behind Pablo Sandoval to lead off the seventh, and Sandoval was spared only because of an awkward fall that somehow allowed his body to miss the flight path of the ball. No easy feat, for a man whose rotundity as earned him the nickname "Kung Fu Panda."
We all know what happened next - a long home run from Sandoval gave the Giants a 4-1 lead and left Santana with egg on his face. He successfully plunked the next batter, Bengie Molina, and retired for the day to cheers not entirely befitting of his performance.
I wonder - how many fans left the stadium at that point, disappointed not only in the Mets but also that the price of admission did not provide them a bench-clearing brawl for their enjoyment?