Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday's Starting Five

1. Carlos Beltran. There were two outs in the bottom of the ninth. The bases were loaded. Carlos Beltran steps up to the plate. He's batting from the left side with a right-handed reliever on the hill for the opposition. Sound familiar? Well, it should. Heck, even Beltran couldn't help but point out the ways in which this situation in last night's game against the Florida Marlins mirrored the final at-bat of Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS against the Cardinals. In that at-bat Beltran stood, bat on shoulder, as the last pitch he would see until Spring Training dropped in (it was a curve ball) for a called third strike. This time Beltran unleashed one of this beautiful swings that makes you think of Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime and that enchanted fall of 2004 on the very first pitch that he saw and drove a grand slam deep into the right field stands. After looking listless for the duration of the contest, the Mets offense came to life with two outs and two strikes on Luis Castillo in the top of the ninth. From there they loaded the bases (hits by Castillo and Wright and Delgado was hit by a pitch) for Beltran. Mets win, 5-4.

2. Daniel Murphy. After coming up HUGE in the second game of this week's abbreviated series in Philly, (a run-scoring double after Lidge intentionally walked Schneider to face him), Murphy made a more subtle game-saving play last night against the Marlins. It was the bottom of the ninth. The Mets had taken the lead on Beltran's grand slam but closer Luis Ayala was threatening to give it all back to the Marlins. Base runners were on first and third and the Mets were clinging to their newfound lead, 5-3. Jorge Cantu was up at bat, representing the go-ahead run. The Marlins makeshift first baseman cracked a long home-run distance drive that hooked just foul down the left field line. A few pitches later he kept a lower drive fair down the left field line. The runners had been going from the pitch and Murphy sprinted for the ball as it was heading to the corner. The runner from third scored without a play. Murphy cut the ball off and a threw to the cutoff man without coming to a complete stop, his momentum still carrying him into foul territory and toward the stands. The ball got back into the infield and the speedy pinch-runner who had been off running from first was held at third. And, the Mets still held a one-run lead. Ayala would manage to close the door on the Marlins shortly thereafter and Murphy's hustle had kept the Mets ahead.

3. Xavi. Hot on the heels of being named the top player in the Euro 08 tournament and hoisting the trophy with his Spanish countrymen, Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez has reportedly been offered a lifetime contract from the Catalan club. He's 28-years old and has been with the club since debuting in the youth ranks in 1991. He's already played for Barcelona over 400 times in his career and ranks third in games-played in the club record books.

4. College Football. It started on Thursday night? I don't know if I'm ready. Ok. Now, I'm ready. And, debating signing up for ESPNU.

5. BAM. The Brooklyn Academy of Music, the country's oldest continuously operating performing arts center, is hosting a four-film retrospective of the legendary cult films of John Carpenter. First up on Monday night is Big Trouble in Little China. Next up is horror classic The Thing on Tuesday night. Wonderfully shocking is the the movie for the next night, They Live featuring zombies, an indictment of Regan-era America and professional wrestlers trying to act for real. The closing stanza of this epic poem is Escape From New York , starring the Carpenter-muse Kurt Russell. After you get your fill of BBQ and swimming pools over the long weekend you should get yourself to Brooklyn for some Lo-Pan and Rowdy, Rowdy Piper.