Bats Boom

Mets 5, Phillies 2. Quadruple homers! We got a #DudaSmash from Luke (his first of the season), one from Neil Walker, and two from The Captain. Cespedes also pulled off a stand-up triple and scored a run, and Thor was as dominant as ever. The bats are waking up for spring!


 

The Quitter

 

I was eight or nine, taking ground balls

outside my school in the hot sun,

and a bad hop smacked me in the jaw

and knocked me down, so I took a seat

 

on the bench. As soon as my father pulled up

in his truck, I ran and climbed in and he asked

what I was doing, and I said I wanted to quit,

showing him the red splotch that would grow

 

into a bruise, and he shook his head

and said nothing as we drove home.

Three years later, after my big league hero

broke records and my favorite team

 

was in the playoffs, I sat in as catcher

for the junior high team and tried,

for three innings, to snap up fastballs

from a kid who could hurl like a pro,

 

but each hit to the chest or mask,

each dropped ball, each failed throw

to second to get the runner out made me sweat

and shake. Soon, the coach benched me,

 

and after the game I asked how I was doing

and he asked if I wanted him to be nice

or to be honest, and he was honest,

and the other kids ignored me,

 

and I quit again. My father always said

not to be afraid of the ball, but the dull hot pain

of each thump was like a deadening punch

a bully would deliver. And next season,

 

about to go into high school,

I went to tell him that I’d never play again

but he gave me a mask, a chest pad,

and a pair of black, steel-toed cleats.

 

He taught me how to call balls and strikes,

how a curveball can paint the black edge

of the plate, how you listen for the click of the bat

to call a foul-tip, how to use all of your senses.

 

All that summer, we worked

as a two-man team for the little leagues,

and he’d watch from second base

with his chin raised and his hands on his knees

 

when he knew I was calling a fair game.

First Win

Mets 2, Royals 0. First win of the season, won by the first Mets home run of the season by second baseman Neil Walker. Starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, a.k.a. Thor, dominated with a nine-strikeout shutout and was unfazed by close calls and tight jams. But as one announcer called him a “man-child,” another responded, “That’s no man-child, Gary. That’s Thor.”


 

That’s No Man-Child, Gary, That’s Thor

 

Twenty-three, fresh-faced out of Texas, barely a rookie

and he’s head hunting in the World Series,

his hammer a hundred mile-an-hour fastball

with that quick silvery flick that tails right in

to the framed catcher’s mitt. Wham.

Over and over, K after K, and something

just ain’t fair about this grotesque demigod

of a pitcher, a thick blonde whip of an ape

that mastered one of the few traits that sets us apart

from the rest: the ability to throw.

This guy could take out Zeus’s eagle

with a pebble thrown from the underworld.

The batter up next thinks he’s hot stuff

so he crowds the plate, waggles his bat,

then hits the dirt when one zings past his chin,

and it’s a game of who’s crazier than who—

crazy to throw so willfully wild,

or crazy to stand back up for the next one.