Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of the first game in the history of the New York Mets.
The team that played that game was made up of has-beens, never-weres, never-will-bes and their only saving grace was a manager in Casey Stengel who could make you laugh just long enough to forget the atrocities happening on the field on a daily basis.
Terry Collins isn't Casey Stengel, so he couldn't come up with a couple of good quips to take away the pain involved in watching his team do a Vegas-level impersonation of that 1962 team against the Nationals. All he could do was let his anger bubble to the surface during an argument over the inexplicable strike zone of umpire Larry Vanover and get himself ejected so he didn't have to watch the rest of the 4-0 loss.
It was a great act of kindness from Collins, whose sense of decency forced him from the dugout when Vanover rang up Jason Bay on a pitch that was clearly outside. Bay's got plenty of troubles all his own, so sticking up for him the way Collins did is the baseball equivalent of telling an evildoer that it is wrong to steal crutches from the crippled.
The Mets, playing without David Wright, went to the plate against Stephen Strasburg like kittens to a slaughter. Strasburg allowed two hits and struck out nine over six innings while throwing more than 100 pitches for the first time in his major league career.
That gave him a win in a battle of comebacks against Johan Santana, whose performance is the one part of Wednesday's game that should produce smiles on the faces of the Mets.He looked sharp over five innings once again, allowing one run and striking out eight Nationals hitters.
It would be nice if he could go a little longer into games, especially when the bullpen is going to walk seven hitters and allow the Nationals' lead to bulge even larger in the late innings, but you'll take what you can get from Santana at this point as long as the results are as positive as they've been in his first two outings.
The Mets' last two outings haven't been quite as positive, however. The offense has disappeared, the bullpen has shown some shakes and the four-game winning streak has been left in the dust as quickly as it delighted the masses.
It's a long season, boys and girls, and it never feels longer than it does on days like Wednesday.