’00s Mets: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Pt. II

In Part I of this three part look back on a few memories from the Mets Wayback Machine, we took a look at one of most improbable comebacks in Mets history, capped by a defining moment in Mike Piazza’s career. So look, Part II is probably going to bum you out to some degree. It’s unavoidable. Let’s just get one more look at that Piazza dinger, shall we?

Alright, back to business.

The Bad

gbuii4In 2007, the Mets’ offense was very good. By most measures, the Mets’ starting pitching was top 10 in the majors. The Mets’ relief pitching was a dumpster fire. Reviewing the late September box scores is intensely depressing, seeing the parade of relievers with ERAs over 5.00 pitching in high leverage situations.

I was once at a Red Sox – Yankees game where the Red Sox blew a 9-0 lead. (Appropriately) Bobby Valentine trotted out to the mound to give the previous, ineffective, pitcher the hook 5 times in two innings. On the last trip back to the dugout, with all of Fenway Park booing, he did something I’ve never seen before. He looked up at the crowd with a shrug and this telegraphed look on his face. “What do you want me to do? These are the pitchers I have. They all suck. There are no other options.” I can only imagine this is how Willie Randolph must have felt for an entire month.

Though I wouldn’t call him the grand marshal of this parade of dismaying pitchers, Jorge Sosa was distinctly bad. Very. Very very bad. Let’s trudge our way through a few key examples before we get to drowning our sorrows.

No Mets fan needs reminding that the NL East lead was 7 games with 17 to play. I simply mention it as the frame of reference for Sosa’s appearances.

September 15, 2007 – Tied 3-3 in the 8th inning

With Pedro Feliciano having just given up the lead on a home run from Aaron Rowand, Sosa promptly walked Wes Helms. After a sac bunt and a fly out, career .196 hitter, Pete LaForest came to the plate. With Mets-killer, Jimmy Rollins, behind LaForest, Sosa unleashed another walk. He then gave up the eventual winning run as Carlos Beltran misplayed a line drive off Rollins’ bat into a triple.

gbuii3September 16, 2007 – Tied 5-5 in the 6th inning

Guillermo Mota created the mess Sosa inherited, giving up two walks and an error to load the bases with no out. But instead of minimizing the damage, he immediately gave up the go ahead run on a bases loaded walk to Jason Werth, and put the game out of reach for good four pitches later by giving up a grand slam to Greg Dobbs. A fitting way to lose on a day the Mets gave up 11 walks and committed 6 errors.

September 17, 2007 – Losing 6-4 in the 6th inning

Called on for a third straight day, Sosa put up his third straight stinker. Walks kill, and both of Sosa’s would come around to score during his two thirds of an inning. Again, with the aid of 2 errors it was all too appropriate that the Nats would score 4 in the frame without a ball leaving the infield.

gbuii1September 20, 2007 – Winning 7-4 in the 9th inning

Sosa was inexplicably called upon for the save opportunity against the Marlins. Inheriting a runner on 2nd, a double, 2 singles, and 2 RBI groundouts added up to a blown save and a tie game at 7. Somehow, Willie Randolph would leave Sosa in for the 10th. A single to Hanley Ramirez and a walkoff double to Dan Uggla would complete the collapse.

I’d like to think Unibroue made a beer with this run of games in mind: La Terrible. At least they had the presence of mind to pack this Belgian Quad with 10.5% ABV.

gbuii5The first thing that’s brutally evident is the starkness of the packaging. Dark and ominous, only silver foil surrounding the medieval-looking titling font adorns the 750 ml bottle. Terrible pours an opaque, very dark brown, and retains its khaki head all the way down the glass. The nose is heavy on alcohol with accompanying dark fruit.

The taste is markedly less brutal than the preceding indicators suggest. Sweet caramel malt, plum, and fig lead the charge. A bit of cocoa and delicate spice follow, with an unobtrusively tempered alcohol slow burn in the back of the throat on the finish.

Surprisingly, Terrible is perfect for coping with the frustration that stretches of baseball like 2007 create. It has a calming effect, and seems to slow me down. The flavors are strong and affecting, but all come together for a very mellow, relaxed, highly enjoyable drinking experience.

gbuii6Scouting Report (20-80 scale)

See        70

Smell      60

Taste      70

Feel         70

Overall     70

I expected a big, ostentatious, “put me on my ass” kind of beer out of a name like Terrible that would seemingly encourage continued gnashing of teeth and furrowing of the brow. On the contrary – this beer puts me at ease. “It’s okay,” says Terrible. “Flip over to an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway, turn your mind off, and enjoy a beer.” And so I shall. Comp – “Steady Eddie” himself, Eddie Murray.

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