Think of it this way: You’re a movie freak. You miss none that seem promising. You can’t help but smell like buttered popcorn.
But one day, everything changes. Nearly all the movies, about halfway or a bit further, fail to make sense, no longer have anything to do with the first half of the movies. The plot vaporizes. And they never come back to tie up the loose strings.
Even the main characters — often big-attraction stars — suddenly and senselessly vanish, never to reappear.
Thus, as the house lights come on, you’re left wondering what the heck just happened.
Then, the next movie you attend, it happens again. Then again, until you become disinclined to spend more time or another dime on another movie.
Last Friday night, the suddenly contending Nationals played at the suddenly contending Mets. For the past few seasons, as baseball fans know, the Nats have been slayed by a recurring plot: a very poor bullpen.
But not on this night. Leading 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Nats manager Dave Martinez summoned Daniel Hudson. He was on. He retired the side on just 16 pitches, including a strikeout.
Then the Nats made it 6-3 in the top of the ninth. Hudson, according to common sense, circumstantial sense and recent repetitive sense, would start the ninth.
But Martinez pulled him for garden-variety “closer” Sean Doolittle — the Nats’ version of a designated closer, as if the mere title elevates them to scripted, by-the-book special.
Doolittle allowed four runs on four straight hits.
So what will be remembered, recorded and replayed by SNY this winter as one of the greatest comebacks in Mets history — a 7-6 win after entering the ninth down 6-3 — is unlikely to be recalled for what it was or at least how it began: With another senseless gift from the opposing manager, the latest in an epidemic of such preposterous abandonments of the practical, with other managers eager to return the favor.
The next day was Aaron Boone’s latest turn. In Toronto with Boone’s Yankees up, 4-3, Tommy Kahnle was brought in for the sixth. He struck out the side on 14 pitches. There was a DH, so no batting strategy to worry about.
Still, Kahnle had to go. Boone had to find a reliever the Jays could hit, so he gifted them Adam Ottavino, who quickly allowed two runs in a 5-4 loss.
The next day, Mets reliever Jeurys Familia finally reappeared to know what he was doing. Brought in to pitch the eighth with the Mets down, 5-4, Familia struck out the side on just 13 pitches.
But manager Mickey Callaway had seen enough. In came unfulfilled promise difference-maker closer/arsonist Edwin Diaz.
A two-run homer made the Mets 7-4 losers in a 14-pitcher, bit-players’ finish that hadn’t seen star starter Jacob deGrom for the final 90 minutes. But all the main characters are now killed off early. Plots vanish then start again with crazy, confused new tales.
Callaway on Wednesday, given yet another opportunity to learn his lesson, again refused. Up 2-1 at Atlanta into the bottom of the seventh, he pulled starter Steven Matz — though Matz had batted and singled to help give the Mets that lead in the top of the seventh.
Matz had to go. After all, he’d allowed two hits on just 79 pitches and had just retired his 14th straight. Soon the Mets became 6-4 losers.
Afterward, Callaway said he’d make such a move “100 times out of 100 times.”
Hmm. Given what we’ve seen through Callaway’s first two seasons of fixing what ain’t broken, he’s down to about seven.
Theatre of the Absurd.
Ego can’t process interview snubs
Truth monitor @backaftathis nailed Mike “Let’s Be Honest” Francesa yet again last week, after Sitting Bull claimed he’ll no longer conduct (paid) one-on-one interviews with Eli Manning because Manning no longer conducts such interviews.
Yet Manning had just completed a one-on-one with ESPN’s Sal Palantonio.
Seem familiar? After the Masters, Sitting Bull claimed that though Tiger Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, is a buddy/big fan of his — who isn’t? — Team Tiger absolutely forbids LaCava from being interviewed, even by his Royal Majesty.
That day, LaCava was interviewed on Michael Kay’s ESPN-NY show and by Chris Russo on SiriusXM.
That reminds me: Before the British Open, Francesa claimed he’d already picked the winners of “four or five” of this year’s pro golf events. We cut him a break, challenging him to name just four. But nothing. And still nothing. You don’t suppose he was lying, do you?
But such megalomaniacs find fame and fortune as assigned by broadcasting execs who wouldn’t know good from bad, bad from worse.
Wednesday, while mindlessly channel-flipping, I bumped into Stephen A. Smith on two ESPN channels. Though I couldn’t discern what he was hollering about — nor did I try — his approach in both sessions was the same: He was yelling at the camera, a transparently self-inflated gasbag pretending to be the last word on any issue — by self-appointment.
Smith has regularly been caught making bogus, bad-guess expert claims — including his “expert” preview of a nationally televised Chargers-Chiefs game in December, when he delivered matchups of players who were widely known not to be playing — yet ESPN has chosen him as its go-to know-it-all. What a sustaining con.
John Sadak, Howie Rose’s weekend Mets radio replacement — Rose was inducted into the New York Baseball Hall of Fame — worked almost exclusively in indecipherable code. His descriptions, including “a jam-lift,” would have been fine had the radiocast carried a closed-caption English translation.
Again, ignore what you see, believe only what you’re told. The attendance for Wednesday afternoon’s Orioles-Yankees game was announced as 43,909 — a conspicuous exaggeration, again, unless roughly 20,000, again, purchased tickets they didn’t use, sell or give away.
LLWS backup: cage fights
Why do media ask what makes today’s kids so frighteningly desensitized — as if media play no role?
A rain delay during an ESPN Little League World Series telecast last week was filled with kick-’em-senseless, bloody cage fighting.
Commercials repeatedly seen during Mets and Yankees telecasts for an R-rated movie about sixth graders consumed by sex, included urinal scenes and one with a ceiling-fastened sex swing. Charming.
I’ve never seen an important professional position player demonstrate such little interest in his position than Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez does. In fact, I’ve never seen him show interest in anything other than hitting home runs, even on 0-2 counts and sucker-punching an opponent who was trying to break up a hassle.
Do Adam Silver and NBA players really expect us to call team owners “governors”? If Jimmy Dolan were a governor, he’d have been voted out 20 years ago.
It’s now obvious MLB players spend more time practicing elaborate home run dances than bunting or otherwise hitting away from the shift.
Reader Rich LePetri asks what FanDuel means in advertising first-time “risk-free” bets. Well, Rich, that’s like when the drug dealer says, “First one’s free!”
Checkout Counter: Neil Scherer’s fascinating photo exhibit, “Home Plate: A Celebration of the Polo Grounds,” opens Aug. 22, 6-8 p.m., at the historic — as in 1765 — Morris-Jumel Mansion in Northern Manhattan.
I put a spell-check on you: PIX11, the Mets’ companion to SNY, in a large, one-word graphic last week, spelled Mickey Callaway “Calloway.” Still can’t compete with TBS’s 2012 playoffs graphic identifying Willie “Mayes.”