You knew it could not last. The Mets had to lose a game this season and of course they had to suffer a significant injury. I guess all is right with the universe again although it is not right within the Mets universe.
The problem with last night’s loss is the way the Mets played.
Live by Daniel Murphy’s bat, die by his glove. And Mr. Lucas Duda in right field also offered evidence as to why there will be frustrating times watching the Mets this season. A couple of blown double plays by Murphy and a fly ball that should have been caught by Duda at least made the game more lopsided in Washington’s favor than it needed to be.
The Mets likely lose the game anyway since they could not score more than two runs. That may have had to do with the fact that their hottest hitter to start the season, David Wright, was on the bench with a broken right pinky. Without Wright, the middle of the lineup (Murphy, Jason Bay, Duda) left eleven men on base. It’s often the case that euphoria in baseball is followed by depression. How is it one day things can look so great then the next so bleak? I’ll bet a study would show the Mets are one of the leading causes of Bipolar disorder.
Today there is a great match up at Citi Field with Johan Santana going for the Mets and young phenom Stephen Strasburg going for Washington. It’s the first rubber game of the year for the Mets. What the hell is a “rubber” game anyway?
Of course in baseball parlance, we know that a rubber game is a game that decides a series, typically a three game set unless we are talking about the deciding game in a post season five or seven game series. But why is it called the “rubber” game?
There are many theories found on the Internet.
One explanation found on Yahoo suggests the term goes back to the 1740s and is borrowed from the card game Bridge. According to the information, the third and final game in Bridge is called the “rubber” game. A set of three games is also called a “rubber.” Wikipedia offers that the term “rubber game” is much older and comes from an old English lawn game from the 16th century called “Bowls” or “Lawn Bowling”. According to one entry, the loser of the deciding game did not want to be “rubbed” out, hence the “rubber” game. Get it?
A similar explanation is found elsewhere. This theory, again found on Yahoo, suggests it comes from the game of darts or more specifically Pub Darts. The scoring in Pub Darts was (or perhaps still is) kept on a chalk board. After the deciding game was played, the board would be erased or “rubbed” out. I like this one the best.
Here’s another explanation, also found on Yahoo. It has to do with the scoring in billiards. In many bars, the score was kept by sliding wooden disks suspended on a string over the billiard table to one player’s side or the other. Each disk was separated by a small rubber disk. If there were an even number of wooden disks on each player’s side, the only thing left in the center of the string was the last small rubber disk. The final game would determine what player that rubber disk would slide to.
In all the explanations found, no one can definitively say where the term “rubber game” comes from. Likely, it originates from one or more of these explanations. Perhaps some day it will mean something else and future historians will report its origins having to do with a pastoral game known as baseball.
For whatever the true origin of “rubber game” is, all I know is I hope the Mets win their first rubber game of the season this afternoon starting at 1:10PM at Citi Field. It would certainly cap off a great opening season home stand.