Elevated to absurdity

I like this sequence from 30 Rock. A mildly funny joke followed by a better joke building off the first one, then elevated to absurdity by the third, all across 20 seconds.

I thought of it yesterday while watching the Mets lose to the Braves from the second deck in right at Citi Field, and not just because Excelsior sounds like a name Jack Donaghy would choose for a level in his stadium.

Something about the rapid-fire one-upsmanship during the game reminded me of the scene, with bad news replacing Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin — first Willie Harris pinch-hitting for Jose Reyes, then Daniel Murphy hopping out to short right field and collapsing with a season-ending knee injury, culminating in the ridiculous sight of David Wright playing shortstop and then, when it seemed like being a Mets fan couldn’t get any more depressing and silly, the game’s ultimate punchline: Chipper Jones lining the game-winning hit.

The metaphor fails because 30 Rock is funny and injuries to Reyes and Murphy are nothing like that, except I suppose in some grim, rock-bottom way.

Murphy was to date the team’s third-best hitter. Carlos Beltran, debatably the team’s first-best hitter, plays for the San Francisco Giants now. We await word on how long this hamstring tweak will sideline Jose Reyes, the other side of that debate. And that’s not to mention Ike Davis, who had been hitting better than all of them when he went down with the ankle injury that appears to have ended his season.

This sucks. It’s a damn-near miracle that the Mets can shoulder so many losses and still field a lineup of mostly not-embarrassing Major Leaguers, but a lineup of David Wright and a bunch of mostly not-embarrassing Major Leaguers isn’t going to score nearly as many runs as one with Wright, Murphy and Reyes, with a couple extra not-embarrassing Major Leaguers on the bench. Obviously.

I guess a more appropriate simile would be to say Sunday’s game hit like a flurry of punches from Mike Tyson in his prime, jabs and hooks and crosses and uppercuts, leaving us dazed and on the ropes. Something like that.

Whatever. Who cares what it’s like? It is what it is: Two of the Mets’ best players and best reasons to keep watching for the rest of 2011 getting hurt within the course of a few innings. Reyes may be back soon. Murphy won’t.

The upshot is we’ll probably see Lucas Duda in the lineup just about every day from here on out, and maybe more of Nick Evans too. We won’t get any better sense of if Murphy can play second in the future, though if you’re playing at home that makes two straight seasons for Murph ended by knee injuries sustained at the keystone, for whatever that’s worth.

Brutal. At least there’s still David Wright, playing shortstop or anyplace else. And Jason Bay… oh, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

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