On his 15th pitch in Monday’s game, Mets reliever Hansel Robles delivered a high fastball to Diamondbacks outfielder Yasmany Tomás. The result of the play will be addressed in a moment, but please note this:

Robles appeared to be signaling to his teammates that the ball hit by Tomás would be a pop fly. With no outs, two men on, and a full count against a batter in a tie game, that outcome definitely would have helped the Mets’ pitcher. Let’s check the video to see if it turned out that way:

Poor, sweet Hansel. It was not a pop fly—not even close. Tomás delivered such a thwack to this baseball that the spirit of the cow used to make the ball emitted an agonizing wail. How could you blow this, the cow ghost asked, a question intended for Robles but one that reached no ears from its inquirer’s infinite dimension. The baseball traveled a reported 454 feet and bounced off the goddamn video board in center field. That ball seemed like a goner from the moment of contact, so imagine the optimism a player must have to believe that it had a chance to be an out.


Later in the same inning, with one man on and Jeff Mathis at the plate, Robles’s positivity was retested.

Again, he pointed, but not for nearly as long. On this one, he had learned: Optimism is worthless. The Mets lost, 7-3.