- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Between Goofy and Good

If you win twenty in the Show, you can let the fungus grow back on your shower shoes and the press'll think you're colorful. Until you win twenty in The Show, however, it means you're a slob.

–Crash Davis

Thirteen of Beltran's seventeen RBIs have come in games started by Martinez. Wait 'til the Los Mets conspiracy theorists gnaw on that one.

Your long lost Fran Healy saluted the New York baseball fans for their knowledge of the game when Jose approached his unfinished four-ball symphony. It was an unknowing echo of Bob Murphy's long-retired line about the most knowledgeable baseball fans being right here in our town (at our place). That was also back in the day when Bob, Lindsey and Ralph cast a skewed tone toward cities like Houston that ordered their patrons to clap and make noise. We never had to be told that.

It was a long time ago.

I'll admit the bases-on-balls…not-so-fast-there bit was cute, but to be a wet blanket on a damp night, why is it funny that we have a leadoff hitter who can't draw a walk? It's reached absurd proportions, and we have a rich tradition as Team Surreal, but geez, be professionals. At 15-1, OK, maybe. But at 5-1, it's not like these were gimme plate appearances. Any opponent that brings Burrell, Abreu and Thome (in whatever shape he's in) to the ballpark is not to be trifled with. Ya wanna walk? Walk already.

If I haven't made it clear, Jose Reyes is my favorite Met. I love the kid. I have faith in him. The four hits and his baserunning derring-do and his hard liner on the last pitch he saw speaks to a night that should be beyond reproach. He's a serious player. He's not Rey Ordoñez hitting an annual dinger and getting the silly silent treatment. So why come down with the giggles for even a pitch? He's too good for that.

Kill me now, but I'm going to quote Bleepin' Joe DiMaggio for saying he went all out all the time because there was always somebody who hadn't seen him play before. Kill me again for citing Pete Rose and his obsession with turning a four-hit night into a five-hit night. And absolutely put me on a bus to New Mexico for this one, but the single thing a certain weasely shortstop in the other league does that I cannot find a way to mock or despise is run out every two-bit grounder because you never know how far you'll get if you run hard.

It is told of another beauty, Ty Cobb, that a young pitcher struck him out three times one afternoon. A teammate asked the hurler if he remembered what he got the great hitter out with. “Nah, why should I?” the cocky kid said. Because, came the reply, Cobb will, and he'll never swing at that stuff again.

DiMaggio…Rose…Jeter…Cobb…they're all disgusting, so never mind them. Think about Gil Hodges instead.

Gil Hodges wouldn't have found any humor in not competing to the fullest of one's ability. Half these Mets would be leaving a crisp c-note on The Man's desk every other day for violating some rule or another. If Gil Hodges wasn't who he was and didn't manage like he did, 1969 would be just some year that somebody walked on the moon. Heck, even the teams run by the notoriously loose-shipped Davey Johnson kept their antics confined to rally caps, masks and hotfeet on the bench while the games were in progress.

The 2005 Mets are fun but they're also .500. They'll be less irritating and more colorful once they start winning more than they lose. They've yet to prove they can do that and until they do, they should take no liberties. Willie should worry more about how they play than how they look.

This is a very appealing ballclub we've got. Part of its charm is its inherent goofiness. But they're also reasonably close to being a truly good club. Don't lose your chance to move on up toward your destination. Play hard and play smart, fellas. Give the rain-delayed minyan that stuck around until close to midnight its bronze-ticket money's worth.

New rules:

* Pitchers, you get a turn at bat. Use it like it matters. Leiter's gone; everybody else has to swing like a man.

* Everybody stop patting Piazza on the head every time he throws out a runner. He'll think it's the eve of a national holiday…especially if it's the night before Pedro pitches.

* Matsui — you're allowed more than one base if the placement of the ball dictates your advancement from first. You could look it up.

* It's ninety feet between bases. All of you, pretend you're getting paid to run the full distance.

* Winning isn't everything, but it is the most fun you can have on a baseball field. It's even more fun than not walking.