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

Come On Up For The Middling

There's two ways to look at the Mets' winning come lately:

1) After their season- and soul-crushing 3-15 skid, they've revived themselves nicely to win six of their last eight, most recently Saturday night's triumph [1] at the Federal Baseball Penitentiary [2] in Washington.

2) They've lost 17 of their last 26 and no amount of wins over teams complacent or collapsed in late September should paper over their failure to succeed when all the marbles were on the table (and out of Jose Guillen's head).

I'll go with the first interpretation because there's only one week left and why go into winter mad? So, yay!, we won and yay!, we're at .500 again and yay!, fourth place is no longer a total pipe dream (for those of us reduced to dreaming small and hypothetically smoking short pipes).

I guess it's the manly thing for the players to say they don't care about a winning record and not finishing last. Maybe they mean it. Half of them won't be back (half of them never are). It's up to us to give a Pratt's ass. I'd rather that when awoken in the dead of morning…I mean night and quizzed on the Mets' year-by-year record, I'm able to lay at least an 81-81 on my inquisitor before calling the cops on whoever it is who got into my bedroom at that time of day…I mean night to administer the Mets' year-by-year record quiz. (I can also name all the presidents backwards and forwards, but you already knew that [3]; did you know that I don't get out much?)

If there is one more victory in those blue, orange and black togs, the Mets will, at worst, clinch their best win total for a losing season. Aim high, brothers! In 1991, they won 77. Next best was 75 in 2002. (The strike-shortened years of '94 and '95 resulted in winning percentages that would've translated to 79 and 78 wins, respectively.) On the other hand, the Mets have won 82 games three times and 83 games three times. When the Mets have a winning season, they often eke it out. And when the Mets have a losing season, they sit around the house.

We've never finished at exactly .500, which shouldn't be our precise goal until/unless we're Something and 81, but you'd have to say it would be darn appropriate for this particular Metropolitan edition. The Brewers, on the other hand, are making 81-81 a crusade of Turnbow proportions. I caught the last out of their game against the Cardinals (actually, J.J. Hardy did that) and as soon as they ascended to 77-77, Fox Sports Net North flashed a graphic — more like a logo — that announced the Brewers are now FOUR GAMES FROM .500. They weren't kidding around. Seeing as how the Brewers haven't ended a year above .500 since late in the Yount Administration (seven years before he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, which was itself six years ago), I can't say that I blame them.

I was having a few Danny Graves flashbacks [4] on your behalf to five weeks ago: you're present for a Saturday night game between the Mets and the Nationals, Livan Hernandez is lit up early, we get a lot of runs but immediately stop scoring for our erstwhile Cy Young winner and things start to slip away. But we were victorious on both occasions and this one felt cleaner despite the Mets' insistence on packing up the bats after the first inning. Looking forward to hearing your impressions of Subpar Field at Exercise Yard.

It's no myth [5]: Gary Cohen referred to several pitches Livan threw as his “Bugs Bunny curve [6]“. Really, you should've watched more channel 5 as a child.