Good morning, fellow fans of the best team in baseball. Our winning streak is extended to seven, our co-best start in franchise history remains intact and so does our four-game lead over the second-place team — five in the all-important loss column, a queue I thought we might wind up visiting after vintage Glavine gave way to shaky Aaron, but, as mentioned previously during this most pleasant skein, it's a team effort. There will be nights when it's Heilman picking up the starting pitcher, just as it was the formerly unlikable starter who gave the generally dependable bullpen a wide enough berth to stumble but not falter.
A fella could get used to this kind of sameness. On this count, I won't be careful what I wish for. You know that Twilight Zone episode in which the small-time crook dies and thinks he's gone to heaven because he's receiving everything he's ever dreamed of — and receiving it with no exertion of effort — and he tells his celestial guide, played by Sebastian Cabot, that he's bored with it and he wants to go to the “other place,” and Sebastian Cabot cackles and tells him, “This IS the other place!”?
Well this ain't that. This is pretty sweet. 8-1 feels about as ideal as could be and an immediate-future template on which I will gladly sign off. No complaints, Mr. French. No jadedness here, not with the likes of Carlos Lee looming for at least another eight at-bats this weekend. As the sun shines over Metsopotamia and I prepare for my second try at my first game at Shea, I say carry on, Mets, carry on.
The standings say we're 8-1, but I'm thinking we're riding a 20-5 wave. No, that's not a projection, but what the Mets have compiled dating back to last September 16. What am I, some kind of Jimmy Rollins advocate? Have I lost my sense of direction? Don't I know that when one season ends, it ends and that we start fresh?
Yes, I do know that. But it strikes me that the way Willie's Mets didn't quit at the end of 2005, after they initially collapsed, may have carried over at least a little. True, some of the heroes of the Great Salvation — Jakey, Bert, Piazza, Padilla — are no longer a part of it all, but I think the culture carryover is genuine. You may dimly recall that the Mets were rocking through the Wild Card race when they essentially stopped playing ball at the end of August, spiraling into a dreary and familiar 3-15 disappearing act. Just when it seemed like a case of Howe We Doin' was in full effect, they turned themselves around and finished 12-4.
It could just as easily be attributed to picking up uncontested points in garbage time, but I don't think so. Randolph instilled a blend of professionalism and expectations throughout 2005 and his team never quite reflected it until those final two weeks when they seemed to play like the slogan said. Next year was finally now, albeit better better late than never. Remember, they were beating the Marlins and the Phillies who desperately needed those games, sweeping the Nationals on the road who had just embarrassed us at home and taking a couple from the Braves, which is never a bad habit to get into.
It's the first season in quite a while when the Mets aren't trying to erase some predecessor humiliation, and I don't think it's a coincidence that the results have been positive. The highly touted imports aren't saddled with the burden of changing the atmosphere and the holdovers have are benefiting from persevering through the growing pains of 2005.
Except for David Wright, who dared to strike out Friday night for the first time all season. Tsk, tsk, don't let that happen again, young man.
Congratulations to our heretofore Snigh-deprived readers in Western Connecticut whose cable provider, Charter Communications, has gotten with the program and added the most important network in the world to their suddenly vital television machines. In particular, I'm happy for my friend Larry who badgered customer service representative “Jim” for a reported half-hour last week until “Jim” hung up in tears. “Just give this guy his Mets games already! I can't take another phone call like that!”
Like the 2006 Mets, whatever it takes, folks, whatever it takes.