Crappy losses to dismal opponents generate little cause for concern as regards our unassailable Mets, but they're still crappy. I didn't like 'em in '86 and I don't like 'em now. But they happen, sometimes in twos.
The second day of the rest of our lives went suspiciously like the first: flat and flat again. Maybe it's just some kind of delayed jet lag or bus lag or whatever weariness that kicks in after you've finished conquering your foes and elevating yourselves above the rabble. It may surprise some of our younger readers (or older readers with limited recall) to learn that the Mets can get beat in a pair of games and it's not a sign of the apocalypse, certainly not with the Phillies comatose and the Braves in the morgue…tied for last with the surging Marlins, in case you're wondering why you can't find Atlanta without a magnifying glass.
Need immediate gratification? The Nationals won in inspiring fashion Saturday to move into sole possession of third, about a hundred games behind the Mets. They are granted special dispensation on this Interleague weekend, as will be other NL East teams when they play the Skanks. Even in the heat of 1999 and 2000, even when it was the Braves, I've always given our intradivision rivals my blessings in those contests. Some matters loom larger than any displeasing, fleeting shift in the standings.
As for the Orioles, they're annoying. Brandon Fahey? Nick Markakis? Chris Ray? They're the new Expos, except we only have to play them three and out (and they'll still exist next season). Come to think of it, three encounters with Leo Mazzone's charges versus the traditional nineteen is a perfectly reasonable tradeoff. Kris Benson heating up like a hot tub instead of emitting the lukeyness to which we became accustomed? Well, you could see that coming from 200 miles down I-95.
Yellowing mental snapshots of Benson and Melvin Mora are two of the souvenirs I've kept from what I consider the best day I ever spent inside Shea Stadium, October 3, 1999. Benson pitched the game of his life to, thankfully, no decision. Mora emerged fully grown from obscurity and sparked the most crucial rally of the decade. The Mets won the right to play another day and then for another two weeks after that. Realizing they were both in the visitors' lineup last night made me smile just the slightest bit. It didn't, however, make me wistful as it would have at any point in the past five years. 2006 isn't about wist for the past. It's about thrust for the now.
I'm trusting we'll get back to thrusting ASAP.