Honestly, this would have been a good night in Met Land even if we hadn't come all the way back from 7-1 in thrilling fashion. Instead of going under the knife, Tom Glavine will have to take baby aspirin — the stuff that isn't even bitter when you chew it. Instead of the uncertain business of asking what might be too much from Endy Chavez and demanding Lastings Milledge grow up in public, we added a veteran to man right field through October. And if it doesn't look like a dip in the Fountain of Postseason will rejuvenate Shawn Green, Chavez/Milledge isn't a bad Plan B.
That's what I was thinking when it was 7-1 and the only question was how many more Bad Albert would swat to Portugal. John Maine may have a tough go of it his second time through the league, but there's no first-time discount when Pujols is at the plate. Luckily, there's not a lot more to the Cardinals these days, besides annoying ex-Mets to scowl at. (RUN, TIMO! YOU JACKASS! RUN! And Looper…Christ, where to start with you. Oh, the hell with it. Just go away.) There is a lot more to us — while David Wright continues his lonely sojourn in Slump Forest, Carlos Delgado has emerged, blinking and mildly annoyed, from those deep dark woods. And has he ever brought lumber out with him — his grand slam was so ridiculously gone that I barely blinked. When a ball goes that far it's meant to be and you're just a bystander. Does one cheer avalanches or miles-long forks of lightning cracking the sky? Add in Lo Duca playing his usual gritty defense and slashing hits at every opportunity, Chad Bradford coolly inducing not one but two clutch double plays and the continuing renaissance of Aaron Heilman, and it was a very nice night indeed.
And that was before the heroics of Carlos Beltran. If this season winds up being one of those that's endlessly, lovingly dissected and chronicled — like a certain one just satisfyingly celebrated — the key moment lasered in on by every baseball historian will be this one: the moment Carlos Beltran decided that no, he wasn't going to acknowledge Shea Stadium's petty, fickle fans with the curtain call they wanted — not after how shabbily he'd been treated for a year and change. And then the moment, hard on its heels, when Julio Franco told him sympathetically but firmly that his point had been made, and it was time to get up on that top step.
Since he emerged from the dugout that night there's been nary a boo for Carlos Beltran — and nary a reason for even the least-forgiving leather-lung to express displeasure. That wasn't just the moment Carlos Beltran and the fans agreed to start over, though that was significant. It was also the moment Carlos Beltran realized that there was no reason to try to make himself into whatever mythical beast is the product of Carlos Beltran + $119 million — that just being Carlos Beltran would be more than enough. He, and we, have been the beneficiaries ever since.
Before we go, a moment for a wonderful call from Howie Rose, one that'll be leading off a lot of WFAN broadcasts: “First pitch … fastball hit deep to right field! It's gonna win the ballgame! Home run!”
Oh, and keep playing “The Curly Shuffle.” Just a hunch.