Don’t send the Braves to do the Mets’ job.
They couldn’t win one lousy game from the Phillies to facilitate our clinching. But so what? Our continuous demoralization of the Fish — poor babies — is plenty for 2 nights. And watching Turner Field in September of 2006 resemble a very depressed Shea Stadium from September of 2002 (1 loss after another, plenty of good seats still available) was worth it.
All our timely hitting, heads-up running and massive advantage-taking is public record and happily familiar. A couple of things I noticed that seem worth mentioning:
Thumbs up for the Dolphin Stadium organist. This person played “Take The ‘A’ Train” for The Beltra(i)n and “Love Me Tender” for Valentin(e). Thumbs down for whoever at SNY operates the bases diagram, which is always about five pitches behind. Thumbs scratching my head when Keith said that given his cold, he was better off up in the booth than on the field. Uh, Keith…is playing technically an option for you anymore?
And Gary acknowledged the sacks of Soilmaster! I knew it wasn’t our imagination.
Now of course we count on nothing and we don’t care to choreograph anything, but is anybody here really sorry that a possible Phillies loss tomorrow (no sure thing, they are playing the Braves) won’t clinch for us? Who wants to grab the brass ring in absentia?
We play in Pittsburgh Friday night. An hour later Phillies throw down with another personal favorite, the Astros in Houston. Don’t know what the magic number will be then. For now, it’s a highly satisfying 2.
2.01: A Great Combination. Sometimes, Mary MacGregor would have us believe, you are torn between 2 loves (she actually said lovers, but that’s not something I’d know about). Jason said last month there were Gary people and Keith people in the ’80s much the way there were John people and Paul people in the ’60s (he actually said Mick people and Keef people, but I’m clearly a Beatles person). In this century, are there Jose people and David people? I have to confess that a small percentage of me, like .0000000000000002%, slightly resented the instant popularity of David Wright when he came along in 2004 and trumped the presence of the previous year’s savior, Jose Reyes. Reyes is the guy who zoomed up from the minors at not quite 20 and shook me from my brief but steep stupor in 2003 where the Mets were concerned. Reyes is the 1 who made me forgive the untimely, unfair, unclassy dispatch of now-minor league infielder Edgardo Alfonzo (who must be sticking pins in his Ricky Ledee doll every night). Reyes is the one who made me forget the disappeared balleticism of Rey Ordoñez, not much of a hitter, kind of a questionable person, but oh what a shortstop. Reyes is the one, more than any other Met in my estimation, who opened the door to the new and promising Met era that grew just a little up the road from his debut. When Wright came up, Reyes was either on the DL or heading back there from 2nd freaking base. When I attended the Home Opener in 2005, I couldn’t believe how many WRIGHT 5 jerseys confronted me. He had been here barely 2-1/2 months the year before and now he’s the idol of millions? Ah, but what Wright did for them, Wright did for me. He matured a little ahead of Reyes and in no time at all (remember, my so-called resentment was infinitesimal), I saw why everybody wanted to turn their backs into advertisements for David. I made mine into 1, too. Wright was the recipient of the M!-V!-P! chants right out of the gate this year. It was hard to not want to coronate. That support has since been inherited by Carlos Beltran, yet lately the “smart” talk says Jose Reyes is the real most valuable player on this club. And you know what I find myself thinking? That people are awfully quick to dismiss David Wright. So to answer my own question, I’m definitely a Jose-and-David (Josavid?) person. I plan to spend the next several years as such.
2.02: Love Him Tender. First time in 18 years. First time since 1988. No division title since then. In Octobers 1999 and 2000, I didn’t sweat such details. We were Wild Cards and proud of it because it put us into the tournament and that’s all that mattered. The man who guided us to that particular promised land was No. 2, Bobby Valentine. Color me aghast on the order of Keith Hernandez Tuesday night when an online poll was hyped during the Snighcast asking fans to vote for the greatest Met manager ever. Choices? Hodges, Berra, Johnson, Randolph. With apologies to the unfortunately omitted Casey Stengel, it should be illegal to have any such discussion without Bobby Valentine. Has it really been so long that the only manager to guide the Mets into two consecutive postseasons (and about a million amazin’ memories) is now a footnote? Or was this some sort of sanitization of history, like a few days earlier when the same survey asked which of four Mets should be considered for number-retirement and none of them was Doc Gooden? Whatever. As we edge into that elusive first divisional championship since the last year of the Reagan presidency, let us remember to toast the skipper who gave us a helluva lot to keep us occupied somewhere in between 1988 and 2006.