Not for Tom Glavine, who thoroughly earned No. 298 by baffling every Red who wasn't named Brandon Phillips. Glavine gets claps until my hands are sore. Same for the Mets' defense — the back-to-back sparklers from Gotay and Reyes will get the highlights, but David Wright had another quietly impressive game in the field. (Though given all that he's been through, Lastings Milledge should really, really make sure he knows how many outs there are.) Oh, and Ralph Kiner gets applause on his night, of course. I'll leave the word picture of the night at Shea to Greg, who was there.
But the offense gets nothing but a frosty stare. You want applause, fellas? Sorry. You made Matt Belisle look like Tom Seaver, somehow converted 11 hits into two runs, and a bloop double and a bounder single were all that kept Glavine's superhuman performance from going down as a monumentally frustrating 1-0 loss against the second-worst team in the major leagues.
Perhaps Lesson #1 from Howard Johnson can be about working a count, particularly with runners on. (Let Rickey pitch in — that man worked a count better than any hitter in the history of the game.) The Mets started out fairly well in this regard — in the first, Beltran, Wright and Delgado saw 20 pitches between them in that situation. But things went downhill from there, until the Mets were playing like they had a one-run lead three outs from an official game and the rain was tumbling from the sky. Green hit a weak pop-up to the shortstop in the fourth with Lo Duca on first; Delgado flied out to left in the sixth with Wright on first; Reyes flied out to center in the seventh with Glavine on first. Three lead-off runners left exactly where they were a pitch before. Yes, I know Milledge won the game on a first-pitch single, but a lot of times that's a comebacker to the pitcher and more boos. You can fall out of a window into a giant pile of unclaimed money, but that doesn't make swan dives from apartments a good idea. As for the booing, I don't think the fans were booing specific players (the Carloses sure heard it, but so did Wright) as much as they were booing the lack of an apparent game plan from the hitters. And I don't blame them — I was sure booing from the comfort of my couch.
Maybe this is an ungrateful reaction and I should be jumping up and down over what could be called a taut 2-1 win. But this team's not playing well enough to earn that — we've all seen too many such wins followed by torpid performances or blowouts. (As my blog brother chronicled so ably and chillingly one post back.) So, sorry — I'll hold my applause pending further evidence of actual decent baseball.