- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Magic Number to the 4th Power: 7

For those of you following the most underreported race in baseball, the New York Mets' magic number to clinch 4th place in the National League East is 7. Any combination of Met wins and Washington National losses totaling 7 will give the Mets their third full-season fourth-place finish ever and their first since 2004; they also finished fourth in the second half of the 1981 split season.

In recognition of the 2009 Mets' ultimate goal, 4 things to keep in mind today:

1. It's AMAZIN' TUESDAY! Tonight at 7 (when else?) at Two Boots Tavern on the Lower East Side, join your friends from Faith and Fear in Flushing and Mets By The Numbers [1] for one more evening of reading, rooting and Rusty Tillman. Joining Jon Springer and me will be John Coppinger, a.k.a. Metstradamus [2], and Jeff Pearlman [3], a writer of many articles and books but, in our hearts, the author of the indispensable 1986 chronicle The Bad Guys Won. Bring a Mets baseball card, get a free beer. All the details you need are here [4].

2. Ex-Nat Anderson Hernandez had the honor of hitting the Mets' 6,000th home run ever, a fact dutifully recorded by Mark of Mets Walkoffs [5], where the countdown is on to determine the Sixty Most Metmorable Home Runs in Mets History. Nos. 60-51 are given the Delight-is-in-the-Details treatment here [6].

3. Wonder why the Mets are focused on 4th and not a higher position? Could it be because the Mets haven't developed themselves more than one starting pitcher on whom they can still depend this entire decade? I Hate the Mets [7], a blog written by JF — who relates to the Mets as only a true Mets fan can these days (judging by the site's title) — recently worked up a most revealing chart. It's not your imagination that the Mets never seem to bring up a solid starter who sticks around for very long. Maybe Mike Pelfrey, but solid is still debatable with him. Other than Pelfrey and Jae Seo, no Met-bred starter has contributed more than a season's worth of starts to the Mets in the 2000s…though a few have pitched pretty well for other teams. Examine the whole mess here [8].

4. One of my favorite lines from The West Wing was uttered when Leo (John Spencer) came to work early and found Sam (Rob Lowe) had slept on his office couch. Go home and get some rest, Leo told Sam. No, it will be all right, Sam countered, I'm just going to change my shirt. Leo: “I think you're putting too much faith in the magical powers of a new shirt.” I thought of that yesterday when I put on a new shirt of my own, one that says I'M CALLING IT SHEA. I had seen these around Citi Field and was impressed by the loyalty so many Mets fans were showing to the dear, departed homestead, yet had resisted buying one for myself. I love Shea Stadium and I still mostly meh Citi Field, but except out of habit (such as when an LIRR conductor stares at my Penn Station ticket, my wardrobe, my ticket again and asks me where I'm going), I don't call Citi Shea. Shea was Shea and Citi is Citi. If the naming rights to Shea had been sold while Shea still stood, that would be another matter. But Citi is a place all its own and, though it would have been appropriate to christen it something like Shea Field, its corporate name is its birth name — and pretty accurate considering the vibe it emits. Nevertheless, a thoughtful person sent me an I'M CALLING IT SHEA shirt and I have to say I felt a surge of empowerment just holding it in my hands. They can pave over my stadium, they can hide our past, they can make it so we mindlessly utter the identity of a financial institution when all we want to do is talk baseball, but here, in glorious blue and orange (not Citi Field's official colors of forest green and Phillie crimson), was somehow a magical statement. I may not call it Shea, but I'm proud to wear it. If you think you might want to try one on, just click here [9].