I have to confess that after the Giants finished subjecting Hisanori Takahashi to every indignity short of drowning him in San Francisco Bay I exiled this game to radio and the occasional look-in, if only to save my own sanity. I registered the Mets’ basically cosmetic comeback, noting that it was just numerically sufficient to give me another look at the obnoxious showboating closer I dislike who doesn’t wear our uniform, and got on with life. Sure, it was good to see some life in Ike Davis’s bat, some spring in Carlos Beltran’s step, and David Wright emerging upright from encounters with Matt Cain. Beyond that, though, there were not a lot of positives to extract.
You could argue that a dip like this was inevitable, and given that the Mets are on a tough road trip (the longest in years) that will be followed by a tough homestead, it stands to reason that this would be the time for that dip. Let Beltran get his legs under him and Jose Reyes get the stitch out of his side and then Jason Bay and Ike can relax a bit. And Luis Castillo will be back soon, which I won’t say is grounds for celebration except for the fact that Ruben Tejada’s growing pains have become cruel to ignore. Staying positive, Rod Barajas can’t be this bad forever, and if he is, Josh Thole has shown that he deserves a chance to join the Homegrown Mets movement. If the Mets can survive this current stretch they’ll be looking at a pretty soft schedule. And then who knows?
On the other hand, plenty of promising seasons have run aground come July, with flawed teams revealed as such in unforgiving heat. We’re just five games over .500 now and once more looking up at the Phillies. The high point of the year may have come and gone.
But if that’s true, you know what? I can deal with it.
I did a book signing in Greenpoint today and wound up chatting with a Yankees fan who seemed like a decent enough sort about our respective seasons. He offered his sympathy for our season going down the tubes, to which I objected. First of all, I said, we were still very much in it. Second, I said that even if we didn’t wind up going anywhere, after the wreck of 2009 it was a relief just to watch normal baseball again instead of bracing for agony and futility on a nightly basis.
Which had the added benefit of being true. Jerry Manuel annoys the hell out of me with his bunting and his slash-and-burn use of the bullpen, I still think Omar was negligent in planning (word used very loosely) for the starting rotation, and we’re stuck wondering if the post-Madoff Mets will be able to take on the salary of a Ted Lilly or pay for bullpen help in the next two weeks. But I’ve gone from fearing 2011 will be the wreck of everything to hoping it will be something wonderful built on the foundation of 2010. And that’s nice. And if the next couple of weeks reveal that 2010 isn’t all we dared to dream of a month ago, it will still be nice.