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Good News (in These Parts)

The Germans have their specialties: awesome board games, unhealthy food that repeats on you, whistle-worthy luxury cars, the occasional bid to cover the world in darkness.

They’re also known for long, really useful compound words describing hard-to-summarize emotional states.

The most famous one of these is Schadenfreude, best translated into English as HA HA THE YANKEES LOST. I’ve always thought the Germans should engineer more of these. An ideal candidate would be one that captures that bizarre feeling of euphoria you get when things work in the uneventful way they’re supposed to but rarely do.

Don’t know what I mean? Try one of these:

Wow, I went to the DMV and I had all the paperwork I needed and someone help make sure I’d done the forms right and nobody closed their line for a two-hour lunch. I am filled with [LONG GERMAN WORD]!

Gosh, there were no wrecks on the way to the airport, nothing beeped in my pocket at security, the plane was on time, I was in 41B and they didn’t run out of pretzels, the bags arrived undamaged and unpilfered by TSA thieves, and the hotel room was ready when we checked in. Pure [LONG GERMAN WORD], baby!

Or this:

The Mets’ franchise player, a decent young man who grew up a fan and doesn’t want to play anywhere else, had his contract up for renewal … and the Mets re-signed him.

Long German words all around.

It’s good news, make no mistake about it. It strikes me a reasonable deal — enough to keep Wright mega-rich without becoming some guaranteed A-Rod/Pujols millstone all too soon. (Says the guy who’s neither writing nor cashing the checks.) It keeps the one player casual fans associate with the Mets in the right uniform for a baseball generation, which is not a small thing. It promises eight years of cheering for a player who’s been somewhere between a star and a superstar stats-wise while being a Hall of Famer with fans, the media and the city. David Wright is both very good at baseball and, from everything we can tell, very good at being an admirable human being.

Sure, even if things go perfectly, somewhere around 2017 or 2018 you’ll be holographically interacting with Faith and Fear experiential narratives crabbing about Wright being creaky or needing to move over to first or how Citi Field’s dimensions have never quite suited him. But that’s the nature of long contracts, and why ideally they’re handed out to very few players, with non-quantitative arguments attached that require careful scrutiny. Wright is, in my mind, such a player — much as I loved him and still mourn his residence in Miami and now Toronto, Jose Reyes was a bit shy of that.

But still — this is less great news than it is the absence of horrible news. Trading Wright or letting him walk would have been an admission that the Mets were finally and completely moribund, reduced to trying to fill Citi Field by touting that mass suicides had freed up plenty of good seats for indifferent tourists. The team still has iffy prospects of competing, a dark cloud of near- and medium-term financial peril, owners who can’t be trusted to tell the truth about anything, and no help coming from a useless commissioner whose sense of responsibility extends no farther than his clubhouse of cronies. Let’s not overindulge at the parade.

Instead, let’s move on to Item B. The Mets employ a marvelous pitcher who just won 20 games and a Cy Young award. He’s a thoughtful, intriguing interview and, from everything we can tell, a decent human being. He’s loyal to a club that gave him his last shot, likes New York and wants to stick around. He throws a knuckleball, which ought to mean that he has a lot more years in his arm than being born in 1974 would indicate. His contract is up for renewal at the end of 2013.

It’s fairly obvious the Mets ought to re-sign a pitcher like that, right? If they didn’t, wouldn’t you wonder what on earth was wrong with the franchise and be very upset about what it might mean?

Here’s hoping for more long German words.

Sirius/XM subscribers: Listen tonight to Mad Dog Radio at 9 pm as Greg joins Dino Costa to discuss The Happiest Recap [1] and other Met matters.

If you’re on the Upper West Side Sunday night, drop by the 92nd St Y at 7:30 pm for a conversation with WFAN stalwart Steve Somers, hosted by NY1 stalwart Budd Mishkin. Details here [2].