Mark it down as the day this dog got his swagger back.
Even with the Mets having won four in a row with an enormous lead in the N.L. east, everyone seemed to get their shovels out to bury the Mets when Tom Glavine was on his way to season ending blood clot surgery. But not only will Tommy be back sooner rather than later, and not only did Omar make the right play (what other play is there for Omar, really) in acquiring Shawn Green, but the Mets interrupted their methodical, quiet assault on the National League to return to the rollicking, historical, mind blowing way they won games earlier in the season.
Because there are some out there that needed a reminder of how this team butters its bread: a stingy bullpen, mixed with a lineup that isn't going to quit when down by say...six runs, with just a hint of late inning pixie dust.
Sure, Bangor Maine was off his game tonight. But he gave up seven runs to a decent team that did its homework on him after the first time through the lineup. He didn't walk the park home, and the main culprit was a guy named Pujols. Show me the shame.
But look who was there to bail him out, just as they've been all season long: the bullpen. Some of the names may change...it was none other than Guillermo Mota, who used to be Public Enemy No. 1 at Shea depending on the wind shift at the time, who was the first to stop the bleeding...but the results are more or less the same. Whether it's Mota, Blueback, or Aaron Heilman, these guys more often than not get it done.
And then, the bats. Carlos Delgado must have had a heart to heart with Keith Hernandez on that train home from Philadelphia. Starting that day, he's been on fire with the bat and with the glove...scooping out various tweener hops from various infielders on various double plays. But that's not why Carlos was heisted from Florida. His power resume, which now stands at 400 home runs, is the reason. Four hundred was the ninth grannie of the year for the Mets and besides being an important retort to the Pujols grannie in the top of the fifth, it's interesting that it happened tonight...because SNY showed one of their montage commercials at the start of the telecast where they showed all eight grannies by the Mets this season, and ended the spot with the words: "When will number 9 come?" Thankfully, the New York City school system thought it important to teach us the concept of foreshadowing, or else I would never have put the two together.
And then, there's the other Carlos. Or should I say for Mets purposes: "Carlos: Original Recipe".
People are bound to ask if Beltran won the MVP award tonight. Of course, and I have to be honest here, such talk is foolish because...
- It's August, and...
- Albert Pujols, while not all by himself in his efforts, has little help in his lineup on most nights.
- Meanwhile, the part of Beltran's resurgence that doesn't have to do with being healthy has plenty to do with Carlos Delgado hitting behind him...and that's not a knock on Carlos: Original Recipe, but a tip of the cap to Carlos: Extra Crispy.
But while a moment like this...a moment where Beltran brings the Mets from a run down to a run up with one swing of the bat...seemed impossible last season, its more than possible this season. It's moments like this, and not necessarily the gaudy statistics from post-season '04, that the Mets paid an exorbitant amount for.
Moments like that are valuable enough for me. And days like today are just as valuable.
Because the Mets will have Tommy back.
Carlos Delgado has his best friend back.
And our dog has its swagger back.
Woof, baby. Woof.