Thursday, May 29, 2008

Your New York Mets: Now With 30% More Fuzzy

If there was ever a team that needed a win such as the one you saw on Wednesday night, it's your New York Mets.

(Boy, like you really needed me to tell you that. Like the first thing you thought was "I wonder how big a win this was ... let me read that Metsahumpa and find out.")

Yeah, let's be careful about taking two wins and a row and saying "this is it ... this is it ... this is it!" For example: I have a friend. Big Knicks fan. Seemingly every day for the past six or seven years before a big game he would come up to me and say "tonight's the night". The last time he said it to me, the Knicks lost by about seven hundred points. So look where that got him. He's reduced to a drunken mess who's perpetually rocking in the fetal position, hoping that the Knicks will somehow pick both Lopez brothers with the sixth pick (did I mention he was delusional?)

But last night was different. Look, when Willie Randolph whined about SNY never showing him clapping and pumping up his players, it seemed rather silly ... because I know I've seen him do that before via the fine camerawork of Sports Net New York. But if Aaron Heilman were to ever complain about that, now that would be a case. Because never have I seen Aaron Heilman do anything other than have that look like would rather be doing about a thousand other things ... or like he just had a root canal. Never has SNY caught Aaron Heilman point at a fielder and bark encouragement like they did tonight. Never had SNY caught Aaron Heilman ... wait for it ...

wait for it ...

clap and yell from the dugout.

Yeah! Aaron Heilman did just that! I saw him! I swear!!!

Because it sure is great to see Heilman come in, pitch two big innings, and strike out the first four batters en route to a perfect eighth and ninth to keep the Mets in the game to set up Endy Chavez' (!) pinch hit HR in the ninth to tie the game. But Aaron looked like somebody who somehow took whatever tension and regrets that he's had in his life and threw it out the window. He seemed ... dare I say ... happy?

Perhaps he's reached his moment of Zen! (Sorry, the Three Jewels of Zen Buddhism. I was recently corrected on that.)

And don't underestimate what those two innings did for the crowd. For one of the few times this season, I didn't get the sense from watching the game on television that the crowd was about three seconds away from storming the field with various blunt objects and such. It was a crowd that had the vibe of expecting something good to happen ... unlike the doom that we've sensed more often than not this season ... even after the Alfredo Amezaga home run. The crowd, I think, I can't be too sure, actually liked the Mets. The crowd was kinda like that scared cat that finally came out from under the bed to rub his dad's leg. (Yes, the Mets are dad's leg.)

We may have finally started that healing process that we've all needed a dose of. The Mets have had one walk off victory this season. It was courtesy David Wright and his wind blown fly ball that barely landed fair against the Pirates. What struck me about that was that Wright seemed more relieved than happy when the ball landed ... and everybody just kinda walked off the field ho-hum without a smidgen of enjoyment. Not how walk-off's are supposed to look.

This one was more like it.

Although I must admit, I still had that sense of doom after the game winner. I saw an AP story floating around my head that contained the words "Fernando Tatis", "victory pile", and "separated shoulder". But that's just because I'm insane. This team, between Heilman, Chavez, Luis Castillo blasting a home run (!!!) Carlos Delgado pinch hitting and not swinging at everything that crossed his path for a walk, Carlos Beltran's clutch hit in the 12th, and Tatis bringing it home and actually looking like he was enjoying himself, had that warm and fuzzy feeling tonight. The healing process might have begun.

Of course, another five game losing streak and both warm and fuzzy go down the drain (and probably clog it up). But if this starts that hot streak the Mets have been waiting about a year for to get them back up to the top of the division, then Wednesday night was indeed ... the night.


Unser said...

Tatis-ed . . . good wordsmithing by the Shea scoreboard operator.

Actually a well-played game - I can't remember the last time I saw one of those (maybe the Santana game in Philly?).

tim said...

The difference between the knicks and the Mets is that the Mets actually have bona-fide talent. And the Lopez Bros.? Does you friend want the Knicks to suck for the next ten years?

Correcting someone on the tao of zen buddhism is an oxymoron.

Demitri said...

While I fully support Metstradamus' cautious optimism, I think its important that folks refrain from saying "we've turned a corner" etc etc in the comments below.

How about they try to win a couple series in a row before we do that?

katherine said...

I agree with Demitri, I jumped around and yelled as much as anyone last night, but I am not going to get my hopes up too high. I actually have reached a point where I feel I can enjoy moments like these in the context of a losing season. If I'd had the right attitude from the start, I could just remember the 2007 season by things like Endy's game winning drag bunt, and the catch on Tal's hill.

Everyone has been saying the Mets can't win without the spark from José , but I also think we underestimate the role that Endy plays - he's been underutilized and underperforming up til now.

Len said...

Did anybody notice a seemingly heated exchange between Willie and Delgado last night after Endy hit his first HR in the 9th to tie it up? Willie didn't even really celebrate or look excited considering the circumstances. Just wondering, is there a divide between them that is tearing the team up?

tim said...

In the immortal words of the pychologist in "The Natural", "Losing is a disease, like syphollus...". Maybe it takes a Roy Hobbs to stand up and walk out sometimes. Tatis hasn't been in the majors since 2003. This guy once hit two grand slams in one inning! I'm not saying Tatis is going to blow up the Keypan sign some October night, but Delgado is looking more an more like Bump Bailey.

Agreed its one of 162, but it is 2 in a row for the first time in over a month.

The next week tells the tale because the Dodgers are a good team capable of bringing us down to Earth and MLB/ESPN screwed us again with the old Sunday night game/redeye flight to San Fransisco. That first game versus the Giants is going to be rougher than has to be. If they come out of the weekend with two wins and can pull 5 of 7 from the Giants and Padres, two teams both playing poorly, that would 7 of 11 from today, and 9 of 13 since Tuesday. It'll make the Arizona series interesting and at that point I think we can get excited.

But first things first, we get Penny tonight who we've been successful against in the past. Let's kick his head in and move on to Friday.

Jaap said...

A glorious moment last night in a season of hideous disappointments. Still it is interesting to note how little it takes for a wild, impassioned voice of optimism to bleet out and equally how little it takes for us to flinch if the next loss is ugly and tonight.

tim said...

That's the double truth.

Lorne Guyland said...

Hey Metstra,

An entire poll on the Horwitz jacket and not one mention of Lindsay Nelson?

You're slippin, dude.

Metstradamus said...


Lindsay's jackets were many things ... but never just one color.

The D.O.T. said...

Wow.. I knew Bill R. was a good manager, but he's even got Heilman motivated. I'm so glad we dumped that Willie Randolph guy, Bill R. is the man!