A headline that would read more accurately, like "Phillies Struggles Enable Mets To Climb Back Into Race", doesn't exactly have that "juice". Also, it's too long. So to you Phillie fans whose eyes are all bulging while reading this, and getting ready to call me every nasty name in creation, calm down and go back to your cheesesteaks. Your team is still quite awesome.
But even the most insane of the Philadelphia lot would have to admit that their team hasn't been that awesome in their last seven games (1-6), and a funny thing has happened because of that. Week one of the Jerry Manuel era has seen the Mets gain three games on the Phillies. It's not that the Mets have been tearing up the league ... Gangsta Ball is only 3-2. But the Phils are 0-5 in that time, and their little mini-slump has tightened the division and brought the Mets to within 3.5 games ... coincidentally this week of all weeks, exactly when the Mets needed it. Just enough to string us along, and keep hope alive.
The Phillies recent struggles (with Chase Utley and the rest of the bats, of all things) remind me ... and should remind you ... that this is indeed a long season. And I don't mean in the "dammit, when do the Jets open training camp" kinda way, but in the "I gotta stop having a conniption fit when the Mets lose three in a row" way. The Mets go down the roller coaster, then they go up the roller coaster. And every once in a while, the Phillies hit an air pocket and the Mets are back in the race. It didn't seem possible when I woke to the news that Willie Randolph was fired on a sunny Tuesday morning.
But in a world where we're slowly learning to trust Mike Pelfrey more than we trust Pedro Martinez, then I guess anything is possible. (Of course, that includes losing two out of three to the worst team in baseball, starting Monday night.)
Jerry Manuel is bizarre. Either that, or he's been reading some of those Zen books that Rick Peterson left behind. Consider:
Asked how the struggling Heilman was holding up under constant booing at Shea this year, Manuel said: "It's very, very fertile ground for growth in Shea Stadium. It's fertile ground for a team's growth and development. Sometimes, fertile ground has fertilizer ... Fertilizer is a good thing," Manuel said before the Mets' afternoon contest against the Rockies. "It's a good thing. You get the greatest results - get the most beautiful plants - when you put it in that type of fertile soil. That's what we have the opportunity to do."***
Sadly fitting that while writing a baseball blog entry where I mention the Jets, I find out that the man who gave us "Baseball vs. Football" is gone.
In baseball, the object is to go home. George Carlin has gone home.
Of course, considering Carlin's many bits on religion, I'm not quite sure where home is for George. But here's hoping that wherever it is, that George Carlin is indeed, safe at home.
Rest in peace. You were one of the greats.