Monday, August 18, 2003

Games 120-122 - Mets

Mets 5, Rockies 0
Mets 13, Rockies 4
Mets 6, Rockies 4
Record: 53-69

Well, lookee there. A five-game winning streak to propel the New York Mets out of the depths of "utterly atrocious" and back into the refreshing realm of . . . "really mediocre." It's actually been great to watch, though there's nothing like a hot streak to usher in all of those "if only" thoughts. Unfortunately, the Mets are forced to violate the Gospel According to Crash Davis and fuck with a winning streak; today Cliff Floyd ends his long, painful season and gets his Achilles tendon operated upon. Floyd had a season to be proud of when he announced his decision to go under the knife; these past few games have elevated it to something heroic. In his final trio of ballgames, he went 10-for-11 with 5 runs scored and 5 driven in, even swiping two bases. Gimpy as he has been all year, he has toughed it out and earned the respect of teammates, coaches, fans, and even opponents. He never blamed his array of dings, pulls, and bruises when his level play dipped; hell, his level of play never really dipped. He quietly showed up every day and played his hind quarters off while Mets with significantly lower thresholds for pain visited the DL like it was their beach house. Here's to Mr. Floyd, and may he get 100% healthy by the spring.

As sadly predicted a month ago in this column, what with Floyd cashing in his chips with 18 homers, it doesn't appear that any Met will hit 20, a remarkably pathetic feat. (The Red Sox have five guys with 20+ and a couple more close.) The Expos, Indians, and Dodgers are the only other teams without a 20-HR guy already; only L.A. is as much of a long shot as the Mets. Other than the remote possibility of Mike Piazza smashing 12 dingers in his last 40 games, there is one legitimate dark horse. Your friend and mine Tony Clark now has 16 home runs. He only has 201 at-bats, and though Floyd's absence has Clark taking a few fungoes in the outfield, it likely won't spell any additional swings. Still, I like the possibility of Mr. Russell's favorite Met being the lone salvation from this ignominious rate of ineptitude. (In truth, I don't think anyone would really lose any sleep over this, but it's just one more exclamation point on this @#$%! of a season that we don't need.)

As much as this season's heaping slice of humble pie might have been good for upstart young Mets, a taste of winning is equally beneficial. Once losing becomes an everyday occurrence, there's a level of acceptance. The '03 Detroit Tigers have only the threat of out-sucking the '62 Mets to keep their minds on the job. Meanwhile, at the very least these Mets now can get used to rattling off a string of wins just as they have gotten so used to loss after loss.

Speaking of Detroit, it's time for the Tigers Watch to be resurrected, since they're this bad:

Current Record: 31-91
Winning Percentage: .254
Projected Wins: 41
Odds of Finishing Worse Than the '62 Mets: 50/50

As nice as it is to point to the Tigers to make yourself feel bad about your own awful team, this winning has been nice. Keep it up, boys.

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