Thursday, June 03, 2004

Game 52 - Mets
Zeile Clubbing

Mets 5, Phillies 3 (10)
Record: 26-26

I saw the film In America the other night. Excellent film, but the best line was when the 10-year-old daughter snaps back at her father, "Don't 'little girl' me. I've been carrying this family on my back for over a year." Similarly, don't "retiring veteran" Todd Zeile -- he's been carrying this team on his back for two nights and counting.

Zeile had a three-run jack to tie the game in the top of the eighth and a two-run jack in the tenth that proved the game-winner. In case your math skills aren't . . . any better than mine, that's 5 RBI. The Mets scored 5 runs. To say he comprised all of the offense is only a mild overstatement.

I was one of the guys who groaned at the offseason acquisition of Todd Zeile. Not just because we needed another 38-year-old like a hole in the lineup. Not just because he never really had that much pop in his bat, or because he's never hit .300 once in his 15-year career. It probably had a lot to do with an arbitrary, rather trivial item from a year prior. When the Yankes had signed Zeile before the '03 season, he was quoted in the New York papers spouting about his admiration of Joe Torre and saying he'd secretly always wanted to be reunited with his old St. Louis skipper. As a Mets fan, the notion of Zeile gazing longingly into the other dugout during the 2000 World Series just didn't jive. And of course Zeile lasted less than half a season in the Bronx, got released, and spewed venom about the Yankee organization.

Anyway, I stand corrected now. If I headlined for, say, The New York Post, you could say I am now a Zeile-ot. For the bargain basement price of $1,000,000, Todd Zeile has now nearly single-handedly won a pair of games to help sweep a divisional foe during a key part of the first half of the season. Sure, he's contributed now and again throughout the past few months, and he'll likely do it again before it's all over. But for now, these two performances justify his presence in the lineup and further prove that you must disregard anything I say as utter tripe.

I said he nearly single-handedly won this game because you can't discount the pitching performances for New York. Tom Glavine continued his frustrating pattern of slow out of the gate, giving up three in three before settling into a groove and throwing four scoreless. John Franco and David Weathers were perfect for a pair, and Braden Looper shut it down in the tenth . . . sort of. The bases were replete with runners when he generated a groundout off the bat of Jim Thome.

The Marlins come to town for four more, starting tonight. Let's see if our boys can avoid another batch of near-misses like they chalked up in Miami last weekend.

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