Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Epiphany to Me, Cacophony to You

Game 33 - Mets

Mets 7, Cubs 4
Record: 18-15

I like this team.

It's official now. Yes, I've thought I liked them for a while now, but I also thought I liked last year's team, and look how sour on them I became by August.

This team is a team I'll stay up until 1:00 AM to watch, even when they blow a 4-run lead in a game they should win in their sleep.

It's a team that, even when they aren't catching breaks (Jose Reyes slipping on loose dirt whilst rounding second, which prevented a sure run; Jeromy Burnitz making the greatest catch in his long and unstoried career; the home plate ump calling balls and strikes with all the surety of a bingo ball picker), gives me a sense that they'll find a way to win.

It's a team that offers me a new bullpen staffer to loathe every other night ("Mister" Koo, come on down), but redemptive moments from them every third night (Mike DeJean in a cameo role).

This is a team of unsung heroes named Heilman, Mientkiewicz, and Marlon Anderson, the last of whom collected his major league-leading 10th pinch-hit last night. (The team record is 24, by Le Grand Orange, and the all-time record is 28, by John Vander Wal. Stay tuned.)

This is a team that currently leads the National League in home runs, and I don't even know what to do with that.

This is a team with a manager that opted to walk Derrek Lee in the same exact spot that the Phillies' Charlie Manuel (who I thought butchered the entire game I saw in Chi-town) elected to pitch to him. Lee homered against the Phils and was left stranded without damage against the Mets. I am digging Willie's scene more and more each day, something I could never say about the band of blow monkeys who preceded him.

This is a team whose announcer annoyed his one remaining fan last night, but it's okay. Fran Healy finally got to me. From mangling the opposition's not-terribly-difficult surnames (Hairston as "Harriston," DuBois as "Duboys") to gushing worthless compliments about Heilman to generally prattling on without end, I became one of the countless viewers that considered muting the Mets game. I think perhaps it was that, due to the three-inning rotation schedule, the first three frames were called by Keith Hernandez and Ted Robinson without irritation. From the fourth on, though, there was a noticeable fly in the ointment. I'm still against the sea of idiots piling on for cheap shots, but you'll not likely see me continuing my "Fran Fan" campaign with as much vigor, if at all.

This is a team, though, that no matter who they're throwing behind the mic, warrants watching, listening, and following. Even when the Nats are on, featuring '86er announcer Ron Darling. Even when the movie Salvador is airing concurrently, featuring actor James Woods. Even when you want to flip back and forth between those two channels furiously to compare the eerily similar voices in a vein attempt to prove they're the same man. You want to, but the Mets are on, and it's too inviting to possibly click away, except during bad Subway commercials.

This is a team that, while it hasn't been crippled by injuries compared to some clubs, had a few worrisome early-season DL trips, yet seems to have managed its way through each of them thus far.

This is a team that, despite its collection of well-paid and widely-adored individuals, is a team.

This is a team that has its fair share of problem areas for sure, and I may be hollering at them like bad dogs in the very near future, don't get me wrong.

But I like this team.

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