Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Life Is Grand

Game 93 – Mets

Mets 8, Reds 3
Record: 56-37

And life is grand
And I will say this at the risk of falling from favor
With those of you who have appointed yourselves
To expect us to say something darker

-- Camper van Beethoven

Yep, things are pretty good these days, and by “these days,” I mean the past few days when the grand slams just keep on coming. Actually, though, now that I consider it, it is really good living now for those of us who bought property in the Township when land was dirt cheap a few years back. And I don’t think it’s such a crime to say so.

Our job description – as Mets fans, bloggers, lunatics who not only bleed royal blue and blaze orange but whose bruises and scars all faintly resemble Mr. Met – mandates that we not get too high on the club’s midseason successes. We must keep an eye on the horizon and a mouth to the megaphone, heralding problems tremendous or tiny that just might stand in the way of long-term greatness for this club. Now, this practice can be a slippery slope toward the mud bank of “those guys” – the fringe fans whose every outrageous rant of a post begins with a self-absorbed “I” and ends with a venom-filled “sucks” hurled in some poor Met’s direction. (If only they’d confine their claptrap to those two words, it’d be a more honest – and really, no less grammatically correct than usual – assessment of things. But I digress; these folks are in the minority and a far too easy point-blank target for ridicule.) But I do agree with a continuing evaluation of the roster for the duration of the season, and there is much road left to hoe.

That said, the failure to pause periodically at a roadside saloon and take in the picturesque dusk (also Met-colored) with a tall glass in one hand and your best hoe by your side . . . well, that’d make this entire project a joyless exercise in self-torture. I’ve got a steep aversion to any part of that last clause, so this is my pause.

The New York offensive pattern in tonight’s game was reminiscent of Sunday evening’s contest; a couple of solo home runs preceded a Carlos Beltran grand slam that blew the game open. Okay, so there weren’t two grand slams, but what can you do? They’re slipping.
More notable was a fine outing by youngster Mike Pelfrey. The rookie avoided the serious threats of a potent Cincy lineup, a miniature ballpark, and gruesome New York Post headlines involving “bats” and his surname by working six solid innings tonight. Hands were on hairpieces in the Township tonight as the neighborhood exhaled deeply in unison at the rare sharp start by a call-up. No pressure, Pelf, but good luck – we’re all counting on you.

X-Stachio Nut – you didn’t think you’d like them either, admit it – combined for a 4-for-8 night with two taters, a pair of ribbies, and a nice sacrifice bunt. Xavier Nady seems to draw the occasional, brutal hatred post in the Mets ‘sphere, and I’m not seeing it. His game has a few issues, sure. His defense is somewhat holey, some of his wild swings unholy. But he has legitimate pop, a real right-fielder’s arm, and a knack for getting it done when it matters. It’s predominantly unquantified intuition on my part, but I’m still singing “Play Nady Play” while they tear him apart.

Jose Valentin mostly gets mocked for his moustache. Keep on truckin’, dudes.

One inverse shout-out from my rose garden here tonight . . . what’s up with Carlos Delgado’s “defense” lately? He had several grounders whiz by his ankles for base hits while he labored even to wave a glove at them, prompting me to holler (at the television) something about “the reflexes of a cat . . . erpillar.” Then, in a crucial spot, he had a sharp but playable one carom off him towards second – quickly enough for Valentin to snag it and fire it back at Delgado, who did cover first. Glad he made the heady play, glad the Mets seemed to be getting the bounces once again, not glad that he brought to mind images of Mo Vaughn at first base. I guess we overlooked it when he was creaming the ball, but it stands out more when he’s flailing away in the batter’s box all night.

We’ll gloss over that one quickly, however. I don’t know if a baseball season is about the journey or the destination more, but for now, listen to Mr. Lowery. Life is grand. Damn the instincts otherwise.

No comments: