Monday, August 28, 2006

Exactly Where I'm At

Games 125 through 128 – Mets

Mets 10, Cardinals 8
Mets 6, Cardinals 2
Phillies 4, Mets 3
Mets 11, Phillies 5
Mets 8, Phillies 3
Record: 80-49

Yes, it’s that time of year again when Whitney, weary of his Mets’ losing ways, grows complacent and allows some dust to collect on the blue and orange side of the MLC launch pad. Except, wait, this year I’ve grown complacent because of their winning ways? Shame on me.

There’s nothing like a pennant race to keep us blogging away, and this is nothing like a pennant race for the Mets. I’m beyond silly superstition at this point, free to talk about the Mets as postseason participants without jinxy repercussion. I’ll even agree – not boast, but agree – that the Mets are far and away the best team in the National League. You won’t hear me talk as if they’re a lock to move on even past the divisional series, because short series were made for underdogs and streaking inferiors (also what Rob, several others, and I were labeled as we dashed through the corridors of Monroe Hall in the 1980’s wearing only 12-pack cardboard helmets), but be happy for the baby steps.

I am reveling in the Mets’ season, despite my recent time AWOL. Since my last check-in I spent time in DC, Richmond, and Nags Head – watching or at least paying attention to the team’s nightly progress, but miles away from this keyboard and the philoso-babble that emanates from it. Today I got to watch John Maine and a host of pen-pals keep the Phillies mostly in check (excluding bombs from Met-killers old and new Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard) while the offense continued to utilize speed, power, and plenty of good fortune to pile up eight more runs at the Phils’ expense.

Even as a plumber dug a hole in my back yard, opened up sewer pipes, and attempted to snake out a disgusting problem 100 feet into the pipe, even as I sweated out the thought of tree removal and massive plumbing bills, even as the smells inside and outside my house made me feeling like Andy Dufresne during his escape, an afternoon taking in a Mets game such as this one propelled me to be Andy Dufresne in the river, arms skyward and free of the normal August/September doldrums of yesteryear.

Today’s worries about starting pitching are real, but what might actually be happening is that the key cogs are getting some late-summer rest before the autumn run. Pedro and Glavine missing time is troubling if there are larger problems at hand. For now, though, I am optimistic that the break in the action for these guys – and El Duque, for that matter – is a well-timed rejuvenator.

For now, I am looking for the Mets to continue to play solid baseball, the skipper to give all the right guys a rest (David Wright looks like he could use three or four days at Canyon Ranch), the injury bug to fly far away, and the Cardinals, Dodgers, and any other playoff-bound clubs to hit enough of a lull to award the Mets at least one advantage come October. There’s plenty of reason for me to still pay attention down the stretch; that was never really in doubt. But there’s also more than enough cause to keep me chiming in to chronicle whatever ups and downs remain in this regular season. See you soon.

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