Games 72 through 80 - Mets
Mets 10, A's 2
Mets 2, Cardinals 1
Cardinals 5, Mets 3
Mets 2, Cardinals 0 (6 inn.)
Mets 6, Phillies 5
Mets 5, Phillies 2
Mets 8, Phillies 3
Phillies 5, Mets 3
Rob was merely on vacation last week. I was on vacation and working my second week on the new job, getting up to speed and visiting the client site in New Jersey 'twixt lounging it up at multiple beach cottages, celebrating a decade of wedded bliss eighteenth-century style, and ringing in my daughter's fourth birthday with a Little Mermaid gala. He's such a slacker.
As it was, for at least part of the time I found myself in a situation very similar to Rob's: geographically much closer to my baseball team, totally plugged into the goings-on with them, yet unable to view much of the action and less able to get my thoughts to you, the reading public.
What you would have heard from this side of the MLC aisle would have echoed much of my last brief post. There's a renewed optimism in camp, and it's just so much nicer to put on the Mets lid these days. I wasn't donning the thing any less two weeks ago, it just seemed to chafe my head and yank out my diminishing follicles a lot more then.
After a 4-14 start to June best described in terms usually reserved for characters Jerry Lewis or Chevy Chase played, the Mets quietly regrouped and finished the month 12-15. Lousy when coupled with their 19-9 May, perfectly splendid when you saw the first fortnight. That the Mets' June record ended up being just a game worse than the Red Sox' (ignore Rob's fuzzy math below) is startling in more ways than one, and I think I'm a lot more pleased by that stat than my counterpart is.
Beyond the statistical rebound, there was plenty to like in how the Mets were winning. Close ones and blowouts. At home, on the road. Clutch, timely, and productive. Oh, and throttling the Phillies on their home turf will always, always result in tremendous gratification.
The troubles haven't all subsided -- not with Ollie Perez aching, Jorge Sosa ailing, and Aaron Heilman flailing. There are still games where the bats fall disturbingly silent, and there are still concerns about whether this team as it sits is good enough to pass the mustard down the stretch.
That said, beyond the dominant outings most of the rotation has interspersed back into the schedule, we've seen the offense reminded that there will be times when it needs to carry this club. Hell, Carlos Beltran single-handedly carried them this weekend in Philadelphia, leaving the Township's most critical without a whole lot to say. Delgado has proved himself really, really not awful of late, Reyes & Wright still make me smile, and Paul LoDuca's exclusion from the All-Star team can only add more coal to his fire. There is rational reason to believe the Mets won't soon return to the doldrums of yestermonth, but my current satisfaction goes beyond that.
Somewhere in the Oakland series, "simply fun to watch" re-entered the vernacular of these New York Mets, and that feeling about this team stayed with me from the Tar Heel State to the Old Dominion to the Garden State to the Colonial Capital and on back home. This week I'll settle down and get to watch a lot more Metball, and for the first time in a while, that fact pleases me a great deal.
(Of course, when Glavine gets pounded in Colorado and another no-name call-up dismantles the Met bats tomorrow night, I reserve the right to recant that paragraph and replace it with a flurry of expletives. Hey, you saw how bad they were just two frickin' weeks ago . . .)