Games 52 through 56 - Mets
Pirates 11, Mets 6
Mets 3, Nationals 1 (10)
Nationals 7, Mets 1
Mets 7, Nationals 0
Mets 6, Phillies 5
2 GB PHL
When the Mets went down 4-3 on Jimmy Rollins' home run last night, I was irritated and unhappy, but I had to shake my head and smile. Just an inning before, I'd thunk to myself how much better it was that there is now an actual rivalry between the Mets and Phillies after four and a half decades of we're-good-you-suck and vice versa. (Mostly vice versa.) It feels right to loathe these division opponents, and it's exciting every single time they come to town.
When Rollins hit his tater -- and as much as I do like Jimmy Rollins, what we don't need is him jump-starting his season thanks to Met pitching, Johan -- that prior notion came into question. What I really want is a Mets title, and let the competitive rivalry be damned.
. . . Except that in baseball, it has to be more about the journey than the destination, right? Six months of watching, following, (sometimes) blogging, culminating in one winner and 31 losers. Gotta be more to a season than whether you win the World Series. Even Yankees fans have had to learn that lesson. And the mini-dramas that dot the season are what keep us entertained. Mets-Phils is a big part of that for the past few years.
Over on the other side of the MLC aisle, it's a battle to diminish the media-driven melodrama when the Sox and Yanks square off. There's such hype that perspective and eyeing the long road ahead are advised by the sage fans. Where's the fun in that? While every battle doesn't have to be World War III and you can temper the long-term consequences of every individual game won or lost with the understanding of the 162-game season, go ahead and revel in the animosity, tension, and elevated excitement of playing an age-old nemesis.
Last night was a great example of the Mets and Phillies taking it up a notch in a crucial-for-June kind of series. Back and forth, close all the way, one-run game. Seven home runs in a pitchers' park (by order-meat Rollins, Utley, Howard, Ibanez, Wright, Beltran, and Church). Frankie Rodriguez shutting the door on a dangerous PHL lineup.
It's great baseball to watch, and I would have said this even if it had concluded the other way. Woulda been pissed, but still would've appreciated it.