Break up the Mets!
We were there in Loge 13 last night as the Mets beat the Marlins 7-6 in 12 innings - the most dramatic victory of the year and perhaps the night the 2008 season started over in Flushing.
True, the Mets took two from the Spankees a few weekends ago, yet we were still skeptical. But after the Mets took two from the first place Marlins this week, you have to feel optimistic. The team played with hustle and passion. Fans cheered the effort and didn't wallow in the stands, glooming over the team's shortcomings. Maybe there is some Love Among the Ruins of Shea. Maybe this team can still salvage the season and save Willie's job.
Stunning stat: The win was only the second come-from-behind victory for the Metsies in 2008. And they earned it. 14 strikeouts from the pitching staff. Great performances from Schoenweis, Heilman and Wagner. You better win efforts like this.
But the heroes of the game once again were the lunch pail guys: Damion Easley and Fernando Tatis, getting the starting nods while Church recuperates and Delgado cools his heels. And Endy Chavez, getting his first RBI (!) Of the year with a 9th inning pinch hit home run.
My camera imploded before the game so I didn't collect my usual array of photos. Here is a shot of the Citi Field rotunda, taken before the implosion:
I was especially bummed to be camera-less as my childhood hero Rusty Staub was the Met celebrity on hand to turn the Shea countdown board from 59 games to 58.
The Mets also invited Brooklyn Cylcones season ticket holders onto Shea's field before the game for the National Anthem. Gee that's swell that the Mets would do something for their single-A team's season ticket holders.
I'm not going to go pitch-by-pitch through last night's games. But here are my observations:
* Great crowd on hand and in Loge 13. Lots of families and smart baseball fans and no fist fights in the stands for a change. Plus I got to hang with my Dad.
* The Mets should let Castro catch more often. He has a good way of dealing with his pitchers. In the 4th inning. Perez walked Marlin's cleanup hitter Wes Helms, then went 1-0 on Uggla. Castro went right out to the mound and chatted. Two pitches later, Uggla popped out. Yes Perez went mental later in the game and went too deep too often in the count, but at least he made it through 6 innings. Easley also went to the mound a few times to calm Ollie down. We need more of that.
* Did you see Beltran's catch to end the 5th? With two men up, Carlos went deep into the gap to snag a line drive that would have given the Marlins the lead.
Better than the catch: The Shea crowd cheered Carlos all the way into the dugout and the Mets gathered on the top step to exchange high-fives. This team came to play last night (love that cliche).
* Fernando Tatis. He's 33 years old, a career .260 hitter. He may not be the future of the Mets but this week, he is exactly what we need. His 12th inning, game winning double was tremendous and the team smothered him as if he had just clinched the pennant. Even better was Tatis' sacrifice fly in the 4th. After the hit, he pointed up to the sky and clapped his hands with glee. This is a guy thankful to be in a major league uniform and determined to take advantage of every chance. He's hungry and living for each at bat. That's a Met. Delgado, take notes.
* I'm loving whoever is programming the tunes at Shea this year. For a minute, I thought it was 80's night. Here are some of tunes sampled at Shea Wednesday:
- Wang Chung (by Wang Chung. Awful song that refuses to leave my head for days after hearing it).
- Hold me now, by Thomson Twins
- Pressure, by Billy Joel. Played when Scott Olsen got into a jam early. A perfectly annoying song to rattle a pitcher. I love when they play that.
- Something about you, by Level 42. Played after Perez gave up a homer and a walk to lead off the 5th. An awful synth-rock ballad clearly written about a quirky left handed pitcher ("We're only human after all.")
But the best song choice: "Paint it black" by the Stones when Heilman warms up in the 8th.
Now lets see what the boys do to the Dodgers tonight. Vargas vs. Brad Penny. In his career, Penny is 5-12 against the Metsies, with a 6.21 ERA. Kingman Senior and Mater Kingman will be in Loge 13 tonight. Lets go for three in a row!