A Game Is Just A Game

An article by posted on June 12, 2008

In the past week, we have seen our beloved Mets return to their losing ways through a mixture of poor relief pitching and lack of clutch production. One week ago, the Mets appeared to have “turned the corner” onto a winning street. Unfortunately, they switched off their GPS device and made another turn. 

Last night, the bullpen blew the game yet again, spoiling a terrific performance by Mike Pelfrey. I was perturbed to see Willie jump out of the dugout to remove him in the ninth, and I was very quick to curse Willie as soon as the ball left Reynolds bat. I understand though, that giving Pelfrey a shot at the ninth was a reward for a great performance, but that he needs to go with Wagner to shut the door in that situation. Without Beltran’s heroics last night, it would have gone as scripted with another Mets loss.

Everyone seems to be saying that the Mets need to “turn the corner”, or the Mets need to put a winning streak together to move on. I believe that the Mets need to accept that they are not the same team as in 2006. The league has changed, improved around them to make them mediocre or even subpar. The Mets need to focus on each game as it comes and not worry about the bigger picture, putting together a winning streak and making a run of it. Make the play, get the hit, get the out. Fundamentals.

We as fans need to embrace this mentality too. Rather than refer to Beltran’s blast last night as a “season-saving” hit, and the turning point for this team, let’s call it what it is: a GAME-winning hit. As soon as the game was over, Matt Yallof is on the screen talking about how dramatic this hit was. It was a relief to us all, but the drama and emotion left us all with Reynolds’ 3-run blast in the ninth inning.   

I guess I’ve gone through the five stages of loss already for this year’s Mets team. I’ve denied that this team isn’t just a middle-aged, mediocre performer. I’m done being angry about five-game losing streaks. I’m not bargaining anymore (“If we could just have Alou healthy for a longer period…”), and I’m not going to remain depressed about the prospects of this year’s team. I, for one, have accepted that I need to just appreciate each game as it comes. Hopefully, the Mets can do the same.

On another note, I made plans this weekend to go catch the Binghamton Mets take on the Rock Cats in New Britain, Connecticut. I have tickets right behind the dugout on Saturday night to get a very close look at our future. Hopefully, I’ll be seeing how Nick Evans has responded to returning from the show. Mike Carp is listed now as DH for the team, but continues to be the team leader in batting. I’ll also get a glimpse at F-Mart and a feel for whether he can develop into what we hope is a bright spot on the horizon.

As for horizons, interleague play returns this weekend with the Mets welcoming in the Texas Rangers, another fourth place team. The Rangers are 5-5 over the last ten games while the Mets are 4-6. In the past week, the Rangers have been hitting better than the Mets (38 RBIs to the Mets 19), while the Mets have pitched slightly better (4.07 team ERA to the Rangers 4.33). Josh Hamilton, the Rangers’ biggest bat has cooled off considerably in the last week, batting just .174 with no home runs and 3 runs batted in. Let’s hope to catch some good baseball at Shea this weekend.

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