The Dragon Slayers

My guess is that if you find yourself in the market for a motivational speaker you probably will not give very serious consideration to hiring Charlie Manuel. On the other hand, I am kind of hoping he holds another closed-door meeting with his (by now) totally shell-shocked crew when the Mets next come into the sleazy confines of CBP.

Tonight we slayed the dragon. No, it’s not hyperbole. We handed the Filthies their heads just as we ripped out their guts over the course of three of the 2010 season’s most beautiful and most memorable games.

Isn’t it silly to talk about a pivot or the season’s turning point when we are barely one-quarter of the way through? I thought so, too. Heck, it isn’t even Memorial Day. However, in taking five of six games from last year’s World Series rivals, your New York Mets have now proven to themselves (you and you and you don’t really matter) that they can beat anybody at any time.

Mark my words that on the evening of May 27th—after a lengthy rain-delayed beginning—the Mets destroyed the season for Philly. Sure, sure, it was just a sweep. Stop making a big deal about it. No, I will make a big deal about it. Not since 1969 have we swept and SHUT OUT that franchise. And if you look back, I think you’ll find that wasn’t a team of very high caliber, unlike the one that played on the diamond at Citi tonight.

Having been beaten, stomped on and swept, the men in the opposing dugout were, to put it mildly, demoralized. I predict that it’s going to stay that way. And we are not going to beat them in every contest for the rest of the year, but we have utterly destroyed the swagger that they once had vis-à-vis the Mets. Over and done with.

Back in March and April, I often said that we should have a good season regardless of our interminable worries and frustrations with the Mets since 2006 because we didn’t have to suffer the expectations of ’07, ’08, and ’09. Like many of you, I felt if we played good baseball, then .500 would be acceptable, and we’d just get ready for an even better 2011. Not sure about the rest of you, but I don’t feel this way any more.

This team isn’t awesome. It isn’t packed with stars, and its pitching till recently hardly was stellar, but it now believes in itself and in the ability of each teammate comprising it. We can win all the time now; we can keep winning. There is every reason to believe that this 2010 NY Mets team can go to the playoffs. They will not face another series, not against the Giants, not against the Cards, not against the Braves, and not against the Phils, that will make them feel as if they can’t win. True, we have to prove ourselves on the road, but we are going to start doing that tomorrow in Milwaukee.

I expect great things from this team, and I don’t even think they are a fully formed unit yet. I think the best of the 2010 NY Mets is yet to come. You know, during the broadcast on SNY tonight, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez were reminiscing about the great teams of ’87 and ’88, and Darling said something to the effect that at a certain point it didn’t matter who was pitching or batting, you just felt sure any and all of the guys could perform. No, we aren’t the late 1980s Mets, but if the 2010 Mets develop that sense we’re going to become stronger and stronger.