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Those Aren't Robins Overhead

Mike SteffanosThursday, September 20, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

When my knees were much younger than they are now, I used to run about 30 miles a week to stay in shape. A lifetime of sports and a knee operation put an end to that about a decade ago. I've replaced that pursuit with hiking the hills around where I live. It's still a very good workout, and my knees don't bark as much afterwards. My reward for the effort, besides keeping my waistline down, is a few quiet minutes on a mountain lookout -- featuring peace for the soul and some New England beauty for the eyes.

Another reward of being out there with nature is the opportunity to be a witness to the surprising diversity of wildlife this suburban area supports. I've witnessed firsthand the return of peregrine falcons and coyotes to the vicinity, and an increase in the number of fox and bobcats. One species that I really see a lot more of these days is the turkey vulture. They tend to favor the high areas that I like to hike in, and a constant source of amusement for me is the sight of 3 or 4 of them circling me while I am enjoying a few moments at a lookout before heading back down.

Now, intellectually I understand that these birds are simply looking for smaller entrees than myself in an area where I just happen to be. Still, as I sit there panting I can't help but imagine that at some level they are waiting for that sweaty middle-aged human below to drop and provide a first-rate feast. When times aren't so great, the buzzards seem to provide a fitting metaphor for my life. Joking aside, although it might look like they're up there for me, they're really not -- and that could be a good thing to keep in mind during tough times.

The national baseball press has seized upon the Mets recent slide with predictable relish. Guys who were predicting doom for this club heading into the season now smell blood. It suddenly feels a lot like last year, when everyone was writing the Mets off. Not that I blame them -- well, maybe just a little -- but maybe this is what we need. The Mets did better last season when everyone was picking against them, maybe that will be the tonic for this year's bunch. Anyway, things are starting to feel familiar as the bandwagon becomes a lot less crowded. Good riddance.

The only thing that matters now is what happens on the field. The Mets need to find a lot more of what they had last night. If they do, they too might find those birds circling unpleasantly overhead aren't there for them after all.

Note: I am still tragically behind on email and answering comments. Work is very crazy. Please bear with me. I'll catch up someday.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (6)

Well put, sounds like part National Geographic and part Saturday Evening Post. I'm always optimistic, but lately it had turn into some doubt. Like you said, if they can pull it together like last night it will be all worth it. You know Turkey Buzzards are plenty full here in Atlanta, they nest in the tops of a lot of these building. We seee Falcons and Hawks a lot too. Take care Mike, thanks for the calm in my Mets storm.

Plentiful, sorry my spelling is not all that. Well Mike, I guess it lasted only one night. They could take these next three from the Marlins, but someone has to slow the Phils.

I think this ship will right itself, I only hope it happens in time. One thing: the team hasn't given up, not one bit.

Interesting; I'm a bit of a birder myself. Queens is actually a great place for watching the birds, and this in no way leads to some silly pun or jibe at the Mets' plight; I'm bigger than that.

Let's Go Mets! Sic 'em, Pedro!

I am in a much differant world coming from Brooklyn and Queens to the Poconos of Pa.with deer and bear walking on our property, we can feed the deer by hand in front of our door. National Geographic made a tv movie from our house about the bear, its called "Grin and Bear IT". I think its on dvd.That season the bear and her 3 cubs made her headquaters our back yard woods and would breast feed her cubs every evening right outside our backdeck. It was a very special time for us. I think all of us are leaning back to some special times to get our intense baseball times a little break. It has and is a rough season. I pray I am the only one to have a heart attack this year and all you guys and gals cool it and give your heart a vacation and watch the clouds roll by and reflect on some good times.We can do this. Man I think they are praying just as hard in Philly to win. Lets keep the faith.

Mike, the other day I had this to say to Dennis in respose to his column:

"...Thanks for helping to put everything in perspective in our very confusing and frustrating Met fan worlds. We need your wisdom to keep us on moving on in spite of everything - especially now!"

... this, of course, also applies to you, Mike.

Keep the faith, guys!

Let's go, Mets!

Thanks, Ken.

Mets fans were sure a lot more deserving of success than the team itself this season.

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