By Mike Steffanos
Game 128: Mets 5 - Braves 4
For some reason I got the idea for the title and picture on the train home from the game last night. I hoped a good night's sleep would get it out of my head, but it didn't. Sometimes you have to run with something, no matter how pathetic. Feel free to taunt me in the comments. I deserve it.
Getting serious, while the Mets were indeed lucky to win this one, it was a great game to watch at the ballpark. The excitement is back at Shea big-time, due as much as anything to the fact that Mets fans like their team again.
After more than a full season's worth of sloppy baseball, the Mets are winning some games because the other team is the one making the mistakes. Meanwhile, the Mets rarely commit errors and do a lot of fundamentally sound things in all aspects of the game.
Because of that, I think it's no accident that breaks -- which consistently went against this team late last year and early this season -- are starting to go the Mets way much more often. It always seems as if the baseball gods reward the teams that do it right.
That's not to say that things will always go their way, nor that the Mets don't have serious problems that could ultimately torpedo their playoff hopes. But they are a fun team to watch again, and a team you can feel good about rooting for.
Quick notes on the game, which I attended with Greg Prince. We had really, really nice seats for this one, and one thing that makes me sad is the sheer number of people that somehow find their way into these great seats that don't really care much about the game.
Greg writes about some tools that were sitting behind us which my hearing problems (I have trouble picking out individual voices in a crowd situation) mostly spared me from, but there were also a bunch in front of us that had to get in and out of their seats constantly -- and I do mean constantly -- during innings. The game was much more of a social occasion than anything else to these folk. The sad thing is that these people with their connections for tickets will surely be better represented at Citi Field next season than true fans.
Greg and I both noted how little ground Kelly Johnson covers at second base. In watching some of the game on DVR after I got home, I was struck by the terrible jumps he gets on ground balls.
I also made an observation to Greg that one difference I find between Pedro of 2008 and the more effective Pedro early on in his Mets days is the quality of his breaking pitches. Ron Darling made a point during the game how Pedro's arm angle has not come back up to where it was before he dropped it do to the shoulder problems. That takes away from some of the sharp down break on these pitches, which in turn makes batters less likely to miss them.
By the way, our friend Gary Sparber has some great pics from last night's game for your viewing pleasure.