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They Are What They Are

Mike SteffanosSunday, September 14, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

I didn't post yesterday because I was spending a long day in New York City with the Metropolitans. Thanks to Mother Nature, tickets I had with Lisa to see an afternoon game against the Braves turned into tickets for an old fashioned Twi-night double header.

One thing I've noticed about the Mets this year is that they have a tendency to look flat after being off, particularly for more than one day. That certainly proved to be the case against Mike Hampton yesterday. He wound up pitching a decent game against them, but only because they let him off the hook a couple of times.

I'll write more about the games later, but one thing I will admit is that I was extremely nervous about the second game. The Mets had lost the sort of game in the opener that had literally sucked the life out of the ballpark. They were sending a rookie to the mound for the nightcap after already dropping a game of their lead to the Phillies -- who have two more against a Brewers club that seems to be thinking more about October vacations than October baseball. The pressure was on.

Then, as they have done so often this season, the Mets found a way to rebound in the second game as Niese pitched as fine a game as I have ever seen from a relatively untested young pitcher with so much riding on it. This kid was dropping in 3-2 curveballs for strikes in key situations. He deserved every bit of the ovation he received after his performance.

You could drive yourself crazy with this club if you dwell on the might-have-beens. They could easily have swept this double header yesterday, but then again, they could have been swept. They just keep plugging along with what they have and I try to take it one game at a time.

I don't pay any attention to their magic number. I don't chew up my fingernails worrying about this bullpen or imagining in my mind what can go wrong. I don't go into any game against any opponent expecting a win or a loss. I just root for the Mets to pull it out some way, any way, and when it's over I look at the next game exactly the same way.

If they pull enough of them out, there will be October baseball at Shea. If not, there won't be. It's a brutally simple equation that makes sweating out the small stuff seem like a waste of time. And maybe that's exactly what a September pennant race should be all about.

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 (2)

Ah, it's good to reflect on Niese's terrific start. Better than thinking of the bullpen collapse yesterday.

The kid's got a great curveball and a heater that moves. All's he's got to do now is locate his pitches. And all I've got to do to be set for life is to sell Rock Center; two things that are not so easy. But hope, that's where we fans live.

I have to say it: did you get a look at Niese's profile? I know you did, they kept catching him from that angle. At first glance my thought was: "Aye, fiddle-ee-dee! A pirate's life for me!" Which I suppose was close-on to my wife's thought: "that guy looks like a parrot. With all his money..."

Sorry about that, and if he can deliver a few more games like Sunday's, as penance I'll personally carve his image into a mountainside.

good post mike..i agree wuth u..if they are in the playoffs in 2 weeks, let's enjoy the playoffs..if not, we will regroup for 2009 and watch some football.they may not be the best team in baseball, but by far they are the most resilient.27 blown saves, no moises alou, church out for months, injuries at second base, no set up man, no closer since wagner got hurt and we are still in first place.i'll be disapointed if we don't make it, but u have to give this team, unlike the 2007 team a mulligan.in 2007 almsot the entire team choked down the stretch.the only problem with this team is we have nobody to depend on in the 8th and 9th.hopefully that will be addressed in the off season..KEEP THE FAITH FOLKS!!!!

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