Ya Gotta

OK, Mets fans, here it is. The Time. The Team. Did I mention the Time?

The 2006 baseball season-for everyone–hinges on tonight’s game. I believe whoever wins tonight will win the NL pennant. I also believe how victory is achieved could very well determine the outcome of the World Series. Right now Detroit believes itself to be the team of destiny. The only team than can beat a team that believes itself to be the team of destiny is another team that believes it has a rightful claim. And, of course, a lineup and a pitching staff-we’re not talking fantasy here, we’re talking faith. But as the Red Sox learned in 2004, and the White Sox learned last year, what makes the difference is…

Ya Gotta Believe.

Be sure and visit Some Ballyard!

Smiles

I live in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and am a Mets fan through their affiliation with the Norfolk Tides, so it is coming as a something of a surprise to me how New York Mets fans feel about yesterday. Finally, they are the Kings of New York.

Did you notice the grins that spread across the faces of the Mets players in the ninth inning last night? Delgado, in particular, caught my eye. It was almost as if it finally dawned on them just how good this team is, like the playoff win was a validation of what Willie has instilling in them all along: a belief in themselves.

Yet the celebration was somewhat subdued. Willie has this team focused on what it is it needs to accomplish.

Regardless of what happens, I think it will be the smiles I remember.

Be sure and visit Some Ballyard!

Pedro

Those who announce the impending demise of the Mets because of the ailments of one Pedro Martinez truly fail to appreciate Pedro’s real contribution to the club. This is nothing new. The Red Sox didn’t get it (some gloating Bosox fans still don’t – couldn’t let that pass). Note they will be watching the Mets contend for the World Championship.

Pedro’s contribution is more spiritual than physical. The Mets have won without Pedro all season. A 9-8 record on a team that will finish with 30+ more wins than losses does not indicate a major material contribution. Whether Pedro is able to physically perform or not is only marginally relevant. Pedro’s presence is what is important. What Pedro symbolizes is what is important.

The signing of Pedro in competition with teams like the Red Sox and Yankees announced to the world that the Mets were intent on winning. Pedro himself brings the intangible, the will to win. That is what made him a great pitcher, not his physical talents. And Pedro seems to have the ability to transmit that to those around him. He did it in Boston. He is now doing it in New York.

Pedro is the kind of player an entire team can rally around. That kind of contribution far exceeds balls and strikes.

Check out Inside Pitch’s insightful analysis of the Pedro situation, and Amazine’s poem, both of which inspired this post.

— Michael Norton

Be sure and visit Some Ballyard!

Mets Clinch! Mets Clinch! Mets Clinch!

The 2006 Champions of the National League Eastern Division: the NEW YORK METS!!!

Cheers to all the wonderful MLBlogs Mets blogs, and the friends I’ve made:

Zen master Evan at Amazine
Insightful Eddie at Willie Ball
The delightful Zoe at Pick Me Up Some Mets!
Carl, Baseball’s answer to Escher, at Inside Pitch
John, the #1 Wrightaholic

And an honorable mention to two other blogs I read regularly, but don’t know the authors–yet:
Met’s Magic Number
Lets Go Mets Go

Be sure and visit Some Ballyard!

Champagne On Ice

It could have happened yesterday, but New York lost and Philly won, so we have to wait another day to celebrate. We haven’t had that spirit here since…1988. First baseman Keith Hernandez wasn’t in the booth, he was in the clubhouse getting a message. Fellow broadcaster Ron Darling was on the mound. HoJo wasn’t a minor league third base coach, he was a major league third baseman. The rest of that offense popping the cork that year consisted of Kevin Elster at short, Wally Backman at second, and Lenny Dykstra, Kevin McReynolds and Daryl Strawberry in the outfield and Gary Carter behind the plate. Pitching was David Cone, Sid Fernandez, Dwight Gooden, Bob Ojeda with Terry Leach and Roger McDowell in relief and Randy Myers closing-for $108,000.

Catching was at a premium in those days. Carter was the highest paid player at $2.1 million. Darling was the highest paid pitcher at an even mil. Of course that was back when a million was still a million, and the champions of the National League East were from New York.

Seventeen years are a lot of misery. But then, we are all just prisoners here of our own device.

Be sure and visit Some Ballyard!

By the way, I want to mention that Zoe over at Pick Me Up Some Mets beat me to the Champagne on ice…

They’re Out!!!

It was a foregone conclusion, but the DREADED BRAVES, as RADIOMAN dubbed them, were officially dethroned last night. For the first time in an incredible 15 years, it is a mathematical certainty there will be a champion of the National League East other than Atlanta.

Atlanta has broken the Mets fans hearts so often, however, there will not be a sigh of relief until the Braves are eliminated from wild card contention. Every Met fan can imagine with horror a series at Turner Field, where the Mets haven’t fared well over the years. The Tomahawk Chop in October is a sinister sound.

Tip of the cap to the Atlanta organization for a remarkable job.

Be sure and visit Some Ballyard!