8-4 win over Cleveland, the first time they had turned that trick since matching the feat against the Dodgers on July 21, 1991.
Of course, while it is obviously exciting for Mets fans -- after all, the team is a Major-League best 17-5 since May 21st -- it has to be kept in at least some perspective. In this case, five straight wins, albeit on the road, against the Orioles (one of which I attended in Baltimore) and Indians, two of the worst teams in baseball, should be seen as less of an achievement than taking care of business. You can't blame the teams on your schedule, but at the same time, to be a contender you have to beat the teams you're supposed to beat. Right now, the Mets are doing just that, and with the bats and the rotation flourishing -- the starters are 16-3 with a 2.61 ERA in the last 27 games -- they are making quite a charge at contention.
The only question now is staying there, and while manager Jerry Manuel might be ludicrously putting his faith in Hisanori Takahashi and R.A. Dickey, Buster Olney is reporting that upper management isn't quite so optimistic. And thank goodness for that. After frustrating fans with their refusal to go after a potential big fish at the trading deadline, the Mets, as one of the few buyers on the market, are poised to bolster their starting rotation with some huge addition along the lines of Roy Oswalt, Ben Sheets or Cliff Lee. And all signs seem to imply that the Mets are going to get one of them.
And at that point, who knows what could happen.
Ben Sheets is a solid option, also, but either way, the Mets are at an exciting juncture of the season, and after last year's nightmare 70-92 campaign, you'll have to excuse us if we're getting bold enough to dream.
Of course, Slovenia can't be underrated. After the Swiss turned the tournament upside down yesterday with an upset of Spain, it's clear any team can win any game, but the U.S. should be considered the favorite, and amidst signs that soccer fever just might be catching on around here, the buzz generated by a second-round berth could be pretty fun to see for football fans like myself.
It should also be noted that the with Argentina's 4-1 win this morning over South Korea, the scoring may finally be opening up in South Africa. While South Korea may be stinging from a brutal loss that could all but end its hopes of advancing to the knockout stage, at least the Taeguk Warriors can take solace in the fact that unlike some less fortuitous sabre-rattling neighbors, they can actually send their own fans to the tournament. It's not over and stranger things have happened in the World Cup, but South Korea seems unlikely to recover either in points or in goal differential. Then again, it's still early in the group stage. Who knows how it will all wind up.
As far as that other football is concerned, I've spent the last week sifting through the implications of what was nearly the destruction of the college football landscape as we know it, but instead is just a few moves that still leaves the shaky Big XII in tact with 10 teams while the Big Ten added Nebraska to give them 12.
schedules for the next three seasons that will now be thrown out put a wrinkle into my plans to see Northwestern visit BC in September of 2011. An impact on non-conference games seems unlikely, but the implementation of divisions will turn the typical Big Ten schedule unrecognizably upside down. I'm awfully curious to see how it all winds up.
Lastly, I've made note of how bizarre it is to see Giants Stadium disappearing piece by piece before, but as it stands -- or doesn't stand -- this morning, the final part of the building is ready to collapse, and the Giants and Jets have already begun practicing in their brand-spankin' new facilities, with disastrous results in some cases. Either way, while the new stadium is no doubt going to be beautiful, it will still seem eerie the first time I'm back in East Rutherford. Of course if they win, I won't really mind.
And now, back to the most exciting sport there is. Open wide, people.