Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You Know, I Really Just Don't Get This Team Sometimes

Pick one. Seriously, just pick one. I can accept if you're bad. I'd love it if you're good. But I can't deal with uncertainty, and if the Mets continue to stun and surprise me by being competitive without their ace pitcher, all-star third baseman, slugging first baseman and, well, any competent hitting out of left field or a member of the rotation who before the season would have gotten you excited, I'm going to have no clue what to think.

Doesn't this team realize I planned my summer around them not being interesting?

This was supposed to be something of a rebuilding year, and while the Mets did have talent on the roster this spring, that delightful injury bug which always seems to snag them was surely going to keep them from competing. Hell, Johan Santana was already out before the season started. Given the likely hardships in Flushing this year, I planned accordingly, purchasing a season ticket package in which all of the games were done by mid-July.

When the season started the Mets opened with a robust 5-13 record through their first 18 games, David Wright and Ike Davis both went down with injuries, low risk/high reward pitcher Chris Young went out for the season and Jason Bay returned to perform as if he may as well never come back.

But all of the sudden, that all seems like ancient history. The Mets have only lost one series in the month of June, they just took two out of three from the defending American League champions -- on the road, no less -- the offense has scored 36 runs in the last three games, and New York is actually over .500 for the first time since April 6 at 40-39. The Mets are five games back of the Wild Card with 83 games still left in the season. Of the four teams ahead of them two (Pittsburgh and Arizona) are probably good bets to fade over the course of the season, one (St. Louis) will be without its best player for 4-6 weeks, and the last one (Atlanta) lost both series it played against New York in the past month.

Don't these people know I planned a three-week trip to Europe for next month assuming I'd miss nothing of interest?

As if all that wasn't zany enough, yesterday this happened. Yeah, that's right, the Mets, who had gone nearly two years without hitting a grand slam, hit two in back-to-back innings in a 14-3 shallacking of the Detroit Tigers. That's absurd even if they weren't the only people to do it yesterday. They're hitting, they're slugging, they look, dare I say, happy, Terry Collins looks brilliant, and they're still missing two perennial all-stars and one potential future one.

What the hell is going on?

I'm as speechless as the next Mets fan, and it's probably because I just can't figure it out. I mean, what could the secret be? Are they removing pieces of clothing one by one off a cardboard standup of Fred Wilpon? At this moment that's the only solution I can come up with.

I do want to make it clear that I'm not complaining about this. I'm just confused. The 2011 New York Mets, through almost half a season, are showing an amount of pluck and moxie that I'm simply not accustomed to seeing from them. Whether or not they can keep this up is something we'll probably find out in the next two weeks. New York's current pre-All-Star Break schedule is not exactly a pleasant one. After the current three-game set against Detroit, who is leading the AL Central mind you, the Amazins wrap up the Subway Series with three games at Citi Field against the Yankees before going across the country to face the Dodgers and NL West-leading/defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants.

Honestly, how many teams have to visit both of the previous year's World Series participants in a three-week span?

Oh, and after the All-Star Break, the Mets put the rubber on the road right away with three games against the Phillies. So yeah. It won't be easy. And somewhere around July 18th, we'll have a reasonable idea of whether or not this current hot streak is reality or yet another painful mirage. Don't look for an answer from me though. The morning of July 18th I'll be waking up in an apartment in Berlin. At that point, I'll have been out of the country for eight days so I may not be the best person to ask.

Then again, I may never be. After all, I wasn't expecting this.

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