I remember thinking, back in 1986, that one of the things that made the ’86 Mets so great is that not only did they win nearly all of the games they should have won, they also won a lot of the games they shouldn’t have won. The same is true of the 2007 Mets. I felt this first in that five-run ninth inning come-back against the Cubs, just before the Yankee series. I had given that game up. I was bringing the radio inside. I didn’t even ask for that game and they gave it to me.
The game last night was also a game I had let go of. I had already turned my head away several times with a shrug, not deep grief, just a shrug. So many wins are falling into our lap that it would have seemed greedy to ask for this one. Sure the game was always close, but the Mets weren’t going through any of the doors fate had opened for them. Wright’s ball didn’t clear the fence and he didn’t come home with a winning run. With their bare hands, in an astonishingly great play, the center of the Giants’ infield held back the dagger Julio Franco had tried to push through their stomach wall. After these two moments, and after Carlos Beltran broke his bat and didn’t hit the sacrifice that would have brought Reyes in, I figured that the Giants would have this game that they had fought so well for.
But then a second balk in an inning! On Armando Benitez, the epitome of a Mets fallen angel, our Satan. A balk on a pitcher rattled by a runner on third base with two outs and the clean-up hitter at the plate? Has anyone ever stolen home in such circumstances? What a wonder! What a gift! But that was just to tie the game. It would be too much to ask that they’d win it. But when Delgado is Delgado, nothing is too much to ask. For a Mets fan, nothing except some swings of Strawberry and Piazza is quite as beautiful, sublime, and sudden as a Delgado home run deep and high and way over the wall in right.
The Cubs game was won by Delgado as well. A two-run single that put us over the top. He’s driven in 32 runs and we’re not yet a third of the way through the season. He’s on a pace to drive in over 100 runs. He’s having a hell of a season. Huh? Yes. He is. I know what you’re thinking. Where did those rbis come from? Has anyone ever driven in more than 100 runs with a batting average of .239?
This is what this season is like. All of our pitchers are aces though it would be hard to say that any of them has been perfect or spectacular. Okay, Reyes might be our MVP, but who is having the second-best season? You could make a plausible argument for almost everyone in the lineup. As with the pitchers, no one is scraping the ceiling, but every one is reaching high. Everyone is jumping up and down on the far end of home plate, smiling and bouncing, as the winning run flies past the cameras and into the arms of his teammates.