The Promised Land

 

By sweeping us in a dramatic four-game series in Philadelphia, the Phillies served notice that the 2007 season would end with a real pennant race.

I guess they changed their minds. 

It’s hard to believe that that was only Thursday.  What is it today, Monday?  It’s only four days later and we’ve got a 5-game lead with 25 to play. 

We’ve won four in a row, after losing those four in a row.  We look invincible after having looked, well, vincible. 

The pattern continues.  Players streak and then they slump.  All is forgotten.  Then they streak again.  All is forgiven.  How, exactly, does one develop the steadiness, patience, and calm necessary to enjoy this particular team?

And here’s something else.  Like the ghost of old hopes and expectations, Pedro returns.  He came to us, remember, in our darkest hour, at the end of the 2004 season.  He was to have been our Moses.  He was to lead us out of the darkness, through the desert, to the Promised Land.  In 2005, he gave us a spectacular season and showed us that it was possible, once again, for the Mets to win and contend.  He gave us the first marvelous half of the 2006, showing us that we could not only contend, we could actually win the division, after a decade and a half of the Braves’ dominance. 

Then he drew back and faded, just as Moses was not destined to enter the Promised Land with his people.

I have to be honest.  I never thought that he would come back.  I was glad that Pedro had come to the Mets, because he did deliver us from bondage.  But once he faded last September, I thought that he was never coming back.

He is back.  And from what I think I saw today, he is actually back, with the masterful control that allowed him to still pitch like a Hall-of-Famer even after he had lost his velocity. 

I guess the Moses analogy doesn’t work any more.  That’s okay with me.  I realize that I am really enjoying this season, now that I am beginning to have a clearer sense of how it could turn out.  I’m ready to enter the Promised Land.  With Pedro.  He makes me calmer, makes me more confident.  I realize that history illustrates that once you get to the Promised Land, everything from that point forward is a crap shoot. 

But we’re on our way.  And for all of the season’s ups and downs, it is going to feel very good to clinch this year.  Remember how many losses and stumbles were washed away in the champagne last year?  No you don’t, that’s the point of the champagne celebration. 

Now if I can only figure out which game it’s going to be.


 

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