Although it’s getting harder and harder to do if you’re a Mets fan, this is my attempt at finding the silver lining in what has been an abyssmal patch of grey clouds that no weather system can seem to push through. If Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters don’t lift your spirits and level of optimism, consider the following:
1. Marlon Anderson is being proactive about emphasizing the team’s viability in a pennant race, even with their current record. That’s not high-on-acquiring-Santana-as-our-ace Carlos Beltran giddily proclaiming the Mets the team to beat, but it is a testament to the fact that the passion is still there–to win and to motivate others to do so–at least in some of the players.
2. As frustrating as Billy Wagner’s recent performances have been, at least he cannot be accused of being hypocritical: he’s waited to meet the press after every single disastrous outing for a an honest self-flagellation.
3. Other than his gaffe resulting in his needing a late pass to Sunday’s game, Ramon Castro has made very positive contributions in his last few starts.
4. Even though his plate appearances have been inconsistent, Carlos Delgado has shown signs of a renewed commitment to getting his uniform dirty.
5. Johan Santana did not get seriously hurt when he was hit by a pitch two starts ago, and he didn’t get hit in his start yesterday.
6. No matter how dreadful Ollie Perez has been lately, at least he pitched more innings in his last start than Joba did in his last outing.
7. Departing Shea earlier because the bullpen blows it means avoiding late-inning concessions, thereby saving me huge wads of cash and gobs of calories. Speaking of huge wads of cash, it’s at least worth mentioning how much money our family stands to save if we are not purchasing post-season tickets.
(As I said, I’m looking for the silver lining, however THIN it may be.)
8. Leaving the game prior to the eighth inning, I can avoid entirely the insipid Eighth Inning Sing-Along to the strains of a lame Monkees song that is pitched in such a low key as to render its sing-along properties more or less useless.
9. An early departure from Shea means I get out of the parking lot quickly and am home in record time.
Wait! I was attempting to accentuate the POSITIVE!
O.K., a bonafide reason to be upbeat:
10. Mike Pelfrey’s awesome start on Wednesday night.
Pelfrey’s performance had so many feel-good things about it: the fact that he’s a “home grown” product; the fact that he pitched eight scoreless innings and even got upset with Willie Randolph when he thought he was not going to be allowed to start the ninth; the standing ovation and cheers Pelfrey received when he came out to the on-deck circle to bat in the bottom of the eighth–an obvious indication that Willie had acquiesced to Pelfrey’s insistence he should stay in the game; a standing ovation WHEN HE STRUCK OUT; and–yes–even the chorus of loud boos Willie got when he removed Pelfrey after he allowed the first batter to reach base in the ninth: indicating a crowd that was really into the game and tremendously supportive of a pitcher for once.
(Regarding the latter, I am guessing that more fans than not realized the terrible disappointment it would’ve been had Pelfrey allowed another hit and thrown the game away or was given a loss for his remarkable outing. I sensed the booing was less about questioning Willie’s managerial move than it was a way of showing Pelfrey support. That’s why I actually felt kinda good about the boos at that particular time.)
Although Pelfrey did not get that win, he showed the fans, he showed Willie Randolph, he showed Rick Peterson, and he showed himself just how far he’s come.
That’s huge for the Mets: the 2008 Mets and beyond.