Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yo, Meathead!

I was planning on posting after the first week of NFL games were finished, but our puppy just got spayed, and one of her medications gave her severe diarrhea for a few days. Yuck! Believe me, I’d rather be posting than cleaning up messes like that!

I’ve been keeping my eye on the Mets lately. I hope they don’t have another late-season collapse like they did last year, humiliating the franchise and their fans as Philadelphia came from 7 games back with 17 to play to win the NL East and knock the Amazin’s out of the playoff chase on the last day of the 2007 season. Is there the same kind of potential swoon in the 2008 version of the team? I don’t think so, and here’s why:

First, Jerry Manuel is the manager. Now I’ve said many times how I like and respect Willie Randolph, but the plain fact was that he didn’t get it done. The players were just not playing for him earlier this year, and maybe it was due to his lack of fire as they fell apart last season. Willie is old school and expects his players to play without coddling or cajoling—but in this day and age, all those spoiled multimillionaires need something more. Manuel, who replaced Randolph, seems to have his finger on the pulse of the team, and he knows how to speak to his players on their own levels. Though Manuel shows that he has fire in the belly, he also hasn’t panicked as he’s lost one of his starters (John Maine), another (Pedro Martinez) has had a big drop-off from his Hall of Fame numbers of previous years, and his closer (Billy Wagner) needs surgery that will prevent him from pitching this year and next year.

Second, the Mets are finding ways to win instead of ways to lose. True, they lost two of three to the Phils over the weekend, but they could have been swept. Carlos Delgado is possibly on the best hot streak of his long and storied career, and where he leads, the other Mets are willing to follow. He had two homers in the last game against Philadelphia, and then two more yesterday to lead the Mets to a 10–8 victory over the Nationals. It’s only the Nats, you might say, but those pesky Nats seem to get better the less they have to lose, and until the late innings yesterday, they found a way to answer every time the Mets scored. Carlos Beltran and Delgado had back-to-back homers to give the Mets the lead for good, and the new bullpen tandem of Brian Stokes and Luis Ayala finished off the game.

On the other team in the NL East race, Jimmy Rollins isn’t coming close to duplicating his MVP season from last year, and the Phillies have shown a penchant for blowing the big game as much as any team. Those MVP chants you hear now at Shea are for Delgado, and if the Mets stay hot and win the East, Delgado must be considered as a serious candidate, despite his lousy start to the season.

So—no guarantees here, but we’ll see how the rest of the month plays out. I won’t be shocked if the Mets storm into the playoffs while Philly has to watch from the sidelines: a little payback from the 2007 season.

SEASONINGS: So the Giants are still the second football team in their own town, despite winning the Super Bowl, and despite showing a still-ferocious defense in their 16–7 defeat of the Redskins last Thursday. Brett Favre led the Jets to a win over a bad-but-rebuilding Dolphins team Sunday, and now everyone has Gang Green going to the Big Dance this year (where they will undoubtedly face the Cowboys, who have been picked to represent the NFC by everyone, including the newest member of the sports media, none other than ex-Giant Michael Strahan). Now that Tom Brady is out for the season, the Jets fans are in a feeding frenzy, and they have all but guaranteed winning the AFC East. But I say, watch out, Jets fans! Even without Brady, it pains me to say that the Pats will remain competitive, and Buffalo also seems to be much improved this year, though it’s hard to say after only one game. There’s a long road ahead, and as we saw last week, injuries can happen to anyone and change the complexion of the season in an instant.

By the way, Curt Schilling opened his mouth yesterday, blasting New York fans for being happy that Brady went down and saying it’s only because they are so bitter that the Yankees are bad this year. Well, I’ve got news for you, Curt. I’m also happy that Brady is gone—not that I’m glad he was injured—and I root for the Mets! I’m an out-and-out Yankee hater, so how does he justify my glee? Plain and simple, I’m sick of the Pats and many of the in-your-face Boston fans, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them all get taken down a notch for a change. And as a Giants fan, I’ll be glad that the G-men won’t have to face Brady if they actually make it to the Super Bowl again, even though their defense drilled him into the turf plenty of times on their way to victory last season (don’t be surprised if the Giants make another run this year). Have a speedy recovery, Tom, but don’t rush back on my account!


the ED MAN said...

Sweet post, Meat! Will it be the Mets and the Dodgers in the playoffs this year?

Carlos Beltran said...

Hang On Meat! This could get muy interesting!