METS CLINCH NL EAST PENNANT, DANCE AROUND, JUMP ON EACH OTHER, YELL, AND SO FORTH(and so you should too!)
copyright c 2006 Evan Pritchard
Willie Randolph announced the victory of the Tao of Mets baseball way of life over Atlanta Braves Machiavellian philosophy today in a special dispensation from the mound at Shea. With both Roshashana and Ramadan starting on Friday, and recognizing the significance of a lunar eclipse at the advent of the autumnal equinox all at the same time, he has asked that the millions of expatriate Mets fans around the world and from Orlando Florida to Seattle WA rejoice in victory but to remember to celebrate peacefully over the next 13 days. He especially invoked them not to use bully language such as “Willie Randolph’s grandmother could play better than you,” etc. and “Eat my Met dust!”
He has asked that Mets fans restrain themselves from violent revelry such as cow tipping, pushing over Don Zimmer, or setting cars on fire in a circle around Yankee Stadium, and dancing themselves into a trance by their rosy light.
Amazine agrees wholeheartedly; “Save it for the World Series!” (Just kidding)
These are to be considered taboo in the newly emerging New York Mets religion, “The Tao of Mets” which will take its place in spiritual history besides the Red Sox “Seventh Game Adventists,” the Cubs ancient “Bear-Cult Society,” the Senators’ “Cellar Dwellers Anonymous,” the Yankees “Sacrificial Ring-Worship Cult ” (recently supplanting Berra’s Integral Yogi) the Red Sox BLOHARDS “Benevolent Loyal Order of Historically Astute Red Sox Diehards,” the Braves “Southern Ressurection Church,” the Dodgers “Laidback Waycool Path of Wow,” and of course the White Sox “Field of Dreams Church of Baseball Salvation.”
After the great Mets diasporah from Queens during the first years of this century, (after the World Series loss to the Yankees, followed by the tragedy of 9-11) Mets believers spread far and wide across this great land, and have remained scattered until this time. They struggled to find unity before today. DLP and I have walked the highways and byways of this land and have found throngs of expatriated and exterpated Mets fans in every stadium in America. Long underground, they are now sprouting up like armies out of the desert, ready to do battle with rude and rowdy Yankee fans or whomever, wherever the clash happens to take place.
It was a great game today for the Mets. Steve Traschel pitched his best game since September 28th, 1998, when he also pitched 6. 1/3 shutout innings to give the NL Central wildcard to the Cubs and offer hope to Chicago that the Cubs might break their goat-infested World Series championship curse. In fact, he did not pitch in the ensuing playoffs, brief tho they were. It looks to us like he is gunning for a chance to play in real playoffs before the Big Train that takes tired pitchers eventually to their eternal home takes him as well.
The plucky Traschel gave up only 3 hits and 1 walk, to bring the Mets their 5th Eastern Division championship in 45 years and seventh postseason berth. The Mets drew 46,729 tonight in attendance and passed 3 million for the year. Did I mention the Mets won 4-0? It was fitting that Trax won us the pennant because he is tied for second in the NL for wins. After giving up the “pitch that no one will remember who threw,” (Steve Traschel, oh yeah the guy who threw that pitch to Mark McGwire) its fitting that he is now known around Corona Park as Mr. Lucky!
The Braves will not win anything this year. They had won 14 consecutive division pennants, but have only been in the NL east the last 11 years. The Mets will face them again September 26th-28th. The Mets are .500 or better against all National League teams.
The Mets have scored a total of 123 first inning runs this year, thanks alot to Jose Reyes, who also has a stunning total of 6 leadoff homers to start a game. The Mets have won 29 out of 44 one-run games played so far this year. They are now 91-58, and have a shot at 100 wins with 13 to play, that is if they go 9 and 4 or better in the remaining games.
Jose Reyes had two hits, and now has 183 hits on the season, and needs 17 hits in the next 13 games to enter the 200 hit club, a very suspenseful situation for those who realize the significance of this mark. Here at Amazine, we will keep track of those 17 hits as they come down the pike during the next two weeks against weak (read: Braves) pitching.
One very fine sign was that Jose Valentin broke out of his lumber-slumber and hit his 16th homer in the 3rd, a two run shot, and then his 17th homer in the 5th, a solo shot. Just three more homers and he will reach the rank of “Slugger” in the Amazine Hall of Fame, and if Reyes hits one more, that will give the Mets their “Fearsome Fivesome,” if just barely, joining a very select group of teams through history that had a lineup with five “sluggers” in it. There have been a number of teams with two 30+ home run hitters AND three 20+ hitters the same lineup, rarely the other way around.
The 1964 Twins did it and added one; 49, 32, 32, 25, 23, and 20. In 1986 the Twins had two 30+ and three 20+ sluggers, like our Mets.
The Rangers have been the slugging sensation for a while; In 2003 their lineup had 47, 38, 29, 26 and 24 home runs, respectively, two 30+ three 20+. In 2004 their sluggers had 38, 32, 28, 26 and 22 home runs, again two 30+ and three 20+, like our Mets just might.
The 1979 Red Sox had 39, 39, 28, 21, and 21 and the 1984 Red Sox lineup had 43, 32, 28, 27, and 24 home runs, while the 1998 Red Sox had 40, 35, 29, 23 and 23, all three years two 30+ and three 20+.
The 2003 Red Sox, one of the great homer-heaven ball clubs, had only two sluggers with 30+ homers, but 4 of the 20+ variety; they hit 37, 31, 28, 28, 25 and 25.
Let us also mention the 2004 Yankees, who had three 30+ homer hitters but also three 20+; 36, 36, 31, 23, 22, and 21 respectively.
The 1976 Red Sox had a slugging lineup with 39, 33, 30, 28 and 26 homers respectively, a rare combination of three 30+ with two 20+ sluggers. That was the year of the Carlton Fisk Spoon Bending Demonstration in the World Series at Fenway. (Scientists say he actually bent that foul pole back 6 inches with his eyeballs, aided of course by the special hand gestures that moved the ball six inches to the left by sympathetic magic. It was the same technique I used to make Bill Buckner miss that grounder.
Valentin now has 17 homers, Reyes now has 19 homers, Wright has 24, Delgado has 38 and Beltran has 40. (One more to beat franchise record in case you’re interested, Todd Helton. Look out!) Now if we added those 11 or so homers that Wright hit in the Home Run Hitting Contest, that would make THREE 30+…well never mind!
In any case, let us enjoy the moment and celebrate this historic season.