Sunday, October 15, 2006

Meet the Mets, Meet the Mets. Step right up and Greet the Mets. First order of business: Oliver Perez, this is everybody. Everyone, this is Oliver Perez. He did it! And Mets fans will forever have nice things to say about young Mr. Perez. He may have had a rotten year and he may never get back to the form he had in 2004, but he will always have tonight.

OK, he started to come apart in the sixth inning, and giving up five runs in less than six innings isn't all that impressive, but the Mets had the game pretty much in hand by then. Perez turned the game over to the bullpen with a six-run lead. Even though the offense deserves most of the credit, it's Perez who gets the official credit for the win. He kept them in the game, and kept the pressure off until the Mets' bats broke the game open. And now, the Mets have to like their chances again.

Carlos Delgado hasn't been a Met that much longer than Oliver Perez -- he joined the team in the offseason, while Perez came as an afterthought in the trade for Roberto Hernandez at the end of July. Yet, Delgado has earned a huge place in Mets' history. He continues to pound the ball in the postseason, with a three-run home run, and a two RBI ground-rule double.

I have to give props to Carlos Beltran, who homered twice. He's been with the Mets for all of two years, and has become a fan favorite this year, even though he was the worst hitter at home in the National League. As Tim McCarver noted, before Beltran's miserable performance in September, he was probably the leading candidate for Most Valuable Player in the National League.

When you look at the Mets, the only position players really left over from the team that lost 93 games two years ago are Jose Reyes (David Wright did come up that year, but did only played in 69 games) and the injured Cliff Floyd. There are only two pitchers, Tom Glavine and Steve Trachsel, that were a big part of the '04 Mets (Aaron Heilman did come up with the Mets first in '03, but only played in five games in '04). Much of the roster came on board this year.

Mets fans, even the real New Yorkers (ones who haven't left like me), haven't had much time to get attached to these players. So, when someone like Beltran, Delgado, or even Perez comes through in the clutch, it's the uniform, more than the player that evokes admiration from the fans. Yet, they are still our beloved Mets. In the end, that's all that matters.

Tom Glavine gets the ball tomorrow night, with the chance to put the Mets on top in this series. He's pitching on short rest -- which he has not done well much in his career. After tonight though, as Tug McGraw famously said: "Ya Gotta Believe!" Game 6 in Shea Stadium wil be John Maine again, presumably. If it comes to a Game 7, I have to think that Willie Randolph will turn to Darren Oliver, if he's available. A Mets-Tigers World Series? The Mets still need to win two games, and they won't be easy. Still, it is looking a heckuva lot better than it did this time last night.

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