So Why Couldn't You Have Done This In Game 7?
Let's see...all the ingredients for an abysmal failure were in place:
1. Rotten Spring Training which saw the Mets lose more games than any other Spring Training in their history and left us all with a vague sort of stomach queasiness that usually comes just prior to public speaking engagements or first dates.
2. Open Season Against Defending World Champions: granted, this was one of those two-sided coins or half-empty, half-full glass conundrums. The defending World Champions, yes but also a chance for revenge. Yes, it's no true measure of revenge, to win an Opening Day/Night game compared to winning that Game 7 of the NLCS but as we've all been told, that was six months ago, another season and no longer matters...that same team kicking you out of your chance for the World Series and thereby your chance at being the Defending World Champions...well Carlos Beltran, just don't stand there with the bat on your shoulders!
3. Open Season Against Defending World Champions On The Road: A slightly worse scenario than merely opening against the Defending World Champions but on the other hand the NLCS ended at Shea, not in Bird Feather Stadium and it's just as well to start with a clean slate in a different state even if it is against the same auld team.
With all the questions about pitching rumbling through the minds of so many Mets supporters, Tom Glavine's ace performance was a welcomed break in this cloudy Spring of disappointment. Perhaps his outing shouldn't have been suprising given his 19-6 against the Cardinals but still, I can recall nightmares against the Cubs a few years back, Tom's initial season as a Met getting rattled and humbled by an offensive onslaught and blaming things like the cold weather and his grip on the ball. Not this night though. Not with his 291st career victory on the line.
A 6-1 Mets victory over the St Louis Cardinals, some six months too late at least gives some meaning and hope to the commencement of the Mets efforts to defend their NL East title.
Out you Go!
Defensively, unusually sharp for this time of year, were they not? Give them kudos, in all. Four double plays, was it? Beltran throwing out Chimp Eckstein at the plate in the sixth after Eckstein had driven in the Cardinals' run with a double into the left-field corner. Chaaa-Ching!
And yes, this is the formula sing about: solid starting pitching followed by solid relief pitching from the pen, mixed with a little timely hitting and some solid, occasionally great fielding.
Glavine goes 6, the pen goes 3 and yes, Billy Wagner gives up a pair of hits before snaking the final out...apropros.
Heilman with Aaron Miles miles from home on third base, stops the Cardinals feeble rally-cry.
What does it all mean? That's the question to ponder this Monday morning.
Does this mean the Mets have re-established themselves as the team to beat not only in the NL East but in the National League as a whole?
Does this mean absolutely nothing, a mere hiccup of success in what is surely to follow as a miserable and disappointing season?
An insignificant defeat of a team driven to distraction by their defending champion pregame ceremonies?
That the Mets are going to stomp the blood and guts out of the entire league of baseball in revenge for going belly up when it counted most last season?
Stay tuned because there's a 161 more games at least to go and whilst this first one doesn't prove much it sure makes a better start to the week than a sour and bitter pill loss against the goddamned Cardinals to start the season the same way it ended!