Saturday, October 14, 2006

New York Mets: Welcome to Pressure [J. Mark English]

Don't ask for help, you're all alone, pressure. You'll have to answer to your own pressure. I'm sure you'll have some cosmic rationale, but here you are in the ninth, two men out and three men on. Nowhere to look but inside, where we all respond to pressure.
- Billy Joel

In the interest of full disclosure, I'd like to share in what could be a complete meltdown on behalf of the New York Mets.

In a state of euphoria following Thursday night's win, I sent the following e-mail to a friend:

Just had an unbelievable thought. Should the unthinkable occur, and the Mets by some grace or miracle win the World Series...then they would be on the docket to come to the White House to be received by President Bush.

My friend's response was appropriate:

Way to jinx it. Your new nickname is Jinxy Cat.

I am sorry for whatever part I had in the sudden collapse of the New York Mets.

I was not able to update the blog last night because I came home very late, and today I had a trip to make that prohibited me from getting to a computer until tonight. As of right now, the Mets are losing 5-0 to the Cardinals in the bottom of the seventh inning. Trachsel was torched for 5 runs in one inning (he left in the second after an apparent injury to his ankle), and Darren Oliver has stepped in at least to give the bullpen a breather. It's the bottom of the seventh and he is still pitching. The bullpen should buy him a nice gift for saving their arms at least one day.

Now for the first time, perhaps all year, the Mets are facing real pressure. A drawback of having dominated their own division for so long this season and essentially wrapping it up before the All-Star Break is that they didn't play many meaningful games after the Break.
Can they handle the scrutiny and the "backs-against-the-walls" situation they find themselves in?

If they go on to lose tonight, then tomorrow they will be starting Oliver Perez, who has pitched little this season and is inconsistent at best. No matter the outcome of tomorrow's game, Tom Glavine will pitch game 5 on Monday. He will be coming off three days' rest, which has historically been poor for him.

The bullpen proved last night that it is not unbeatable. The Mets' offense has not scored since yesterday, in the sixth inning.

A former New York Knick once said in the early 80's of the pathetic Knicks, "let the ship be sinkin'." Well, the ship may very well be sinking right now, and the Mets are going down fast.

The 1999 and 2000 teams, despite their foibles, were sometimes called the "cardiac kids." They never dominated, but they won in exciting fashion. Think back to Todd Pratt's home run against the Diamondbacks in the '99 NLDS, Ventura's grand single against the Braves in the '99 NLCS, or Agbayani's winning HR against the Giants in the 2000 NLDS.

Can these Mets show that same magic? Can they build a comeback? Can they overcome the impossible? Can they handle the pressure? Or will they "let the ship be sinkin'"?