It was a habit I picked up as a Little Leaguer, and that is to hang around until the last out. As a reporter, I had no choice, but as a casual viewer there were times I shut things down when the game got out of hand, which has happened more than a few times in recent seasons.
But, not so much this year, and definitely not last night.
There’s a resiliency about these Mets that make up for their void in talent. There is a likable quality to this team because they overachieve. They hustle where previous Mets teams did not.
Mike Pelfrey was frustrating as he squandered a three-run lead, and then the bullpen blew up. Normally, that would be the story line, but this time the offense – which had been stagnant – responded and thankfully made us forget about Pelfrey.
Normally, when the Mets get hit with a four-spot in the eighth, it is time to look away, but they quickly put two on with one out, and there was the curiosity factor with Mike Baxter coming up.
Of course, I wanted to see the local kid. He’s a good story, and I always root for good stories. His double and Ronny Paulino’s sacrifice fly made it a two run game. They made it worthwhile to keep watching.
I thought about Scott Hairston’s homer in Washington, and Lucas Duda’s ninth-inning, game-tying homer the other day. OK, they still lost, but the situation was there again and it made me wonder.
Jason Pridie singled, and one out later, so did Justin Turner, who is becoming one of my favorite players to watch this year. He hung in on Heath Bell’s breaking ball and dumped it into left. It was a pitch that could easily have eaten him up.
David Wright singled in a run, and all of a sudden the winning run was on second after another wild pitch by Bell.
Up again was Duda, who for some reason reminds me of Lucas McCain of The Rifleman TV series. There’s the name, Lucas, of course, but Duda is bull strong like the McCain character. Connors, by the way, played briefly for the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Dodgers before turning to acting.
The Mets are counting on Duda for power, but it was great to see him go with the pitch and take it up the middle. Professional hitting at its best.
It has been a summer with a growing injury list, the saga of the Mets’ finances and the future of Jose Reyes and where he’ll take his tender hammy next year.
But, for one night at least it was good to get away from all that and watch the Mets show their heart.
After all, games like last night is why we watch, and maybe it was the first game for somebody who became hooked on your ball club.
Last night was a game that reminded us why we are baseball fans and that the baseball clock ticks in outs, not minutes.
And, when outs remain, so does hope.