Apr 18

April 18.10: About Last Night: Will it spur the Mets?

Not all games are created equal, either in consequence or drama. Yesterday’s 6:53, 20-inning endurance test sent Jose Reyes’ spikes and bat to the Hall of Fame, an indication of something special.

There are dozens and dozens of numbers spawning from this game, and an equal number of snap shot memories, beginning with Alex Cora’s sprawling catch into the stands to rob Matt Holliday (pictured).

Take away that catch, and maybe you take away 10 innings of history.

They will be talking about last night for years, but what remains uncertain is how the victory will play out this season for the struggling Mets.

The attributes of grit and resiliency, patience and perseverance, hustle and clutch, all surfaced last night – for both teams – and for the Mets they had been qualities lacking.

“This game] was big for us…We needed to win this game,” Jerry Manuel said. “They were fighting all day to stay in the game. Hopefully, that’s a sign of things to come for us…We were able to hang around, hang around, hang around…Lay on the ropes for about nine innings and then waited for all the other guys to get out of the game.”

It’s an oversimplification to suggest the Mets have turned around their season, but it is not a reach to say last night might be the spark they needed.

When the Mets were in Colorado they took in the Nuggets came. It was to be a bonding exercise. They promptly lost two of three to the Rockies. It’s impossible for a team to bond more than in a game like last night.

The starter, Johan Santana, pitched seven brilliant innings, and 13 innings later was on the bench in uniform wearing a rally cap. Every Met, save Oliver Perez, played and contributed something. Perez, in fact, was ready to pinch hit.

The bullpen gave up one run in 13 innings, but despite all the walks issued it continually refused to yield. Three times in extra innings the Cardinals left the bases loaded.

The offense didn’t get its first hit until the sixth inning, and consisted of strikeout after strikeout from David Wright and Jason Bay, until Jeff Francoeur and Jose Reyes delivered sacrifice flies.

The Cardinals had a half-dozen chances to win, but the Mets found a way to deny them until like a child confronted with a math problem, figured out a way.

It remains to be seen whether the Mets found an answer they can build on, but the opportunity is there.

Dec 23

Dec. 23.10: On this Date ….

It would have happened eventually, but on this day in 1975 arbitrator Peter Seitz announced a landmark decision in favor of the Players’ Association. The decision made Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally free agents. Baseball, as we knew it, would never be the same.

Seitz was immediately fired by John Gaherin‚ chairman of the owners’ Player Relations Committee.

So, I guess you can thank Seitz for all the Jason Bay stuff.

When people discuss the economics of baseball, free agency immediately comes to mind, but what really spikes the salaries and movement is the arbitration system, which is totally out of whack. Free agency at least allows for negotiation, but arbitration is an either-or proposition.

There are several things I would change about the current economic system, beginning with arbitration. I would give the arbitrator the leeway in determining a compromise figure. I’ve never been a fan of the idea of a salary cap. The luxury tax isn’t a deterrent to limiting the spending. But, if they are going to have a luxury tax, there should be some spending minimum for the hands-out teams (Kansas City, Pittsburgh).