by user 184.108.40.206
(Note: This article originally appeared at http://yankees2000.blogspot.com)
All the fans gathered to discuss the future of the team. Everything looked solid before, but people worried about the future. Then he stood up and with a few magical words, things were about to change for the better.
- "I don't know if it'll make a difference, but I figured it's time for me to start playing ball."
When Jimmy joined the Hickory Hoosiers, the team went from solid to great. Every player in the lineup was able to shift a spot down or over to the side, and all of a sudden, everyone had their role. Ray was no longer the go-to scorer who needed to carry the team on his shoulder, he was now the No. 2 option who could hit the open shot. The big dude who loved Jesus, well, he could still love Jesus, but he could also pound the glass with more freedom as defenses were swarming to Jimmy. Basically everything at Hickory was clicking, the beautiful soundtrack by Jerry Goldmsmith was blasting in the background and you knew this team couldn't lose.
Well, knock on wood, but for the first time in my life as a Mets fan, I feel like we are going to win every single time we take the field. Yes, I know it's early and I know we've played two shitty teams, but things feel like they are really clicking. No, we did not bring in one stud a la Jimmy Chitwood, but every offseason acquisition that we made has worked brilliantly, both on an individual level, and on the team level as well.
With Delgado in the lineup the Mets are now truly dangerous. Bringing in a guy that can mash in the middle, allowing Uncle to shift to the 6 spot, makes the Mets' 3-6 probably the best in baseball, if not a close second to our crosstown rivals.
All of a sudden, David Wright and Carlos Beltran have protection, Beltran doesn't have to be the man anymore, and these guys can just continue to drive in runs. Maybe I never realized how good Delgado was, and maybe I thought we gave up more than we needed to, but having this guy just really makes a huge difference.
Well, so far Duaner has been lights out. How he will be from here, who knows? But it's a pretty great feeling knowing that we have 2 top end middle relievers in Sanchez and Aaron Heilman. Having this second guy behind Aaron Heilman is truly huge. Imagine if Heilman had been tired yesterday and instead of Sanchez we had to go to with someone else in the pen, say, Jorge Julio? This is huge.
I didn't like this trade at the time, nor am I too happy with who we got for him, but moving Benson was the only way that Brian Bannister was going to crack the rotation. If they don't make this move then Bannister is in AAA. There is no way PR wise that the organization would have let Bannister jump Victor Zambrano and Heilman for the 5th spot, but cutting ties with Mrs. and Mr. Benson allowed us to give the kid his big break. If 13 innings and 4 earned runs are anything to go by, the returns have been positive.
Bringing in Paul Lo Duca
For most of the offseason I was pushing for Beltran to shift to the 2 hole so we could hit Wright 3. While I stil think they belong in those spots in the lineup, given the surroundings I like the lineup as it is. Lo Duca is a huge reason for this. This guy knows how to bat second. He can bunt, hit to the right side and see pitches. Hitting him there allows us to hit Uncle 6, which I like. Pitchers don't have much time to breathe.
There's that moment at the end of White Men Can Jump when Sydney and Billy go to play the legendary King and Duck. It's point game when Wesley looks at Woody and he knows. He throws it up there and Woody goes up and gets it and then he throws it the fuck down. The two truly clicked. They gelled. All the pieces fit. This is how the Mets look right now. The bullpen looks full. The lineup looks full. And for now, the starters look pretty full. Everyone is filling their roles and this team is really looking great.
As the great Lou Brown once said, "It's starting to come together, Pepper, it's starting to come together." Well, you guys are my Pepper.
Now before we start shaking the Champagne bottles, remember, we got Victor Zambrano on the hill tonight. If this one pans out against Livan then we can really start talking.
Thu 04/13/06, 8:55 am EST