Let’s see, a lot has transpired since I last offered something on this blog Sept. 5.
Donald Trump, of all people, has emerged as the leading candidate for the Republican nomination to become President of the United States. Yes, the man who once said “You’re Fired” to Lou Ferrigno and Flavor Flav is now headed toward the nomination. But then again, we once elected the guy who played with a chimp in “Bedtime for Bonzo” and played George Gipp in the movies, so anything is possible.
The Giants and Jets are both off to decent starts. I don’t think loyal followers could have predicted that both teams would have four wins before Halloween. Todd Bowles seems to have his finger on the pulse of the Jets and we all knew Tom Coughlin would after the Giants started 0-2.
The weather has been fantastic since the end of summer. We had only a few days of below normal temperatures. It was 73 yesterday on Oct. 29. That says it all. It’s almost like spring or early summer with those temperatures. Lonnie Quinn doesn’t have to roll up his sleeves yet.
And yes, the biggest story around these parts has to be the appearance of the New York Mets, my beloved baseball team, in the World Series.
I know they’re in an 0-2 hole and that’s a tough hole to recover from, but did anyone in their wildest dreams think it was possible for the Mets to actually be in the World Series?
I still can’t believe it. I really can’t. I feel like I’m doing the Time Warp again. I feel like it’s some weird Rod Serling “Twilight Zone” moment and someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and tell me that it was all part of an evil scheme.
I mean, the Mets, THESE Mets, are in the World Series? It can’t be.
I know that as the biggest (in size, of course) Mets fan on the planet, I’m supposed to be excited, giddy and joyous. Believe me, I’m very happy, VERY happy. But I simply can’t believe it.
It’s probably the reason why I’m so even keeled and low-keyed about the whole thing. Some of my closest family members and friends are amazed on how even tempered I’ve been, that they figured I’d be so in the rapture of Mets fever that I would be uncontrollable. Maybe getting my car stolen with my cell phone in it and a week’s vacation at a resort called the Clara Maass Medical Center might have helped with the temperament.
But I also know that as a diehard Met fan, I gave up. That’s right. July 23 was the day I bagged it and said that they were through. They lost a game to the Padres, a game that they had a six-run lead and turned it over to the god awful Bobby Parnell, then gave the ball to Jeurys Familia after an hour long rain delay, only to see him give up a homer to Justin Upton and the Mets lost.
That was it. I bagged it. I was sick and tired of watching the Mets lose with immortals like Eric Campbell and John Mayberry, Jr. and the thoroughly immortal Danny Muno and the ever-so immortal Johnny Monell in the lineup through June and July. I mean, there was one game were Mayberry, Jr. (who is still swinging and missing at flies in his backyard) and Campbell were cleanup and No. 5 in the Mets lineup. It was disgusting and so hard to watch.
But then something miraculous happened. Wilmer Flores, who has always been a favorite of mine and someone who I thought could hit 20 homers if he was left alone to play every day, was traded, cried, then wasn’t traded and hit the homer in the 12th inning against the Nationals that turned the entire season around.
Then the Mets swept the Nationals and a day later, they traded for superstar Yoenis Cespedes, who is the best positional player the franchise has had since Mike Piazza walked away. Cespedes started hitting homer after homer and the Mets went nuts. Kirk Nieuwenhius (however you spell it) hit a clutch homer off that assface douchehead Papelbon and the Nationals were buried, thanks to the brilliant managing of the since-deposed and sure-to-be-missed Matt Williams.
The Mets steamrolled to the NL East title and that would have been good enough. But they beat the Dodgers in five, then destroyed the Cubs in four straight to win the National League pennant.
Then Daniel Murphy simply morphs into Reggie Jackson, hitting homer after postseason homer. How does that happen? How does someone who hit 14 homers in the regular season mash seven in the playoffs? That's miraculous.
Miraculous? I’d say so. I know a lot of people think I’m crazy for saying this, but this team is far more miraculous than the 1969 Miracle Mets. The reason? That team, even though in ninth place the year prior, was going to be good from the start of the year. It had talent throughout the roster, especially with the pitching. They hung around the Cubs all season, then blew past them and went to the World Series. Sure, Miracle Mets because of what they were the year before, but not what they were during the 1969 season. That team won 100 games. They were very good.
This team was absolutely left for dead in July and came back to win the pennant and now in the World Series. This is more of a miracle in my eyes.
So I know the season is in the hands of the Mighty Thor Noah Syndergaard tonight. Without a win tonight, it’s over.
But this is a wonderful pitching staff, the best starting staff I can ever remember, better than the Braves of the 1990s _ and even Hall of Famer John Smoltz, one of those Braves hurlers, agreed.
It’s going to be a joy to watch these pitchers over the next few years. And remember, Zach Wheeler comes back next July to join the group. It’s an amazing staff.
For now, I’ll enjoy this run, this miraculous run. I never thought it was possible. Maybe that’s why I’m so numb by all of this.
I attended Seton Hall basketball media day yesterday and I was very impressed with the way Kevin Willard handled the tough questions about how his team collapsed last season, that there was talk of team members having friends around campus and at practices, a “posse” that served as a major distraction.
Willard addressed it after I asked him about what happened, how a team that was nationally ranked in January could actually win one of their last 11 games to finish a disappointing 16-15.
“We had a lot of outside distractions last year, family, friends, aunts, uncles,” Willard said. “It wasn’t just one factor. There was a lot going on. I don’t think I did a very good job of handling the distractions. We had too many family and friends around and that’s how we lost focus.”
The team also lost its starting backcourt of Jaren Sina and Sterling Gibbs (the team’s leading scorer at 17.5 points per game) to transferring because of the negative stuff going on in the locker room.
“I didn’t handle the outside distractions well,” Willard said. “I have a much better handle on it now, but the dynamic of the team is much different.”