September 4, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia (27) delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during the eighth inning at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Mets 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
The phrase is played out. “Meaningful September Games.” Like it was really fun at the end of the month the last time this team played that definition of Meaningful Baseball. And don’t get me wrong. I’d much rather the Mets be battling for a playoff spot. But that’s not the way it is. The cynics from the beginning of the season were right. The Mets weren’t ready, but they’re getting there. So calm down, chill, and find the meaning where there is some. These September games are some of the most Meaningful September Games this Metropolitan Franchise has ever played.
While the Mets lost again, 1-5, last night, there was Jeurys Familia, making his Major League Debut in the 8th inning. He struck out Lance Berkman to get things going. While John Jay singled, Familia got Matt Carpenter to ground into an inning-ending double play. He probably wasn’t at his best in small-sample order, and non-familiarity certainly played a roll. His stuff, however, was fantastic, and evaluating the pitcher while he learns how to perform in The Show is what this September is all about. These guys aren’t playing under pressure? Are you kidding me? Not only are they collectively carrying the weight of an entire franchise’s dyslexic history, they’re playing for a job. Anywhere they can get it. Every single player is being evaluated in that clubhouse. And every single player wants to show they are a winner.
Will Bobby Parnell ever get it together? Could we use him as trade bait? What about Daniel Murphy? We want him to be a part of the solution, but his value might help deliver the solution at a hastier pace. What about Josh Thole? Will he ever get back to slappin’ the ball around? Can he ever improve his defense at catcher? Can he be used to get that much more back, even if it’s nothin’ fancy? What about the Triple-A starting pitching we brought up? Will they just pitch out of the bullpen to limit innings or will they make one start each? Is the bullpen the solution for at least one of them? Can we show these guys off and use our newfound pitching depth as trade bait this winter? What about Shoppach? Is this the honeymoon, or can he provide some of the offense, defense and leadership we have been searching for at the catching position? Can RA Dickey add the Whip Cream, Cherry and Chocolate Syrup to the Sundae? Can Jordany Valdespin learn and improve in the final month? Trade chip? Can Matt Harvey finish off his first couple months of the Show on a high note? What did he take out his struggles at the Major League level?
Yeah. We all wish the Mets would go a crazy winning streak and leapfrog over 7 or so teams and make it in as one of those 2 wild card spots. But the absence of that does not leave meaning vacant.
There’s nothing I can’t find compelling about every single last one of these baseball games to be played here in the month of September by these 2012 New York Mets. What works. What doesn’t. What would work better somewhere else that can bring back things that work. You should all be thrilled to see these kids play hard down the stretch, to get better at their craft so they can eventually reach their ultimate goal: to be a World Series Champion.
So go!!! Forget everything that annoys you about the franchise, and the way they have been run, and the Wilpons, and all that stuff, and go Stay True to the Orange and Blue. Go not see Rod Barajas. And go not see Jeff Francoeur. Go. Don’t see Marlon Anderson there. Don’t see Tom Glavine. Don’t see Robinson Cancel, and Alex Cora, and Mike Jacobs. No eyes will settle upon Ryota Igarashi or Sean Green, or Luis Ayala, or Fernando Nieve. And you won’t see Bobby Bonilla there (though he is certainly getting paid like he is.) Hey. Guess What? Jerry Manuel won’t put Ollie P. in the 14th inning of the last game. None of those players will be dressed up in Mets gear, and those roster spots are being used for players who have much better use for them.
And if they don’t…
Then they’re being evaluated.
That, my Metsian friends, is certainly a Meaningful September.
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