Bombs, More Bombs, and F-Bombs

Pete Alonso Walk Off Rays

2023 has its first fantastic finish.

There was a tweet directed at me recently that read to the effect of “this team has no heart or soul.” Tweets like that bother me, because they’re cop outs. You can care and be bad. I hate to invoke Tom Glavine’s name here, but I’ll never forget when he was a Met and he pulled a reporter aside and said something like “look, write that we suck, but never write that we don’t care.” Despite the irony of those words being in direct conflict with “disappointed but not devastated”, the sentiment was correct.

Wednesday, according to those who look at heart and soul as a metric, cared for the first time all season tonight. For those who understand that hitting is hard, Wednesday was the game where we hope to look back upon and say “that got ’em going.” But any way you slice it, it shows that the pieces are there for a run of heart and soul.

Kodai Senga, in his 8th start of the season, showed you exactly what he could be for the Mets as he struck out 12 hitters on the best team in baseball in six innings. He walked three and gave up a run on three hits. But most importantly, he had command of his pitches … throwing 65 strikes in 104 pitches, and got the Rays to swing at his ghost forks. Senga picked the right time to put it together.

Then it was Mark Vientos in his first game in the majors this season after him being called up and making a lot of people look smart when he tied the game with a two run HR in the 7th. People may think it took too long to bring up Vientos, but not only is the next four months at stake, but the next 5-10 years are at stake. The last thing the Mets want to do is ruing a guy by bringing him up not only before he was ready, but before he got absolutely bored with AAA. His time in Syracuse will pay dividends for the future. Hopefully it will continue to pay dividents for the immediate future.

When Adam Ottavino immediately gave back the lead in the 8th on a home run to Brandon Lowe to went 4-for-48 before he came to Citi Field and now all of a sudden he’s Joe Morgan, it really felt like this was the season we were going to have. The bullpen was so good all season, but now they’re due to struggle and now the Mets are really going to be screwed. When the Rays scored another one in the 9th, it felt over.

But then another kid who was patient and learned his craft in the minor leagues came up as the tying run after Rays closer Jason Adam struggled with a walk and a hit batsman. The other day, Adam gave up what he thought was a home run to Aaron Judge before he looked behind him and realized it only made it to the warning track. He didn’t have to look back on the ball he threw to Francisco Alvarez …

As bad as the Mets have been going, this homer was a stunner. I couldn’t even react. I don’t mind telling you that I just sat in my seat and wondered what the hell happened.

Then David Robertson gave up two runs in the 10th, and then I started to get frustrated. Finally, the Mets get some big hits and show a little life, and it coincides with Robertson finally looking human, which we all knew was coming. And we knew it could come at a bad moment. But on a day where Vientos and Alvarez hit home runs to electify the crowd for it to happen is just doubly frustrating.

So then comes the bottom of the tenth, and Gare went a little out of character: He went slightly homeriffic and made some sort of remark that went like “to get somebody on and have Pete hit one out of the ballpark and send everyone home happy.” This was with Jeff McNeil up and Alonso two batters away, not even considering the fact that Francisco Lindor could have done the same thing if McNeil got on, which he did after a great at-bat against Pete Fairbanks. Gare was prescient in that way. It’s almost as if he knew that Francisco Lindor would once again be overanxious on a curveball and strike out. And it’s almost as if he knew what was coming next.

But when Alonso was up, I wasn’t thinking so much about what Gare said as if he had one of those Arian Foster scripts. I was thinking of this:

It’s just proof that you can have all the heart and soul you want. All the screaming and all of the histrionics … all cool. But as is usually the case in baseball, your best players have to be your best players. When that’s not the case, then you can bring up all of the Vientoses and Alvarezes you want. It means nothing without the Max Scherzers, the Justin Verlanders, and the Pete Alonsos.

They sure as hell got it tonight, right at the exact time they needed it: on a Wednesday against the best team in baseball. Once again, you hope it sticks. If Tylor Megill gives up three runs agianst the Rays in the first inning, this home run is forgotten, and this win is merely a footnote among the book of scaries. Momentum is … after all … the next game’s staring pitcher. For the Mets, Momentum for the Mets this season has been … dastardly. So it would behoove the Mets to win the next nine innings, one at a time, so that we could all write in October that this game was the “springboard” to a great season and we could sound really, really smart.

It would also behoove the Mets to take the tollowing into their hearts and minds the rest of the season:

Today’s Hate List

  1. Jose Siri
  2. Jake Diekman
  3. Warren Sapp
  4. Tom Brady
  5. Ondrej Palat
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