Monday, April 9, 2012

If Anyone Reminds The Mets That They're The Mets, I Will Punch Them

So yesterday there was a pretty nutty stretch of about 10 minutes in the middle of the day. Perhaps some of you, like me, caught the excitement, but if not, here's a refresher. The New York Mets, in what was already a bonkers game that featured a near no-hitter by Jon Niese and a near blown seven-run lead by, uh, guess who, closed out a shocking season-opening series sweep of the rival Atlanta Braves.

That, in and of itself, was a pretty badass way to start the new season. After all, most people are expecting the New York Mets to do a whole lot of nothing this year -- well, not nothing, just losing -- so to see them open up the year with a sweep against their hated rivals and, in the eyes of some including myself, the prohibitive NL East favorites, was more than just a little confidence booster.

In fact, it was a fairly nice capper to the first week of baseball as a whole. In addition to the Mets' three season opening victories, I managed to have an enjoyable whirlwind trip to Pittsburgh -- my first that lasted more than 10 hours -- in which I managed to see the stunningly beautiful PNC Park as well as catch the Penguins-Rangers game later that night. Strangely, in all my years of sports going, this was the first time I could actually recall seeing two professional events in one day, though for my host Blake and I, the discussion quickly moved to whether or not we could find a way to see a grand total of three sporting events in one day. It's tough but it's doable if the schedule breaks right. It may be my newest target for a life goal.

Pittsburgh is a lovely city with a certain authenticity to it that makes me actually understand why people who currently have or used to live there are so damn insistent about how much they love it. It's a culturally varied and vibrant and surprisingly beautiful place with a variety of things to do and some really good food. And by really good food I mean, if you're ever suicidal and considering killing yourself by cholesterol, Pittsburgh is the place to go. After all, at the Pirates game Thursday I enjoyed what is tied with the Lobel's Steak Sandwich at Yankee Stadium for my favorite food ever consumed at a ball park -- the Pierogi Stacker at Manny's BBQ stand along the left field wall. It's a tremendous concoction of pulled pork, pierogies and fried onions on a pretzel roll, and it's just large enough to satisfy you without knocking you out for the rest of the game.

As if I wasn't happy enough with that one, the next day I traveled to a restaurant on the south side known as Fat Head's Saloon where I got a sandwich as big as, well, my head. I decided to indulge in the Chick'n Little, a massive pile of chicken tenders dipped in buffalo sauce, ham, bacon, two fried eggs, provolone, American and hot pepper mayo. It is a towering and intimidating item, and it was in no uncertain terms the greatest gustatory challenge of my life, but naturally, I conquered both it at the huge pile of potato slices next to it. In doing so it was almost as if I had conquered the entire city of Pittsburgh as a whole.


So basically, I bring all that up because leading up to the Mets' 7-5 win over the Braves Sunday, I was already having a pretty solid end of my week, and to sweep Atlanta only seemed to make it as good as it could possibly be.

But then the Knicks happened. Now as some background, this might have been the most anticipated Bulls-Knicks game since 1998, which, given the fortunes of each team, is really not too much of a stretch to say. Still, the Knicks are not a bad team anymore, and the Bulls are one of the best, which meant that with a national broadcast there was a chance that the rivalry could be back at long last. When the 'Bockers jumped out to a 21-point lead in the first half, it looked like the rivalry's flames might be stoked even if the score wasn't close. When the Bulls looked to be finally taking over and pulling away with a 10-point lead late in the fourth, it looked like I might have a downer to mute the excitement of the Mets' victory.

Then this happened.


And this also came just moments after Melo had tied the game with this wild shot.


The Mets close out an unexpected sweep, the Knicks pick up a thrilling win over the Bulls, hell, even Geelong had a thrilling fourth-quarter rally to upend its mortal enemy Hawthorn while we were all sleeping last night, just the latest in a series of wild, epic victories over the Hawks.

Melo's wild shot punctuated a phenomenal afternoon, Geelong's victory this morning was icing on the cake, a Southampton victory over Crystal Palace to pull seven points clear of the promotion play off would yield yet more icing (UPDATE: THEY DID IT!) and suffice it to say, well, I'm feeling pretty good right now. In fact, there's a chance to feel even better later tonight as I head to Citi Field for my first in-person Mets game of the season when they look to go 4-0 against the Washington Nationals.

A win right there would just make that icing so thick it might be too much sugar to swallow. Of course, I wouldn't complain. Particularly since I know that all of this good fortune, really, in general, means just one thing.

When I'm finally there in person the Mets will almost certainly lose tonight. Whatever you do, just don't pinch me until after it happens.

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