Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mets vs. Astros: Now that's baseball!

The New York Mets, AKA the Hated Mets, came to town this week to play a four game series with the Beloved Astros, and three games into the series, it has been just about all fans of either team could have hoped for. The games have been vastly entertaining. They have been marked by good pitching, good defense and just enough hitting. All the games have been close.

Moreover, these games are being played by two teams that are going nowhere this year - "somewhere" being the playoffs - and yet both teams seem to be enjoying themselves, having fun with the game. You see lots of smiles and lots of energy from both teams. Both of the Mets and the Astros are in the process of getting younger and it shows in their attitudes. They are not worrying so much about winning the World Series just yet. They are happy to be playing in the major leagues and living their dreams.

The Astros hitters have been hot lately, raising their batting averages and their runs per game since the All-Star break when Jeff Bagwell took over as hitting coach. But even better than being hot, from my perspective, is that they seem to be competitive again. Even when they get behind in counts, they don't give up. They keep looking for a way to get the ball in play.

Last night, these young hitters faced a veteran knuckleballer and were totally flummoxed, but they hung with him and, in the end, he didn't beat them. They survived nine innings with him with a tie, but, finally, in the 14th inning, their luck and their bullpen gave out and they lost the game 3-2. One more game to go, and my team is down 2-1 so far. We'll find out tonight if they can salvage a split.

Regardless of the outcome of that final game, this has been a fun series, fun for the players and their fans alike. Let the Yankees' fans obsess over every game and every run and worry that their team may only make it to the playoffs as a wild card this year. I'll take my lowly Astros and the hated Mets who play for pride and fun (and, yes, I know, some money!). Now that's baseball!

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