Yes, Steve, it's foolish chant "M.V.P." in May, but it's also a hell of a lot of fun. My buddy Brad, a Phillies fan but otherwise good guy, got me out to my first Mets game of the year and it was near perfect experience.
I suspected the night would go well when I caught the 7 express train out to Shea. (I've been going to Mets games since '93 and I don't recall ever getting an express train before.) I knew the night would go well when, after realizing that I'd forgotten my scorecard, Brad pulled out an extra scorecard. (Revealing that you keep score at a game is akin to admitting that you're into D&D, not the kind of information that you share with everyone.)
And things just kept getting better. Jae Seo opened the game by striking out Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley and racked up seven K's through the fourth. He had a no-hitter into the fifth and gave up only one hit in seven innings. He would have been player of the game if it weren't for Cliff Floyd. Cliff was awesome. He had an RBI-single and a solo homerun, but, to be honest, that's what we expect from him. What's unexpected, or least used to be unexpected, was Cliff's jaw-dropping defense, like his catch against the left field wall in the seventh, robbing Jason Michaels of a potential two-run homer. Like Steve mentioned, Shea went nuts; people annointing Cliff the NL MVP. I was stunned by how loud it got, but what I'll never forget was the hush that fell over the stadium as the scoreboard started the replay. Everyone got quiet as the camera zoomed in on Floyd's face as he backed up toward the wall, the picture of concentration, and then everyone went crazy again when Floyd came down from his perfectly timed leap with the ball.
In between those peaks, the game moved quickly--it was a great game for conversation--and aside from Victor Diaz getting caught in a rundown, the Mets were perfect. Until Blooper (aka Brendan Looper) stumbled into the game to pitch the ninth. Like a kid running around a pool--scissors in one hand, a bottle of rat poison in the other--Looper's become an accident waiting to happen. True to form he coughed up back-to-back homeruns to Chase Utley and Bobby Abreau, and let a comfortable 3-0 game erode into 3-2 nailbitter.
And as I type this after school, the Mets have finished off a 7-5 day game win over the Phillies. That three out of four in the series. Good times.