I don’t know how many of you out there are watching our Mets kick off yet another series against the Padres. My guess is it’s fewer than tuned into the last Padres series opener just a week ago. But if you are one of the faithful, you were just rewarded with a nice treat in the top of the 2nd. It was such a nice moment that it deserves its own immediate post. Well, that and I’ll take any distraction from that horrifying we’re-showing-you-a-guy-with-debilitating-emphysema-so-you-don’t-smoke commercial. Yeah, don’t smoke.
Just a few batters after Duda crushed his 5th homer of the year and second in as many games, Thole came up to bat with Pridie on 1st. Just after Gary and Ron finished explaining how Thole was a more advanced player at this time last year than this time this year, he golfed a low changeup from Harang into right for a homer. Yeah, it was the short, jutting porch in right, the only wall in Petco closer than 876 feet, give or take, but it was what happened afterwards that was so uplifting.
After the home run, the camera quickly shifted over to the visitor’s dugout where Wright was standing at the top step, both arms raised in the air triumphantly, with a huge smile on his face, laughing with joy. He didn’t stop laughing even after Thole rounded the bases, giving Wright and everyone else a high five. Thole put his helmet away and then, with a smile on his face too, walked sheepishly over to Wright, where it looked like the two shared another laugh.
I’m not sure what was going on there. I don’t know if there was some kind of joke between Wright and Thole, if there was some wager on Thole hitting a homer, or if Wright was busting Thole’s balls for getting a cheap shot. But whatever it was, it was great to see Wright, and Thole for that matter, happy and enjoying themselves. This from a team mired in a five game losing streak with their hard luck pitcher on the mound in a hitter’s nightmare of a park. And that isn’t even to mention the fact that the tough reality of this season, long suspected but staved off until roughly a week ago, has finally set in. Despite that, the right attitude is there, on a day that, when asked to sum up the Mets’ season in one word, Dickey chose “courageous.”
And it’s true. Their effort this year has been just that. Courageous. It takes courage and the right leadership to sustain a modicum of positivity in these tough times, particularly for this franchise. This isn’t your Mets team that goes down two runs and looks like they just ran into Francisco Rodriguez after a family argument. Not anymore. This is a Mets team that, regardless of the situation, is still grinding, still trying to improve, and all with the right attitude. Make no mistake, they are still having fun, and we have Terry Collins to thank for that.
So thank you, Terry. Thank you for getting Duda out of his shell, for keeping Wright’s spirits up, for giving Thole and Ruben chances to prove themselves, for not punching Igarashi square in the nose, for working on the little things when the big rewards aren’t within reach, and for giving us reasons to keep watching. Thank you for moments like this one.
Now back to the third inning…