The Backstop Back At Ya: Thursday afternoon's game. Carpenter -v- Santana. I am waiting to catch the recap. I missed it because I was at work. I was walking through the lobby when one of my co-workers told me that the Mets had the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th and failed to convert a single run. They still were winning but it did lead to an obvious follow up question. Does Albert Pujolz bat in the 9th? When I learned that he was due up I experienced a strange feeling. I was not worried. I immediately replied "This is a game that they would find a way to loose last year, the year before that, and yes, the year before that. I bet that they pull this one out... K-Rod baby." Sure enough I looked at the final score about an hour later. They did in fact pull it off.
I am told that the 9th was not without its drama. A win is a win is a win is a win. Last year I would be racking my brain trying to find a positive spin to put on a late inning loss. This is also not to say that they will always pull it out. No my friends, we have not been let down for the last time. I am merely expressing that buried under all the nostalgia of the new park, the Phillies being the reining world champions, (deal with it, it hurts more to type than it does to read) all the injuries and a hundred other things they like to put in the papers is something special.
This team has character. They do not play like they did in 2006 & 2007 like they just had an automatic pass into the playoffs. I know as a player it is much more difficult to deal with a game that was all but in the bag only to have the wheels come off in the opposition's last at bat. I can't imagine what that must be like when the wheels fall off a season in the last day. So I can't begin to imagine what that must be like after 3 seasons missed by mere inches.
I believe a team is only as good as its role players. The Yankees and Rangers are proof positive that you do not have the best team just by having all the best players. Now is the time for role players to shine. Alex Cora, Daniel Murphy who I refuse to give up on, Ryan Church, Omir Santos and so on. This is their time to hold the fort down until the big guys come back. That will build their character and only prove more useful down the stretch. On paper, we should be fighting with the Nationals for last place. If they can keep up until the big fish come back to the pond, we may be on the verge of the second half we have been waiting for since... Draw your own meter. And most of all remember; The Backstop told you first.