Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Mets Kids Can Be Clutch

I watched all of 15 minutes of last night's game, but the portion I did see made me smile. As I turned on the game around 9:30 last night, I caught the bottom of the 9th inning where the Mets were down by a run against the Brewers. What I saw was hope.

There's Ike Davis standing on second base representing the tying run. Here comes Josh Thole who fights off an inside fastball to bloop one down the 3rd base line. 1st and 3rd with one out. Now the Mets realist in me sees Ruben Tejada coming up to bat and is thinking, double play.

Tejada has had a season long affair with the Mendoza line and is potentially the last person in the Mets lineup/bench/organization that you would want up in a clutch situation. Forget about the Mets being out of contention and it's the last week of the season. For a 21-year old in his first year at the big league level, he can feel the pressure.

The most impressive thing that Tejada did was swing at the first pitch. Normally in this type of situation, a hitter takes a strike. No need to hit a ground ball to the shortstop on the first pitch and end the game in one swing. But Tejada actually was thinking. Here he is, the worst hitter in the Mets lineup, facing a predominantly fastball pitcher. Chances are he's going to throw a heater on the first pitch.

Tejada made the right choice clocking a fastball to the gap in left center field. Game over. Mets win. Tejada's reaction to his heroics may have been the most surprising. He calmly clapped in celebration and without any theatrics started to walk off the field. His teammates stopped his subtle exit by pounding him with joyous shots and I just couldn't help but feeling happy for this kid.

I'm not ready to anoint Tejada or Thole as the future saviors of the franchise. I believe Ike Davis will be a solid player for years to come, but it was a rare moment in an all together disappointing season to be able to enjoy baseball at its purest. Three rookies, without bloated heads and attitudes, getting the chance to come through for their team in the Big Apple.

It's a rare sight. Glad I got a chance to catch it because you never know when you'll see it again.