J-Roll had the best vantage point in the house
for all but one at bat of the Phillies’ 3-1 loss to the Mets Thursday afternoon.  It was fascinating to hear ESPN’s resident baseball expert Stephen A. Smith hail Jimmy Rollins yesterday as someone who “does what he says he’s going to do”, while his Mets counterpart, Jose Reyes, “is a shell of his former self”.

Said shell hit a game winning 3 run HR last night, while scoring the first run of Wednesday’s matinee after walking and stealing second in the third inning.  Reyes also leads Rollins in every important offensive category save for doubles this season. At what point will commentators have to acknowledge that not only has Reyes successfully rebounded from a poor second half of the ’07 season, but for the 2nd time in 3 years he’s a legit MVP candidate?

If the events of two nights ago generated a near-suicidal overreaction from this corner, the most recent pair of Mets wins over Phillies revealed the former to have exactly the sort of poise I doubted they’d summon. Virtually every discussion about the infuriatingly erratic Oliver Perez has to include the disclaimer, “he’s occasionally lights-out brilliant”.  Today was one of such occasions, and Perez (12 K’s, 7.2 IP, 1 solo bomb allowed to Jayson Werth) resembled a bona-fide No. 1 starter rather than the strike-zone phobic enigma who seems to take the mound every other start.

Perez wasn’t alone on the redemption front ;  Carlos Delgado, nothing short of a pariah in May, once again came thru with a game changing blow,  the first baseman’s opposite field, 2-RBI double off J.C. Romero breaking a 1-1 deadlock in the last of the 8th.  Delgado was 2-for-17 entering today’s game against Romero, but as Gary Cohen was quick to cite, “that was a different Carlos Delgado”.  Likewise, Aaron Heilman, possibly the most widely despised Notre Dame alumnus this side of Mike Golic, induced Met-killer Werth to fly out to Beltran with the bases loaded in the top of the 8th.

How tremendous was 79 year old Jamie Moyer (7 IP, 2 hits, 3 walks, 1 run, 6 K’s)? Even Johan Santana wants to criticize Moyer’s teammates for the lack of run support.   In all seriousness, you’d have to go back to some of the Mets’ epic NL East battles with the Cards (’85, ’87) and Pittsburgh (’90) to recall regular season games at Shea that seemingly had so much at stake. Neither team is likely to go totally into the tank between now and October, nor are the Marlins, so let’s hear for it for what oughta be an awesome final two months.

On an entirely different tip, if Wilpon TV’s talking heads wanna champion the joys of raising kitty-cats, more fucking power to ’em. “Time to man up and get a dog”, Mr. Mottram?  Hey, if we’re gonna be all size queen about it, how about really confirming your manhood by getting two dogs?

I live with a pair of dogs, two cats and assorted other dangerous critters (one of whom runs a hosting company).  Ron and Keith are guilty of many aesthetic crimes, but owning felines isn’t one of them. Let’s stamp out pussyphobia in our lifetime.