Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 4, 2004
BASEBALL: Broom, Broom, Broom, Let's Go Get Out Those Brooms
Extremely impressive victory by the Mets today to complete the sweep of the Hated Yankees. What particularly impressed me was this: the Mets took the first two and got our hopes up by grabbing the early 4-1 lead today through three innings, but the game had the feel of one of those clinics on why great teams put people away when they're on the ropes, and teams . . . well, teams like these Mets don't. They played sloppy defense in the field while the Yankees had some electrifying moments on the bases and in the field (Derek Jeter snagged one key ball up the middle in the spot where we've seen so many hits go by him in years past - is he cheating towards the middle more with a Gold Glove shortstop playing third?). Naturally, the Yankees came back to tie it up 4-4 and tie it up again 5-5. Yet, somehow, Ty Wigginton managed to hit his second homer of the game (it could easily have been his third), and they hung on. Of course, nobody's perfect, and as this series displayed, the way to beat this Yankee team is to go yard on them early and often against a longball-prone staff (it helps that Richard Hidalgo is now slugging .746 in a Mets uniform, and setting one awfully high bar for Carlos Beltran in the process, not that Beltran hasn't responded).
Meanwhile, this series showed yet again why Tony Clark continues to be a valuable bench player - yes, he's still not going to hit above .250, and the old Clark is gone, but what you want from a guy like that is that sometimes he'll come up with the big hit; yesterday he had plenty.
Anyway, a 3-game sweep against what is, let's face it, still the best team in baseball is a great building block to go into the next set with the NL East. The Mets still need work getting the top of the order on and getting the defense in order, but if they can keep the middle of the order healthy, they need no longer fear a power outage. They can slug.