It's hard to say whether or not this means anything, but the fact is that the Mets pitiful swoon at the hands of the Philadelphia Philles occurred over the exact days that I spent (finally) reading Jeff Pearlman's The Bad Guys Won, an excellent chronicle of the '86 Mets championship run. Pearlman's angle is to ground the story in the team's atrocious behavior off the field, and as most of you know since you've already read it, he does a great job giving an unblinking view of what assholes all these guys were (except for Ed Hearn and Tim Teufel and maybe a couple others). They were arrogant pricks who knew they were going to win and then won.
What does this have to do with the 2007 Mets? Maybe nothing. It's very easy to say that this year's squad just needs to find some of that heart, that fighting spirit, and the fire will carry them through to a pennant and beyond. I've been telling anyone who'll listen that they need to get pissed off and take it out on the rest of the league. Maybe it's all bullshit. As good, as somehow right, as it sounds to say that all you need is passion to will yourself to victory, maybe it doesn't work that way. I don't know.
But as Crash told Nuke, "You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance." He was making that point to tell Nuke not how to win, but how to deal with losing and then maybe see his way through to the other side. Now the Phillies have put the fear into the Mets. Check that: I hope they have. These cool, pro, veteran Mets need to taste a little of that metallic adrenaline terror, and then they need to get cocky — I'm Carlos Fucking Delgado, goddammit — and they need to do it all on their own. Never mind the manager, never mind the fans, never mind the stupid bloggers.
In the movie version that plays in my brain, Pedro comes back, strikes a guy out, then throws his next pitch right at Mr. Met's gigantic head. Paul LoDuca calls an ump a cocksucker and gets tossed out of a gruelling game on a 90-degree September night. In the movie version I don't even know if they win or not, I just know that whatever they do, they do it like men, with fear and arrogance.