And speaking of baseball-

-I feel plundered with delirium. Bludgeoned by joy. Clobbered with glee, even. Why? Heh. It's quite lame, actually.


As a comparative nerd--working within jurisdiction of comic books AND related media--this is unusual. As an Englishman, even more so. I've always been partial to sports; as unnatural a marriage as comic scripting and ESPN is, it works wonders for me. I like to write for at least four hours a day (an incredibly lightweight workload for a full-timer, I know) but optimum output occurs somewhere around the eight-hour mark. After this, nothing serves up better respite than nine innings of 'ball. Soccer (football, I should say) is, and always will be, my favourite sport. It was my first true love in life, alongside literature. But these days, I find the experience almost as stressful as the preceding day's work; I'm emotionally bonded to the point of frenzy. But baseball...a different story. Possibly the most jovial discovery of my adult (non-work-related) life. Its pacing, its history, its all-round constituent... It just works wonders for me. The last two Septembers aside, at least.

My choice of team often bemuses Americans, even more so than my appreciation of the sport itself: NEW. YORK. METS. All the way. No other team held even a modicum of temptation; I was sold immediately. Self-abusing and sadistic, yeah, I know. But I liken the Amazin's history to American history in general: short, but fascinating. I respect the Yankees; how could you not? They are, essentially, baseball's flagship franchise. I hold their legacy AND accomplishments in very high regard. But they just seem too... Obvious. The equivalent would be an American moving to England, oblivious of the Premier League and its teams, and choosing Manchester United as a team to root for; success is nigh on guaranteed, heartbreak an unlikely outcome to a season's pursuit of celebration. I like the idea of a "maybe" team, teetering on the fringes of possibility: as much a potential heart-breaker as a could-be jubilant year-maker. To me, this is what sport is all about: the wondrous "what if...?" realm of opportunity.

The New York Mets are the only team in baseball history to go Worst To First: they finished the 1968 season in last place, then won the World Series in 1969, the game's loftiest accolade. This year, they've done it again, but in a different guise: 2008's squad boasted the worst relief pitching rotation in MLB, inflicting 29 blown saves, and as a result, a missed play-off spot. This year, however, they've acquired two of the best game's relievers--JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez--who will work the 8th and 9th innings respectively. And with a quality back-ups Sean Green, Pedro Feliciano and Bobby Parnell offering additional support, it looks like the Mets are set.

In the words of K-Rod, the $36 million closer, 'the Mets might not win this year. But if they don't, it won't be because of the bullpen.'

I was going to blog about yesterday's game, but in light of this unprecedented (and lengthy) deliberation, I'll save it for tomorrow's outing: Mike Pelfrey vs. Edinson Volquez. I'm confident; Mike had a solid season last year, and Spring Training offered no hints of a come-down. But this is baseball, and everything could go topsy-turvy real fast.

As a Mets fan, believe me, I know.

"It's no fun playing if you don't make somebody else unhappy." --Hank Bauer