First off, happy birthday to my sister Meredith. I normally wouldn't say happy birthday, unless, of course, it is your birthday, and then it seems appropriate. Now on to the sports:
Mets: The Mets' first half this season was remarkably more enjoyable than even the most optimistic Mets fan could have predicted, which is what makes it all the more strange how much of a wait-and-see attitude I still find myself clinging to. It's not to say it hasn't been fun, it sure has, but there's a lingering doubt that keeps me from going all in on the 2012 Mets. I find I watch these games cringing that the eventual kick in the gut is certain to come.
And yet, so far, it hasn't. While this week's series loss to the Cubs was disappointing -- for some reason the Mets can't seem to beat Chicago, despite the fact just about everyone else can -- the Mets will still enter the All-Star break six games over .500 and playing very solid baseball. Sure, the cynic might say we shouldn't be celebrating such modest feats in quite this way; we hate cynics. Go ahead and appreciate what a special run this little Mets team has put together. From Johan Santana ending the team's ignominious drought without a no-hitter, to R.A. Dickey's just general crazy awesomeness and David Wright's first-half for the ages, there has been an awful lot to appreciate from a Mets squad most just figured would be another place holder until it was time for a brighter future to finally roll on in.
After some time off for the All-Star break, New York will get back to work with two extremely important road series against Atlanta and Washington. Yes, there's still plenty for Terry Collins to worry about as he pours another glass of bourbon and pops in his VHS copy of the Dirty Dozen, but those fears can wait. Now's a time to just believe.
Friday, July 13
7:35 PM MLB NY Mets at Atlanta
7:05 PM MLB NY Yankees vs. LA Angels
Saturday, July 14
4:05 PM MLB NY Mets at Atlanta
1:05 PM MLB NY Yankees vs. LA Angels
Sunday, July 15
1:35 PM MLB NY Mets at Atlanta
1:05 PM MLB NY Yankees vs. LA Angels
4:00 PM MLS NY Red Bulls vs. Seattle
Yankees: After a Sunday night win over the Red Sox, the Yankees will take the Majors' best record into the All-Star break, as they often do. Yeah, they have concerns, with injuries to Sabathia and Pettitte looming over these happy days, but when your second biggest problem is that you hit "too many" home runs, well, you're having a pretty good year. Yes, the Yankees will lean on their solid pitching, deep bullpen and potent offense, while trying to figure out another way to score runs besides just blasting pitches over the fence, even though that still seems to just about everyone to be the absolute best way to do it, just not for the Yankees, apparently.
The Yankees will return from the break with a homestand against the Angels and Blue Jays, looking to continue their roll through the regular season. Oh, and Joba Chamberlain may even be back. Remember that sack of potatoes?
Nets: The Nets managed to convince Deron Williams to stick around in Brooklyn after prying Joe Johnson away from the Atlanta Hawks. To make things look even brighter, reports come Sunday were that the team was inching closer to a deal to bring into the fold Dwight Howard, who desperately wants to play there. Yes, folks, there could very soon be a team playing in Brooklyn that starts Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Dwight Howard. This should make the Knicks very, very nervous.
Knicks: But not to worry, Knicks fans, your team did add Jason Kidd, even if it was a decade late and Raymond Felton would have made more sense. New York will probably finish its offseason by matching Houston's offer to Jeremy Lin, while trying to add another veteran piece in Marcus Camby. It's not that next year's Knicks don't appear to be good, I suppose they do, but it's still just hard to figure out exactly how they're going to beat the Heat.
Brian DiMenna is a regular contributor to SNY.tv.