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The Mets Gleefully Welcome Back Jason Bay

Jason Bay is a skilled high-fiver.

The Mets are in the midst of a happy period right now, but even if they weren't, it would have to be somewhat of a relief to despondent Mets fans to see the state of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nothing against the Dodgers, of course, but as much as a disaster as the Mets' "situation" might have seemed at several points over the last few months, boy, it's not nearly as much of a clusterphooey as what's happening in Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers are one of baseball's proudest franchises, and they're in shambles: The crowd last night resembled one at a Florida Marlins' game in late August. And unlike the Mets' situation, the Dodgers' mess is going to get worse before it gets better. At least with the Mets, Bernie Madoff was only the owners' money manager; the Dodgers essentially have a Bernie Madoff sort owning the team.

But the Mets needn't worry themselves about another franchise's woes: They're having too much fun winning right now. They notched their third win in a row — all without Jose Reyes; who needs 'em? — in a 6–0 win over the Dodgers. The hero was, lo, Jason Bay, who hit two homers and knocked in four runs last night. It was a friendly reminder that Bay once actually hit home runs for a living. After last night, Bay has hit a total of 12 homers for the Mets, but honest, we swear, he hit 36 as recently as two years ago. He's actually three away from 200 for his career. You are forgiven if you find it difficult to believe Bay could hit 200 homers over eight years off Little League pitchers, but it's true.

Bay has himself a nice little run going: He has an eight-game hitting streak that's coming at a handy time, with Reyes and David Wright out of the lineup and Carlos Beltran dropping a little bit of power (he has only three homers in the last month, including his homer last night). If Reyes and Wright can come back soon ... and Bay can keep hitting ... and Ike Davis catches a break ... and ... and ... well, let's just continue to enjoy this while we have it.

The Mets' playoff odds remain slim (2.8 percent, according to Baseball Prospectus), and they're still actively shopping their entire relief staff and surely Beltran as well. (It'd be nice if the darned Braves would lose sometime; the two best teams in the National League happen to be the two teams ahead of the Mets in the NL East right now.) In a way, though, the Phillies' and Braves' successes could be the best things to happen to the Mets. The worst-case scenario is what happened with the Padres last year, a team that should have been rebuilding but was entranced by winning and a possible postseason berth. So they hung onto their players, going all in ... and missed the playoffs anyway. The Mets are unlikely to catch the Phillies or Braves, so they'll be able to make whatever trades they need to make — and hold onto whatever players they need to hold onto, hintReyeshint — without it feeling like they're "giving up." And if they keep winning more games than they lose during that time? All the better.

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Photo: Stephen Dunn/2011 Getty Images