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The Boys of Spring

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Delgado slings a blue leather tote bag across his torso, college-student style, and exits the clubhouse. “Yeah, it sucks at the moment that we lost a game we had a good opportunity to win,” he says, hefting some souvenir bats over his shoulder, gifts for visiting friends. “The best thing is to have short-term memory. If you don’t, the next thing you know, it all compounds. Turn the page, learn from what happened today, come back the next game.”

Platitudes? Sure. Until Delgado steps into the batter’s box in the fourth inning on Sunday, with two runners on base and the Yankees up, 2-0. A fastball arrives belt-high, and Delgado crushes it over the right-field fence. The celebratory fireworks smoke hasn’t cleared when Wright, up next, smacks an even longer shot over the wall in left. Later, Wagner seals the win with a scoreless ninth inning.

If the Mets win the pennant, Delgado’s homer will be cited as one turning point in the season. “You can talk all you want in here,” he says in front of his locker, rubbing lotion on his shaven scalp. “But if you don’t get it done on the field, it doesn’t matter.” If the Mets are going to reach October, they’re going to need Carlos Delgado to keep doing both.


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