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The familiarity level decreased a little with the Mets. I saw the new SNY graphic for the first time, and what shocked me most was all that construction equipment behind the outfield. I just might be getting excited for CitiField.

But something about these Mets was entirely the same. Like last year, they are the Cardiac Kids, resilient and relentless. While Ambiorix Burgos got a little breaking-ball happy against Ryan Howard (yet another chubby Dominican flamethrower a little too in love with his splitter, in the Mets tradition of Armando Benitez and Jorge Julio), the Mets knew what to do.

John Maine was hardly stellar, being outpitched by his counterpart Cole Hamels, and the Mets didn't have a day off in between the loss at Atlanta and the home opener. Scratch Heilman from the pen. But what we all saw against the Phillies was a sign of both Mets strengths and Phillies weaknesses.

The Phillies 'pen is oft a point of contention among their most ardent supporters. But non-diehards know that Geoff Geary is an inexcusable attempt at a setup man, and Jon Lieber has not had much success in short relief for a reason. Without reason, Jimmy Rollins too choked, failing to make an easy play at short, which prolonged the inning.

That's it. It's the Mets' Magic 8th. While I would hope our squad could break through against the Phillies' starting staff, it might not be necessary when facing a patchwork bullpen and a team that brings little to the table when Howard and Utley are cold.

The Mets are now on pace to go 81-0 at Shea, a feat that has never been performed by any Metropolitan club. Tell me about small sample sizes if you will, but the energy at Shea, despite the frigid weather, seemed to be far more palpable, even on TV, than it was in Atlanta or St. Louis, two venues where fans deserted their clubs when the score became a little unpalatable.

Here, the Mets were trailing, with seemingly very little momentum after Shane Victorino's nice catch. But they came around. Alou, Green, Reyes, Wright, Lo Duca, they all did it.

Shea is open for Mets victory in 2007. I'm ready. Aren't you?

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