Johan Santana was reading a prepared statement to the media before Wednesday night's game and it felt like 2009 all over again.
Not to make light of the allegations leveled at Santana, which are serious, but when you first heard the story of his alleged sexual assault did you have to think for one second to know that it happened in 2009?
The curse of last year extended well beyond the ball field for the Mets and, one way or another, it tries to ensnare the current team in its clutches.
So far, no good. It's 2010 and this is a whole new Mets experience, one filled with lightness and joy and R.A. Dickey, a man who is full of both. The veteran knuckleballer continued the stupendous, improbable and utterly enjoyable start to his Mets career with eight shutout innings against the Tigers. No Detroit bat could harm him nor could some barbs from Mets broadcaster for the night Jerry Seinfeld about his meager abilities as a hitter, the only thing that could stop Dickey was Jerry Manuel.
The Mets manager yanked him after 97 pitches with a 5-0 lead to get Francisco Rodriguez a little work. It's not the worst move Manuel has made this season, not by a long shot, but you can't help feeling that the Mets should wring every ounce of success out of Dickey before things inevitably head in the other direction. Or maybe it isn't inevitable. If they can play a tennis match that never ends, perhaps Dickey will never lose, have his number retired and have a comedian write an episode about him when his career wraps up.
There are other ways to know that it isn't 2009, of course. Jose Reyes is running around the bases, making life miserable for opponents and flashing megawatt smiles in every direction. He had three hits, three runs and a stolen base, all of which made left the Tigers staring at him while they wondered what in the world a nice American League bunch was doing playing the Mets in the first place.
Alas, the night didn't end before one more reminder of 2009 crossed the screen. Angel Pagan left the game with an injury in the seventh inning and probably won't play in the series finale on Thursday. There's no truth to the rumor that he was walking in front of Carlos Beltran when the returning player borrowed a page from "Showgirls" and sent his replacement flying down the stairs.
There's no truth to it because it isn't 2009, when something like that would have qualified as just another Wednesday night in Queens.