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Floyd listed day to day but probably done.


GimmeShelter

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Floyd bubbly bittersweet

LOS ANGELES - He couldn't hide the tears, not when he curled up on the dugout bench and masked his face with a towel, his Achilles in tatters, his season seemingly over. But now, as his teammates raced over one by one to turn Cliff Floyd's bald head shiny with champagne, he smiled slightly, and let the bubbles mask his worry.

Floyd was sitting alone in the kitchen near the visitors' clubhouse when every other Met rushed the Dodger Stadium field last night, after skipping to the NL Championship series with a three-game sweep over the Dodgers. There was no way he could join them; it hurt to walk, never mind run or leap or dance on the mound. The sting was intense, emotionally and physically.

"I couldn't go celebrate with them. That was pretty sad," Floyd said after the Mets put the finishing touches on their 9-5 win. "But it feels a little better now."

He stood off to the side in the clubhouse, near the table that held a mountain of unopened bottles of cheap champers. Carlos Beltran was the first to rush over and let loose a victory spray. Then came David Wright, and Willie Randolph, and Omar Minaya, and by the time everyone had a go, Floyd was soaking wet, and almost feeling no pain.

Officially, he's listed as day to day with what the Mets are calling a strain in his Achilles. Unofficially, well, the champagne certainly helped cover the chance the Mets will spend October without their left fielder.

He was rounding third when it hit, when it felt like someone had taken a knife to his leg. It was only the third inning, but already Floyd had singled to left-center field, scoring Carlos Delgado in the Mets' three-run first. Floyd got on base again with a single, again to left-center, again off Greg Maddux, who kept giving the Mets juicy pitches to scatter. When Shawn Green ripped a two-out double, Floyd blitzed around the bases, greedy to get the Mets some extra cushion. He had barely touched third base when something went pop, when his mind went dark.

And you know what? Floyd still managed to score.

That right there said everything about the Mets, about the mentality they bring to every inning.

"I couldn't let my boys down," he would say later. "If I couldn't reach home plate, I was going to die trying."

By the time he made it to the dugout, the Mets up 4-0, Floyd knew something had gone terribly wrong. He's been on and off the disabled list all season, with bone spurs and a sundry list of leg ailments. But this injury felt higher than usual, and as he collapsed onto the bench it seemed worse than he could fathom.

"I was thinking maybe I played my last game of the season," Floyd said.

In a few weeks, Floyd will be a free agent, and there aren't many reasons for the Mets to court a 33-year-old outfielder who can't seem to stay healthy. In a few weeks, the Mets could very well be sashaying through the Canyon of Heroes, and if that's the case, Floyd deserves to be at front and center of the victory parade.

There have been so many ugly injuries this season, but darn if the Mets don't persevere right through them. They seem to be particularly jinxed by leg injuries, though that hasn't affected their hearts. No, those organs are quite healthy, and if certain New York baseball fans are searching for a reason, any reason, to embrace a team through the rest of October, they could do worse than cozying up to the club that for so long has been the redheaded step child of the Yankees.

Come out from under the bed covers, Bomber fans, and take a peek at the other guys in town. Does it help if these Mets are led by Willie Randolph, who earned his coaching stripes in the Bronx? Randolph maneuvered his way through a few shaky managerial decisions last night, but when it was over, he could proudly point to players like Floyd as a prime example of how the

Mets never make excuses, or refuse to quit.

Does it help if the Mets play an old-fashioned brand of baseball, and succeed not just because of their owner's millions, but because they are linked together by a common thread of desire and clubhouse camaraderie? Those things still matter, to fans who remember passion doesn't come with a price tag. THE METS WON their first division series in 18 years last night on a string of bloopers and bleeders. That sixth inning, when Jose Reyes, Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Beltran pieced together three straight flares, brought them back from a run down, and allowed the Mets to return home quickly, to lay in wait for either St. Louis or San Diego. It's a collective will: score or die trying. "Cliff's a great example of what this team's all about," said Minaya, the general manager, and then he turned to his lame left fielder, and sprayed him all over again.

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Floyd one constant in his career is getting injured- tough break for him to be out but I think the Mets are better with Chavez in the outfield to give speed and defense.

Great point. All the injuries the Mets have suffered recently seem to have had little effect. They should be viewed in a POSITIVE light. These injuries give OTHER PLAYERS opportunities to come up huge. Endy Chavez is getting his now, and will not sit for the remainder of the playoffs.

Floyd was great in the division series, but he may have been a defensive liability going forward. That becomes a moot point now with Endy and Shawn Green in the OF fulltime now.

Willie has this team playing with the right attitude.

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He had barely touched third base when something went pop, when his mind went dark.

And you know what? Floyd still managed to score.

The fact that he was able to make it home made me think maybe he didnt pop it. Usually you go down like you were shot.

The fact that he scored is just incredible to me, and shows the heart and grit he has played with this season. I will miss him and i hope he travels with the team.

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