Mets: Rainout could be for the best

NEW YORK – The Mets watched the flames and smoke billowing from a Manhattan high-rise, heard the rumors that a member of their fraternity was involved, and crossed their fingers that it wasn't so.

But as details emerged in a mid-afternoon plane crash on New York's Upper East Side that involved the death of Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, the Mets first turned mournful, then they turned the televisions off.

Maybe it was for the best that heavy rains postponed Wednesday's Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. The contest was called just after 6 p.m. ET, with more storms in the forecast and a glum attitude permeating what should have been a festive kickoff to the organization's first NLCS entry in six years.

"You're talking about somebody's life and family," David Wright said. "That's much more important than baseball, much more important than a playoff game."

Wright said the Mets players – many of whom played with Lidle in the past – had gone through an "emotional rollercoaster," feeling the natural highs of anticipating playoff baseball, then experiencing the lows of knowing a member of the baseball family had perished.

"Everyone was glued to the TV and had their fingers crossed that the rumors weren't true," Wright said. "It just makes baseball feel very unimportant."

Closer Billy Wagner was a teammate of Lidle's with the Philadelphia Phillies and remembers the right-hander as "pretty quiet," but recalls Lidle bringing his flight manual into the clubhouse and avidly studying to earn his pilot's license.

Lidle finally passed his flight exam last offseason.

"He definitely loved flying," Wagner said. "We all have our passions."

Pitching coach Rick Peterson was especially shaken by Lidle's death, having coached the hurler when the two were with the Oakland Athletics.

"It's horrific," Peterson said. "I wish I had words. I have no words. I just have very strong emotions and it's just sadder than sad."

Peterson said he was bringing starting pitcher Tom Glavine the Cardinals' lineup card, going over final preparations before Wednesday's start, when news of Lidle's fate reached the Mets clubhouse.

The building Lidle's plane hit, a 50-story red brick skyscraper, coincidentally is the same building that Mets coach Manny Acta lives in.

"You just feel like your soul is bruised now," Peterson said.

The tragedy also affected the Cardinals. Game 2's scheduled starting pitcher, Jeff Suppan, is among the many teammates Lidle has had who are currently active in baseball's postseason.

"It's really tragic," Suppan said. "You just don't hear things like that that often. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and for all his teammates that have played with him."

Major League Baseball did not postpone Wednesday's game because of Lidle, but rather a band of heavy rains that were expected to continue into Thursday morning in New York.

he Mets and Cardinals are scheduled to thus begin the NLCS Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, the original start time of Game 2, with a second Shea Stadium contest now slated for Friday at a to-be-determined time.

Glavine is still scheduled to pitch Game 1 for New York, opposite Jeff Weaver.

"It is tough," Carlos Delgado said. "But if we had to play, we'd just have to dress up and play."

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