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The Shea crowd, having long since exhausted its collective lungs booing Barry Bonds in every at-bat, was standing and cheering deliriously, and now Lastings Milledge, the Mets' 21-year-old flash-and-dash wunderkind, was joining in with them, high-fiving all the fans he could reach in the box seats along the right-field line.

It was one of those joy-of-baseball scenes right out of any of your basic cornball movies, except there was one thing wrong with this picture: The game wasn't over yet.

Indeed, Milledge's first major league home run - which added yet another horrific chapter to Armando Benitez's ignominious history of closing out games at Shea - only tied the game in the bottom of the 10th, and the exuberance the kid was still feeling as he trotted out to right field for the top of the 11th was to be ultimately replaced by the emptiness of watching helplessly as the Giants pushed across what would be the winning run on Pedro Feliz's RBI single in the 12th.

But say this for Milledge: The kid has come here as advertised. He's a no-doubt-about-it talent who can do just about everything a manager could want on a ballfield - and a lot of other things that are going to need to be corrected if he wants to avoid getting a rep as a self-absorbed showboat.

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