I need to write, I think. I need to vent about YET ANOTHER METS COLLAPSE. I'm forty fucking two years old and these losses still affect my like they did when I was ten, back at the height of my box-score memorizing obsessions. I feel like I've been socked in the gut. Again!
I swore off the damn Mets for good after last year's monumental collapse. (It was all I could do to even follow them last year after Carlos Beltran froze on that 3 and 2 curveball against the Cardinals the year before.) But then they went out and spent a wad on Johan Santana, and long, cold winters do wonders in the 'ability-to-forgive' department.
The season started ominously. Santana pitched well enough, but New York's offense still seemed to be hibernating for the winter. By the time the All-Star break rolled around, so had the Mets, but then they went back to their underachieving ways until the brass took it out on the manager and fired him. Injuries plagued the bullpen, but the bullpen wouldn't have been so needed if the Mets bats had done what they were being paid to do. So the Mets kept the rest of the division in the race until they inevitably lost it.
As is custom with the Mets, they drag you along until the last possible moment before breaking your heart. Two years ago it was Beltran up with two outs in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded. Last year it was the final game of the season. And this year, thanks to Johan's heroics in a must-win game yesterday, it came down to the final day again. Alas, there was no Johan to save this day. The Mets needed to depend on their bats. But again, the bats were already dormant for the winter. Still, they teased us til the final out - a long fly ball that brought everybody to their feet before running out of steam and falling gently into the center-fielder's glove. Normally, it would have been a fitting transition to head for the exits, but the Mets being the Mets had planned a farewell to Shea Stadium ceremony for after the game - a ceremony I'm sure filled with memories of years and years of near misses, and, thankfully, two amazing exceptions.
Sidenote: In late May, my dear bride(pictured) took me to my first Mets game ever at Shea. I distinctly recall saying both to myself and to her that it will really suck if the Mets finish one game out of the playoffs this year. I said it because I hold a staunch certainty that I personally control the destiny of my favorite teams in sports, those being the Portland Trail Blazers, the Mets, the Green Bay Packers, and the Oregon Ducks. If there is a game being played that matters, I have always said that you want to keep me as far away as possible. Whether I am there in person, or watching on TV, or listening on the radio, I am a curse. I have even gone to the trouble of writing Paul Allen a letter proposing that he sign me to a contract to stay away from his team if he wants them to have any shot at winning. It was a guarantee that the Mets were going to lose the night I attended the game. But I figured, "what's one game in the course of 162?" Certainly they could overcome my one chance to see my favorite baseball team in the world play one game on their home turf. Now, here we are four months later and my beloved Mets have finished one measly game out of the playoffs. Of course, I'll never be able to prove this theory, which is why Paul Allen will never give me a contract, but it's enough for me to know it's true.