So there are many out there who may be unaware that I am fan of the New York Mets. And I have no problem admitting to this even a day after the Mets accomplished one of the most monumental collapses in recent memory. What allows me to go on completely without depression this day is that I long ago divorced myself from the seasonal fate of the Mets. Now of course, if one of these days the Mets were able to do the improbable and win the World Series I would be extremely happy. However, I know that this is not going to happen, so why should I be so sad in witnessing an outcome that I clearly expected?
That said, there was certainly something poetic in the way the Mets fell this season. And if this were not a team of which I was a fan, you can be sure that I would be laughing heartily about how this particular poem came to a conclusion. Okay, you got me; even as a Mets fan I am forced to laugh at how this season came to a conclusion.
Let's go back in time about a month or so. (I don't actually feel like going back to make sure this is 100% accurate, so my memory of the events will have to suffice.) The Mets came to the end of August/early September time frame with a lead of roughly 5-6 games in the National League East. They went to Philadelphia and promptly got swept three or four games, cutting their lead to two games I believe. However, as luck would have it, the Mets ended up getting a helping hand from the Atlanta Braves of all teams who ended up winning a series from the Phillies, allowing the Mets to gain some breathing room as they were beating up on a crappier (than the Mets) opponent. As September progressed along past the ides, the Mets were able to build a seemingly insurmountable seven game lead over the Phillies. It was time to start opening those champagne bottles and printing playoff tickets! No one blows a seven game lead with roughly sixteen games to play! Sorry my friends - I should say no one does this but your Amazin' Mets!
The Mets got swept again by the Phillies in a series at Shea Stadium that enabled the Phillies to really close the gap. Going into the final weekend of the season, the Mets and Phillies were tied at the top of the National East as play began on Friday, September 28, 2007. The Phillies won that night, and the Mets lost. And so as play began on Saturday, the Phillies had a chance to wrap up the division with a win coupled with a Mets loss. And then came the simply splendid; the Mets finally won a game in dominating fashion. On that Saturday afternoon, the Mets won 13-0. In the process, Mets pitcher John Maine went 7 2/3 before finally giving up a base hit. In the forty-six year history of the Mets, they have never had a pitcher pitch a no-hitter. However, Maine's dominating performance (he also struck out fourteen batters during the game) seemed to breathe new life into the team. (Both my brothers were apparently in attendance at the game.) And then things got even better; the Phillies lost that day meaning that the two teams would enter play on Sunday tied atop the NL East with one game to play.
Sunday was sure to be a day filled with drama as both teams were watching the scoreboard as their own games played out. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), one of the teams failed to bring the drama on that day. The Mets, by giving up seven runs in the first inning of that 162nd game of the season dashed any hope that their more naive fans had falsely gained from the day before. And it probably did not help matters to see that the Phillies were putting more and more runs on the board as the afternoon progressed. The Mets lost that day 8-1 as the Phillies won 6-1.
As I watched the replays of what may ostensibly be referred to as highlights from that Mets game late last night, and watched the crying faces of distraught Mets fans in the crowd, I could not help but feel how tragically and poetically this weekend played out. (My goodness people, why were you crying?!?!? You couldn't see this coming?!?!?)