It’s taken a couple of days for me to get all the words down that I felt were appropriate. And to be brutally honest I wasn’t ready to face the public right away, as silly as that sounds. It’s a legitimate mourning period for me and many other Mets fans. There’s a lot to be said, and I wanted to get my head right. I could go on and on but I think for my own well being I’ll try to keep it at bay a bit. Considering everything I’ve gone through, I consider my brevity commendable. I’m still very much gutted. What could have been a storybook ending turned out to be absolutely bone crushing. Big picture, it was a miracle that the Mets got as far as they did, but I can’t help but sulk in the agony of knowing that they let this slip away. I’ve just about seen it all across the teams I root for, the Mets especially. We’ve been beat up on for years, and often it’s made crystal clear that it’s not anyone else but rather the measly Mets who can’t get out of their own way. That’s pretty much all I’ve known watching the Mets for all these years. And I’d be remiss to not admit that I truly never thought I’d see the Mets get a shot at the belt and play in the World Series. And it went about as badly as possible.
We all probably should have lowered our expectations when the first fucking pitch resulted in a botched fly ball leading to an inside the park home run. That was as unexpected as anyone could have imagined, and it was incredibly sobering. We battled through the Dodgers and rolled through the Cubs, and nobody said the World Series would be a cakewalk. And everything that was cause for concern throughout the season came full circle against the Royals. Shoddy relief pitching, piss poor defense, bad managing, and the bats went ice cold. All of the things that got us to that point stopped cold turkey, aside from the starting pitching. Losing to a more deserving team is one thing, but blowing an 8th inning and TWO 9th inning leads is a tough pill to swallow. Being so close and handing over the game 3 times will take a long long time to be at ease with.
We can fault Jeurys Familia for game 1, and he was not even close to perfect, but seeing three blown saves under his name is far from the whole story. He was thrown into the fire with guys in scoring position against a very very good baseball team, and as one of very few consistencies this year, it wouldn’t be fair to hold him at all responsible for the way this all played out. Tyler Clippard is more to blame. This series went down the drain in Game 4 when the “hero”, Daniel Murphy, showed his true colors. It’s no secret that I’ve never been a fan of his, and he will NEVER be forgiven for that error Saturday night. He basically carried the team single handedly to the World Series, but his error will live on in infamy in Mets history. I knew it and literally said it was going to happen (see picture below), and it didn’t make it any easier. My hatred for him will never subside. And I cannot even put into words how it made me feel when Duda put that routine throw home in the backstop, delivering the final blow to the Mets season.
It’s hard not to consider the what if’s. What if Familia didn’t quick pitch to Alex Gordon? What if Murphy was competent enough to field a little league ground ball? What if Duda throws out Hosmer at the plate? What if the bats stayed hot? If even one of those things was different, the Mets probably win this series to be honest. But to be fair, the what if’s have to go back further than last week. What if Sandy Alderson doesn’t make any big moves at the deadline? What if the advent of Syndergaard never came about? (Probably wouldn’t have been in contention and wouldn’t have pursued a pennant race.). What if the Mets never went from one of the worst offensive teams in history to having one of the best second halves ever? What if Flores didn’t get fake traded and didn’t hit that walk off against the Nats? What if Cespedes doesn’t hit a thousand home runs in August? What if deGrom doesn’t strike out 13 Dodgers on the road? What if Dan Murphy doesn’t hit all those homers in the NLDS and NLCS? I could easily make the same argument that if any of those things don’t happen, the Mets don’t get to the World Series. Hindsight is 20/20, but it’s impossible to not dwell on the basic things that the Mets botched against KC.
The Mets are such a major importance in my life, it’s hard to understand if you don’t have a deep emotional connection in a sports team that has had zero success in your lifetime. For anyone who rides and dies with the Mets specifically, those feelings and emotions augment to almost unimaginable levels. I’ve suffered through the pain and the heartaches and I’ve relished in every teeny tiny glimpse of success whenever possible. I genuinely don’t think a non-Mets fan can really understand what this team does to a person. My dad shares the misery with me but as a firsthand witness to a World Series is able to talk me off the ledge sometimes. Before they really took off in August, he was already looking forward to next year, frequently referencing the young pitching foundation. A valid point, it just wasn’t enough for me knowing there was the potential to compete this year. And when they started to win everything changed. The storylines began to unfold, and it quickly became clear that this was a special team. At one point my dad made a reference to the World Series; I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say those words about a current Mets team.
So many things happened to this team that don’t happen to teams, things that really made it feel like something Amazin was unfolding right under our noses. The Mets were last in baseball in runs through the trade deadline and put up historically bad offensive numbers. John Mayberry Jr. And Eric Campbell made up the heart of the order for the first half of the season. The Carlos Gomez trade fell through and the Mets blew a 7-1 lead 12 hours later, giving off the vibe that this season was finished. Wilmer Flores literally crying on the field and becoming a hero a few days later to really kickoff the beginning of the run; his jersey tug celebration on his way to home plate after the wall off will give me goosebumps forever. Kirk Niuewenheis was demoted and traded for a bag of balls and somehow found his way back to hit 3 dingers in one game and a monster go ahead HR in Washington to cap off yet another comeback. Matt Harvey and Scott Boras rustling feathers and stirring the pot with hubbubs of some predetermined innings limit; the Dark Knight went from hero to villain instantly. David Wright coming back from spinal stenosis to lead this team when there were legitimate doubts of him ever playing again. Happenings like these don’t occur in average seasons for average teams.
If you would have told me before the season that the Mets would lose in the World Series, I would have absolutely signed up for that without hesitation, despite the disappointing end result. But the way it played out was nothing anyone could have predicted. It hurts like hell. I may never be able to wash this sour taste out of my mouth. It’s a hangover that will last a lifetime. But they absolutely exceeded expectations. It was the most fun I’ve ever had watching sports. By far and away it was the best season of baseball I’ve ever witnessed. What really was rock bottom in June and July led to an August, September, and October that may never be topped. I am in no way ready to stop looking back and start looking forward. I just don’t have it in me. I cannot and will not forget what happened, and I won’t be able to forgive until they get the job done. This will eat at me every single day until Opening Day at the earliest. I hope sometime soon I’ll be able to look forward to a future that should be bright for this ball club. That day is not today, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
One thing that will keep me going is that small beacon of hope for the future and knowing that New York City is a Mets city until further notice. For the foreseeable future, the Mets should be bona fide contenders, and even though they’re still the Mets, that will help me sleep at night for now. LGM.
PS – If/when the Mets ever win a World Series, I’m getting tatted up.