It would be unbelievable if it wasn’t so believable.
When Luis Castillo dropped that pop-up on Friday, I was as stunned as every other Mets' fan. When Johan Santana got completely hammered today, I may have been just as stunned (well, not really – but do we actually need to start worrying about him now?). Listening to Tim McCarver sing on Saturday may have been the most stunning moment of all. If you thought the Phillies series was bad, that was a walk in the park compared to this weekend.
But when you’re a Mets fan that’s what you signed up for: dropped pop-ups to lose a game, players missing bases to lose games. Losing in any way is remotely possible.
It’s the Washington Nationals who are on pace to be the worst team in baseball history and the Chicago Cubs who’ve gone over 100 years without winning a World Series, but it’s the Mets who are the perceived laughingstock of the league. From "Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game" to the "Worst Team Money Can Buy," from trading Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver and Scott Kazmir to Anthony Young’s losing streak to collapses and chokes, Met fans have been forced to walk through the gates of hell (is that too dramatic?). It’s just part of the "It Can Only Happen to the Mets" tradition.
Nobody can ever accuse a Mets' fan of jumping on any bandwagon (at least not in the last 20 or so years). Over in the Bronx where the “If they Don’t Win the World Series, the Season’s a Failure” joylessness lives and 26 championship banners hang, the fans have it easy. The Mets can’t help but celebrate their Ed Kranepoolness while the Yankees won’t be showing any Horace Clarke Yankeeographys anytime soon. But for all the Mets failures, bumbling, and bad decisions—it just makes it oh-so-sweeter when they win. Are 1969 and 1986 more special because the team’s only won twice? You bet.
Castillo’s drop will go down as one more embarrassing piece of Mets lore. Give him some credit; he took his medicine like a man and didn’t run and hide. I probably would have jumped in my car after the game, still in uniform, and drove to New Hampshire to start a new life with a man called Johnny cakes. Throw another Mets nightmare on the fire. Mets fans haven’t had to endure decades and decades of waiting to a win World Series (not yet, at least) like Cubs, Red Sox and Phillies fans. They have their own unique suffering to get through, having to watch the Mets find new ways to lose games and blow seasons.
Was Shea Stadium and now Citi Field built over an ancient Indian burial ground? Is that the explanation for what’s gone on the last five decades? Should every Mets player start making out a list Earl Hickey—style to combat the bad karma that’s been going on? It’s more likely bad decision—making and players not living up to expectations than any jinx, but you never know.
Will the Mets win the World Series this year? Highly doubtful. But someday they’ll win again, and until they do we’ll have to put up with more “I can’t believe that just happened” moments. So even when you’re staring in disbelief or screaming at the TV and throwing the remote control through your front window or just rolling up into a ball and crying, remember—you gotta believe. I’m not sure exactly what to believe in anymore, but if Tug McGraw said it, it must be true.