There was no way the Mets, who'd been in first place every day since the middle of May, would relinquish their 7.5-game lead in the NL East.
Now, though, the nightmare is brutally real for Met fans.
The Mets lost to the Florida Marlins 7-4 on Friday night, falling behind the resurgent Philadelphia Phillies by a full game with just two to play.
It’s hard to believe, to be honest. This team looked absolutely dominant at times during the year—most recently in the middle of September, when they won nine out of 10 games.
But the Phillies wouldn't go away, sweeping the Mets at Shea to crawl back into the division race.
The Phils aren't crawling now—they're surging into first place, and they can smell the playoffs.
To get there, all they have to do is everything the Mets couldn’t: pitch well, hit well, play good defense—and win games.
All they have to do, in other words, is close the door.
The Mets’ only hope is that the Phils will play hot-potato with the division lead. Unfortunately, not everyone underperforms like the so-called “Amazins.”
New York's slogan this year was “Your Season has Come.”
If that's true, Mets fans have a right to feel just a touch let down.
Is “their season” really one of drastic underperformance? Is “their season” really one that sees their team lose eight straight home games in late September? Is “their season” really one that witnesses a team ERA of over six during the stretch run?
Is “their season” really one that features one of the worst collapses in baseball history?
It's becoming ever more apparent that “your season,” if you’re a Met fan, is completely, horribly, and bitterly disappointing.
Disappointment, of course, is something Met fans are used to...but this team was supposed to be different.
The star talent, the huge payroll, the high expectations—all this pointed to a new era in Flushing.
The Mets rolled to a division title in 2006, clinching well before any other team. They powered their way to the brink of the World Series—and fans were still justified to call the effort disappointing.
This season, New York had built a comfortable lead in the division and looked set to cruise into the postseason. They had electrifying youngsters in the lineup and on the pitching staff. They had their own television contract, and a brand new stadium was on its way.
Things were moving in the right direction, is the point.
Until suddenly they weren't.
One awful month is set to ruin all the progress in Queens faster than you can say “Mookie Wilson.”
As Citi Field and the promise of future success rises just outside Shea Stadium, Met fans are watching 2007 crumble before their very eyes.
Sure, the team can still turn it around in these last two games. But any fan who's followed the Mets since Spring Training isn't counting on it.
For all intents and purposes, the 2007 Mets are finished, leaving behind a mess of broken hearts and shattered dreams.
What hurts fans most of all is that this team has no one to blame but themselves.