As former Met Carlos Gomez slid face first into home plate to send the Minnesota Twins past the Detroit Tigers into the playoffs and into the lion's den that is Yankee Stadium, one thought came into my mind: was the Tigers' collapse worse than the 2007 Mets?
We all know by now that the Mets blew a seven-game lead with 17 games left to play and eventually missed the playoffs. But is what the Tigers managed to pull off more shocking and painful?
Tuesday, the Tigers became the only team in MLB history to be atop their division since May 10, only to lose it in the final week of the season. Their lead was as big as seven (sounds familiar) with 26 games left to play.
What's more, they had a three-game lead with four to play, and still blew it in magnificent fashion.
The Tigers lost three in a row to fall back into a first place tie with one game remaining in the regular season. Both the Tigers and Twins won their final game, meaning both teams would play a "new final game," (known in some circles as a "one-game playoff"), and the winner would advance to the playoffs.
So is blowing a three-game lead with four to play worse than blowing a seven-game lead with 17 left to play? My gut tells me that it is not. But then again, my gut is a Mets fan. My gut, as well as the rest of my sad, sad body, had to suffer through the emotional tailspin that was September 2007.
My brain, the most rational part of my body, tells me that if I were a Tigers fan, my gut would think their 2009 collapse was worse. My brain is a smart guy. He might be right.
As far as the clinching games themselves, the two couldn't be more different.
The Tigers managed to blow two leads in their final game, including a 3-0 lead and then a 5-4 lead in the 10th inning. They had numerous chances to put the game away, and they failed every time.
For the Mets, their final game was a blowout loss at the hand of the lowly Marlins. Most Mets fans knew their season was over before the Mets got a chance to swing the bat. While this was certainly a pathetic showing for the Mets, I have to believe that the way the Tigers lost their game was more painful.
Two entirely different games were the culmination of two historic collapses.
I guess in the end, it doesn't really matter which one was "worse."
For Tigers fans, I give you this one last piece of advice to help you cope with the loss:
It'll get better eventually. And then you'll collapse next year. And then it'll get better eventually. And then every single player on your team will get injured, and you will suffer through a season that is arguably more embarrassing than the collapse. And then I don't know what happens.