Because my TV is on my bookshelf…
I’m not one of those fans who believes his team can do not wrong, that they should win every game (especially tough when you’re talking about baseball), crushing the opposition under their heel. My sanity does not hinge on how the Mets do.
They were not expected to be barn burners this year. Most preseason prognostications had them no better than third in the NL East and most predictions were lower. We already knew the team would be without the services of its stud pitcher, Johan Santana, and perhaps their best hitter, Carlos Beltran, was a question mark. Then came all the off-field Madoff mishegas. Then came the injuries: Davis, Reyes, Wright, Murphy, Pagan, Bay (who was terrible when he was healthy). One right after another. They should have been in an AFLAC commercial.
So I was perfectly satisfied when they managed to get a few games over the .500 mark. Call it a moral victory. They had some eager young players who gave an occasional thrill.
But there always seems to be one game each year when the team’s fortunes fail that serves as either the turning point or the dagger in the heart. A couple of years ago, it was Luis Castillo dropping an easy pop fly that would have sealed the win in an interleague game against the Yankees. Instead, the yanks won. I have a hazy recollection of an error made by Willie Randolph, then a Mets second baseman, against the Dodgers in the early 90s that doomed the boys from Queens. Then there are the two more recent last-day failures in 2007 and 2008 when all they needed was a win on the final day to gain a post-season berth. Ironically, with Randolph at the helm; he was fired after a 34-35 record in the latter season.
Despite their lack of success this year, I would respectfully submit Saturday’s game against the Brewers as that game for 2011, regardless of what happens from here on out.
The Mets were trailing 7-1 (helped in part by a Ryan Braun home run) after six innings and started a comeback, scoring five times in the seventh to draw within one. Exciting, but being the pessimist I am, I still didn’t get too worked up. But then they go and score three more in the bottom of the eighth, all after two were out. Two of the runs came on a home run off former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, who continued in that grand tradition of giving fans agita as he always seemed to blow as many as he saved. Good. Turnabout is fair play.
So the Mets went into the ninth up by two with their new closer, Jason Isringhausen, who had recently become the 22nd pitcher to reach the 300-save mark (which doesn’t seem to be such a big deal anymore, but that’s an entry for another day). Isringhausen proceeds to issue two walks, a single, and another walk to drive in one run. Exit, stage left. Long story short, the Brewers scored two more times to take the game, 11-9.
Forget Thomas Paine. These are the times that try men’s souls. Or Mets’ souls.