I have a lot still to post about this last weekend at Shea. Some amazing stories, some amazing photographs–including some of amazing Mets legends–and I hope you’ll still be able to enjoy them. But this must come first.
During the final inning of the game yesterday, sitting in the seats Rob and I have called our Shea home for 3 seasons, I felt angry. Cops were beginning to line up in front of the stands by the dozens, making sure no one would rush the field for one final Shea thrill. “They should let us all on the field,” I said to Rob. “For this, they should make us take souvenirs. They should be putting the outfield grass right in our hands.”
But that visceral reaction didn’t last long. This year, the disappointment is certainly there–very much so–but somehow it’s not nearly as bad as last year. What can you say? That last game was a microcosm for the whole season. The team started off anemic, letting whatever opportunities arose just slip away. And then, worse, they lagged behind as Florida scored 2 runs. But then, with an act of heroism greeted by thunderous applause, a Mets home run tied the game. We were still in it. Our tightrope team was fighting back. So what would happen–would they make it across the tightrope, or tumble to the ground? No one watching the game could be certain. The Mets season was categorized really by two failures. 1) The bullpen. Obviously. 2) Clutch offense. They just kept leaving men on base all year. So much more often then not the key hits didn’t come. The runs didn’t score. They let the other team win.
Up until Schoeneweis and then Ayala gave up solo home runs, I truly believed our team would do it. I knew they wanted the win with all their hearts. I knew we’d had troubles all year, but I thought they’d battle back one last time. I think the reason that I’m not as disappointed as last year (besides the obvious one that we never held any safe lead in the division this time around) is that the 2008 Mets either got it done, or they didn’t. Back and forth, over and over. They got it done on Saturday–with Johan expanding our hearts with jubilation and glee.
And then they didn’t.
That was our team this year. I don’t fault them for not wanting it hard enough, for not playing with heart or passion. They just couldn’t get it done.
It turns out that 2008 wasn’t meant to be about winning. It was about saying goodbye to a ballpark we’ve all loved through the years, despite whatever faults it may have had.
So, until I post more about the final day at Shea–coming very soon–I will say goodbye to baseball in 2008, to the ballpark where I first fell in love with our team. And with the off-season in front of us, with the Mets’ new era in Citi Field looming…I will hope for better next year.
I’ll be writing more after today’s (Sunday’s) final regular season game at Shea–and what a key, absolute must-win this is–but for now, enjoy these 2 amazin’ moments from Saturday.
1) I got to go on the warning track!
2) From my spot in the picnic area: Johan’s final out, the clincher of his 9-inning shut-out. On 3 days rest. Forget gangsta–if Johan fought Superman, he’d totally win.
I’m stuck between two very strong, conflicting feelings right now. On one side is Yogi Berra’s most famous quote, said about the 1973 Mets before they went on to top their division with only 82 wins. Say it with me now:
It ain’t over ’til it’s over.
And literally, it’s not over. The Mets have 4 games left to get us in the postseason. They just need to do something with those 4 games. And…somehow…the upcoming monsoon this weekend has to not be upcoming.
But then there’s last night’s broadcast, which captured the other side:
Keith: I am at a loss for words, and it’s my job to talk.
Ron: That’s a first.
What else can we say at this point? There’s not getting it done, and there’s not getting it done. Let’s hope our team was involved in the first one, and they’ll snap out of it now. As in now.
Can’t they just give us a nice night of watching ball? With the cheering, and the hand slappies, and me and Coop not having to leave the Blind Pig early because the game’s too painful to watch?
I thought they’d win last night. I thought Niese would stump the Cubbies. I thought I’d get to jump around a bit over a couple drinks. Instead, Coop and I watched, wailed, pouted, and more than once dropped our heads into our hands in despair. Not what we were hoping for.
I would like a hug, please.
I’m grouchy and sad and feel like I have constant PMS right now.
Please turn it around for us, boys.
Yeah, so on Tuesday vs. the Nationals, I spent my Mets-viewing time searching for anything but the game to blog about. You may call that denial. I prefer “avoidance.” Here’s what I found. Do you see what’s wrong with this picture?
No, no, not Pelfrey. Our beloved Big Pelf threw a great game, allowing only 1 run, and that’s all I’ll say about that. No, what’s troubling is Mikey’s “Bacardi Taste for Life” fact. Do you think he’s playing around with us? Or…could he truly be so very fond of Mr. Belding and Screech and Zack and AC Slater?
We’ve heard John Maine rhapsodize over his crush on Jennifer Aniston. But I’m guessing Mike Pelfrey’s nights are spent dreaming only of Kelly Kapowski.
Um…to each his own.
(As I write this it’s the 6th inning on Wednesday, 8-2 Mets. If we let this one slip by, I assure you our team will not be saved by a bell!)
I will never tire of seeing rookies dressed up in hazing costumes. So I’m going to take a moment to stop worrying about the bullpen and post this clip from last night’s SportsNite. Poor Pelf got the worst of it, I think. Hard to hide when you’re first in line, 6’7″, and in a skin tight wetsuit. UPDATE: There was a better, slightly longer clip from Loud Mouths, so here’s that one. Make sure you see the very end, with Daniel Murphy, an expression of pained amusement on his face, waving his tiny American flag.
I will also say, how ’bout that Jon Niese? What an amazing 2nd outing for the newbie in that second game of the Saturday double header (I was at all 3 games at Shea this weekend, by the way–whew, lots of baseball. Some of it quite painful there). I also loved his post-game interview. While reporters were trying to get young Niese to say, “Yes, this was a huge game, and I’m so glad I could help win it,” he resisted. He credited Wright’s and Reyes’s defense, and deferred from admitting it was a special must-win after the first game loss–saying all games are important. He seemed modest, poised, and ready for New York. Well done, kid.
The Mets face only the Braves and the Nats for the next 12 games. Here’s where the division will be won or lost. I give us a MUST win for 8 of 12. Hear that, boys? You’re only allowed to lose 4 of these games. You are the better team, hands down. Dang, hands, feet, head, shoulders down. Please get it done.
Will it be easy? Against the two worst teams in our division? Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be. We’re left with 3 truly solid starters: Santana, Perez, and Pelfrey. The other two spots in the rotation are Big Ifs. What’s more, now we’ve lost Billy Wagner. Really lost him. This sucks.
But what will win or lose these games will be the offense. Our lineup can’t just stop hitting. They can’t. I was at both games of the double header vs. the Phils on Sunday, and that first game? When the Mets couldn’t get a hit to save their lives for 2/3 of the game? I went with CrazyMetGirl. This is what we looked like:
Thankfully, happier times would be ahead for the 2nd game. Still, the team has to fight for these next 12 games. Don’t get complacent, like last year. Don’t figure–oh, it’s just the crappy Braves and Nats. They’ll get you if you let them, Metsies!
Here’s what you do when you’re stuck at Shea for a couple hours between games. The team store looooves you.