NEW YORK --- In a surprising legal maneuver, the New York Mets, citing a little-known provision of Major League Baseball's anti-trust exemption, have formally requested that Major League Baseball terminate the regular season effective immediately, and begin the playoffs.
On Thursday afternoon, the Mets defeated the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 3-1, moving into sole possession of first place in the National League East for the first time since September 26, 2007. Perhaps desperate to avoid a repeat of last year's infamous late-season collapse, the Mets have asked Commissioner Bud Selig to declare the 2008 season over, and begin the playoffs as soon as possible. The Mets would host the Milwaukee Brewers in the Divisional Championship round, which, though not scheduled to begin until early October, the Mets plan to play this weekend. This is despite three previously-planned games with the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"We've informed the St. Louis Cardinals of our decision," Mets General Manager Omar Minaya said at a press conference here this afternoon, "and they were very, very supportive. I think the St. Louis organization recognizes that the season has gone long enough; they wished us well in our series against the Brewers."
St. Louis General Manager John Mozeliak, whose team is only two games behind the Brewers for the NL Wild Card, and three games behind the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central Division lead, characterized the conversation with Minaya a bit differently. "Has Minaya lost his fucking mind? They are in first place for one day and suddenly the season is over? I know that the collapse last year really messed him up, but this is a new low, even for the Mets."
Despite the criticism from other teams in the division that are not currently in first place, several Mets players endorsed their management's decision: "How can we be expected to remain in first place for more than a few days?" A bewildered Aaron Heilaman asked rhetorically. "I got Jayson Werth to pop out with the bases loaded in the eighth inning. I put us in first place! Aren't the fans happy yet? We have to do this for another two months? No way, no way. Enough is enough."
Heilman's teammate Jose Reyes elaborated on the relief pitcher's sentiments. "We good. Playoffs good. I like baseball."
Asked whether the win against Philadelphia contributed to the timing of their request, Minaya was dismissive: "Not at all, not at all. I've said for many years that the regular season should be 102 games, and should end about a week and half after the all-star game. Of course I am thrilled that we have won our second division title in three years, and the guys deserve a lot of credit, but this has nothing to do with the standings."
Mets interim manager Jerry Manuel was quick to agree. "I think Omar was planning to make this request of Commissioner Selig at the end of the Philly series win, lose or draw. These seasons drag on for way too long, and it makes a lot of sense to start the playoffs in the summer when everyone can enjoy them."
The Commissioner's office promised to take the matter under advisement, and hinted that an emergency session of Congress may be convened over the weekend to consider the Mets' request.
Jose Reyes is not expected to testify at the hearing.