We write a lot about the Mets on this blog. We might even risk alienating a few of our readers by consistently harping on, complaining about and ridiculing our beloved team. And so, for those of you who would prefer to read about something - anything - other than the Mets (or just like looking at pictures of our spokesmodel, I have good news: the 2010 Mets' season ended last night. (And don't worry. Even though the Mets put together a nice win today, after I had drafted this essay but before I could post it, it doesn't change anything. Call it a dead cat bounce).
The fourth place Mets (yep, fourth) lost a heartbreaker by the score of 6-2 to the Rockies on Wednesday night, despite holding a 2-1 lead going into the top of the eighth inning. In that frame, with two outs and the bases loaded, manager Jerry Manuel opted to let his best pitcher idle in the bullpen so that Manny Acosta (I have no idea) could hang a slider to light-hitting (at least when he's not on steroids) Melvin Mora. Mora promptly added his name to the list of ballplayers who have hit grand slams off of the Mets this year, a list that now stands at nine. The Rockies added one more run for good measure, and the impotent Mets couldn't mount a challenge in the last two innings.
On July 1, the Mets were 44-34, just a game and a half behind the Braves for the division lead. Since then, the Mets have gone 13-23, falling to fourth place, and are now nine games out of first. David Wright can’t hit (0-4 last night with four K's), Jose Reyes can't field (admitting that sometimes he gets bored in the field, and hey, you can't pay attention on every pitch, can you?), and the delusional Jeff Francoueur wants to be a traded to a team - presumably a major league team, but who knows - where he will play every day. And don’t forget the ineffective but still expensive Jason Bay, who was going to return from a belatedly diagnosed concussion "inside a week," and now may end up being sidelined for a month or more. Somewhere, Ryan Church is getting a mild headache and cursing this team.
Also, Johan Santana just might be a rapist (but probably not).
Yet the lackluster performance and disappointing result from last night's game aren't quite enough to pronounce the team legally dead. Not with these Mets. Because sure, miracles happen, right? A hot streak; the Braves collapse; Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt all die in a tragic bass fishing accident . . . it's not over until they are technically eliminated, right?
With this team, you can always just sort of tell. When there is that little something extra, usually something off of the field, that's how you know that it is time to go buy an NFL preview magazine. Think Tom Glavine getting his teeth knocked out in a taxi, Mike Piazza having to hold a press conference to deny that he is gay, or David Cone doing that thing in the bullpen that time.
And so it was yesterday when, in addition to losing, the Mets provided another installment in their annual soap opera. First, as noted above, the morning news stories reported on a civil suit filed against Johan Santana by a Florida woman who claims that he raped her. In Johan's defense, the criminal investigation went nowhere for lack of any credible evidence, but it is a distraction nonetheless. Then, not to be outdone, Frankie Rodriguez - the team's effective but occasionally erratic closer - got into a fistfight with his father-in-law after last night's game. K-Rod (a more appropriate name in 2003 when he was really good) allegedly KO'ed his wife's dad (see what I did there?) and is going to face third degree criminal assault charges in Queens.
K-Rod has been good as a closer - in fact, he has been one of the better closers in baseball this year - but these are the shenanigans that befall the Mets every goddamned year. Some crazy, out-of-left-field (man I am killing it today), off-the-wall, bullshit that becomes a huge distraction, and scuttles any hope of just playing regular, winning baseball.
It has been a fun ride, and there have been some memorable moments in 2010 (not to mention hysterical texts from Open Bar), but like every Mets' season in history, save only two, it will end in disappointment. And it concludes with a familiar, hopeful phrase, but one that feels just a bit more desperate each time we have to say it:
Maybe next year.