By Mike Steffanos
I apologize for being so late with this post. I got involved with a lot of work for the paying job this morning, and, to be honest, I needed a little sanity break from thinking about the Mets. I told you all the truth last night that games like that one make me sorry I ever became a baseball fan. I've seen enough of them in over 35 years, and I think Mets fans have endured more than their share of this type of loss. Still, we all keep coming back and we will again.
I try not to swear much any more, because I grew up with more than my share of rough edges, (if not quite white trash, I was definitely right next door in the recycle bin) and embarrassed myself by using profanity at all sorts of inappropriate times. One girl I dated told me I dropped more f-bombs into a conversation when I was in a good mood than any other person she knew when they were angry. This was undoubtedly true. Anyway, I'm no angel, but I made a conscious decision years ago, and now I try to use profanity only when absolutely necessary. Last night was definitely one of those times.
Some of my blogging colleagues did a good job of capturing the virtual root canal that last night's game truly was:
The problem with a loss like this -- and make no mistake, this was one of those "I got mauled by a grizzly bear and fell down a ravine and got disemboweled when I fell on a pointy rock and now cougars are uncoiling my guts and EATING them while I'm still alive" losses -- is that it makes all the good stuff recede until it feels like it was a long time ago, and thus of no possible use in making you feel better.
Games like this, in which we waste dramatic offensive heroics, are nothing new in the annals of Mets givebacks. Hell, games like this are nothing new in the annals of Mets history when we're in first place a wide margin and we're on the verge of vanquishing the Cincinnati Reds.
But aren't we supposed to have bought our way of them? Isn't this why we signed a fireman deluxe to a king-sized contract? Wasn't that, among all other fragments, the missing piece to our pennant puzzle? And do you feel particularly confident come the ninth inning and we hold a slim lead?
Much as I'd like to dwell on the positives from Wednesday night; Jose Reyes becoming the 9th Met to hit for the cycle; Jose Valentin continuing his utterly improbable career revival with a two-run HR off Chris Hammond that briefly gave New York a 5-4 lead, Jet Blue serving beverages that don't appear to have been tampered with, etc. this game really comes down to What The Fuck Is Wrong With Billy Wagner. Much as I hate to invoke the names of Johnny Fucko or Braden Looper, Wagner's tendency to create his own jams (his most spectacular meltdowns since joining the Mets have come on occasions when he's started an inning with the bases empty) is cause for concern, 9 1/2 game lead or not.
The roller that David Wright scooped up in the top of the 9th? It might well have hit the 3rd base bag. Carlos Delgado clearly swung at ball four with Beltran on first and nobody out in the bottom of the 9th, but the former's failure to get on base and/or move Delgado into scoring position, nor Wright hitting into a game ending 6-4-3 double play, means nearly as much compared Wagner's [fourth] blown save of the year. The whole point of "shortening the game" is getting the ball to Wagner - something Heath Bell and Aaron Heilman managed capably.
... once again we had to endure the Sandman entering, and the lead exiting.
That's just depressing...I'm going to bed...
There were definitely other things that irritated me about last night's game than just Wagner's latest meltdown. The way the Mets are pressing right now, I suspect there will be no blazing fast turn around to this malaise that has overtaken the Mets. In the inevitable ebb and flow of the longest of sports seasons stretches like this are part of the cost that we pay for following a team, especially those of us who watch most closely. As I put the finishing touches on today's post, the Mets are electing to make Eric Milton look like a Cy Young candidate. No one ever said being a fan is easy.
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