By Mike Steffanos
The baseball season ended last night with a whimper, as the representative of the "superior league" couldn't even find it in them to muster up a good fight. I no longer have to hear for the one zillionth time how Cardinals fans are the best in baseball. They can go back to their insular little world where all of their players are saints that the rest of the baseball world is out to get them. Good riddance to all that wore the red this October -- including Mr. William Hayward Wilson.
Yes, I know. Mookie is cute and cuddly. He's mad at the Mets because they didn't choose to pick up his son, and they haven't offered him the job he wants. However, Mookie has never been shy about making a buck off the continued love of Mets fans. I never held that against him, but if there is anyone who should have been careful not to alienate Mets fans, it's Mookie. I don't begrudge him cheering for his stepson's team to win, but his choice to wear all the St. Louis gear while cheering him on is somewhat of an insult to Mets fans who supported him all these years. I don't hate him or anything, but I'll honestly never look at him the same way again, and I wouldn't pay a dime for a Mookie appearance or piece of merchandise.
As we move into the hot stove season, one expert after another will tell you what Omar Minaya will have to do this off-season to bring a championship home to Queens. Chances are that they will be every bit as wrong as they were this season, yet they will stridently condemn him if he fails to make the move they advocated. The worst thing they will do, however, is work hard to convince you again next year that anything short of bringing home a title will be total failure. They basically want to turn you into the same joyless, entitled fans who populate the other side of town. But if we've been reminded of anything this post-season, it's just how much of a crapshoot a best of 5 or 7 series really is. The Yankees have spent themselves silly trying to buy themselves a guarantee of success, and it still hasn't worked.
We all have our pet ideas about what we'd like to see Minaya and the Mets do this off-season. We all want to be crowing about our own championship this time next year. Today baseball's calendar has officially turned from 2006 to 2007, and I want to see this one end with the joyous celebration that washes away more than two decades of frustration and disappointment. My advice to all of you, however, remains exactly the same as it was going into this past season -- enjoy the ride. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Going into a season with a realistic chance of winning it all is truly as good as it gets.
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