By Joyce Mandelkern
For those of you who are interested, I wanted to give you a feel for what it is like to be at Shea these days - its miserable. All the pregame chatter revolves around tiebreaker scenarios and wild card possibilities. Everyone is in disbelief over what has happened to our team. If it is true that misery loves company, then I was in the right place. My field box buddies don't call me "Miss Doom and Gloom" for nothing - I explained how the wild card wasn't going to happen for us...it was division champs or bust and that if there was a tiebreaker with Philly it would be played at Citizens Bank Ballpark. There are a lot of misconceptions out there. Some thought that because we had lost the season series to the Phils that they automatically win the tiebreaker. I also had to explain that Atlanta has a shot at the wild card as well, if they sweep the Phillies.
And then the game began. Fun, fun, and more fun.
I could see immediately that Glavine had nothing and I told Pete it would be at least a 30 pitch inning for him. Lenny, who sits next to us, turned to his brother and to us after the first at bat and I promise you this is the truth - he predicted that Glavine would give up 4 runs in the first inning. Way to come up big. I felt sick. This was not what this team needed. And believe me, this is not what the crowd needed either.
We had our chances, as we always do, but could make nothing of them. Same story, different game. Poor pitching, mental errors, bad situational hitting. Its called not getting the job done. Its called not playing good baseball. Its the little things that come back to haunt you - and they did. We can't get out of an inning with 2 out. We are always flirting with disaster with the walks. But the again, we are playing an offensive juggernaut of a team, aren't we? I don't think we've played good baseball since May. I have this horrible feeling that we may never win another game. That's how bad it feels and how bad they look.
The entire stadium engaged in an exercise called scoreboard watching. It occupied us completely. And we reacted to that more than what was happening on the field. Pete was following the Phils-Braves game on his phone and keeping us all posted on the details. At one point, I realized that Sele had thrown 4 pitches that I was unaware of, because I was huddled with Pete over his phone. Lenny said his neck hurt from straining it to the right to keep checking the scoreboard. Every time the board posted a Braves run, the crowd would break into a chopping chant, not a mock one as we so often do, but a hopeful one, that somehow our magic number might be reduced, although we were playing a less than magical game. The theme of the night became "let's back in" instead of "let's go Mets." Sad, but true.
In the 9th inning they once again teased us enough to break our collective hearts. That, they seem to be good at and have down to a science. If they could only get good at the baseball stuff.