By Mike Steffanos
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald
We had a Shakespeare quote here the other day, so I thought I would try to class things up again with a literary allusion. I read The Great Gatsby for the first time as a teenager, and it still ranks in my mind as the best book I ever read.
While Gatsby was borne back into the past seeking to recapture the dream of his youth with a woman that didn't live up to the illusion he had built around her, I keep getting borne back into it by people who can't find it within themselves to stop milking the sad, tired ghosts of September 2007.
Back in mid-June, everyone's pick to win the NL East sported a sparkling 41-28 record and enjoyed a four game lead in the division. In the meantime, the team that owned the division two years earlier was floundering two games under .500 and 7-1/2 games off the lead. Both of their corner outfielders (and key bats in the lineup) were injured, they were days away from a controversial change of managers, and they were considering what to do with their slumping first baseman.
Since that day, the team that had everything going for it has gone 39-41 to fall three games behind the team that had been struggling -- a 10-1/2 game swing in the standings in just under three months. This was despite the fact that the team making the surge had virtually played the entire year without one of those corner outfielders and half the season without the other. Moreover, they had lost both their second best starting pitcher and their closer in August.
If the team that had squandered such a large advantage had been the Mets rather than the Phillies, what do you suppose the media would be writing about them now?
I guess I'm grateful that guys like Kevin Kernan are writing stuff about why they think the Mets won't collapse, especially compared to the true crap being pushed out by others, but I really am tired of the endless discourse on the subject.
George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Winston Churchill paraphrased it to say, "Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it." For the Mets and their fans, it really doesn't matter whether or not they learned anything from 2007. It seems that we are condemned to keep hearing about it until the media finds another subject to beat to death.
As previously stated, while the Mets certainly have some issues that worry me, I'm not worried about last year. I find peace in the simple fact that this is a one game at a time type of September where the only goal is to win the day in front of you. That's how it should be in a pennant race. Let our friends down the turnpike who squandered a truly huge advantage these past three months look to 2007 for solace if that's what they need.