Tuesday, April 7, 2015

And the season is over!

Oh, just kidding. My beloved New York Mets had their away opener in Washington yesterday afternoon, and won, 3-1.

There have been bright spots (hi, R.A.!), but otherwise Mets have been close to unwatchable these last six years, at least by me. It's tough to feel, deep in your heart, that your guys are going to find a way to lose, every single day. There's been bad luck, some of which might be entirely self-inflicted. Matt Harvey's injury? Bad luck. Johan Santana's career-devastating injury following his no-hitter? Bad luck. The Wilpons getting involved with Bernie Madoff? Bad luck. Signing guys to pricey contracts and watching them turn into complete stooges? Bad luck. At some point you have to wonder whether there is a unifying or defining factor to all these unlucky happenings. Even the Harvey and Santana injuries. When Ike Davis got hurt in 2011, and it turned into a horrible, boot-wearing mess that ended the season and took months to resolve, someone on the radio mentioned other players who had had similar injuries and had come back much faster. And maybe the Mets have a lousy medical team. And that's been on my mind every time someone gets a nagging injury or an injury that seems minor and turns into a crisis.

Even Mr. Met dislocated his shoulder, I heard.

Last summer I was driving home by myself after a summer soiree, and I turned on the radio. The Mets-Giants game was just starting, and some kid named deGrom was pitching against the formidable (but very unlucky in '14) Frisco righty Jake Peavy. I always enjoy listening to Howie Rose call the games (although I'll always miss Bob Murphy), so I settled in as the miles peeled by, ready to change the station at the first sign of an outbreak of Total Mets Stoogeness (TMS), which can strike suddenly and send a game out of reach in minutes.

The game turned into a mighty pitchers' duel, the like of which you rarely see anymore. Inning after inning, no hits. No walks until the fifth. I clenched the wheel every time deGrom took the mound, expecting TMS and an eight-run inning. But it never happened. Peavy blinked first, in the seventh, allowing a double to Daniel Murphy. The Mets finally broke out some lumber, and scored four. DeGrom did allow two runs and left in eighth, but the Mets went on to win 4-2. It was the best game I'd listened to in many years. Even if deGrom had blinked first and the score had been reversed, it would have been an excellent game, well worth the time.

And that's it, isn't it? Time is so precious now; we have so many responsibilities, so many leisure options, that we don't want to waste time on a team that isn't even trying and a management that doesn't know what it's doing, or even care. And that's what it's been like, feeling as if no one cares, having to watch fan fave David Wright waste his career with a crap ball club the way Mattingly did when the Yankees stunk. But not that night last August. That game was good company on the road. That game was fun. And deGrom went on to win NL Rookie of the Year.

So I'll be a more enthusiastic fan this season, even thought I'm sure there will be plenty of TMS outbreaks along the road. I think this team looks like it wants to achieve something, and believes it just might. Fingers crossed -- Let's Go, Mets!
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