We all have them—friends who are overly optimistic, even when things with our Mets look as grim as they possibly can. To put this in perspective, during Game 6 of the ’86 World Series, I was hanging out with a bunch of friends in a bar on Long Island. Among those friends was my buddy Tom from Bayside, and I distinctly remember Tom’s insane optimism through my beer-soaked haze as the season was slipping away. Bottom of the 10th, 2 outs and nobody on….my head is down on the bar sulking while I hear Tom say, “Come on, just a little base hit….” And after three such “little base hits,” a wild pitch and Mookie’s fateful ground ball through Buckner’s legs, we were all jumping up and down, man hugging and feeling like we just witnessed a miracle, which we sort of did.
Fast forward to 2009. In various e-mail exchanges with Tom this season, he would tell me before each series that the Mets were going to sweep. And a few times they did, but a few too many times they were the on the sweep’s receiving end. As recently as last week, Tom sent me a message saying “Go Mets…if we sweep the Rockies we can gain ground in the wild card race.” I replied, “Do you know how many teams we have to climb over?” Then I remembered Tom’s optimism from ’86 and thought that yes, stranger things have happened. Tom was even telling me I should root for the Phillies against the Giants last weekend because our best chance was the wild card. Dude was serious.
But then this morning, he sends me this….”Don’t even discuss our Mets…I can’t talk…I am close to throwing in the towel.” And therein lies a sure sign that the season is basically lost. Tom went on to talk about the injuries, and about how all of these 15-day DL stints have turned into 90 days or more. Really, the current level of talent in the starters we’re fielding is pretty much on par with the Royals, so yeah, the injuries don’t matter in the short term, but over the course of a whole summer they sure do.
These last few weeks I’ve been feeling a bit detached from our Mets. I watch the games but I find myself not getting as upset over the outcome. How can I let it bother me when we’re in fourth place and almost as far out in the wild card race as in the NL East race? We’ve reached the point of looking toward 2010, and hoping Reyes, Beltran, Delgard, Putz, Maine and Wagner will all be back and healthy.
I know many of you feel the same way, but then again….if you’re even more optimistic than Tom, I certainly wouldn’t fault you, either.