Repeat after me, fellow Mets fans: The Mets are in first place. The Mets have 7.5 game lead with nine games remaining. The team chasing the Mets stinks.
If you say those three phrases three times and still won’t back down from the ledge, I can’t help you.
Look, I get it. It’s human nature for Mets fans to worry; things haven’t exactly been easy for us as a fan base. The collapse of 2007 is still fresh on everyone’s minds, the team has not been playing well lately, and the duo of Matt Harvey and Scott Boras has somehow created bad vibes for a team having an unexpected dream season.
Yet even I, one of the most pessimistic Mets fans out there, am having a hard time feeling anything but good about the Mets current position. Sure, if everything had gone perfectly they could have clinched by now and made the last two weeks a cakewalk to the postseason. But the Mets are not a perfect team, or even a great team, and that’s not how baseball usually works. Teams go on hot streaks and cold streaks, and are basically mediocre in between. You just hope that the cold streaks aren’t frequent and long-lasting enough to keep you out of the playoffs.
The Mets happened to go on one of those cold streaks at the worst possible time, but in a shocking twist of Mets karma the second-place Nationals have proved incapable of taking advantage. If you are still seeking a reason to believe in this year’s team – you know, other than the stud young pitching and deep, revamped lineup – look no further than that.
If and when the Mets clinch, it won’t matter how they did it. For one, the NLDS doesn’t start until five days after the regular season finale, so any momentum gained at the end of they season – whether forwards or backwards – won’t mean much by then.
And when you are facing Greinke and Kershaw, what you did the previous couple weeks against bad and average pitching the previous couple of weeks will be pretty irrelevant. Let’s not forget that several champions have “backed in” to the playoffs – the team that broke our hearts in 2006 rings a bell. And let’s not forget last year’s champions, the San Francisco Giants.
This has been a pretty exciting season and I truly love the way Daniel Murphy put it.
“Fun is the easiest way to describe it,” he said. “I don’t need a lot of adjectives, it’s fun. This is a great group of guys and I think we’re having a lot of fun right now.”
Of course I’d like to see the Mets clinch as soon as possible, and I won’t be completely at ease until they do so. But for the fans freaking out about a repeat of 2007, take some advice from a Mets fan who’s glass is almost always half empty: Stop worrying so much and enjoy the ride.