Friday, October 20, 2006
The eulogy of the Metropolitans: 172 games.
It's sad, but I feel so much joy. I'm happy that a team could teach me to love baseball like this again. 97 wins. Dethroning the Braves from their stranglehold. As much as I'd love to hate the Cardinals, I really don't even find myself doing that. I don't think they were the better team, I especially don't think they were the better team if we were both healthy, but thats how baseball works out sometimes.
You have a terrific lineup and then at the All-Star break your best hitter goes from Mike Schmidt to Freddy Sanchez sans defense/batting average after giving the fans a show at the Homer Derby, your corner outfield situation solution is a big curly jew who couldn't slug .450 in the best hitters park in the NL. You have the best rotation in the National League and then the best starter is gone for almost an entire calender year and the third-best starter tears a calf days before the postseason and can't pitch. Your left fielder walks like his left foot is a rock and your center fielder MVP candidate is playing through injuries as well.
Yet, this team never relented. They swept the Dodgers convincingly after a rocky Game 1, and of all reasons, lost because of their offense and bullpen in the LCS. The starters gave yeomans efforts, asides from Steve Trachsel, who should have been released as he was being pulled from Game 3. But you had Billy Wagner doing his best Benitez impersonation, you had David Wright looking completely lost at the plate and trying to pull everything, you had a team of "offensive balance" that was completely dominated in the short series by Beltran and Delgado. Yet, we took it all the way to Game 7. And we had a starter allow 1 run in 6 innings. And it just wasn't enough.
I am sad now. I am not sad because we lost. I am sad because this is the last time I'll ever get to see this combination of players and luck ever again. Next year Paul Lo Duca probably won't hit .320, Jose Valentin probably would be hardpressed to match his year, and I'll be blowing my wad on Jessica Alba's face before Endy Chavez hits .308 again. It was a magical ride, and as my heart thudded against my chest after they stranded the two on/one out that Rolen created by throwing the ball to Trenton, I kind of started to get that familiar state of mind that portends gloom and doom and is as impossible to get out of as NFL.com's email list. And as that final Wainwright curve froze us all, and Joe Buck's weiner started rising (not that anyone could see it anyway), I just kind of fell numb. Didn't answer any IM's for a couple of minutes, just sat back with my jaw agape. I thought it was our year. I really did.
So congrats, Cardinals fans who aren't a forty-five year-old fat chick with a David Eckstein jersey, beer drinking Spiezio impersonating douchebag, insufferable pricks, or slackjawed yokel kids. I'm sure you're out there somewhere, I just haven't met you (or you're Will Leitch).
Also, you might want to go hide in the basement, because along with the rest of the national media, I don't think you have a prayer. Tigers in 3. I won't be watching unless it comes on at a friends or something. I've had my Joe Buck fix.