Friday, September 28, 2007

The 2007 Choke Tour

Bill Simmons broke with the Boston Bruins some time ago, a process that he describes thus:

There wasn't one of those defining, Michael Corleone-esque, "Fredo, you're dead to me" moments, either ... it was just one of those situations that transpired over the course of time, like when you look down one day and suddenly realize that you have a beer gut.

He just drifted off. "Just moving on, that's all. No hard feelings."

My problem is the diametric opposite, but it's leading me to a similar conclusion. I am just about done with the New York wife-beating, coke-snorting, athiest, lead-blowing !#%*%&^! Mets.

They were 34-18 at the end of May. Since then they've mistaken the pennant race for "Brewster's Millions" and have spent all of their time trying to give away their lead. Even when they had their little hot streak to go up seven games with 17 to play, I had a little clench in my gut. I never had the sense that they were safe in any sense, not with that rotation, not with a Carlos-Delgado-shaped hole in the lineup, and certainly not with their bullpen spitting up three-run homers like Linda Blair spat up pea soup.

Turns out they only needed 14 games to lose that hefty cushion. Do you know that, if they had just gone 7-6 every two weeks from June 1st on, the Mets would currently have 91 wins and a four-game lead with three to play? That would be it, finito, NL East Champions. I mean, 7-6 is pretty average - in fact, 7-6 every two weeks for a full season works out to 87-75, which is exactly what New York's overall record will be if they lose their last three games.

Philadelphia finishes with the woebegone Nationals, while the Mets 2007 Choke Tour finishes with the Marlins at Shea. You know what? It's officially hockey season, as of now. They can jolly well go the devil for this season. When I joined up as a fan, the Mets' best players were Rusty Staub and Lee Mazzilli; I survived the Dallas Green Mets, a club so joyless and surly it's a wonder that the Commissioner didn't order Albert Belle and Barry Bonds to sign with them; I suffered through playoff humiliations and the interminable Atlanta Braves run; I stuck with the Mets. How much more can a fan take?

If I left now, I fully understand that there is no rejoining the bandwagon. If they sweat it out and make the playoffs I would not be entitled to root for them. If they somehow win the World Series, I would forfeit the right to celebrate or gloat in any way.

This comes from a guy who, in 1986, was absolutely certain the Mets were coming back in Game Six, even as Keith Hernandez was flying out to center. So what do you think? Should I check out for the rest of the year in disgust? Pitchers, catchers, and disgruntled fans report in February... do I retire to the clubhouse until then?

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