October 26, 2006


Seven Days in Shea: Why do the Mets keep torturing us? (Emma Span, October 24th, 2006, Village Voice)

Thursday, October 19: Game 7

Cardinals 3, Mets 1

It's a strange twist of the human psyche that the best-played losses are often the hardest to take. The Yankees went down like lead against the Tigers, and as a result, the loss was aggravating and disappointing—but it was never that close and therefore not the kind of game you find yourself replaying endlessly in January. This, however, was one of those games. The Mets were so perfectly set up for one of the greatest postseason comebacks in recent memory—bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs, Beltran at the plate . . . I'm not even really a Met fan, but this game broke my heart.

Endy Chavez's catch will be remembered, though not as well as it would be if they'd won, and probably not as well as it deserves. I've never seen anything like it in person; even the beat reporters jumped to their feet. "Under the circumstances, it's one of the best plays I've ever seen," said Glavine. "Thank God it wasn't me," said a hobbling Floyd. It was impossible to witness that catch and not feel that fate was with the Mets.

Still, after the loss, the team took Willie Randolph's advice, and kept their heads up. They were acutely disappointed but still proud of their season, and had anyone raised the possibility that perhaps Randolph might be fired, they would have been laughed out of Flushing. The Cardinal locker room, meanwhile, squishy with champagne and beer, brought back unpleasant memories of seedy frat parties.

Since my first day in the Met clubhouse, I wondered about the team's remarkable geniality and closeness—does that just happen, or had Omar Minaya done this on purpose? How much had he taken personality into account in forming this team? Isn't it hard enough to find a decent pitcher without worrying about whether he can play well with others? Minaya himself has the reputation of being a "good guy," as everyone puts it, both with reporters and, perhaps more tellingly, with the workers at Shea, who almost to a man will nod approvingly when he passes. And although the season was now over, chemistry and charisma be damned, I still wanted to know.

"I'm very careful about who we bring in here," Minaya said. "You know, put a whole bunch of humans together, you don't know how it's going to work out. But it did work out." Almost.

We're hardly averse to good guys, but trade Lastings Milledge for Barry Zito and they're in the World Series right now.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 26, 2006 12:24 PM

oj, would you make that same comment if Martinez or Hernandez weren't injured? Just curious.

Posted by: Bartman at October 26, 2006 3:23 PM

Pedro isn't a starter anymore and they were a better team with Julio than El Duque.

Posted by: oj at October 26, 2006 3:33 PM