I've written before about the peculiar position of being a Mets fan in Philadelphia. Obviously I keep a lot of it to myself, and I also find myself caring a great deal for the Phillies, a team that even a Latin American junta leader could learn to love ere long. That being said, I want both the Mets and Phillies to make the post-season, and, in keeping with their traditional character traits, each is being coy about whether or not they actually want to be there.
But it's the Mets who are the most enraging, the most imponderable, the most astoundingly self-destructive of the two. Last night's incredible loss to the Cubs was a work of fiction. How could anyone's bullpen be as bad as theirs? Do the Royals have a bullpen that bad? And if I'm not mistaken, the cumulative number of men the Mets left on base may very well have outnumbered the number of hits they got. Aside from a testimony to the Cubs' poor pitching, it's also obviously a sign of a home team that has PTSD. I think we know where the rest of this story is going.
And I'm having deja vu all over again, too. (That phrase, you know, is so hackneyed that it has entered the mainstream, left it, stuck around like an elderly loner with to do nothing such that nobody remembers where or when it came into being; someone corrected me the other day, saying, "You know, people say that all the time, but they often overlook that it's a redundancy..." Alas, poor Yogi.) Wasn't it last year that I was going through a personal reckoning as to "how long a season it is going to be" for the Jets, even as I watched the Mets implode? Is this where I came in? I have argued for the spiritually purifying fire of watching your favorite team lose, but this, I believe, may be ridiculous. Contemplate the perceived depth the Jets have at the quarterback position, and yet know that Favre doesn't know the playbook at all. Feel the frustration of watching Carlos Delgado's grand slam came to naught. Listen to the fans who haven't left in extra innings boo the Mets lustily at Shea (what a fitting closure to my favorite stadium). Come November, when Obama loses the national election to a geriatric has-been and his Fundamentalist Christian running mate, the sense of watching my teams lose will finally be complete. Then I can watch somebody else in the Super Bowl. If Fate still has a sense of humor, it will be the Giants again.
Even my most vituperatively anti-New York colleague at work stopped me and admitted that maybe, just maybe, he could feel my pain. If you know anything about Philadelphians and their almost Balkan sense of loyalty, you have to be overwhelmed by a gesture like that.