For the Mets fan, Wednesday night was the inevitable conclusion to the endless nightmare.
It wasn't bad enough for the Phillies to rip through Milwaukee and LA to get to the World Series, but they went and won it, my pathetic attempt at a reverse-jinx be damned. Turned out I was right on the money, and that quite honestly makes me sick.
You could hash it and re-hash it all you want, but there's no way around it: The Phillies were and will continue to be the team to beat, in our Division, in our League and for now, our entire sport. And it went further than their ability to come through in the clutch or close the deal when it needed to be closed, it's their entire organization. These are heady, sound ballplayers that continually rose to the occasion. Their team is run by people who cared about their fan base, cared about bringing home a title and cared about fixing the obvious problems with the team. They had a fan base that was frustrated and disillusioned for years, and they made them believers. Now, they've been rewarded with a World Series Championship.
On our end, we've got a pair of idiots who care more about dollar signs than a winning team. We've got a GM who cares more about his neckties than his bullpen. We've got players who can get tantalizingly close to the goal, but ultimately fold at that crucial moment. We've got a team that on paper seemed so close to competing for a title, but in reality was so very far away from competing with the real champions.
And what will we have in response?
There's not going to be any sense of security for the Mets, no matter what moves are made. There's not going to be any real enjoyment. After the way the last three seasons have gone, the outlook for Mets fans will be Grim At Best. I don't want to hear about this World Series being somehow flawed, as if the 2-day Rain Delay leading into the abbreviated game on Wednesday will take away anything from the fact that the Phillies won 4 complete games in the World Series. It shouldn't, and if you believe that this was somehow a farcical excuse for a World Series (my argument on Tuesday simply being that the weather created a surreal, farcical atmosphere, and not that the game itself was a farce), well, you're deluding yourself. I can't believe how people on WFAN right now are dumping on the Rays and Joe Maddon for the way he managed the completion of the game. I can't believe how, now, people are saying they should have thrown the 6 innings from Monday out the window. Can any Mets fan possibly in their right mind still actually think that this team was somehow fit to hang with the team that just won a World Series Championship? I'd hope not.
Despite the fact that Baseball is often a What Have You Done For Me Lately kind of sport, and the vacuum in which we operate creates that atmosphere in this City, you are ultimately remembered for the History you create. This particular era has created some fleeting Heroes for the Mets, but in reality, it's created a team that's remembered for their failures rather than their success. For the Phillies, they've created memories of a team that grew together over several years until they finally found the right mix and rode it all the way to last night, when they won a World Series Championship, something we wanted to believe we were closer to than we actually were. Maybe Brad Lidge isn't going to go 48-for-48 next season, but at least the Phillies have a guaranteed closer. Can you even give the Mets 30-for-40 in Save opportunities next year? Can you even guarantee 40 save opportunities without a complete overhaul of the Bullpen?
Nobody, NOBODY in this Bullpen as it stands right now can exist on the 2009 roster without hearing the footsteps of the past. NOBODY on this team right now can think they're the team to beat. The team to beat lies 99 miles South of us. The Mets can do us all a favor and keep their mouths shut until they're playing Baseball in Late October again. I'm not interested in talk. I'm interested in results. I'm interested in finishing the job that we supposedly started two years ago.
Heart, Guts, Balls, whatever. It doesn't matter if you've got a few guys with a lot of talent. Not if you can't finish the job you started.
Philly finished their job last night.
We're still waiting. 22 years and counting.
What's the next move, Fred?