I have a lot still to post about this last weekend at Shea. Some amazing stories, some amazing photographs–including some of amazing Mets legends–and I hope you’ll still be able to enjoy them. But this must come first.
During the final inning of the game yesterday, sitting in the seats Rob and I have called our Shea home for 3 seasons, I felt angry. Cops were beginning to line up in front of the stands by the dozens, making sure no one would rush the field for one final Shea thrill. “They should let us all on the field,” I said to Rob. “For this, they should make us take souvenirs. They should be putting the outfield grass right in our hands.”
But that visceral reaction didn’t last long. This year, the disappointment is certainly there–very much so–but somehow it’s not nearly as bad as last year. What can you say? That last game was a microcosm for the whole season. The team started off anemic, letting whatever opportunities arose just slip away. And then, worse, they lagged behind as Florida scored 2 runs. But then, with an act of heroism greeted by thunderous applause, a Mets home run tied the game. We were still in it. Our tightrope team was fighting back. So what would happen–would they make it across the tightrope, or tumble to the ground? No one watching the game could be certain. The Mets season was categorized really by two failures. 1) The bullpen. Obviously. 2) Clutch offense. They just kept leaving men on base all year. So much more often then not the key hits didn’t come. The runs didn’t score. They let the other team win.
Up until Schoeneweis and then Ayala gave up solo home runs, I truly believed our team would do it. I knew they wanted the win with all their hearts. I knew we’d had troubles all year, but I thought they’d battle back one last time. I think the reason that I’m not as disappointed as last year (besides the obvious one that we never held any safe lead in the division this time around) is that the 2008 Mets either got it done, or they didn’t. Back and forth, over and over. They got it done on Saturday–with Johan expanding our hearts with jubilation and glee.
And then they didn’t.
That was our team this year. I don’t fault them for not wanting it hard enough, for not playing with heart or passion. They just couldn’t get it done.
It turns out that 2008 wasn’t meant to be about winning. It was about saying goodbye to a ballpark we’ve all loved through the years, despite whatever faults it may have had.
So, until I post more about the final day at Shea–coming very soon–I will say goodbye to baseball in 2008, to the ballpark where I first fell in love with our team. And with the off-season in front of us, with the Mets’ new era in Citi Field looming…I will hope for better next year.