Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Games 160 through 162 - Mets
Fade to Black

Expos 4, Mets 2
Expos 6, Mets 3
Mets 8, Expos 1
Record: 71-91
22nd-best record in MLB

The season's over already? Huh. I guess time flies when you drink so much you have extended periods of blackout.

What a dreary season. It was remarkable only in its unremarkability, leaving no imprint upon the minds of any but the most fixed fans. The Mets weren't record-setting bad like the Diamondbacks or Royals, they weren't sad-sack but loveable like Detroit a year ago, they were just disappointing, underachieving, and generally uninteresting. (A lot like me in high school, some might say.)

The only notable tidbits from the season included at least one terrible-looking trade, busts all over the place, another wasted payroll, and a mediocre manager fired while even more mediocre management remains. For every young talent that sparked high hopes (David Wright, David Wright, and David Wright), there were several that didn't pan out (Matt Ginter, Tyler Yates, Grant Roberts, Aaron Heilman, etc.). Breakout seasons didn't materialize, injuries ripped through the lineup, and free agent signings blew up in everyone's face. Veterans started strong, then they sniped, whined, and complained until prospects were traded away, then they fell apart. The starting rotation looked too old and too young every other day, the closer got worse with each outing, and the middle relief was the meat of a crap sandwich. The hitting was untimely at best, the lineup changed daily, and the defense was atrocious . . . again, despite a concerted effort to plug the gaps.

Morale was down, and the fans got sick of it by August 1. Off-the-field controversies, though nothing earth-shattering (mainly because no Met hit the ball well enough to be accused of taking steroids), ate away at the clubhouse demeanor until every day was a New York Post drama day. Between the Piazza positional juggling, the Kaz/Reyes positional error, Franco bitching about his usage (all the while getting torched to the point where his FDNY shirt became a bitter irony), Leiter & Co. lobbying for the Kazmir blunder, and Glavine bitching to the press this week, it all painted a pretty petty picture. The New York Mets executive framework looks less like a typical, sensible pyramid and more like a hieroglyphic character; Jim Duquette's job description might as well be in sanskrit. You can have the most expensive bus in town, but if you can't find anyone to drive it properly, you're going to end up in a ditch.

So you can see why I might not be terribly enthused about reminiscing about the 2004 season, eh?

To be honest, this has escalated beyond annoyance for me. This is insulting to all of us, and there's no end in sight. The New York Mets are currently like a bad case of herpes (or so I'm told). The offseason is the remission, where the scars remain and the dread of the inevitable recurrence of flare-up hangs over us all the while. The season is a painful burn that seems to last an eternity and embarrasses us when people who aren't afflicted notice our plight. And it really hurts to take a leak. (Hmm . . . maybe the analogy doesn't go that far.)

Anyway, while most fans have no recourse except to try not to think about it and hope for the cure that's just not coming, I find myself at a unique, once-in-a-lifetime crossroads. I'll elaborate further in a subsequent post, but for the first time, I've got options. Viable options that, although it will cause me to leap into the Sea of Hypocrisy, are appealing options nonetheless. And just like I did back in college, much to my girlfriends' chagrin, I'm keeping my options open. I've dangled such threats in front of my Mets before, but for the first time, this isn't just idle chatter. Stay tuned.

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