By: Belinda Smith

The Eve of Destruction


I present, for your consideration, the following “what if” scenario.

If you would permit yourself a few moments of insane, delusional, truly psychotic thinking, it would be something along the lines of this: what if the Mets were supposed to lose against the Royals last season in the World Series because they are supposed to win this year?

I know what you’re thinking.  I tend to be cautiously optimistic when it comes to the Mets but as I said, these are moments of insanity.  Allow yourself the moment of insanity.  Wallow in it for a few moments and imagine, if only for a few moments, what it might feel like if this bedraggled, broken down team of bona fide major league ballplayers and a Greyhound bus ride from AA ball, actually wins the whole damn thing?

It would be….well, insane.

What do we know for sure:  this was not the Mets team that we were promised.  The 2015 National League pennant hangs high in Citi Field.  The 2016 season was supposed to be about our magic, to-die-for starting aces:  Harvey.  deGrom.  Matz.  Syndergaard.  Colon was on for fun and giggles and Wheeler was waiting in the wings.

Fast-forward six months later and it’s 104 year-old Bartolo Colon who ended up being the ace of this staff with a 15-8 won/loss record and a 3.43 ERA.  Harvey’s been gone since the 4th of July.  deGrom and Matz went down in September with surgeries.  Wheeler has been AWOL since…forever.  This was not how it was supposed to be.

But nonetheless, here we are.  On the eve of a win-or-go-home, one game wild card game against the San Francisco Giants.  Noah Syndergaard, who is still standing after all this time (to quote Elton John) v. Madison Bumgarner.  At Citi Field no less, which to quote actor and Mets fan Hank Azaria, will be like walking into the Coliseum in Rome with the lions nipping at your heels.

All I’ve heard the past few days is what are the Mets chances?  How far will they go?  This is all I know – or what I think I know – for sure:  the Mets have absolutely nothing to lose.  The injuries this season have been crushing.  There were many, many moments in the 162 games that preceded tomorrow that you thought, this is the abyss.  I am staring into the abyss.  There is no turning away from the abyss.

But Terry threw a hissy fit and threatened to start a conga line of players from Vegas to Flushing, Jay Bruce looked into the abyss and swore he would not end up like the other infamous “JB’s” of Mets lore (remember Jason Bay?), Jose Reyes asked for and received redemption and we have been saved by the likes of Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo and T.J. Rivera.  And somewhere along this fantastical journey, Asdrubal Cabrera became blonde — because of course they have more fun — and somewhere this summer learned he could hit with runners in scoring position.

I remember a great line from the tv series “The X-Files”.  Forces were conspiring against FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder.  His sister had been abducted, his father was killed and they were threatening to destroy even more of his family.  “Leave him something”, Smoking Man said very quietly.  “When you take away everything that a man loves and leave him with nothing, what you have left is a very, very dangerous man.  Because a man that has nothing to live for is a man who is not afraid to die.”  No matter what happens tomorrow, this season for the Mets has been an emotional roller coaster ride.  Pitchers and catchers will report in Port St. Lucie in approximately 140 days but for now, it is one inning at a time.

And one game at a time.

About Belinda Smith

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