FLUSHING, NY – Oh, there’s got to be a morning after… and for Mets fans, the hangover will peak days from now but the interim walk of shame is mercifully short, seeing as you spent the night at home anyway.
Many sincere condolences are in order, but I’d rather light a candle than curse the darkness and in a Shakespearean twist I come here today to praise the Metropolitans, not to bury them. As opposed to the Chico Esquelas of the world, I want to write only good stuff ’bout the Mets.
“The Greatest Test of Courage on Earth is to Bear Defeat Without Losing Heart” – Robert Green Ingersoll
Buck up, Mets fans. You’re an anxiety-riddled bunch in the best of times, and the powerless feeling watching all those winnable games slip away in the end would crush any soul. But look no further than the celebrating Royals, a laughing-stock franchise not four years ago, when all of Dayton Moore’s moves and picks seemed to blow up in his face. As much as I want him to be, he is no relationship to the Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore (though perhaps Dennis Moore… if you’ve got spare minutes for classic Python). Just last year they were the darling underdogs who lost in even more heartbreaking fashion, a tying run stranded at third at the end of game seven. All that talk of Mets’ dynasties a week ago? Well, dynasty is a strong word, but what’s changed? The 2015 Mets were arguably ahead of schedule, as their core of young players wasn’t expected to get them this far for a couple of years yet, and now, like this year’s Royals, they all have World Series experience.
“If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs, and blaming you. The world will be yours and everything in it, what’s more, you’ll be a man, my son.” – Rudyard Kipling
Terry Collins took full blame for letting Matt Harvey try to finish the shut-out, and a lot of armchair managers out there will be calling for his head today (even as they chanted Harvey’s name at that moment). It was a sentimental decision he admits was more “heart” than “head,” sort of like John McNamara leaving Bill Buckner at first, or Grady Little letting Tim Wakefield go one more. There may not be any coming back from it, fairly or not, but he sure looked a sour cross between terrified and resigned during the whole thing. Is it a learning experience for a 65-year old manager? I can understand the clamor for his head, if only for potential havoc his grossly mishandling Familia will have on the young closer’s psyche going forward. This series pointed out how bullpens win championships, and routinely putting your closer in a position to fail can’t be good for anyone’s job security.
“You must never be satisfied with losing. You must get angry, terribly angry, about losing. But the mark of the good loser is that he takes his anger out on himself and not his victorious opponents or on his teammates.” – Richard M. Nixon
So hats off to the Royals, but hold your heads high, Mets fans. You’ve got a young catcher who caught every inning of the Series, including two extra-inning games, and great young catchers are what all potential dynasties have. You’ve got a great young staff (even if you do now have a nagging fear, what if Boras was right?), and dynasties are built around great young staffs. You’ve got a young slugger in the outfield who didn’t shy away from the bright lights. There are holes to be filled, but keep plugging away and stranger things have happened. Meet The Matts has outlasted Grantland, for instance.