When the playoffs started, a friend asked me if I thought the Mets had what it took to win the World Series. I told him I didn’t know, that I was happy with them just reaching the playoffs. He was outraged (as Phillies fans tend to get), saying you have to seize every opportunity, that you cannot be happy with just getting to the post-season. I disagreed. Now that they Mets have lost the World Series, I have to say I still disagree with his premise. And I think most Mets fans feel the same way.
Which is not to say we are not disappointed; we all wanted to see a Mets ticker-tape parade up Broadway. But this has everything to do with expectations.
Even the most die-hard Mets fans among us did not expect the Mets to be playing in October, let alone in the World Series. So everything we got was a bonus. Terry Collins said the same thing on the eve of Game 5 of the NLDS.
“This, to me, is gravy. We’re going to go out and play real, real hard. But they can’t take away what these guys accomplished all year long. You can’t take that away from them. No matter if we lose tomorrow night or we come out on top, we’re very, very happy with what we’ve accomplished.”
Next season will be different, though. If Sandy Alderson makes the right moves this winter, we will all expect a return trip to the World Series. Losing will not be an option. Anything short of a championship will be a failure.
So hopefully the Mets will follow the example of my pal’s stupid Phillies. They won the NL East in 2007 (I think the Mets blew a big lead or something) to make their first playoff appearance in 13 years. They were swept out of the NLDS, which was okay because they beat expectations. Then they won the World Series in 2008.
The Royals repeated the pattern this year. Next year could be the Mets turn. So while we mourn the end of this season, we should also enjoy what we experienced. It was an unexpected gift.