Well, it looks like we will all have a lot more free time this October than we had last year. No planning our lives around Mets playoff and World Series games. Our wives (well, my wife) will be happy, but we have to spend the month watching other teams playing instead of the Mets. But let’s take one more look back at the Mets brief playoff run.
I was at the game, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd more into a contest (I did not attend any postseason games last year, so perhaps I am a year behind with this assessment). But the crowd was into every pitch, paying attention to the game instead of the rest of the Citi Field distractions. At one point I had to walk around to find a bathroom that did not have 50 guys on line to get in (eventually I found one with 20), and I noticed that unlike regular season games, no one was walking around. The Shea Bridge was empty, except for the standing room fans who were concentrating on the game. And there was no line at Shake Shack! Have we ever seen that before?
After Conor Gillaspie hit that crushing home run, the place fell silent. Yet very few people headed for the exits, which is what would have happened during the regular season. The vast majority of us stayed in our seats for the duration, hoping for a miracle. And as we slowly made our way out of the stadium, it was as quiet and depressing as a funeral.
Citi Field was filled with the real diehards, not the ones who go to games for the food and just to say they went to a game. It was a real baseball atmosphere, and it was refreshing.
Now to the game itself. It was everything as advertised, and then some. A scoreless duel between Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner through seven innings, which only had to end because Syndergaard threw 108 pitches and apparently could not throw any more. And this is where the babying of pitchers comes into play. He was unhittable, and the Giants were thrilled he was finally gone, because they knew they would eventually get to the Mets bullpen.
Bumgarner, however, was never coming out of this game. He threw 119 pitches and probably would have thrown 119 more if that was necessary. He did not give the Mets a chance to get to the bullpen. And ultimately, that is why the Giants are headed to Chicago and the Mets are already home.
As much as a disappointment as the outcome was, this still has to go down as a successful season for the Mets. Given all of the injuries they suffered, given how far out they were with six weeks to play, there was no way they should have been anywhere near the postseason. Instead, they were the number one Wild Card team. It was a tremendous accomplishment and fans should be proud of this team.
And now we wait for next season. Hopefully all of the starters will be ready to go, David Wright will be healthy and Yoenis Cespedes will be back. That sounds like a winning combination. If they were able to do it without the starters and their captain this year, imagine what they can do in 2017. We have all winter to dream.