- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

REMAIN CALM!!! ALL IS WELL!!!

Here's a memory for the Old Perfesser that seems all too appropriate:

Once upon a time you warned of Ron Swoboda, shortly after he was seen

hopping up and down in the Met dugout trying to get a stomped-on helmet

off his spikes, “He thinks he's being unlucky, but he's gonna be

unlucky his whole life if he don't change.”

We're 0-5. Oh and five [1].

I mean, for fuck's sake. The realists among us didn't think we'd win 90

games, but 81-81 seemed like a gimme, with a wild card an

if-everything-goes-right hope. Tonight,  0-6 and coming back to

Shea to a blast furnace of boos seems probable. And after that, who

knows? We could go 157-5, but that's clearly impossible. But I bet if

you tweaked OTB's offerings you'd find more than a few paranoid,

battered, terrified Met fans who wouldn't put any money on us going

1-161. This is a fan base hiding under its collective

bed. Not exactly what we had in mind with the “New Mets.”

I'm trying to be rational about this. The way I see it, a baseball team

is a beast that fires on, let's say, six cylinders. (No, I'm not gonna

name the cylinders. This is just for argument's sake, and anyway I'm

drunk.) Teams firing on five or six are unbeatable; teams firing on

four win more often than not; teams firing on three are .500 squads.

You can win by firing on two or even once in a great while on one

(think of the aforementioned Rocky Swoboda beating Steve Carlton with

two homers on a night Lefty struck everybody else out), but it's damned

difficult to do. And when multiple cylinders are busted and trailing

smoke, it's hard to do much of anything.

Which brings us to our not-so-amazing Mets. None

of our cylinders is trailing smoke — in fact, all have looked like

they're in impressive shape at various points in this young season.

Sometimes we've even brought a number of 'em online at the same time.

But we've also managed to find that exact combination of missing

cylinders to ensure a loss, and we've done so day in and day out. Bad

relief, bad defense, double plays, lame offense, bad calls, mental

lapses. Never all at once, so you turn off the radio with an annoyed

snap in the third inning and try to salvage your night, but enough of

them to ensure we lose every time out.

That's bad luck. Every baseball instinct I've honed over nearly two

decades of watching this game too often tells me it's that and nothing more. Bad

luck that's been cruelly magnified by coming at the beginning of a

season, but bad luck all the same. But despite the fact that I worship

at the altar of stats, baseball remains a game played by people, and

people are subject to any number of forces, including some that exist

nowhere except in their own heads. Which leads me reluctantly to ask,

“Hey Case — you saw a game or two in your day. Where does bad luck

stop and bad karma begin?”