I like to give Hozzie The Cat a little chest/belly rub when he allows it, which is infrequently. Tonight he did. As I crouched down to find his purr zone, I serenaded him with a quick and unoriginal chorus of Ha-ZEE! Ha-zee Ha-zee Ha-ZEEE! I was a little more off-key than usual when it occurred to me that it must be more than a week since I’d caught myself wandering around the house singing the “Jose!” song. I’d been doing that a lot during the playoffs and afterwards. Same for “off to never never land!” I even entered November breaking into occasional chants of LET’S GO METS! with no Mets (or cats) in sight. So much of that stuff had built up on my brain since the first game of the postseason that there was no way it would evaporate with the last out of October 19.
It’s November 19 now. An entire month has passed since Carlos Beltran passed on a curveball. Somewhere along the way, the mourning period passed. Just like that, we’ve crept deep into the offseason.
The World Series came and went. Sports Illustrated‘s World Series issue came and went…into the trash. An MLB holiday gift catalog came today. The back page features all kinds of world championship merchandise, with the METS misspelled terribly and various shades of orange and blue registering as red. MLB should get itself some better copyeditors and a new printer.
It’s been a month and it still annoys. But it’s been a month. You think you’ll never get over these kinds of losses and…well, you don’t, but you do. You don’t in the sense that you’re always going to replay and regret in your mind what you can do no longer do anything about on the field. That’s baseball’s evil beauty. But you do get on with your life, limp as your life is without any new baseball to fill it.
A month is behind us. Nineteen weeks are ahead of us until Opening Night in St. Louis. ESPN has been thoughtful enough to make a rematch between us and the Cardinals their Sunday night lidlifter on April 1. The bad news is the last time we were assigned this particular slot and responsibility, we were postponed (it was April 2, 1995, “Mets” and “Marlins” in replacement baseball until a judge issued an injunction to stop the madness; actually, that wasn’t bad news at all). The good news is the Baseball Equinox has been moved up by ten hours from our previous estimate. On Tuesday, January 9, at 9:55 PM, we will be just about exactly between that final called strike in October and whatever 2007 brings us starting in April.
One month removed from 2006, we’re closer to next year than we’ve ever been before.