Sometimes in the winter I'll be doing some household chore and I'll realize that for the last five or 10 minutes I've been brooding about a moment from the Mets' past, turning it over and over in my mind and wondering how everything could have gone so wrong. Sometimes I even catch myself muttering imprecations, with whatever I've been doing sidetracked by sour anger and regret.
It's a list that won't surprise you.
Rogers throwing ball four. Pendleton hitting it over the fence. Carter giving Hershiser a despairing glance as he packs his catching gear. Armando walking Paul O'Neill. Payton trying to take third. Luis Sojo's ball trickling up the middle. Glavine hitting Dontrelle Willis. Piazza's drive dying in the air. Brian Jordan taking Benitez deep. Brian Jordan taking Franco deep. Timo celebrating when he should be running. Beltran looking at strike three.
Should the Mets not survive to see October baseball, as looks increasingly likely, I'll have one more for the roster.
Murphy at third. None out. The Phillies have lost.
I was out for a farewell get-together with friends and former colleagues from the Online Journal. But, to the surprise of absolutely no one, I had my radio. For most of the night I'd just check in now and again: 1-0 Cubs on a DeRosa home run. 5-1 Mets, even though they only have two hits! Uh-oh, it's 5-3. Oh no, it's 5-5.
I didn't hear Murphy's triple, but my old Daily Fix partner Carl told me what had happened as I put a headphone in one ear. He stared at pitch locations on his Blackberry while I stood at the head of our table, listening to the game and acting out what I heard. It was a rather grim pantomime: Strike three on Wright. Four wide on purpose to each of the Carloses. Little bouncer by Church, Murphy out at home. Strike three on Castro. A sequence that may wind up seared into my brain for a long, long time.
“I can't believe we lost that game,” was the last thing I said to Emily before falling asleep.
“I can't believe we lost that game,” was the first thing I said to Emily when I woke up.
She noticed. But she hadn't heard all the times I muttered it to myself in the middle of the night, waking up to realize it was still true. And should the Mets fail, she won't hear many of the times I'll mutter it to myself in winters to come.
Murphy at third. None out. The Phillies have lost. I can't believe we lost that game.