A grim exercise, for posterity: With one out in the Brewers' fourth, Johan Santana walked a 29-year-old journeyman starting pitcher. He got Corey Hart to fly to center, but Fernando Martinez fell down, literally landing on his face to put runners on second and third. Santana walked J.J. Hardy and went to an 0-2 count on Ryan Braun … to whom Johan then threw a meatball. The ball sailed over Gary Sheffield's head and bounced off the wall. Alex Cora had a play at the plate on Hardy, but his relay throw got past Omir Santos. Santana, backing up the play, saw Braun stray too far down the third-base line — and promptly threw the ball over David Wright's head. Cora fell down in a vain attempt to corral it. All four runs scored.
Oh my God, wasn't that awful?
Young baseball fans learn by about their eighth birthday that baseball can be shockingly cruel. There is no mercy rule for bad teams, battered teams or unlucky teams. Quarter is neither requested nor given.
But my goodness, has any team and any fan base staggered through half a season with this many horrifying, stomach-punch, throw-the-beer-at-the-set, call-the-FAN-in-a-lather, kick-the-dog, bag-on-the-head losses?
April 12: Daniel Murphy's dropped fly ball against the Marlins keys a Santana loss.
April 21: Murphy plays left field wearing ice skates against the Cardinals.
May 2: Sean Green walks in the winning run against the Phillies.
May 11: Jose Reyes' seventh-inning error (behind Santana, of course) opens the floodgates against the Braves.
May 17: Mike Pelfrey balks and mutters the name of the pitch he's throwing, tipping off the Giants, while Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips all but call Carlos Beltran a member of Al Qaeda.
May 18: Ryan Church misses third base.
June 1: The Mets are up 5-0 in the third; the Pirates score five in the 8th.
June 10: After Jayson Werth does a heck of a Ron Swoboda imitation, Chase Utley's second homer of the night beats the Mets.
June 11: Ken Takahashi, meet Raul Ibanez.
June 12: Luis Castillo drops the ball.
June 14: Yankees 15, Mets 0.
June 18: Frankie Rodriguez gags against the Orioles.
June 26: Three errors in the second lead to a 9-1 Yankees win.
June 27: The Mets manage one hit against A.J. Burnett.
June 28: Frankie walks Mariano Rivera with the bases loaded.
June 30: You just saw it. (Greg didn't — he was at Yankee Stadium. Tough night when you're better off at Yankee Stadium in the rain.)
July 1: God only knows. God only fucking knows.
Turn off the FAN, put in earplugs and seek solace in Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.