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

Someone to Watch Under We

Now go on, boy, and pay attention. Because if you do, someday, you may achieve something that we Simpsons have dreamed about for generations: You may outsmart someone.
—Homer Simpson’s advice to Bart upon his entering the Enriched Learning Center for Gifted Children

I’m booking an Acela special for all Mets fans who want to zoom down to Washington and laugh at the Nationals…who’s with me?

C’mon, we have to gloat over somebody’s even-deader carcass. We just clinched not finishing behind them. HEAR THAT WORLD? WE DON’T SUCK AS MUCH AS AT LEAST ONE OTHER TEAM!

Yes, we did it. We made fourth place ours [1] by taking two of three from those fifth-place Nats. Fifth-place? Isn’t that a synonym for last?

Read it and weep, Washingtonians. You can win every game you have left, even the three with us in your park next week, and you can’t catch us. You can’t win more than 64 games and we can’t lose more than 97.

We’re golden.

I haven’t been this happy since I realized that instead of being one day closer to death, I was actually just getting inexorably older.

Citi Field was rocking, obviously. Cries of WE’RE NUMBER FOUR! rang through the Promenade, while the waving of the traditional four-fingered salute accompanied Frankie Rodriguez’s strikeout of Cristian Guzman, the called whiff that sealed the Mets’ first fourth-place finish since 2004. No horses lined the field, but I may have seen a unicorn or two.

John Maine flirted with a no-hitter, which is what he always does [2] when a position in the standings is on the verge of being cemented. Daniel Murphy took my recent motivational pep talk [3] to heart and 1) stopped sucking and 2) started not sucking (there, was that so hard?). Meanwhile, the Citi Field A/V squad played delightful classic rock and pop intros before each Met at-bat instead of the usual mélange of merengue, salsa, metal and country that, quite frankly, I don’t like one little bit. I’m not sure if they decided it was important to delight me, the fan, or punish the batters by taking away their individually chosen songs. It’s not like that blasted cacophony was psyching them up toward any tangible beneficial result.

Assuming it’s not a one-time thing or wasn’t a hallucination, check out the lampposts between the subway and the ballpark next time you’re in Flushing. There are suddenly large portraits of great Mets of the past in the fashion of the fistful that hang along the edges of Citi on the first and third base sides: Kooz, Yogi, Kingman, Fonzie, Swan, the Glider, Al Jackson (in his numberless Polo Grounds finest), Robin Ventura looking characteristically grand. Another nice job by management responding to demand for more Mets history a mere five-and-a-half months after it was first mentioned widely and incessantly.

The Mets may not be the first to do what it takes, but you can count on them to be among the top four.

I’m being snarky because I’m kind of sleepy (who can snooze knowing you can witness fourth place secured for the ages?), but I will take semi-serious issue with something I read in the New York Times, which, like Daniel Murphy, apparently picks up their game when I get on their ass [4]. The paper that briefly stopped covering the Mets ran a story Saturday about those socially deprived — or is it depraved? — individuals who would bother to come to a Mets game [5] when the Mets are lousy, the Nats are worse and everybody knows it.

Cute. But WTF? People buy or are given tickets to something and they shouldn’t go? They should sit alone in their room because David Waldstein thinks it’s beneath a person to attend a baseball game if the baseball teams aren’t awesome? Does one discard theater tickets because of a bad review? Is it possible that people who come into baseball tickets have them because on some level they really like baseball? Even Mets-Nats baseball?

I went to a baseball game Sunday afternoon between two clubs that competed only for next-to-last place, and then only in my mind [6]. I sat with my friends, I had some sushi, I noted the music and the banners, I got some sun — holy crap, David Waldstein, I had a fine time. I had a fine time I won’t be able to have in a few weeks. By November, there won’t be a baseball fan in this country who will get to do any of this (except in that fantastic Arizona Fall League where problems get solved and careers get made).

Who’ll be crazy then, David? Who?

FOURTH PLACE!