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

Endless Season in Rainless Park

Go while the going is good
Knowing when to leave
May be the smartest thing
Anyone can learn
—Burt Bacharach

Mr. G was wrong. The grand upperclassman of New York weather forecasters said it was going to rain cats and dogs over the Metropolitan area Thursday and that Citi Field would be one big poodle. His colleagues agreed and the murky skies didn’t offer much rebuttal. My friend Sharon and I caucused the meteorological matter and came away convinced Irv Gikofsky wouldn’t lie to us.

Thus, despite holding tickets for the hotly awaited Mets-Brewers duel to the depths, discretion became the better part of fandom and we decided to take a pass. They’re not gonna play, we agreed, and even if they do, it was going to be five miserable innings of dancing through raindrops until the deluge came. We’d better not go.

So we didn’t go, yet it didn’t rain. There was no deluge, unless you count the torrent of Met misplays. That made Thursday night my first phantom game at Citi Field — the announced attendance says I was there, reality says otherwise. Reality and the announced attendance (24,661) are barely acquainted.

On one hand, I’m never listening to a weather forecaster again, at least if a baseball game is on the line and a tornado [1] isn’t. Dillon Gee may have lost, but he acquitted himself better than Mr. G. Sharon was nice enough to invite me, I was delighted to accept and I’m sorry our arrangements imploded in the face of a faulty Doppler radar.

On the other hand, if you were going to miss one game you were sure you were attending in 2010, this one [2] would have been tied for first with about 50 others. While I was home during the “action,” I nodded off briefly. If I were at the game, I would have fallen dead asleep.

The 2010 Mets: Your season has overstayed its welcome.

If I can borrow a third hand, geez, I’m tired of this Mets season. It’s the thing that wouldn’t leave, even though I know it’s headed for the exits in less than 72 hours.

As early as next week, I’ll go through those horrible offseason pangs of wishing for Mets baseball when 7:10 PM rolls around, no matter how much it’s raining, no matter how much it’s snowing. But let’s be clear — as clear as this particular night is windy: I will not be wishing for the 2010 season to rematerialize. This season has to go away and go away now.

This season has to be sent to a farm upstate to play with the 2009 season.

I’m beginning to have my doubts about the need for a 162-game schedule [3]. This Met season, like last Met season, was truly too damn long. I’m not saying that just because they now permanently share losing records as a depressing common denominator. Other than last weekend when it seemed mildly important that we keep the Phillies from clinching for a couple of days, the Mets have had nothing to play for, and it’s shown. Once in a while, there’s been an encouraging pitching performance or a key ninth-inning hit and it’s provided five minutes of happy distraction. Otherwise, the phrase that keeps coming to mind is “amorphous blob [4]”. The past six weeks or two months or maybe the whole second half has felt shapeless and formless. Games start, games finish, the Mets are involved in some undefined way, nothing actually happens.

This is the part of baseball Ken Burns [5] never bothers to tell you about (perhaps because he’s too busy telling you about the Red Sox).

I’ve lived through losing seasons before this current spate of them — I think two is enough to qualify as a spate by now — and they don’t all feel this empty. Some years you get a player worth following to the end, and his at-bats or turns in the rotation make you forget how unmemorable the rest of it is. Some years you sense a change coming for the better, so you reason away the losses as a down payment on a brighter tomorrow. And then there are the years that just won’t go away. That’s what this year blobbed into ages ago.

This one is three eyeblinks from expiring. Knee-jerk sadness notwithstanding, it can’t vanish soon enough. I’ll miss baseball because baseball is what I do when given the opportunity to choose. I’ll miss the Mets and Mets games because that’s where I live spiritually. But this particular set of Mets and Mets games has been devoid of a reason for being since before the flood.

In a way, it’s too bad it didn’t rain Thursday night. This season needs washing away at once.

Maybe the perfect Mets bobblehead would cheer us up. Mark Simon of ESPN New York took a survey and shares the responses — including mine — right here [6].