That was going through my head as the Mets trudged to the plate for the top of the ninth: Gee, we’d have been beaten less badly if Terry Collins had run up the white flag a while back. The fact that Ike Davis and Jason Pridie held down the pig and rubbed some home-run lipstick on it before everybody got to go back to the hotel didn’t make me feel particularly differently.
Ryan Howard demolished us. So did somebody with the no-really name of Vance Worley. Ronny Paulino made his Mets debut, possibly after being coaxed back from standing alongside the highway with his thumb out and a sign reading ANYWHERE BUT HERE. Because yeah, it was that kind of night. A Mike Pelfrey Doesn’t Have It kind of night. A Dillon Gee Doesn’t Have It Either kind of night. A Why Am I Wasting a Perfectly Decent Friday Night On This Goddamn Debacle kind of night.
Those kind of nights happen when you’re a baseball fan. If you’re committed enough (or perhaps just numb enough), you stick around because you want to see another backup catcher make the all-time roster, or because it would feel like the smallest of moral victories to deny the other guys a shutout, or because a sophomore player’s modest hitting streak might become slightly less modest. And I suppose these are good things, even admirable in some way. Perhaps they’re money in the karma bank for use in games like the win against the Nats. Or perhaps they’re just evidence that we’re hopeless addicts. Either way, it’s too late. The Mets win and we watch and cheer rapturously. They lose and we watch and cheer for whatever we can find. It’s why I’m writing this and why you’re reading it. It’s what we do.
But even addicts can make good choices now and again. And I’m going to make one now: The Mets lost, it was bad, and we’re going to stop talking about it. Tomorrow’s another day.