Despite being eliminated from mathematical or any other kind of contention Thursday night, the New York Mets remained on the ballot for this past weekend’s series against the Miami Marlins, and son of a gun, we finally swept ourselves some Flushing caucuses. So let’s say that instead of ending our 2012 campaign, we are laying the groundwork for 2013, with this, the Faith and Fear concession speech at Yahoo! Sports’ Big League Stew. A blog representing each team not going to the playoffs was asked to “address its supporters,” and, given the events of the second half of the season, the Mets’ number came up relatively quickly. Natch, we climbed to the podium, cleared our throats, congratulated the winners, cast appropriate recriminations, thanked our staff and rhetorically moved on into the future.
So read that, if you’d like a little closure ahead of Game 162. And here are some other recommended articles to occupy you while I harness my newfound giddiness after having just attended TWO CONSECUTIVE WINS AT CITI FIELD (on which I’ll be back with reflections directly).
• Michael Powell captured the Mets’ slippage into darkness as well as could be imagined in Saturday’s Times. Anybody who’s spent a surfeit of nights at Citi Field over these past four Septembers will know that Powell (a non-sports columnist and a Mets fan) landed his narrative high and deep in the right field stands — and hit his notes as effectively as Ryan Howard did that meatball from Josh Edgin.
• There’ll be time come October 4 to dwell on those playing baseball long after our fellas have scattered to the offseason, but here’s a nod to the Nationals for bringing playoff baseball to Washington for the first time in 79 years (and here’s hoping that not all of their fans are the instamatic douchebags my friend Jeff insists they are). I know one man in red I’m delighted for, and that’s New York Mets Hall of Famer Davey Johnson, profiled lovingly and deeply by ESPN The Magazine’s Steve Wulf.
• In the same region, the Orioles are at last doing Baltimore proud, and one of those painting the word picture is someone who refined his craft alongside the master craftsman himself. Hillel Kuttler of the Times recently caught up with O’s announcer Gary Thorne, and Thorne properly invoked the lessons he was taught by the great Bob Murphy.
• I adore Charles Pierce’s description on Grantland of the George Steinbrenner memorial at Yankee Stadium (“glowers in from a billboard in center field that makes him look for all the world like a movie that’s coming out this Christmas”). Pierce’s first visit to that other place where they play baseball in New York should be your next stop.
• At the new and interesting Sports On Earth — kind of a meat-and-potatoes version of Grantland (terrific sportswriting, no pop culture detours) — Alex Belth delves into a magazine whose brief life and evocative inaugural cover has always fascinated me. Learn more about Jock.
• Aaron Taube was a Mets fan who went to work in a field that got him very close to the Mets. He’s not such a Mets fan anymore. Read his tale of realization at VICE.
We’re still Mets fans, of course; maybe it’s because we keep our distance physically most of the time even if we’re never more than 410 feet removed from them spiritually. Whatever gets us down in a given season, half-season, month, week or night, we’ll never concede where that’s concerned.