Noah Syndergaard  had just finished retiring 19 of his last 20 batters faced and was sitting in the visiting dugout in Atlanta, perhaps thinking about his ninth win of the season. Tyler Clippard  was on the mound, squinting in at Travis d’Arnaud  with that little lip curl of his, trying to navigate through some wildness. The tying run was at the plate in the person of Adonis Garcia . I was sitting on the couch, watching the proceedings with moderate interest.
And then Garcia connected, a ball that was not just instantly and obviously gone but a candidate to land in the Atlantic Ocean. The game was tied. This was not a drill. Perhaps it was time to come down from our little orange and blue cloud.
Except a couple of minutes later d’Arnaud had whacked a long fly that Nick Markakis  played into a double, Eric Young  Jr. had run for d’Arnaud, and Kelly Johnson  had coolly slapped a ball into right to restore the Met lead and order .
Just kidding, everybody! It really was a drill!
The Mets’ nominal pursuers, the Nationals, will be playing tomorrow to stay over .500. If the Mets go a wretched 7-13 the rest of the way, the Nats will have to go 17-4 to claim the division. That’s not impossible, but there’s being cautious and there’s being crazy. I once saw the Mets hit into an unassisted triple play  to end a game they’d seemed poised to win. It sucked, but it doesn’t mean that every time there are Met runners on first and second with nobody out I go into the fetal position.
If you want to gnaw your fingernails about something, it would be far more logical to look at the Dodgers, currently boasting an 81-60 record compared to the Mets’ 81-61. That unofficial mini-race could determine if home games are played at Citi or in Chavez Ravine; the Mets hold the tiebreaker, having won the season series four games to three.
Beyond that, here’s a cool little fact I want to mention now, because I suspect we’ll be too busy/frantic/euphoric/miserable to care much about it later: Forty-eight men have played in a game for the 2015 New York Mets. By the time the regular season ends, the count will rise to 49, unless Tim Stauffer  becomes the 10th ghost in club history.*
Of those 48 (or 49) Mets, an amazing 19 are alumni of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Here’s the list, in order of 2015 matriculation: Lucas Duda , Daniel Murphy , Wilmer Flores , Juan Lagares , Kirk Nieuwenhuis , Jeurys Familia , Rafael Montero , Dillon Gee , Eric Campbell , Daniel Muno , Kevin Plawecki , Hansel Robles , Jack Leathersich , Darrell Ceciliani , Bobby Parnell , Akeel Morris , Jenrry Mejia , Michael Conforto  (last year!), and Dario Alvarez . And none of those players wore a BC on their caps during some asterisk-worthy rehab assignment — those 19 residencies are all legit.
When the Cyclones opened for official Met-related business in 2001, we were warned to temper our expectations, to keep in mind that out of a given year’s crop of players, one or two might eventually make the majors. Now, nearly 40% of this year’s big-league roster came through Brooklyn. That’s a fun thing to keep in mind next summer, as you’re biting into a Nathan’s dog and eyeing the Wonder Wheel beyond the fence down in Coney Island.
* The ghosts will be listed here for posterity, and because further research has shown previous Faith and Fear in Flushing posts on the subject to be lamentably incorrect. The Met ghosts are Jim Bibby  (1969 and 1971), Randy Bobb  (1970), Billy Cotton  (1972, never played in major leagues), Jerry Moses  (1975), Terrel Hansen  (1992, never played in major leagues), Mac Suzuki  (1999), Anderson Garcia  (2006), Ruddy Lugo  (2008), and Al Reyes  (2008). Justin Speier , once counted as a Met ghost, turns out to have spent his entire Met tenure in procedural limbo, never having been added to the roster, and thus must content himself with being a ghost of a ghost. Good luck to the aforementioned Mr. Stauffer in escaping the spectral ranks.