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


My preparations for watching Friday night’s game included slippers and finding the fake fur throw that my wife was horrified when I bought — TV-watching components that made their last appearance one chilly day in May. It’s the baseball circle of life — a young season that needed spring thawing before we discovered what it would be has grown up and become a stooped old season trying to make it into the autumn.

And we’re still not sure what kind of season it is. That’s subject to ongoing negotiations between us and the baseball gods.

The Mets held up their end [1], shutting out the Twins behind Bartolo Colon [2], Addison Reed [3] and Jeurys Familia [4]. Colon was … well, what can you say at this point except that he was Colon? His so-simple-no-one-else-can-do-it strategy of variants on a fastball muffled Minnesota in happily familiar fashion, though the old master looked like he had a little extra pep in his step, whether it was bearing down to erase Jorge Polanco [5] and a Twins’ threat in the third or combining with an also sprier-than-normal James Loney [6] for a nifty out on Eduardo Escobar [7] in the seventh. Colon was an afterthought at the beginning of the year, a seat-filler for Zack Wheeler [8]; now Wheeler’s at the doctor with too many of the other whippersnappers, and Bartolo has a shot at winning 15 games. Amazin’, one might say.

Still, the game had a queasy Objects in Mirror May Be Closer Than They Appear feeling — it was only 2-0 at the 7th-inning stretch, with the Mets ahead courtesy of back-to-back bolts by Jose Reyes [9] and Asdrubal Cabrera [10]. Yoenis Cespedes [11] chipped in an insurance run and Reed was briskly efficient at going about his 8th inning duties, but 3-0’s not the stuff of invincibility, even with Familia on the mound.

And, indeed, Familia’s location was off. Happily, he righted himself, the plays went the Mets’ way instead of against them, and the game was won. But I still had the feeling we’d escaped. And I still refused to be lulled by strength of schedule. The Twins are having a lost season, but beware such teams. Earlier this week, I was in the back of an Uber in San Francisco when Ryan Schimpf [12] of the lowly Padres’ wrecked a Giants victory. The car was at a light next to a bar with a big front window, and I got to look from Gameday on my phone to the pantomime playing out in the window: the little figures on the TV, the fans’ hands going to their heads in agony, the heads going down in despair.

Look elsewhere and you’ll see the Royals just got beheaded by the going-nowhere A’s, all but finishing Kansas City’s dreams of repeating as champs. The Cubs are safe this year, but whisper “Victor Diaz [13] and Craig Brazell [14]” into one of their fans’ ears — and then run. And how many of our pennant chases ended with ambushes by seemingly quiescent Marlins? Note that those Marlins’ descendants remain on our schedule, standing between us and October glory.

Or at least a shot at October glory — like all sports fans, we’re dishonest bargainers at this time of year, negotiating shamelessly with the baseball gods.

Just let my team salvage this wreck of a season and have something to play for down the stretch. OK, done.

Just give us that second wild card and we’ll see what our pitching can do. It’s currently yours by two games and fivethirtyeight.com [15] (now one-stop shopping for stressing out about both baseball and the real world) likes your chances.

Um, it sure would be great to be the home team for the play-in game. Oh, I see. Greedy much? You’re a game out, so far from impossible.

You know, a 163rd game is a treat, but we really want a series. Just to see what might happen. Now you’re getting ahead of yourself, no?

And a trip back to the NLCS! Wouldn’t that be fun, to see if we can do it again? The baseball gods are sure it would be.

And repeating as league champs, well, it would validate everything. Last year wouldn’t be a fluke! [drums fingers on desk patiently]

And if we could just win the pennant, well, maybe this time there wouldn’t be quick-pitching and errors at second and wild heaves home and getting talked into an inning too many and then we’d be WORLD CHAMPS! Oh boy. Are you finished?

Yes, of course. Sorry! It’s just that … well, that would be so amazing. We’d never ask for anything again. And advisedly so.

Though, of course, back-to-back titles has to be about the best feeling a fan can have… All right, that’s it — get out. What will be will be.