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

Spiritually Eliminated

You can still do the math [1], but at this point of this season, a Mets fan doesn’t need to be Yakov Smirnoff [2] to understand the math does YOU. However many games behind the Cardinals for the Second Wild Card. However many-and-a-half games behind the Braves in the NL East. The numbers are conceivably small enough to not totally and completely give up, at least over at the Supreme Optimists Club. The Regular Optimists Club is poring over draft position.

Wednesday night the 2021 Mets gave all but the hardiest diehards permission to throw in the towel [3] — hurl it into Flushing Bay at as high a trajectory as possible, lest the likes of Lars Nootbaar leap at a nearby wall and grab it. Nootbaar, if you weren’t watching the game closely (and I admittedly wasn’t, opting instead to linger inside 1986 [4] for one more blissful evening), indeed leapt at the right field fence and robbed Pete Alonso of a three-run seventh-inning homer that, had it eluded the grasp of heretofore unfamiliar Redbird, would have cut the Cardinals’ lead from 8-4 to 8-7. St. Louis went on to win, 11-4, finishing off a series sweep and rendering the Mets’ playoff chances barely visible. Without that catch, St. Louis would have gone on to win, 11-7, also finishing off a series sweep and also rendering the Mets’ playoff chances barely visible. I can’t prove the Mets would have lost regardless of the exploits of Lars Nootbaar. I just know it’s true.

The Four Horsemen of the Metspocalyspe — pessimism, skepticism, cynicism and fatalism — had been held in abeyance for as long as they could be this summer. Through the injuries. Through the one-run losses. Through the runners stranded. Through the manager who managed in order to win some game other than the game directly in front of him. Through every glaringly obvious sign that this had slowly but certainly stopped being our year. Not beating the Pirates. Not beating the Braves. Not beating the Phillies. Not beating the Dodgers. Not beating the Giants. Not beating the Marlins. Not beating the Cardinals. That’s a pretty convincing spate of signs. Together they spell out S-T-O-P at the intersection of You Gotta and Believe.

We hold out hope because it’s how we’re wired. We hold off hopelessness because a state of hope is a far more preferable place to reside. We indulge in mathematical reality only when we must. Alas, reality refuses to any longer indulge us.