Trying to fall asleep between the Dodgers’ dispiriting sweep at Citi Field and the results to come from the impending West Coast trip, I thought about what the Mets need to do in the ensuing seven games. I rarely project beyond “gotta go 1-0 tonight,” but since the season is likely at an inflection point, I went there.
I didn’t consider the Mets going 7-0, 6-1 or 5-2. At all. I will be delightfully surprised if such heights are scaled. I’m not counting on it…though ruling out five to seven very good “1-0 tonight” situations in advance is self-defeating. This is why I almost never take these games more than one at a time.
I decided 4-3 would be great and that 3-4 would be, in the context of the competition and the team attempting to compete with the competition, minimally acceptable. Unless the Braves or Phillies run and hide while we’re in California, we’d keep within contact of first place through the magic of not altogether sucking. As long as we can continue to convince ourselves these games “mean” something, we will derive all the meaning we can from them. The latter half of August with at least the hint of marching into hell for a heavenly cause beats not being able to even dream the impossible dream and resigning ourselves to the dreaded spate of “here’s who’s available in the offseason” articles. No, not yet. It may not seem like it after this past weekend and the weekend before it, but we are only 2½ out with 45 to go.
I contemplated 2-5 in the context of “acceptable,” and didn’t believe it would be acceptable if our goal is to remain plausible in our pursuit of a playoff spot, which in our 2½ out with 45 to go world seems to be the point of worrying about a given week’s outcomes.
But then I contemplated the concept of “unacceptable”.
What, I’m not going to “accept” the Mets if they fly home having lost five of seven in San Francisco and Los Angeles?
What, I’m going to turn my backs on them for the remainder of 2021?
What, I’m going to swap out my Mets wardrobe and take down my Mets pennants and assume a non-Mets identity?
“I dost not accept thou, Mets! Thou hast not secureth thine minimal complement of victories and therefore I denounceth thou and all for which thou standeth!”
Nah. That’s not fandom. Fandom is hanging in during the worst of times so when the best of times come back around we can say, “I was paying rapt attention when they got swept by the Dodgers at Citi Field and then I stayed up late to see what was going to become of them next as they went off to play the team with the best record in baseball before a rematch with the powerhouse team with the second-best record in baseball, the one that just swept them.” Among other joys, hanging in gives me the right to credibly kvetch and moan while the best of times is circling the lot looking for parking. Fandom is deep down knowing you’ll accept almost anything. Acceptance, like a retweet, is not necessarily an endorsement. But your team is your team. They’ll still be your team whether they play beyond earliest October or not. Might as well keep them company until then. We’ll have plenty of time to not watch them come the rest of fall and the lot of winter.
I didn’t consider the Mets going 1-6 or 0-7. At all. A fan’s gotta have limits.
Eventually I fell asleep. I need my rest for this trip.