Thoughts After Game 4 of the NLCS, Part I

After a game like game 4, you look at yesterday’s entries and threads on the blogs and forums and you wonder what the hell was going on.  I remember what I felt.  I did not feel good.  I said “ya gotta believe,” but did I really believe?  Don’t ask. 

How could I have doubted that the Mets could do what they did tonight?  Look at the middle of the lineup.  116 RBIs, 114 RBIs, 116 RBIs.  How many times have you ever seen that?  On any team?  Of course you’ve never seen it on the Mets. 

Why did I doubt?  I doubted because Mota and Wagner had blown the lead on Friday and the Mets hadn’t scored any runs on Saturday.  Is that a good reason to think that the Mets couldn’t have scored 12 runs and given up only 5 on Sunday evening?  All season long they had won games with scores like that.  What made it possible for me to forget that?  Why did a game and a quarter have so much influence on my impression of a team I had watched for 166 games before that?

Part of it, I think, is that the game the Mets just played on October 15 was the first game they have played all season in which something significant was at stake.  None of the 162 games of the regular season mattered that much in itself.  Neither did any of the three games of the NLDS.  So even though I was very much aware of the Mets’ greatness, I may not have noticed it enough.  This makes no logical sense, but Mets fans may know what I mean.  

Maybe part of it is that the emotional intensity of postseason baseball creates a day-to-day amnesia that turns every triumph into a surprise, and every failure into a disaster.  Suddenly we think that Billy Wagner will never save a game again.  Suddenly Steve Trachsel will never pitch a good game again.  Neither of these things are true.  How do we get so immersed in the moment that we believe things like this?

Tomorrow everything’s going to feel good.  Even Mike and the Mad Dog are not going to write off this great baseball team.  We’ll feel really good until we next feel bad.  Though maybe we won’t have an occasion to feel bad again this season.  I hope not.  And I hope that I will never again get into an emotional funk because of just one bad home run, or one bad pitching appearance, or even one bad game.  I will try not to let my emotions drown my long-term memory.  I will try.  And I will not succeed.  Because baseball, to a frightening degree, is what has just happened.  For the fans, and for the players.  All I can do right now is enjoy the fact that what has just happened is absolutely wonderful.     

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