I don’t know about you guys, but I am. Dare I say that last night’s game may be remembered as the game that defined the season? I’m not going to take this post down. I’m leaving it up. I say it. It’s over. The Division race is over.
They have confounded you all season. But the Mets are here. They have arrived. They will give us one of those memorable Septembers and you will be thrilled. You will not remember any of the disaffection you have been feeling since the beginning of June. You will forget you ever said that they didn’t want it, that they didn’t have fires in their bellies. You will see that big pile of rbis next to the names of Beltran and Wright and Delgado (listen to me!). You will see that neat row of .300 batting averages, those quite solid E.R.A.s and you will not remember anything. Until I snap my fingers. And I may never do that.
Look, you weren’t wrong. Something was missing. A lot was missing. There was some sloppy play and some bad relief pitching. There was not enough clutch hitting. But not as much was missing as we felt was missing. Our perceptions were all distorted. By the expectations created by the wonderful 2006 season. By the fact that Atlanta and Philadelphia were better this year than last year (don’t worry they’re still not very good). And most importantly, by the fact that last year was full of novelties and revelations. This year isn’t.
But look at that ninth inning last night. There are some novelties. Milledge, Anderson, the ever-new Jose, and Castillo. The new guys put it together. And Carlos Beltran is renewed. David Wright is finding his personal stratosphere. Moises Alou is new. We’ve won six out of seven. We came back in the bottom of the ninth. The season is new.
It will be a victory trot. Those bozos can’t catch us. I mean, look, we’re 71-53. There are 38 games left. If we play just as well as we’ve played so far, which everyone agrees is okay but not great, we’ll win 22 and lose 16. If we do that, Atlanta would have to go 29-9 to beat us. Philly would have to go 28-10. If we just played .500 ball the rest of the season, Atlanta would have to win 26 and lose 12. Philadelphia would have to win 25 and lose 13. The season will only be lost if we go into total collapse. If we stunk up the joint and won 14 and lost 24 (!), the Braves would still have to win 21 and lose 17 and the Phillies would still have to win 20 and lose 18 and that would involve, for both teams, playing above the level they have played at this season thus far. It’s just not going to happen. No way.
Let’s enjoy this. Let’s have a few more come-from-behind victories, a few more weeks of several offensive pistons firing. We’ve wandered in a desert that was in large part a hall of mirrors. We’ve come through. The season is ending well. Be happy. Listen to me. This is not a perfect team by any means. But I am calling it a team of destiny. You will feel it, at the clinching, just as you felt it last year. Do you remember all the losing before the clinching? Do you remember all the losing after it? Do you see what I mean? You don’t remember that. You remember David with his cigar and his champagne. There will be cigars and champagne again. There will be joy and relief that we’ve actually made it. And then there will be a postseason. The play of a renewed, surviving, celebrating team. Who knows where it will lead? I’m not going there. I’m going far enough. The Division race is over. Wake up. We’ve won. Now let’s have some fun.