The Bright Side of the Abyss
An irrefutably solid 10-0 ass-kicking. Seven games below .500. Twenty-mother-slappin’-two games out of first place. So…snakebitten?
Admittedly, it’s looking pretty terrible. Hope slithered away a few weeks back. And if I’m positive of one fact, it’s that we can all agree there’s been relatively little to be genuinely happy about in recent years.
It was just yesterday I was cursing at the stupid TV as Piazza flied out to Williams deep in front of the Verizon sign on the Shea outfield wall (recently freshened up my grief, thanks to Youtube) to end the 2000 World Series.
It was only a few hours ago my wife ran in and asked me what happened after I punched the bedroom wall as Wainwright’s last pitch licked, sealed, and stamped the envelope on 2006.
Okay, so maybe it was two seconds ago that the team was 55-51 and childlike dreams gave fantasy baseball new meaning. If statistics and naysayers were ignored, that newfound positivity felt as if it might carry the team; if the stars aligned in a very specific configuration, replete with auspicious formations spelling out “Philly Sucks,” the season might not have dissipated; or if ten or twelve or maybe fourteen key players from National League teams with better records went down to the DL, a glimmer of possibility still flashed a wild card chance.
But before you could get up from the sofa to fix yourself a sandwich, Beltran went west, Reyes and Murphy hobbled off the diamond, Pelfrey’s mouth began publicly competing with his pitching arm for “Most Unproductive Body Part,” and the bullpen decided—as a group, apparently—that the seventh through ninth innings were merely a second round of batting practice for the opposite team.
Now, it feels like it might as well be late August of 1979—a few years after the last post-season appearance and free falling towards thirty-five games behind the team at the top of the standings.
How could it get grimmer?
Long, sad story short: we could be fans of a worse team.
Nearly everybody’s aware of the Cubs’ 100-plus year drought. They’ve become the touchstone of misery. So who are we to complain?
Too far removed? How about those flash-in-the-pan Pittsburgh Pirates? Those guys have been watching the Fall Classic from home for thirty-one years.
Here’s something closer to home: the Nationals have only been around for six years, but as a franchise linked back to the Expos, those ex-pat Canadian losers are still staring longingly into empty trophy cases, with no championships in their entire existence: forty-two years.
Alright, so the Mets haven’t won in almost a quarter century. Big deal that since the creation of the National League East in 1969 we’ve only won it five times. I’ve seen the Mets take it all in my lifetime, so as painful as it seems it’s not quite that serious. Yankees and Red Sox fans can stuff their well-meaning but condescending pats on the back. Our time will come again. It may be 2017, but patience is a virtue, they say. Like chastity. Or hope, I guess.
We’ve got David Wright, right? Isn’t he still around? And the players didn’t rise up against Terry Collins with pitchforks and torches like everyone said they would. Citi Field has a nice beer selection.
ESPN New York’s preview for Tuesday night’s game says: “Opponents are hitting just .173 against Worley at Citizens Bank Park, the second-lowest average in the majors among starters who have pitched at least 40 innings at home.”
Could be worse. Could be raining.