Mourn The Mets

Before we commence burying the Mets' and their historic collapse, let's take a moment and congratulate the Phillies, who had to earn their way here. (Daulerio was at the game in Philly yesterday and we're pretty sure Victorino got him with that water hose.) The Phillies will be incredibly fun to watch over the next week or so. But, oh heavens, those Mets.

Whether it was the Guillermo Mota curse, or just the brilliant prognostication abilities of Steve Phillips, the Mets just finished off one of sports' greatest collapses. (We heard some Yankees fans mocking the Mets last night, but we'd be careful, were we Yankees fans, crowing about somebody else choking.) What in the world happened? Jason Fry of Faith And Fear In Flushing saw something wrong with this team months ago, and his elegy this morning is a must-read.

I never liked this team. Early on, when they were ahead of last year's pace, I was vaguely embarrassed by this. Like a lot of us, I found myself groping for explanations, and worrying about why they left me cold. Was this the ugly side of raised expectations? Of the first stages of hegemony? Was this how being a Yankee fan began? What wasn't to like? But I struggled to warm to them during the spring, and when they stumbled through the summer I stopped fighting it. I let a bit of hard-earned cynicism take over, dissecting fandom like social scientists examine human attachment. I told myself that when they made the playoffs, I'd find myself liking them just fine. But then the second half of September came, with the second horrible body blow administered by the Phillies, the inept handling of the pitching staff, the idiotic displays of temper, and the repeated assheaded baseball. And finally, those horrifying quotes by Delgado and Glavine and Pedro, the astonishing admissions that yeah, the team was bored and complacent. That right there was the end of the pretending that I would change my mind.

And that, oddly, made the rest easier. I will always love the 1985, 1999 and 2006 teams, despite the fact that they never won titles. I was never going to like this one, even if it wound up rolling down the Canyon of Heroes. The 2007 Mets were the smug, self-satisfied hare to the tortoises of Philadelphia and San Diego and Colorado. Badly constructed and badly led, in the end they got exactly what they deserved.

So, is this all for Willie Randolph? On one level, this is a complete team collapse, something 25 (or so) men do together, grasping hands and leaping off the cliff. But we think it's impossible not to hold a manager responsible for something like this. Will Mets fans ever trust Willie Randolph again? How could they? What more evidence could a team need?

I'm OK, And That's Not OK [Faith And Fear In Flushing]