Baltimore Orioles

Post-Traumatic Mets Disorder: It’s ALL Mike Bordick’s Fault

I went away to school in the mid 1990s.  Since there was a baseball strike in 1994, I lost interest for a little bit, even when it returned.  But also since I was a poor college student, I didn’t have funds to go up to Queens at a moment’s notice like I would as a carefree child (oh, and that whole thing of being paid for by my parents).

It wasn’t till around 1996 that I started to go to games again, and be interested in baseball and most importantly the Mets.  I saw Fuckin’ Franco give up late inning saves.  I saw Bobby Valentine bring the Mets back to a semblance of respectability, just by showing up and bringing a new aura.  I saw the league’s best hitting catcher come via a trade in 1998.

Perhaps 1999 was the most fun I’d had as a Mets fan.  Most of it was so unexpected that I didn’t care how they got there.  They just got there.

Post-traumatic Mets disorder officially set in for me in 1988.  I’m sure Metstradamus would agree, with the name Mike Scioscia.  Tom Lasorda (whom I always loved, in a self-flagellating way), Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser…oh em gee.  Just the names make my skin crawl.

Funny though that Hershiser was a critical component in 1999 for the New York Mets.

He was not, though, in 2000.


Mets fans had some high expectations in 2000.  They put up a good fight in 1999, and anything less than a trip to the World Series would be uncivilized.

Not to say there weren’t several holes on that team.  Take for example, the outfield.  See, it’s the leaning on the past that makes Mets fans like myself rationalize the abysmal looking outfield going into 2013.  Usually the whole “Agbayani, Payton and Perez” argument is backed up whenever we look at a future outfield of well, whatever shit the Mets decide to stick to the wall.

Another perceived black hole was the shortstop role that year.  See, Rey Ordoñez was a great defensive shortstop.  His glaring weakness was his failure to hit out of the infield most of the time.

Again, this is an argument that Mets fans generally lean on when we want to justify keeping a guy we like.  “Oh, but his DEFENSE!”  Which is BS.  That was the argument used to keeping a guy like Jeff Francoeur around, who could barely hit his weight, free swinging hitting into a double play, and couldn’t take a walk if his life depended on it.  Actually, wasn’t it he who hit into the triple play against the Phillies in 2009?  (I’m too lazy to look it up – this is not a rant against Francoeur, whom I’m sure is quite nice once you get to know him).

True to form though, once Ordoñez stopped making defensive gems in the infield, his uselessness transcended to the fanbase.  In fact, he called the Mets fans “Too stupid,” once they started to boo him.  THEN the offense is what matters.

But Ordoñez, in a way, is indirectly responsible for one of my biggest sources of post-traumatic Mets disorder.  After all, it was his season-ending injury that made the Mets make a panic move for then-Baltimore Oriole Mike Bordick.

The PTMD stands out in more than one way.  What has made me think about this source of PTMD came up in my household, recently, because my husband who is head nut over at Studious Metsimus, has been writing a series on certain Mets players that got away.  Last week’s topic was on Melvin Mora, who became not only a fan favorite but almost a cult-like hero during the late parts of the 1999 season.  Again, a team that fought tooth and nail, one of the most entertaining Mets teams I’ve had the pleasure of watching.

We had an argument while he was writing it though (an intellectual disagreement, not of the type of slamming doors, we never have fights like that).  When I started to complain that Bordick sucked, he’s the reason why I hate the “half-year rental” moves, he must have hated playing in New York so much because the second his contract was up, he high-tailed it back to Charm City, where he is now immortalized in the Orioles Hall of Fame (and so is Brady Anderson, which speaks volumes to the rich history of Baltimore…and the not-so-rich recent history).

Hubby says, “Yes, but where would Melvin Mora have been put?  David Wright was the third baseman, he would have had to move anyway.”

To say I blew a gasket would be an understatement.


Someone needs to take her meds.

There’s an element of truth in trying not to justify regrets.  If you regret something, then maybe your life would be completely different.  Sometimes I miss living in Hoboken.  Had I not moved, however, I may not have met my husband.  I say the benefits of that move certainly outweighed the risks.

But by trading Mora, the Mets might have indeed changed their history.  Perhaps he would have taken to playing shortstop during the 2000 season.  Perhaps he would have been more of a threat at the plate than Bordick, who really DID hit .125 in the World Series.  IT WAS ALL HIS FAULT!

Okay, maybe it was the questionable pitching.  Maybe it was Timo Perez not running full-out in game one.  Yet, there was no margin of error in that series.  The difference between someone hitting .125 to, I dunno, hitting over .200 could have meant the difference in winning more games.

You just don’t know.

But most of all, in 2000, there was no David Wright in the Mets organization.  When Mike Hampton decided to go where the schools were in Colorado and signed with the Rockies prior to the 2001 season, the “sandwich pick” that year was a guy named David Allen Wright, who recently signed his long-term contract with the Mets.

Mike Hampton Poker FaceYet think about if the Mets won the World Series in 2000.  Perhaps Hampton would have stayed to win again.  (And maybe he would have cracked a smile during the celebrations then).

Perhaps there would have been no David Wright in that offseason.  Let’s say Mora wasn’t traded away.  Let’s say Mora became a fan favorite and was a leader in the Mets organization, as opposed to one in the history books with Baltimore (which, by the way, he is).

Mets history would be completely different.

But I ask you this.  Sometimes, when we talk about 2006, and the post-years of 2007 and 2008, we wonder what would have happened had the Mets gone to the World Series, had won, or even weren’t eliminated in such humiliating fashion in 2007 and 2008.

Would 2009 – 2012 (and going into 2013) be a different feeling?  Would we be more accepting of it?

Perhaps if the Mets won in 2000, and beaten the Yankees, this would all be moot.

Yet, I can’t help but think how Mike Bordick is singularly responsible for fucking up Mets history.

Am I being irrational?  Don’t answer that.  But the blowing up earlier that I had with my husband was not exaggerated.  I even did a Rafael Palmeiro point in the face while arguing.

Rey Ordoñez gets injured.  Steve Phillips trades Melvin Mora, along with several others, to Baltimore for Mike Bordick.  Mora was hitting .260 when he left Queens; Bordick was hitting .297.  Certainly seemed like a decent move on paper.  Yet, Bordick was a free agent after 2000.  Perhaps Phillips should have learned something with thinking with his dick back then, as it got him into trouble in subsequent years in his personal life.

Mora was 28 and made his debut the year prior; Bordick was 35, had 12 years under his belt.  Theoretically, Mora had his career in front of him; Bordick was in the twilight and at best, a few okay years, good but not great.

But it was true.  Mora did have his career in front of him; Bordick went wee-wee-wee all the way back to Baltimore as soon as the season wrapped up.  Yes, the Orioles weren’t exactly world beaters (2012 was the first year they made the playoffs since 1997) during Mora’s time and after Bordick returned.  Yet, don’t you see, the Mets’ history could be completely different.  Of course, it could be similar or the same, without a 2000 World Series win.  But let’s think of the alternate universe for a second.

Ordoñez gets hurt.  Mora transitions to shortstop, not without growing pains, but he overperforms, and the Mets go on to the postseason.  Perhaps Mora makes such an impression at shortstop that the Mets actually do the right thing and trade Ordoñez or better yet, when he returns, Mora makes the move back to third base.

Maybe Mike Hampton stays; maybe he goes.  I know that his career wasn’t exactly noteworthy post-Mets.  In fact, I may be cringing at the thought of him being tied to a long-term contract from which he kept trying to make some kind of triumphant return.  What we wouldn’t have known wouldn’t have hurt us, re: David Wright.  Maybe in 2004, the Mets would have had a higher draft pick (one slot higher, actually) and got Justin Verlander instead of Phil Humber.  Yes, Phil Humber got us Johan Santana, who got the Mets their first no-hitter.  According to Coop vision, however, Verlander has had two.

A stretch?  Oh, certainly, I freely admit that.  It’s fun though, to play 20/20 hindsight GM.

In the grand scheme of things though, my hatred for the time Mike Bordick spent on the Mets, albeit short, transcends rationality, history, and regret.

It’s post-traumatic Mets disorder to the nth degree.  No sense makes sense.  But the sense of it all is that I blame, directly and indirectly, the Mets not winning the 2000 World Series and their floundering in subsequent years on the Mike Bordick trade.  Perhaps he’s a nice guy.  Perhaps we can argue that it was Steve Phillips’ fault.

I prefer to blame the guy who was traded and an empty uniform on the field.

Holier Than Thou

I’m a pretty fortunate chick that I can travel around to visit ballparks around the country. At current count, I’ve seen Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, CitiField, Citizens Bank Park, PNC Park, Nationals Park, Camden Yards, Tropicana Field, Wrigley Field, Miller Park, US Cellular Field, Ballpark at Arlington, Dodger Stadium, AT&T Park, Petco Park, Angel Stadium and Rogers “I’m Calling it SkyDome” Centre. (I’ve also seen three stadiums no longer with us: Shea, the “first” Yankee and The Vet in Philly).

I’ve met some shitty fans (San Francisco was by far one of the worst fan bases I’ve ever come in contact with), fans who couldn’t care less and probably have a better reputation than they should (like Toronto), and some fanbases that get a bad rap that actually I didn’t get to see (like Dodger fans). I’ve seen what bad finances can do to a fan base (like mine), and I can see what happens when ownership gets in its own way (like Miami or Baltimore).  I’ve seen what happens when a team gets good and all of a sudden “lifelong fans” come out of the woodwork.

I’m all too familiar with that last part. I’ve seen it happen with my own fan base, especially in 2006. EVERYONE wanted to be in on the fun. Then again, I’ve always said that the best times to be a Mets fan would be during the down years anyway.

I digress.

The playoffs brings out the worst in every fan base, I believe. The worst of the bandwagoners.

But the whole “he who is without sin” and “casting the first stone” has come out in full force, probably more than ever, during these baseball playoff series.

And mostly, I find that Yankee fans in my feed are casting those stones.

This is not meant to be an attack on Yankee Nation or their fans. I have a great amount of people in my Twitter feed and in my real life whom I consider good friends who are Yankee fans. These are FANS not in quotation marks, but people who live and die by the team. I get that there is a lot of history and passion related to the topic. These aren’t the people I have a problem with. In fact, they’re the people who I feel are the most level-headed.

I find the whole topic of “fairweather fans” in the playoffs kind of funny.  I mean, Yankee fans should speak from experience.  I should know: I am a Mets fan who has rooted for the blue and orange, lived and died with them since I was seven years old.  Yet, over the years, with the peaks and valleys with how poor the team has been run, I’ve seen my share of people who show up only when they are good.

Yet there is a population of people who just stop going to games.  Why spend money on a product that is faulty?  I can certainly see the validity to that statement.  What I hated though was going from 2004, where the real fans were still showing up, drinking beer and talking about trades that would never happen, to 2006, when people said, “Oh I like this Mets team better than the Yankees, so I’m gonna root for them.”  No.  Seriously.  SOMEONE SAID THIS TO ME.  I don’t remember if I said anything back because, well, I just couldn’t believe someone would admit it to me.

I have family members who claim to be lifelong Yankee fans, but I can put an asterisk *since 1996 next to their fandom, since we sat in front of the TV and rooted for the Mets in the ’80s.  I wish I could have it that easy.  Just start rooting for another team without a conscience.

Like I said, this isn’t meant to be a rant against Yankee fans.  I just find it mildly ironic (okay – HELLA ironic) that their fans would call out Orioles fans for “just showing up” now.

Here are some things I’ve taken into consideration about this year’s playoffs.

One is, I go to probably more Orioles games than any others outside of my own team’s.  It’s mostly a geographic necessity.  I’m certainly not going to go to a game in Philadelphia for the hell of it.  Same for the Bronx.  I hate Boston, and DC and I don’t mix.  But I like Baltimore.  It’s a quick bus ride for me.  I can find cheap accommodations, and food is really really good there.  And if there is a game going on when I happen to be there, you better be certain I’m going to attend.  (There’s also this little obsession I have with a guy named Cal Ripken). I may be a little biased for their fans but that’s because I interact with many of them in a given time frame.

Two is, take into consideration economic factors.  Typically, if a region is hurting or there is less discretionary income going somewhere, chances are baseball games will get hit.  I have a family member who admitted he stopped going to games because it wasn’t economically feasible this year.  I can understand that. For what it’s worth too, the Mets have taken note of this phenomenon and at least have tried to make it more appealing for families to come to the ballpark.  My husband and I don’t have children.  We like baseball.  We make it a priority to attend.  Therefore, we make it a factor for us.  That and road trips.

But that’s just the thing.  I feel like the road trips I go on make me maybe a little conscious of what’s going on in outside markets.  True, New York is expensive, but so is the cost of living and generally prices and incomes are in line with that.  Take into consideration Los Angeles, when I went to a game when the Dodgers were actually good, and I could get a seat in the Loge level for TWELVE DOLLARS on Stubhub.  I could go to the Cell in Chicago’s South Side and spend less than $30 for two tickets for a team that gets a good draw in the upper deck in the secondary market (lots of fees went into that $30, I think it was like $13 per ticket).

Mostly, when I go to Baltimore and there is a game going on, I can walk up that day and buy tickets, get good seats, cheap.  Is it indicative of the fan base?  Maybe.  But I definitely think that local economic factors in “smaller markets” account for this too.

The third is, again the irony calling out the Baltimore Orioles fan base in general.  The AL East, save the Yankees and MAYBE the Red Sox, never sell out their games.  And even those two teams don’t come close to it most nights (maybe the Sox do because their stadium is so small, therefore fewer seats to fill).

I was in Toronto in May, and there were tons of fans dressed as empty seats.  In fact, Rogers Centre was a barn.  You could not fill it up, and they actually closed off some sections.  I believe though, that they might have raised prices on tickets there to account for the lack of seats that were there.  I don’t think they can do that…but I feel like my upper deck ticket was really high.

Look at the Tampa Bay Rays, who have actually been a good team for the past four years, couldn’t sell out a game to save their lives, then they became good.  THEY COULD NOT GET PEOPLE TO COME TO THEIR GAMES OR THE PLAYOFFS.

You know what I saw last night at Camden Yards?  I saw passion.  I saw excitement.  I saw people who now had a reason to go to the games.  Not complaining that Peter Angelos was running the team into the ground, and they’d never compete again.  I remember reading an article a few weeks ago about how the fans were not coming to the games, but viewership was at an all-time high for MASN (the local sports network in that region).  I don’t think that’s bandwagon-ism, it’s more of a “Hey, I can justify putting my discretionary income into these games now.”

The first game was a clusterfuck for sure.  I heard that Orioles fans were leaving when the game was still close.  In a close game, in the playoffs, that’s a total party foul.  I can’t say that I blame them though.  I’m not one to leave a game early unless I’m ill or something, but you know, it was cold Sunday night.  Some people had to work the next day.

What got me though is that Orioles fans are not the only folks to do such a thing.  I remember in 2010 fans leaving the Yankees/Rangers series at Yankee Stadium.  I talked to a coworker then who admitted he left early.  When I gave him “the look,” he said, “Look, judge me all you want, but I have kids.  I need to be in the office at 8 A.M.  It was close to midnight.  They were losing.  I had to pick up my car in Jersey City.  I wanted to go home.”  I guess, you know, he wasn’t banking on a comeback, but hey, he had a point.

What I’m saying is….these things happen.

In the past year and change, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some great fans from other fan bases, something I can say would have never happened without the advent of social media.  And mostly, I find it intriguing to watch because I am a Mets fan and they sucked all year.  Then there’s my friends from the Washington Nationals fan base that I’m really happy for, because they’re so much fun to watch getting excited over their team.  Prior to this year, it was an easy ticket to get (do I need to bring up how the Nationals ticket people openly recruited Phillies fans to come to their games?).  Do I think these people are bandwagoners?  Absolutely not.

Last year, I went to a “meaningless” game in September at Camden Yards, and met the two fans pictured above.  The woman, “Stretch Lady,” made it a point to go to all 81 home games last year.  Let that one sink in.  The gentleman, who writes for 2131 and Beyond, follows the Orioles around like I follow the Mets around.  Are they exceptions to the rule?  Hardly.

I watched with glee as the Orioles took out the Red Sox in Game 162.  Nothing against the Red Sox.  I know a lot of their fans too.  But because my misconceptions about Orioles were cleared up, I found that this team had scrap.  And it carried over into this season, surprising many.

I could point out that Phillies fans had nothing to cheer for prior to 2008, and were merely distracted from their Eagles watching with a decent few years from the baseball team.  Now those fans are not showing up to games.   Then again, that’s a bad example because save maybe Flyers fans, Philadelphia sports fans are probably the most fickle in all of sports.

I make it a point to not actively root for teams during the playoffs.  Honestly, I don’t like the stress that goes along with it.   But I do like watching from an objective point of view.  And my objectivity makes it clear that those who are pointing the amount of bandwagon jumpers in these particular playoffs have no fucking room to make that judgment.

To prove my point, The 7 Line found this shirt today, made by Majestic. 

A shirt that is an official shirt maker for MLB.

His response was, “The bandwagon will love that.”

I got some defensive responses from some of the Yankee fan base the other night, when I commented about those who come out to roost during the playoffs.  “That’s not true!” they say.  “They’re just as passionate as other fan bases,” they say.  But…what about those people I see who never wear a stitch of Yankee clothing during the regular season, never make a comment about going to a game, watching a game, never make a peep about a good pitching performance from CC Sabathia, or make a comment about how they don’t like A-Rod (trust me: real Yankee fans DO NOT like A-Rod).

Guess when they show up and won’t shut the fuck up?

I’ll give you a hint: It’s a month that begins with “O.”

I’m not saying that none of these fans aren’t bandwagoners.  Clearly, every fan base has them.  I’ve seen plenty infiltrate my team.

But to say the experience is somehow “less than” or that your team’s fans are better because they’ve been to the playoffs 100 years in a row and can’t get rid of these lunatic fringe element that goes and starts shit, well congratulations.

You’re a Holier-than-Thou fan.

House of the Rising (Baltimore) Sun

The Number Eight is more than just Gary Carter to the Coop. It’s also for Cal Ripken, who is honored at Camden Yards.

I’ve been a fan of Baltimore for years. No, not the teams, but Charm City itself.

I was introduced to the Inner Harbor while it was undergoing its renaissance, and I loved the functionality of it instantly. A big part of its revitalization was the construction of Camden Yards, where the Orioles play. Way back when, the Orioles played in no-man’s land at a place called Memorial Stadium. The O’s moved and thus began a string of new retro-fitted stadiums in MLB.

I also had a big love affair with Cal Ripken since the 1980s, and even drove all the way down to Baltimore for his retirement game.

I kind of a have a **thing** for Baltimore.

Over the years, like most of the country though, Baltimore has been hit with some real estate drama. Many empty store fronts, ghost towns of shopping centers, and closed restaurants. I just read the other day that a restaurant I’ve known since I started going there, closed after 80 years of operation.

But Camden Yards has been a boon for better or worse. But not for the Orioles…usually the visiting teams. I remember so many Yankee fans asking me for advice on where to stay, what to do in the area. See, I always (still do) talk Charm City up, as a place for a quick getaway for the weekend. It’s cheap, easy, and you can get good food and drinks.

Yet, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the turn around for a team that has a piece of my heart for reasons outside of my other team. When they got off to a rollicking start this year, I didn’t think much of it. And even as they still held strong after the All-Star Break.

Now they’ve taken two out of three from the Yankees. And with a win today and a loss by the Yankees, they are only one game out.

But that’s not why I’m writing about a team not my own. No, I want to ask where the HELL are the fans? The passionate and fun Baltimore Orioles’ fans?

I guess they’ve fallen by the wayside like many other fan bases that have been betrayed by the ownership or management.

But like most of Baltimore or the surrounding areas of Maryland, I would say it’s just art imitating life. And to me, that’s sad.

Today, the O’s are two games out of first in the AL East. Sure the Rays are breathing down their neck. Sure, the Yankees can easily turn things on. And certainly there’s a lot of competition in the whole Wild Card business.

According to Dan Duquette, television ratings are higher than they have been – that could mean more people are staying at home rather than going to the games themselves, though according to the same article, attendance is at a five-year high. When I saw the attendance at a weekday day game this week at Camden Yards, though, I have to say that B-More fans should be ashamed of themselves. Next weekend will be a crucial series against the Yankees, and I can pretty much guess that a majority of the fans making the trip will be Yankees fans (business as usual, it’s generally like that since it’s a close trip).

Yes, Baltimore may be a downtrodden area, but like Camden Yards did 20 years ago when it first opened can once again help the Charm City rise from the ashes. With the help of a stronger Orioles’ team and the support of their fans going and pumping dollars into their economy.

Today, the O’s are one game out of first in the AL East. Sure the Rays are breathing down their neck. Sure, the Yankees can easily turn things on. And certainly there’s a lot of competition in the whole Wild Card business.

This whole season could be a very special one, and they’re all missing it. A shame, really.

Larry’s Fine

I leave town for a few days and the shit hits the fans with some of my teams doings in play and outside of the box.  The Mets made a kerfuffle though, when there was news that hit that they would honor Chipper Jones on his retirement tour.

I can’t really find anything sourcing it for sure (the announcement certainly didn’t come from the Mets directly), but the reaction to it was quite strong.  Mostly of the “let’s not do it” variety from the Mets fans population.

Let me tell you something.  I’ve spent a good amount of time in my Mets fandom dreading when Chipper Jones comes up to bat at a critical time against the Mets, and I cringe usually because the story seems to set itself.  Perhaps we dread him though being a Mets killer because we would see his team 18 times a year.  And let’s be fair, the Mets usually beat themselves at those times, not the other way around (Sorry to bring that up, but ’tis true).

But let me go on record to say how much this rumored honoring actually doesn’t bother me.

1.)  Larry Jones didn’t just kill the Mets.  Did you know he had better career numbers against the Phillies?  It’s just that when it counted, Larry would come up huge against the Mets.  But as I said before, those Mets teams generally beat themselves with shitty bullpens and bad thought processes.  Also, let’s be real the Braves were really really good in the 1990s.  I always felt that rivalry was more of a big brother/little brother variety, like “Why are you guys always picking on meeeeeee?”

2.) Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn.  These guys were not only baseball legends while they played, but were lifers with one team.  Those guys are hard to find nowadays. When they retired, every single baseball park practically gave them a send off that would rival any of their own players I’m sure.  It’s a respect thing.  And Larry Jones is Hall of Fame material, with or without the Mets killing.

3.) It’s not like the Mets haven’t done shit like this before.  They’ve honored Bobby Cox with a bottle of GTS wine, and Craig Biggio with a video montage prior to his retirement.  It’s a respect thing.

4.) It’s a respect thing.  Hey, you don’t have to like Larry.  But you have to respect him.  Kind of like the Yankees.  Okay, maybe not.  The Rangers fan base still uses “Potvin Sucks” as a chant for a guy that hasn’t played in like 30 years.  It’s a RESPECT thing at this point.  But at least Larry didn’t use PEDs or steroids or anything like that.  He doesn’t beat his wife, use drugs or drive drunk.  He just likes H00ters waitresses and sex.  Nascar too probably.

5.) He gets it.  Larry gets the rivalry.  We talked about this on the podcast, and that there was some awards ceremony and Larry had to give a speech.  He thanked the New York fans for reminding him what his real name was.  Though I hated him for his “Put on their Yankee gear” quote in 1999, he came around and gave the fans here a nod in the rivalry.

6.) They’re not giving a statue, people.  If they do honor him, it will be a video clip montage and his GTS wine.  Some have pointed out that the Mets never properly honored Gary Carter, but they’d honor Larry.  I disagree.  The Mets have always done right by him.  They didn’t retire his number, so what?  He had two good years and helped win a championship.  I get that.  He also had admittedly better years outside of a Mets uniform.

Let’s be fair folks: maybe the Mets have a tough time honoring their history because some of the players just weren’t good enough.  I mean, who will we put on a pedestal?  Tom Seaver is the only player wearing a Mets cap in the Hall of Fame, and potentially Mike Piazza will be too.  I guarantee his number will be retired one day, so what’s the harm in waiting another year to officially do so?  My point is, we need to take a reality check here and realize that we’ve honored the players we could with our version of the ring of honor in the Mets Hall of Fame.  For me, that’s good enough for the players who were good enough as Mets but not Hall of Fame material.

I have done my fair share of Larry Jones mocking, but he gets the rivalry and realizes his place.  He’s comfortable with it.  I’m comfortable with some kind of send off.  Let’s be nice and give him his due, but also never let him forget his name again.

The Greatest Game(s) Ever Played

I usually get all warm and mushy for the last game of the season.  This year was weird.  Typically, the baseball season ends on a Sunday, and I get all weepy and nostalgic the last weekend.  Since the Mets’ season ended on a Wednesday, the last weekend didn’t hold the same feelings of sadness and longing as in previous years.

The Mets finished their season around 3:30 pm on Wednesday.  Little did I know, that the last day of baseball had yet to begin.

The greatest thing about baseball are the different subthemes in each game.  Every game has a story.  This year, we had four stories to watch.  The starring roles were to be played by: the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees; the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox; the St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros; and the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves.

To say that this Mets fan had a vested interest in these games was an understatement.  I have a thing for the Red Sox, as in the “enemy of the enemy is my friend,” etc etc.  Although I have to say, I wouldn’t have minded them not making the playoffs; after all, they were pretty much anointed the World Series Champs with the signing of Carl Crawford in the offseason and trading for Adrian Gonzalez.  I like the Orioles too; I had just spent a day at Camden Yards with a Yankee fan that we called the “Bird Bowl” (as the Blue Jays were their opponent), and she even chronicled that trip in this column (follow Amanda on Twitter @amandarykoff…she is a good Yankee fan and super cool).


I also happened to fall in love with Robert Andino that day…they have this great mid-inning entertainment clip called “Andino at the Movies,” where he regales us with movie reviews.  Trust me, it’s comedy in its highest form.

Did I like the way the Yankees just laid down for the Rays?  No.  But I did like the Rays’ team (although they were eliminated from their amazing late-season run earlier today).  I certainly would have liked them to make the Wild Card over the Red Sox, but I guess that’s because the Sox have become a more “moneyball” version of the Yanks (which I guess makes no sense, but I guess if you follow baseball, you get it).

I certainly wanted to see the Cardinals make the postseason over the Braves.  Which meant a win by the Cards and a loss by the Braves.

There was something else eating at me too here.  The fact that if the Sox and the Braves both lost their playoff bids, this would mean I wouldn’t have to hear about the Mets “choking” in September anymore.  I mean, talk about losing their playoff bid on the last day of the season.

Yet, I couldn’t even script how Game 162 would end for these teams.  I thought for sure we’d see some Game 163s going on.  No, these teams decided to take care of business the traditional way: backs against the wall and no shortage of drama.

At the beginning of the day, I’d thought the only dramatic thing I’d be watching was whether Ryan Braun would go 3-for-4 and Jose Reyes’ bunt single in his only at-bat on Wednesday would be for naught.  For Mets fans who wanted something cheer, we got it, and Braun was a non-entity. But hey, his team had already been decided to go to the playoffs, plus he’s almost as close to a lock for MVP if there ever was one.

On a night like this, I can thank goodness for MLB Network.  This gave us the opportunity to keep tabs on all the results.  Since it was technically the last game of the season, I didn’t realize just how glued to my TV I would be.

I was.

I guess the easiest game of the night was the Cardinals.  They won, fair and square, and the only thing they had to do was wait for the Braves to win or lose.  Braves win, they’d play the next day.  Braves lose, Cards were going to play the Phillies in the NLDS.

The real drama occurred over the AL East though.  It looked like the Yankees forgot they were trying to do their part in trying to eliminate their Boston rivals.  Pretty soon though, Rays’ late inning heroics shined through, and they scored seven runs to tie the game up.  I thought for sure the Yankees were throwing meatballs to the Rays to will them to win.  Think what you want, but it was suspect they didn’t bring in their lights-out arms in the bullpen at this juncture.  Then again, the Yankees really didn’t have anything to play for except make Boston suffer.  I’d say they succeeded.

Then the unthinkable happened.  It might not have been that outlandish, but seeing Jonathan Papelbon blow another late inning save wasn’t that story.  It was the fact that Robert Andino is going to haunt Red Sox fans’ dreams (or nightmares).  My friend @2131 and Beyond (an Orioles focused blogger) calls this night “The Curse of the Andino.”  I hope he knows, I do plan to use that one.

I felt bad for friends like Sully, who is as die hard for Boston as they come.  I also know how much they irk Yankees fans.  But to me, the collapse was redemption for me, as a Mets fan, who has been the butt of so many jokes since 2007.  Kranepool Society said “It gets better” to Red Sox fans, but I disagree.  Things have gotten progressively worse for us Mets fans, but I can hope that since other teams have taken the pressure off, perhaps we can all move on.

Same for the Braves.  I think most Mets fans dislike Chipper Jones, but respect the hell out of him.  I know I do.  Some folks were upset that they wouldn’t play in another postseason.  Why, so they won’t make it out of the first round?  I think the Cardinals are certainly more worthy, they worked very hard to get there.

The best part was watching the Rays game unfold.  I said on Twitter that I was going to call it, that the Rays would win it right after the Red Sox lost.

And they did.  Evan Longoria continued to build up his rep with a walk-off home run.  I’d like to think they won that game on pure guts, but I’m pretty sure they were gifted that win.

But who cares?  You might have been able to script these games the way we wanted to, or you might not have.  The thing is, each team kept us guessing to the very end.  Some people might argue that there is nothing more dramatic than a Game 163 or a Game 7 situation.  I’d disagree.  Game 162 2011 version was potentially one of the best nights of baseball I have ever witnessed in my many decades as a fan.  I may recognize October heartbreak, I may not have seen my team win anything in recent years and be humiliated.  That does not mean I have not seen the best that this game can give me.

This is my song for the 2011 season.  The Mets may have not finished where I wanted them to…but I wouldn’t have wanted the season to finish any other way.