Monday, September 29, 2008

"That Not Just Hurts. It Stings."

Before the Yankees played their last game at the Cathedral, I introduced you to another of my many principles—the principle of DUACLTLGTYAEGTPAYHS—Don’t Under Any Circumstances Lose The Last Game That You Are Ever Going To Play At Your Home Stadium. When a team fails to live up to this principle, it is both shocking and disappointing. It leaves fans and players alike with, not only an off-season, but a lifetime of regret. Fortunately, despite a season during which the Bombers did not always look like the Bombers, they were able to rise to the occasion and adhere to the principle of DUACLTLGTYAEGTPAYHS. Somewhere in our hearts, I think we all believed that they would.

Tragically, however, as well all know, the Mets couldn’t muster the feat. Just ask Mr. Met—he got the boos to prove it. Like that wasn’t a long time coming.

Yesterday, as I lived through the roller coaster that was the Mets-Brewers showdown, I felt conflicted about how it would all play out. On the one hand, it seemed impossible that any team should fail to live up to the principle of DUACLTLGTYAEGTPAYHS. On the other hand, this was the Mets, whose very hallmark is their ability to find new and excruciating ways to disappoint their fans. But, really? Now? On the last day of the year? With a potentially season-ending game? By breaking the principle of DUACLTLGTYAEGTPAYHS? In the words of—who was it again?—“That not just hurts. It stings.” Whatever that means.

The real icing on the cake, of course, the final eff you in the face of all of the fans in attendance, all of the former Mets who had schlepped out to be there, all of the players who had just suffered a painful and humiliating loss, was that the top brass thought it would be a good idea to conduct the farewell ceremony after the game rather than before. Why? I really couldn’t tell you. Did it not occur to anyone that if the team lost that game no one was going to feel particularly celebratory afterwards? Did it not occur to anyone that if ever there was a team that was likely to suffer such a crushing blow, it was the Mets?

The answer to both of these questions is, “Apparently not.”

Who knows, though? Maybe it’s perfect. Yankee Stadium has such a legacy of pride, honor, and victory. To have failed to live up to the principle of DUACLTLGTYAEGTPAYHS would have been to spit in the face of that legacy. Shea, on the other hand? What can I say? It was a pathetic stadium—down from its pathetic orange and blue seats up to its pathetic paper mache apple—and from it was born a pathetic legacy. With only a few exceptions—miracles, if you will—it’s a stadium that is shrouded in failure and bitter disappointment. And maybe the best way to honor that legacy was with one last failure. One last bitter disappointment. For old time’s sake. And, maybe, now that the doors to Shea have finally closed, the Mets can also close the door on that legacy. New Stadium, new beginning. Jeff Wilpon, who envisioned the plan for Citi Field seems to think so. When asked if the Mets were going to be making any major changes during the off-season he responded, “We are. We’re moving to a new ballpark.”

And may it help them turn their luck around. If, perchance, it doesn’t, at least the fans can finally watch their team be pathetic from a really nice stadium.

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