There was a lot of talk about how the Mets would celebrate clinching a playoff berth when it has been a f’ait accompli since about the All-Star Break. Of course, there was always going to be a little something. There would be t-shirts and the option of champagne. Not because the Mets had any special playbook for how they wanted to mark the occasion, but because TBS and FOX need video to cut for their postseason montage. And if the Mets go to the playoffs as a wild card and don’t get to celebrate a division title, then the at least need 15 frames of video for one of those quick montages that they do for the commercials. Now that it’s official, the networks have their footage of Pete Alonso taking a very subdued sip of champagne from a plastic chalice as if he was an office worker celebrating the birthday of a superior that he’s never met. The networks can use that and not have to take an ill fated guess as to the fate of the team in Queens.
We don’t need to be reminded that there is one ultimate prize out there. Everyone knows it. That’s why Billy Eppler went and got Max Scherzer, to be the glue that binds this team together and culminate a spectacular team regular season with six perfect innings in his first game back from left side fatigue to notch his 200th career victory. The players know it, and you and I know it. But having been to the last playoff game that the Mets played in, and having gone through a cycle of three seasons of having a ticket plan because I was so sure the Mets were going to make the playoffs in the immediate aftermath of Connor Gillaspie, then giving up those tickets because it had gotten way too difficult to negotiate the tickets, and having that happen just in time for a worldwide pandemic, then having the Wilpons do what I never thought would happen in my lifetime and sell the team, and then having it take just two years for the new owner to make this team not a laughingstock … we may not be at a full circle but there’s an ellipse that is in sight of being closed for good and that’s something that none of us should feel bad celebrating.
Between Max’s incredible outing, Pete Alonso’s two months of anger bottled up into one swing of the bat off Corbin Burnes to the general vicinity of Bernie Brewer’s slide, the Mets turning the entire city of Milwaukee into Triples Alley in the 6th inning (including an almost triple by Daniel Vogelbach which I probably would have bet $5 on if it was one of those “your first bet will win $100 instantly no matter what” promotions), and Adam Ottavino closing out the postseason clincher in a placer where they were not only eliminated at the hands of Burnes last season, but where they sat and watched the Brewers clinch the NL Central last season, this was a game to remember and a game that closed out a great redemption tour. There’s more to do. There’s still the Atlanta Braves to worry about, as they seriously, with no exaggeration, might not lose a game the rest of the season in which they don’t play the Mets. And I’m a believer that the Mets’ postseason hopes grow exponentially if they don’t have to play those three pesky wild card games.
But this is a team that is feeling their oats at the right time. Maybe this small alcohol company sponsored celebration (of which you can already buy the t-shirts) will loosen the Mets up a little bit and keep them on track the rest of the way against the deflated Brewers and the defeated before they even get to the ballpark on most nights Oakland Athletics. But whatever happens down the stretch, whether it’s the wild card or the divsion, the Mets will be playing meaningful, nationally televised games in October. Again, hopefully the Mets win the divsion. For their sake for the reasons listed above, and selfishly because Game 2 of the NLDS would be at Citi Field on my birthday, and I have my own circle that needs closing which is a whole other story for a whole other time. But a circle which started when Madison Bumgarner shut out the Mets and eliminated them from the postseason … for six years as it turns out … is about to be closed. That’s something to reflect on and yes, celebrate.
The best part? There are more circles out there to close. After six years, we’ll finally get that chance.
Today’s Hate List
- Austin Riley
- William Contreras
- Michael Harris
- Eddie Rosario
- Chip Caray