I can barely bring myself to pay attention anymore. I’m sure I’m not alone. I’m sure there are other Met fans out there who have decided to get on with their lives and not concern themselves any further with the goings-on in Queens, as evidenced by the acres of empty green plastic at Citi Field. The mornings have gotten colder, it’s dark out when I wake up, the summer is ebbing. Oh, I’m still following – don’t get me wrong: I’m a fanboy, after all – but I can’t get excited for a win or terribly upset by a loss at this point. Results are greeted by a semi-interested shrug. Would I like to see R.A. Dickey reach 20 wins? Of course I would, but I’ll pay it the same heed I paid the Mets’ last 20-game winner, Frank Viola in an also-pennantless 1990 campaign. Would I like to see David Wright lead the league in WAR? Of course I would, but it’ll get the same “that’s nice” response I gave to the Mets’ sole (so far) batting champion, Jose Reyes last year. Would I like to see Matt Harvey establish himself as a viable Major League starting pitcher? Of course I would, but I’m looking out of the corner of my eye, as I did Philip Humber, Mike Pelfrey and Aaron Heilman. Other than those three line-items, there’s little else to keep me riveted.
For the Mets themselves, it seems summer was over right after the Fourth of July. The “pluck,” the “grittiness,” the “resilience” all seems to have departed just before Dickey, Wright and Terry Collins boarded their flight to Kansas City for the All-Star Game. Heading into that game, they really looked like a team on the come. They had rarely been out of any game, they had recently staged a couple of brave comebacks against the Phillies & Cubs, their run differential had finally caught up with their actual record. Yes, the bullpen was a point of concern, but most of us fans were convinced that Sandy Alderson and the rest of the wonder boys in the front office would foment a remedy forthwith. It was going to be a nice long summer.
Instead, the team came back from the break looking listless, almost bored. It looked as if they knew the jig was up as soon as they fell behind 5-0 in the third in Atlanta on Friday the 13th . The mirror was shattered that weekend, the smoke dispersed a few nights later in Washington. It was about then that the front office – rightly — decided that a bullpen piece or a righty-hitting catcher would not be the move that would put this team over the top. There was little use in tinkering with a structure that was never viable in the first place. What a pity that all the goodwill and momentum that had been built up in the first half could be burned away like an ant under a magnifying glass. It looks for all the world like they’re right behind us fans, giving-up-wise. Collins has to take a bit of a hit for this, as much as he took the credit for keeping them all focused during the good times.
In any case, a wakeup call is in order if the Mets want to avoid making 2013 another very quick, very lonely summer.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley