Mother Nature took pity on the Mets last night, dumping inches upon inches of water on our nation’s capital, sparing them further embarrassment. The Washington Nationals, one of the most talent-laden teams in the National League even when dealing with a wave of injuries, has owned the New Yorkers once again this year, winning nine of twelve so far. And most of those nine losses haven’t been close. As we speak, the Mets sit 11.5 games behind those Nats for the division lead and nine-and-a-half out of a wild card spot, with slightly less than half a season to go. Barring a miracle of historic proportions, the odds are that the Mets will stay right where they are: miles behind the pack. As Met fans, we wish we could say we were unaccustomed to being in this position, but of course, the feeling is all too familiar. There’s really nothing to do but watch it play out and take what pleasures we may from the rest of the summer.
For instance, the further behind the Mets get, the more likely we are to see Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith in Queens. With the pressure of a pennant race a non-factor, neither one will be looked upon to “save the season.” This was GM Sandy Alderson’s stated concern regarding Rosario, that he didn’t him seen as a “savior.” Not much chance of that now, is there? Yes, these guys are young, but a lot of times younger, hungrier players are a lot more fun to watch, with their spryer legs heightened energy levels. We can remember the excitement when Jose Reyes made his debut in a lost 2003 season and David Wright did the same in blighted 2004. I don’t know about you, but I’d be all for some better infield defense.
Summer is about diversion. It’s when you turn your brain off for more than a weekend. We all have pressure in our daily lives and here in the greater NYC area, it’s hustle-hustle-hustle, pretty much all the time. Sometimes, it’s just nice to watch the game without any implications as to the standings, playoff position or final record. A late spring training, as it were. Games that don’t really “mean” anything, other than another summer diversion. It’s nice to just take in the sights and smells, the feel of the game and let it wrap itself around you. We can admire the beauty of a nicely turned double-play, even if our team is losing 5-1. We can yell for Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto and Lucas Duda and Yoenis Cespedes as they hit balls a long way. We can thrill to Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz as they mow down hitters. We can see exactly what we have, here, in Brandon Nimmo and Wilmer Flores and T. J. Rivera. We can spend hot nights eating hot dogs and watching fireworks. We can go to the game to see a particular pitcher or an opposing superstar or just to go. We can be un-fraught. We can have the rest of our summer.
Yeah, it stinks to be in this position, but sometimes, it ain’t all bad.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.