New York Mets: It’s 11:59 but the dance was fun while it lasted

New York Mets. (Photo by Bryan Woolston/Getty Images)
New York Mets. (Photo by Bryan Woolston/Getty Images) /

The New York Mets suffered yet another late-inning defeat on Saturday. This one drilled the hole for the final nail in their 2019 coffin. It was a good run though.

Although “it ain’t over until it’s over,” the New York Mets clock is at 11:59 and 58 seconds and about to strike midnight. Yesterday in Cincinnati the “little engine that could” finally petered out on a mountain too big to climb. The Amazins late-inning loss put them 4.5 games out of the National League’s final Wild Card spot with eight games to play.

Their elimination number is now four. That means any combination of four Mets losses or Milwaukee Brewers wins mathematically puts the team in front of their television sets for the postseason.

It was a fun ride though. All season long people poked fun at General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s preseason comment that the rest of the National League East could “come and get his New York Mets. While the Braves did just that, it wasn’t an easy task for the rest of the division, or anyone else not named Los Angeles Dodgers to accomplish. Left for dead many times over this season, the team refused to kick the bucket that was placed next to their feet.

This was a team that at one point in the summer was 11 games under .500. Manager Mickey Callaway was almost a lock to get fired and an 82-year old, Phil Regan, was recycled to resurrect the pitchers when the Mets canned their pitching coaches around the midpoint of the season. To their credit, the boys in the locker room never quit. In fact, they turned their adversity into triumph.

In 1973 legendary New York Mets relief pitcher Tug McGraw told fans, “Ya gotta believe,” when that incarnation of the team made an unlikely run to the World Series. Although they didn’t say it, this year’s group of Amazins rekindled the same hope fans had all those years ago.

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Some of them had outstanding seasons. Mets ace starter Jacob deGrom eventually found the form that made him last season’s Cy Young Award winner. “Polar Bear” Pete Alonso became only the second rookie to hit 50 home runs in MLB history. With eight games left, he has a decent shot to eclipse Aaron Judge‘s record 52, set in 2017. Jeff McNeil reminded everyone that there is still an important place for someone who can hit for average in the current feast or famine culture of the game. Finally, if not for Alonso, J.D. Davis would have garnered some Rookie of the Year consideration with his combination of batting average and long ball ability.

The GM felt it too. He showed amazing faith in his team at the July 31 trade deadline. Everyone and his brother, wanted the Mets to be sellers at the deadline. Daily reports of deals sending potential free agents out of town were all the rage. While he did dump their fifth starter, at the time, Jason Vargas, BVW shocked everyone and “bought” a pitcher, Marcus Stroman, who will be part of the team’s rotation for the next few years.

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Atlanta may still be a juggernaut, but the New York Mets have shown the foundation for a contender is there. If Van Wagenen tells the world in the upcoming offseason that his team should be feared, take him at his word.