By David Rubin
Well, this is going to be even harder than I thought, in light of yesterday's elimination. Going back in time to describe my last visit to Shea some 16 days ago was, I thought, going to be a great way to say good-bye to the regular season, and give me enough to write about while waiting for the first play-off game on Wednesday vs. the Cubs...and now, it's a real coda to the season, to this team and to this website. I'll explain each in greater detail.
My friends Mark and Danny joined us for the double-header, and we got there 2 hours before game time, enough time to browse the depleted racks of the team store and grab the first of 3 ballpark meals of the day. And by depleted, I mean "filled with Castillo and Perez and Wagner and Wright/Reyes stuff" with no Santana or Pedro or Delgado or Pelfrey or even Church stuff to be found. Thankfully, we had hit a Modell's prior to the game, so we restocked our t-shirt collections sufficiently enough to call the trip a success (on that front, at least.)
The memories would remain in our head, but IF we could start the 2009 season fresh, in state-of-the-art facilities, in a first class ballpark, for once, perhaps we could indeed hope for a better tomorrow! And yet, walking out of Shea nearly 9 hours after our arrival, we couldn't help but shed tears, as we realized what being a Mets' fan really is about - dealing with the myriad disappointments, with just enough incredible seasons sprinkled throughout our history to give us hopes each and every season...and that's what it's about, folks- HOPE!!! Otherwise, why buy the merchandise? The tickets? Give up doing other things when the game is on? Buying the bigger screen tv? Sweating and hurting with every loss? It's all because of that deadly, 4-letter word that brightens the shores of Mets' fans everywhere, come February...HOPE!! You feel it in spring training, when all teams are tied for first, where the next Dwight Gooden might show himself, or where the "next great free agent signing" debuts to thunderous applause, making it that much harder for him when the first regular-season boos are heard when he strikes out three times in a game or gets taken deep for a homer to lose a game.