Many moments in life cause us grief. Being a New York Mets fan is one of them. What stage are you at in 2019?
New York Mets fans know their share of grief. In sports, it’s common for all fans to go through the five stages of it. The difference is someone rush through the five stages quicker than others. A team like the Baltimore Orioles were out of contention on Opening Day. Whichever team loses in the World Series may not get to the final stage until Christmas.
Mets fans have had a slow and steady journey through the five stages. Things looked good in the first two months. After another bad June and poor start to July, I think we were all at least into the second stage.
Things did turn around during the second part of July and early August. Now into September with little hope of earning a playoff berth, Mets fans are nearing the final stage if they haven’t already gotten there.
To all Mets fans out there, I want to know which stage you’re at.
The first stage of grief is denial. You can’t believe what you’re seeing. For most following the Mets this year, it happened in June. The team had a historically bad month of June in 2018 and followed it up with a nearly equally as bad one in 2019.
One bad month shouldn’t define a team’s season. However, for the 2019 squad, it nearly buried them.
I think many sports fans go from denial to anger pretty fast. You’re angry you’ve invested any time into this franchise. You can’t believe Edwin Diaz is this bad. How dare Robinson Cano make a single out!
Anger is sometimes irrational. This year’s anger stage for a lot of Mets fans happened in early July. At around 81 games played, the chances of them playing meaningful baseball into September seemed unlikely.
When looking at the stages of grief, bargaining seems to me like a last-ditch effort to find some optimism. Fortunately, there was a reason for it with this Mets club. They played really well in late July and into August. Suddenly, a Wild Card berth was within reach.
Internally, we bargained with how meaningful games are all that matter. Whether the Mets win a championship or not, as long as 162 of their regular-season games matter, we’ll be satisfied. Well, it’s not looking like all 162 will serve a purpose.
On the plus side, some may have bargained with themselves in a slightly different way. If you’re someone who has said to yourself “at least we have a good young core” then I don’t think you’re alone.
The Mets and depression are a package deal. Sports fandom and melancholy go together like a hot dog at the ballpark.
If you’re rooting for the Mets and haven’t yet reached the depression stage of grief, I applaud your optimism. Sometimes, until the games are over, we don’t actually feel that sadness. While others may already have gone through it and have reached the final point of grieving, some are still bargaining.
Finally, there’s acceptance. A large portion of Mets fans are there already. They’ve accepted an ill-fated 2019 campaign. Others will not count this team out until they are mathematically eliminated.
Accepting your team is dead in the standings is tough to do. This season, we’ve all probably thought we reached accepted for than a few times. Like most, you probably got sucked in again around the team the Mets were putting it all together in early August.
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I don’t think the majority of Mets fans will get to acceptance until the playoffs start and the voices of Gary, Keith, Ron, Howie, and everyone else we adore hearing call games are not there. Unlike grieving about other things in life—such as life itself—we get to repeat the process all over again in 2020.