The New York Mets have two primary functions as a Major League organization: 1) to play professional baseball, 2) to prepare their fanbase often on how to endure the difficulties of life.
This past weekend, the Mets lost their Wild Card series against the San Diego Padres in embarrassing fashion. First, their $43M-a-year ace got shelled for seven runs on four homers for what was his career worst postseason start and then, for their final act, the Mets got one hit in an elimination game to show their fanbase just how incredibly cruel life can actually be.
And while the once buried LOLMets mantra started to revive over the weekend’s comical series loss, the Mets did good to ensure that their fanbase left the 2022 baseball season with a bevy of hard lessons to learn, so let’s review together.
The lessons the Mets taught us that we didn't want to learn
We learned in 2022 (and 2007, 2008, 2016) that how you finish is far more important than how you start. Early success doesn’t ensure total success, even when you finish with the second most wins in franchise history.
We learned that even when you take steps in the right direction and improve your record by 24 games from the previous year, you still can’t bank on the tide changing completely because even when things are going right in Queens, they’re still most likely guaranteed to go wrong at some point.
We learned that stringing together three hits in a row is in fact not a great formula as the only way to score runs, but that three hits is much better than only getting one hit…in an elimination game…at home…regardless of what’s on the pitcher’s ear.
We learned that if you go all in during the offseason and have one of the most successful starts in franchise history, you should probably keep that same energy at the trade deadline and not settle for the likes of Tyler Naquin, Mychal Givens and…Darin Ruf.
We learned that while other franchises’ prospects hit the ground running when they get called up, that’s the exception and not the rule, so we shouldn’t hug them so tight that we miss opportunities to improve the team overall.
We learned that managing the bullpen well while you’re losing close games is just as important as managing them well when you’re winning close games.
We learned that good teams aren’t without bad stretches, but elite teams don’t have bad stretches at the wrong time.
We learned that other teams’ bottom of the lineup turn into all-stars against the Mets and Mets only
We learned that for all of its beauty, wonder and joy, baseball can be a vicious and cruel game
We learned that there’s a lot to get done this offseason, but we can be successful moving forward (right?)
And more than anything, we learned that no matter how much we grumble and complain, boil with frustration and anger, have our hearts shattered over and over one loss at a time, we’ll be right back at Citi Field next year believing that it’s “our year”.