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Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The Fall Classic
The last moment of pure joy I experienced as a Met fan was in 2006, when Endy Chavez literally, if temporarily, snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a spectacular catch, leaping above the fence and snagging what would have been a tie-breaking 2-run homer in the 6th inning of Game 7 of the NLCS against the Cardinals. Three innings later, in the top of the 9th, Yadier Molina hit a ball out of Chavez's reach for a two-run home run, putting the Cards ahead 3-1. In the bottom of the inning, with the bases loaded, Carlos Beltran looked at strike three with his bat on his shoulders to end the game and end the Mets' season. It has been frustration and heartbreak ever since, and this year, like its last several predecessors, was devastating. Remarkably, though, every year after the regular season is over, I take a few days to shake off the bitterness of the Mets' failures and get excited for October baseball. Cue the Ken Burns' music: Playoff games seem to encapsulate a season's worth of drama into a few short weeks. Each team that has gotten this far has its own uplifting story and appears to be the team of destiny. We get to know the personalities of the players and see rivalries develop as the same teams play each several games in a row. Every game, every inning and every pitch is pivotal. We are treated to legendary victories and tragic failures in each series, culminating in the Fall Classic itself. While I can't help but be reminded that my team is once again not a team of destiny but of ignominy, I easily find players and teams to root for and to root against, and I lose myself in the drama. Ken Burns' music fades. When the Series is over, I will begin obsessing about who the Mets new general manager and field manager will be and what off-season moves should be made to improve the club. But until then, Go Giants!