Mets v. Cardinals, game 7. it was the bottom of the ninth, 2 outs, bases loaded. the count was 0 and 2 and the batter was known for pulling out the Big Guns this postseason-- 7 homers already in 9 playoff games. could it be 8 tonite? will The Mets go to the World Series just like so many predicted they would? could there be a better way to commemerate the 20th anniversary of the LAST time The Mets won the World Series?
there was so much build-up, so much on the line. i could hear my heart beating outside of my chest even as other fans were chugging down cheap beer and chanting 'We Believe.' my stomach was in knots; my eyes half-covered in fear and hope. this is why i'm a sports fan. for moments such as this. that camraderie you share with strangers in those moments where Your Team is on the cusp of something possibly great? you can't fake that feeling, that shit is real. when Endy Chavez made the absolute most incredible catch at the top of the 6th inning, one that will be replayed for decades to come. Chavez was super-human, leaping to what seemed like a hundred feet off the ground, to just snag a ball heading outta-the-park. even miracles don't dream up plays that good. those of us at the bar, we cheered even at the replay. i could barely breathe afterwards. you really don't fake moments like that. after it happend, i thought it was fate...that The Mets were destined to get their dream.
but alas, i was wrong, and the dream died right at that last at bat. we were down by 2, at the bottom of the ninth, at the bottom of our batting order. hope returned when we got three batters on base (2 hits, one walk) and i thought we were writing our storybook ending when Carlos Beltran came up to bat-- he of the 7 homers. but it was not meant to be. in what felt like a million years but was barely a two seconds, the 0-2 count quickly turned into a crisp strikeout, sealing the end of what had seemed to be an Amazin' season. watching the Cardinals celebrate on our home turf? watching Paul Lo Duca's blank stare, Willie Randolph's head shake? it broke my heart. what does a fan do? well, I just start counting down the days till next season. as the saying goes...there's always next year.