“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart.”

No one can better grasp the meaning of Bart Giamatti’s famous description of baseball than a Mets fan watching his team play the Yankees.

In the series opener, the over-rested no-hit hero Johan Santana had no change-up and was torched for 4 HRs, including 3 in a row, starting with Robinson Cano‘s deja vu first-pitch 2-run bomb, while Hiroki Kuroda (1-5, 5.75 ERA in 7 prior starts vs. NYM) utterly baffled them for 7 scoreless innings.

In game 2, the Mets led 2-1 in the 6th until Dillon Gee tried to bury a curve under Mark Teixeira for the 2nd time in an AB. Hang ’em and bang ’em, as Keith Hernandez says. The Mets threatened in the 7th and 9th, but couldn’t cash.

In game 3, they led 3-0 since the 2nd — could’ve been more, but Jason Bay (0-11 since his return) whiffed with the bases full and 1 out, and David Wright followed suit. With 2 gone in the 7th, Wright bounced a routine throw to first, and Vinny Rottino couldn’t pick it. Russell Martin — allowed to face Jon Niese even though he was hitting .333/1.017 against lefties and .175/.633 against righties — made them pay, planting one atop the RF wall, just beyond Scott Hairston‘s glove. A textbook Yankee Stadium cheapie, yes, but the field plays the same for both teams.

They still led by a run in the 8th, but no Mets fan could have felt confident with this bullpen, this park, this opponent. Derek Jeter led off with a roller to short, do-or-die for a charging Omar Quintanilla; he whiffed, and when the ball trickled into no-man’s land, Jeter hustled into second. Curtis Granderson flicked one into left to put men on the corners. With Teixeira up, they positioned for the DP instead of doing the shift, and Teix grounded one through the middle for the tying run, as Grandy scooted to 3rd. Bobby Parnell got 2 strikes on A-Rod, who didn’t have a go-ahead RBI in the 7th or later in more than a calendar year, but couldn’t put him away. His mile-high pop to shallow right seemed like an easy out, but Hairston, starting from the warning track and not blessed with speed, couldn’t get there, and it fell for the go-ahead hit.

OK, it wasn’t Luis Castillo dropping a last-out pop fly to turn victory into defeat. It still hurts.

There are times I wish I could quit on this team. I tried for 2 months to have no expectations, no aspirations. But they hooked me with “No-han” — even though I know as well as anyone that a no-hitter is ultimately meaningless.

But they just can’t hold a lead; their 13 blown saves is the most in MLB. They don’t give up, it’s true — Lucas Duda and then (who’d’a thunk?) Ike Davis opened the 9th with doubles, tying the game (Soriano‘s first blown save). But that just creates more chances for agita, like Davis making the 1st out at 3rd on a grounder to SS (it wasn’t a bad play, really, just one of those blasted things), or Josh Thole getting ahead 2-0 with the go-ahead run on 3rd and 1 out, then taking a called strike 3, or Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.191 vs. LHPs) having to bat against Boone Logan because we have no bench. So now we’re all set up for a Yankees walk-off….

… and Jon Rauch gets it done straight away, serving it up to Martin (his first game-winning hit in 5 years), taking his 6th loss in his last 14 games (11 runs, 21 hits in 12 IP) along with the Mets’ 6th loss in 7, half of them give-aways.

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart.

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37 Comments on "“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart.”"

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Gregory Lynn
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“No one can better grasp the meaning of Bart Giamatti’s famous description of baseball than a Mets fan watching his team play the Yankees.”

Clearly, you’re not from Boston.

Hub Kid
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Speaking as a Red Sox fan, I would like to postulate that both the Mets (same city) and Red Sox (same league, division, same age) are in part the “natural rivals” of the Yankees (partly ignoring the phrase’s use as part of the vocabulary of interleague play). And seasons like this (and 2010 and 2011) are reminding Red Sox fans of what it really is to be a Red Sox fan. A few more likeable players would be nice (just one workhorse pitcher, just one!). The Mets seem to have a wealth of likeable players now, at least. I don’t… Read more »
e pluribus munu
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Some teams are better than others at guiding their fans in character building experiences. Reading John’s post, I thought about Cubs fans and long suffering people in Pittsburgh and Kansas City (only one group suffering at the moment), people being steeled for a higher destiny, no doubt. The Yankees have a noble tradition of improving the moral fibre of their opponents’ fans. I think that for many Mets fans in New York, the difference between them and the good folks in Boston is that Sox rooters don’t have to spend the next day surrounded by Yankee fans anticipating grateful acknowledgment… Read more »
Hartvig
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On a positive note, at least the Mets are still 4 games over .500. Our Tigers are still 5 games under and I’m not seeing a lot of reason to be optimistic. Most of the guys that I thought were going to hit or pitch well are, plus a couple that have surprised me. Most of the guys I didn’t think were going to hit or pitch well aren’t and I don’t hold out a lot of hope that that’s going to change or that someone will be coming in to replace them.

I’m feeling a little pessimistic this evening.

MikeD
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True. It works both ways, though, for those of us who have been in NY for a while. Mets fans were quite good at dishing it out during the 1980s, and in fact when I first arrived back in city in the earlier 70s as a kid. They still are. They just had more to work with when the Mets were really good. And they will again when the Mets are once again good. I have no doubt that Alderson and company will put a top product on the field within the next few year. Kind of amazed what they’ve… Read more »
MikeD
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This was supposed to be in reply to note #2 from E Pluribus Munu, althoug I guess it can hang on its own!

e pluribus munu
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You’re certainly right, Mike D. (and Mike L., New Yorkers both, it seems). These things work in rhythms, and during the rare times when Mets fans have been kings of the hill, relatively speaking, I’m sure they exhibited the moral weaknesses common among winning fans (I’d packed up my own and carried them to other cities by then). I grew up in ’50s-’60s Manhattan and the dynamic was unusual: passionate Yankee fans were scarce among the young people I knew – with few exceptions, a bad year for the Yankees had become occasionally losing a 7-game Series, and I guess… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
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The Yankees could fail to win a World Series (or even be in one) for the next 25 years, and their fans would have little or no reason to kvetch and moan about their team’s lack of success.

I believe the cliche back then was:
“Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel” (nowadays would that be Microsoft?).

I’d say the same thing about Packers/ Celtics/ Lakers/ Canadians fans, too (amongst others).

Let the other teams have a chance, it’s good for that sport.

MikeD
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Depends upon your age. When the Yankees won in 2009, I think it was ESPN who did a tongue-in-cheek story on “long-suffering” Yankee fans who hadn’t seen their team in the World Series in eight years. The story was funny because it was serious. They interviewed a bunch of 8 to 10-year-olds who had no memory of the Yankees winning a World Series. As adults we find this all kind of funny, yet we remember being kids ourselves. This is all serious stuff! I can identify. When I moved into New York, I followed by the Yankees and Mets, and… Read more »
e pluribus munu
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I hate it when there are two sides to the story! No, you’re perfectly right about Mets management, Mike D, and the horror of the Seaver trade. Your personal journey to Yankee fandom illuminates a window of post-1920 baseball experience. I was struck by your comment that MLB screwed the NL fans in New York. Others can probably offer more insight, but I don’t think there really was any “MLB” in ’57 – not in the sense we mean it now. The eight NL league owners were their own cartel; the commissioner was a cipher in the pocket of the… Read more »
MikeD
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E pluribus munu, I knew I was writing more from emotion when I said MLB and the city screwed over NL fans in New York. In reality, Moses was the king maker, and MLB as an entity was very different in those days than today. Taking it a step further, the move of the Giants and the Dodgers out west actually greatly increased the popularity of the game. I just can’t imagine what it must have been like to be a fan of those teams, and to wake up and realize your favorite teams packed up and headed to California,… Read more »
brp
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The Packers were terrible almost every year from 1969 to 1991… and have only won 2 championships in 45 years. So they’re not quite the Yankees.

Also, us Packer fans aren’t enormous jackasses.

Mike L
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About a third of all New Yorkers were born in another country (yes, I know most Americans would say we were all born in another country). About 40% of the kids in the public school system speak a language other than English at home, and the DOE translates documents into 14 primary languages. We aren’t Iowa (for better and worse). We are broadly tolerant (in a grumbling way, when the taxi driver seems to think the Upper West Side is located in Staten Island) of other cultures here, with exceptions-my people are not too enthusiastic about those with too much… Read more »
nightfly
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Our 17-year cycle should have put the Mets in the winner’s circle in 2003. If the team skipped a cosmic groove, that puts things up to 2020 – so I will gladly accept 2013 instead. 🙂

Mike L
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Nightfly, very good point. My entire cosmic sensibility was thrown off by the fact that in 2003 the Mets had Steve Trachsel as their ace. So much time passed between pitches that I’m afraid it may be 34 years. Sorry.

tag
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The only time frame that applies to us Cub fans is geological. Or evolutional. The Cubs will win the Series when Cub pitchers evolve third arms.

But who cares? I played basketball to win. I cheer for the Cubs because if you grew up going to Wrigley Field in the 1960s and ’70s, despite all the losing, you got spoiled. (Though for a while Bill Veeck’s Rent-A-Team White Sox and old Comiskey Park gave the Cubs a run for their money in what it meant to attend a ballgame.)

Jason Z
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“Meet the Met’s, greet the Met’s. Step right up and “beat” the Met’s. Bring the kiddies, bring the wife, guarnateed to have the time of your life.

“Cause the Met’s are really socking the ball, hitting the home runs over the
wall. East side, West side, everybody’s coming down. To meet the M-E-T-S
Met’s of New York High.”

Now stay tuned for Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy on WOR.

Tmckelv
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I was always fascinated by how diametrically opposed the Mets and Yankees success was for the first forty years of the Mets. 1962 thru 1964 – Yanks in 3 WS / Mets had 3 of the worst seasons in MLB History 1965 thru 1975 – Yanks fall to bottom of AL / Mets in 2 WS 1976 thru 1983 – Yanks in 4 WS / Mets sting together a buch of 90 loss seasons*** 1984 thru 1992 – Yanks 0 playoffs / Mets Win 1 WS and get to game 7 of another NLCS 1993 thru 1998 – Yanks start… Read more »
Jason Z
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I grew up with those Mets teams too. Same years as your wife.

They were terrible, and after June 15, 1977 it felt hopeless, but
you had to watch. It was like a train wreck, you couldn’t take your
eyes away.

I was so glad that they bought Mazzilli back in 86.

Remember those basket catches he made?

MikeSimpleton
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The Yanks had about 6 All Stars on the field at any given time. The Mets have a lineup with multiple guys hitting under .225. What’s wrong with this picture?

Lawrence Azrin
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#17/ Mike D – Sorry, but I’m still not feeling any sympathy whatsoever for young Yankees fans of any era, except the tiniest bit for those who started following them in the mid/late 60s. I understand what the mindset is when you are just starting out following a team, but it’s simply _not good_ for one or two teams to dominate a sport over an extended period of time (see: MLB and the Yankees from 1947-1964).

The experience of being a fan is somewhat irrational, so it’s kind of contradictory to explain emotional responses logically.

MikeD
Guest

…but Lawrence, you don’t have to feel sympathy. Be thee Yankee fan or Yankee hater, fandom is a sea of irrationality.

Phil
Guest

Hey, I’m a Yankee fan. I grew up with Horace Clarke and Jerry Kenney.

But I what I want to say is your entry was beautifully written. Very well done. I visited some previous posts and thought the same thing. You’re a really good writer.

I think the key to Game #3 was that 3-run Met inning that still had the bases jammed, 1 out, and Bay and Wright coming up. Just a sac fly by Bay would have made the difference.

Paul E
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…and I’m sure all you gentleman double your grief by occasionally wagering on yourr favorite teams?

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