October 2022 was going to be a long year for New York City. It’s all set. The Mets won 101 games in the regular season and tied for first place in the National League East (however, they lost the tiebreaker to the Braves, making them officially a wild card). The Yankees won 99 games and, despite some uncertain times in September, comfortably won the AL East Division with a seven-game lead over the Blue Jays.
Both 1985 (the Mets won 98 games, the Yankees won 97 games, but neither made the playoffs in those pre-Wild Card games) and 2000 were some of the best summers of baseball I’ve ever seen around here. , when they enjoyed their only Subway Series World Series since 1956.
It must have been a time of pure and immeasurable joy.
The Mets’ postseason run lasted three days, enough time for the Padres to roll into Citi Field and beat both Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt along the way, winning two of three games. The final image was of Buck Showalter requesting San Diego pitcher Joe Musgrove, who is unlikely to be strip searched due to his questionable spin rate.
Mets fans were immediately thrown into mourning, and for many it was difficult to remember the previous 101 wins (plus the Game 2 win against the Padres).
The Yankees survived an understandable scare by the Guardians in their first playoff series, winning their final two games, but Cleveland’s Josh Naylor’s Rock the Baby after a home run off Gerrit Cole in Game 4 filled with the absurdity of nonsense.
But then the Yankees succumbed to the assault of their arch-rival the Astros. Not only did Houston beat Houston in the postseason for the fourth time in eight years, but the Yankees didn’t allow the hated former and future champions a single game. Yankees fans were alternately sad and angry in an instant. And it was difficult to remember the previous 102 victories.
It was awful for both sides of baseball’s divide. All the things baseball evokes in us when things go wrong for our team: depression, rage, jealousy (for the team still playing and the fans still cheering), regret, the whole basketball thing – is. It was outside. Mets fans and Yankees fans, who are usually only a little united, did so.
It was really bad.
And here’s the question:
Whether you’re a Mets fan or a Yankees fan, sign up for the chance to feel what you felt at the game as much as you lived through that indigestion October night. Do you have any doubts? Would you sign up for this moment? How are you feeling at the dawn of this year, as opposed to how you were feeling, or better yet, not feeling, at the end of October last year?
It’s one of the strange, inexplicable truths of sport, isn’t it? After all, the pain and the misery, even the agony of defeat, as Channel 7 used to remind us week after week, has a gruesome emptiness. It breaks the vacuum.
And that’s the prevailing feeling on both sides as this toughest baseball season comes to a merciful conclusion in New York City.
The emptiness of Queens.
The emptiness of the Bronx.
And, sure, there’s been a lot of anger on both sides this year. The anger of Mets fans was fueled by four solid months of relentless underperformance, sparking even more anger at the trade deadline as the team held a garage sale, and the final two months were interrupted by never-ending nothingness. A season of meaningful confusion. And Yankees fans are angry because the Yankees had six or seven starting pitchers bat under .220, and they let two real players hit, which prevented them from producing much offensively throughout the year. Because I couldn’t do it. Superstars Cole and Aaron Judge play with a dimension of excellence virtually all by themselves while everyone else is beloved in the vague confusion of mediocrity.
For a while it looked like both teams might end up in last place, but even though that is unlikely, this cannot be called a consolation prize. The Mets were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Friday, and the Yankees will soon follow suit, perhaps as early as Sunday. And the fact that the year will officially end with just one week left for him is nothing short of an unmitigated disaster.
October has been empty.
Happy 70th birthday to my friend Joe Benigno this week. Perhaps the Jets can treat him well and be careful not to let it fill him with excitement?
Daniel Murphy, whose quest to return to the big leagues ended a month ago, will throw out the first pitch next Friday night before the Mets-Phillies game. Somehow, it’s been eight years since Murphy accomplished the all-time Joe Hardy/Roy Hobbs feat in real life against the Dodgers and Cubs in the 2015 playoffs.
It’s been a long time since I hated something as passionately as “The Morning Show.”
Andrew Luck’s appearance after the Giants-49ers game wearing the Civil War uniform featured on his old fake Twitter account @CaptAndrewLuck was the first time he’d seen it on TV since “30 Rock” aired. It was the most interesting of all.
hit back vac
David Bryant: I have a suggestion for the Giants. All the Giants have to do is play the Duluth Eskimos.
vacuum: If you read my early edition column on Friday, you’ll know that the Giants played on a Thursday for the first time and defeated the pesky Eskimos. There were 5,000 people at the Polo Grounds, about the same crowd as the game against the 49ers in the fourth quarter.
John Covert: James Dolan: “I don’t really like owning a team.” Well, that’s unanimous!
vacuum: Sometimes the fruit that requires the least effort is the sweetest fruit.
@Ice House MB: Let’s go to the New York Novabockers!
@Mike Vac: I like to think of them as Nick Sanova, but that works too.
John Zeke: oh! HBO, disappoint you and me! “Winning Time” was a great show. Great performances by Quincy Isiah as Magic, John C. Reilly as Bass, Solomon Hughes as Kareem, and especially Adrien Brody as Reilly. Nailed it! I need more!
vacuum: Could Netflix or Hulu step in and save the day? Please?