When I put on the Mets game today -- while at work -- I felt something I haven't felt the entire season: utter nervousness. The Mets dominated this year. They were only swept twice. Basically, they kicked ass.
But that season is over. The Mets division title means nothing but a ticket into the postseason. Otherwise, the record is meaningless. It's like that asshole who brags about his SAT score in college. You're in college. The SATs mean nothing any more.
It's been six years since the Metropolitans saw postseason action. I forgot how important each game becomes.
In the regular season, a ball club plays approximately 2,485 games. So if they lose a few here and there, it doesn't matter. It matters now. Losing a series now means the season is over.
I was nervous throughout the entire game. It's been a long time since I watched postseason baseball with a vested interest. Now, with the news that El Duque will not be playing in the postseason, each game that should be won HAS to be won. If the Mets squandered tonight, which they didn't (although Billy Wagner sure tried), they would have been in an ugly position. Tom Glavine takes the mound tomorrow, and since he's the best pitcher the Mets have by far, that's a must-win as well. That thought may not rattle Mr. Met, who for some reason is always smiling, but it rattles me.
This may be my first postseason in a long time, but this is the first postseason ever for John Maine, Steve Traschel (never pitched in a postseason game even though he was on a playoff team), Paul Lo Duca, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Oliver Perez, and Carlos Delgado. The possibility that they would falter under the pressure was something that made me quite anxious.
The Mets still have their lumber and they still have their bullpen. They still have a decent chance to move on in the playoffs. But now that every single game, inning, at bat and pitch counts, I'll be watching it with an extra pair of underwear nearby, because I just might end up pissing myself.