New York Mets fans are reeling from the baseball team’s spectacular collapse, which was capped with a Sunday loss to the Florida Marlins that killed the Mets’ hopes of making the playoffs. The Mets had a seven-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the race for the National League East crown with 17 games to play—after spending nearly the entire summer in first place—but they finished the season with a dizzying string of losses.
“The grief is real,” said Verlyn Klinkenborg in The New York Times (free registration). “So are the tears.” In life, of course, there are “real” losses that make “sporting grief” feel like nothing. “Life’s true griefs will eventually make you tougher, more understanding, more tolerant, more compassionate.” But the collective “suffering” of watching the “historic collapse” of a team you love is different. “It doesn’t ask you to grow as a human being.” It just asks you to be sad.
This is why it doesn’t pay to be “a fan of any team of any sport,” said Richard Cohen in The Washington Post (free registration). “The fan is a fool, a sucker, as much a mark as a drunk who flashes cash in a bar. The fan loves the team, but the team does not love him. The team merely loves the fan's money and when the time comes, it will roll up trucks to the ballpark and take off for another city in the middle of the night. A coldhearted lover will sometimes leave a note. A team never will.”
There’s a lesson for everyone in the “biggest collapse in baseball history,” said journalist Tony Phyrillas in his blog. “Anything can happen,” in baseball, in life, in politics. Hillary Clinton might want to pay attention to the sobbing in Queens. She’s at the top of the polls, she has more money than her Democratic rivals. But can an “underdog” beat her out for the party’s presidential nomination? “Just ask the Mets.”