Rich MacLeod: I’m excited for Game Five, but I’m not ready for this to end…
It all comes down to this.
Mets vs. Dodgers. Game Five of the NLDS. Win or go home.
By all accounts it’s been an incredible season for the New York Mets. Prior to the start of the year, I thought they had the chance to contend for a Wild Card spot if everything went right.
But never did I expect this.
After nine incredibly long and difficult seasons, the Mets finally made their return to postseason baseball. They took advantage of a dysfunctional, albeit talented Washington Nationals team, went for it at the trade deadline and won the National League East when nobody expected them to.
Now, it all comes down to one single game. That’s what makes this so gut wrenching.
Ever since the Mets fell in Game Four thanks to a predictably valiant effort by Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, and specifically ever since I woke up this morning, I’ve been nervous.
I can’t help it.
Am I excited about the prospect of the Mets going back to Hollywood, beating Cy Young favorite Zack Greinke and writing yet another chapter of this incredible story that’s been the 2015 season?
But in a do-or-die, winner-take-all game, you never know what’s going to happen.
It took the Mets so long just to get back to this point and, as the post-2006 team has proven, you never know how long it’ll be until you get back.
There are no guarantees in baseball, or in life for that matter.
Sandy Alderson and company did a phenomenal job at the trade deadline this past July, acquiring Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Tyler Clippard and Yoenis Cespedes–all of whom were integral parts of this team being where they are today. Once this season ends, however, odds are that none of them will be back next season.
There’s a chance this could be a very different team in 2016.
While the nerves continue to build as first pitch draws near, to the core of me, I remain a Mets fan.
I don’t know if I’m nervous simply because its a playoff game and a do-or-die situation, or if I’m nervous because I am worried it may be another nine years before the Mets are back in a similar spot.
For me and most people, getting to the playoffs feels so unusual and like such a special treat.
And like any kid, I am indeed afraid it may be a while before I get to enjoy this treat again, even though the foundation is certainly laid for years of success beyond 2015.
Nine long years like those we have endured as fans have conditioned me to think like this, I suppose.
I believe… Partly because I have to.
The 2015 season has offered me an amazing and emotional ride, but I’m not ready for that to end.