The optimistic Mets started this season with a new slogan: “We believe in comebacks.”

The team might have to hold that thought.

With the arrival of September and about a month left in the regular season, fans are starting to face the cruel reality that their Amazin’s may be done for the year.

After a 9-2 loss at Atlanta last night, the Mets (65-67) were 12 games out of first in the NL East, and 81⁄2 games behind in the wild-card race, with six teams ahead of them.

“It’s depressing to be in this slump,” said George Cheng, a 25-year-old fan from Brooklyn. “It sucks that the team raises our hopes and lets us down.”

The Mets did in fact raise fans’ hopes this year, holding a one-game division lead on April 30. And besides an 11-1 stretch in June, the season has had more downs than ups for the team, both on and off the field.

Heartbreak, though, has become commonplace for Mets fans. The Amazin’s exited the playoffs in brutal fashion in 2006. They were eliminated on the last day of the season in both 2007 and 2008 and were out of postseason contention by mid-August last year.

“It feels natural by now,” said Sandro Lemberg, 27, of Kensington. “You go to the games, the other team hits a home run, and you know you can go to Shake Shack. I don’t recommend suicidal people go to Mets games. I think this year might be a final tipping point.”

As far as 2011 goes, don’t expect the Mets to spend big bucks on free agents, one sports blogger said.

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“After spending $65 million to watch Jason Bay hit six home runs, we’re not expecting a spending spree in the offseason,” said Tim Ryan of the Sports Hernia, a sports satire blog.

(With Robert Levin and Joseph M. Gerace)

 

Mets low points this season

1. Johan Santana accused of rape: On June 25, the Mets ace denied accusations that he raped a woman on a Florida golf course in the offseason, saying the encounter was consensual. The unidentified woman filed a civil suit against him on Aug. 11.

2. Carlos Beltran returns (and the Mets probably wish he hadn’t): Beltran played his first game on July 15 after recovering from offseason knee surgery. Beltran, who has one-year left on his seven-year, $119 million contract, was hitting just .216 going into last night with two HRs and 14 RBIs.

3. The disastrous road trip: On July 15, the Mets opened the second half of their season with an 11-game road trip that ended with a 2-9 record for the team. The (not-so) Amazin’s scored just 13 runs. It’s safe to say their playoff hopes fizzled here.

4. K-Rod goes bananas: The Mets closer allegedly assaulted his fiancee’s father on Aug. 11, which got him a two-day suspension and a thumb injury that ended his season.

5. 18-6 loss to San Diego: The Mets suffer their most embarrassing defeat of the season on May 31, as the Padres score the most runs ever at their home, Petco Park.