Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, then returned in 1985. His SportsWatch column debuted in 2005.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chillax, Mets fans.
Not that it's easy this sleepy Wednesday. It is normal to be dazed and confused, frustrated by a World Series defeat in which the closer blew his first save in three months and the captain set up the unearned losing run.
But fans and journalists since baseball was invented have overestimated the emotional impact of a devastating defeat on the next day's game -- and the next day's starting pitcher.
Best to keep in mind what suddenly mere-mortal Daniel Murphy said in the wee hours about the notion that the 14 innings made a 5-4 Game 1 loss to the Royals hurt even more:
"No, I think it would have hurt if we played it in 20 minutes or five hours. Get ready for tomorrow."
The unusual thing about baseball players is that they mean stuff like that. Most professional athletes are more resilient than we give them credit for; baseball players are more resilient than most professional athletes.
Football players stew for days after tough defeats, or at least until Wednesday. Baseball players usually are on their third game by the Wednesday after a Sunday loss.
Exhibit A: Jeurys Familia, who after giving up a tying home run to Alex Gordon in the ninth, stunning teammates as much as he did fans, calmly dined on ribs, smiled and chatted with teammates in the visitors' clubhouse.
Then he finished what appeared to be an orange soda. Then he excused himself from waiting reporters and said he would be taking a quick shower. Then he returned and said repeatedly, in two languages, "Tomorrow is a new day."
By which he meant later Wednesday, but you get the point. And he did seem to believe it.
At the risk of belaboring the point with historical references, remember that the Mets now are 0-5 in Game 1s, and twice they came back to win the Series.
In 1969, Mets ace Tom Seaver gave up a home run to Don Buford on his second pitch of Game 1 -- one pitch more than Matt Harvey lasted before giving up a homer Tuesday -- and the Orioles went on to win the game, 4-1.
The Mets then won four straight games.
In 1986, they lost Game 1, 1-0, on an unearned run caused by an error on current Mets third base coach Tim Teufel. Then they lost Game 2 to increase the degree of difficulty and yet went on to win in seven over the Red Sox.
This sort of thing doesn't always work out well, of course.
In '73 the Mets lost Game 1 thanks to an error on second baseman Felix Millan and lost the Series in seven to the A's. In 2000, they lost in 12 innings to the Yankees in Game 1, and went quietly in five games.
The point here is that there is a reason the old adage that momentum is the next day's starting pitcher is an old adage. It's because it is true.
[It usually is attributed to 1969 Orioles manager Earl Weaver, who in Game 2 watched Jerry Koosman allow two hits in 8 2/3 innings in a 2-1 Mets victory.]
We could go on. The '86 Red Sox suffered the worst World Series loss imaginable in Game 6, then came out in Game 7 and took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth before eventually losing, 8-5.
The last time a team lost in 14 innings, the 2005 Astros did lose to the White Sox the next night, but it was a 1-0 game that was scoreless after seven.
The time before that, Brooklyn had lost to pitcher Babe Ruth and the Red Sox in 14 innings in Game 2 but bounced back to take Game 3, 4-3, at Ebbets Field for its only win of the 1916 Series.
But all that is history. Did we mention the Mets' best pitcher will be on the hill Wednesday, having gone 3-0 this postseason, with all three victories coming on the road?
"I've actually enjoyed pitching on the road in the postseason," deGrom said before Game 1. "You go out there and you're getting booed and it's fun to try to silence the crowd."
Fun! It's often only a day away in baseball.