If you’re a Mets fan, is this what you felt in the hours after the team’s weekend sweep in Atlanta?
Shock. Then anger. Then sadness.
Then renewed hope.
With apologies to the five stages of grief, this could be called the five stages of being a Mets fan, especially after last weekend’s failures at Truist Park.
The hope stems from the fact that no matter what happened in Atlanta, the Mets are in the playoffs, and anything can happen in October.
But the Mets will not go in as champions of the NL East.
At 9:50 p.m. on Tuesday, the Mets learned their postseason fate when Atlanta clinched the East with a 2-1 victory over the Marlins in Miami.
The Mets will host a new-fangled three-game wild card series against either the Padres beginning Friday. All three potential games will be at Citi Field.
If the Mets take that series, next up is the top-seeded Dodgers in the five-game NLDS.
The NL East was still in play after the Mets beat the Nationals, 4-2, in the first game of a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon.
And the Mets certainly looked as if they wanted to go down fighting when they opened Game 2 with consecutive home runs from Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil to boot up a seven-run first inning.
Seven runs? That sounds painfully familiar. It’s the same number of runs the Mets scored in their three-game wipeout in Atlanta.
The Mets left Atlanta on Sunday night knowing the only way they could win the division was to beat the Nationals three times and hope Atlanta lost to the Marlins three times.
Going into Monday’s games, the Mets had a 2% chance of that happening, according to FanGraphs.
The Mets were rained out Monday. Atlanta lost to the Marlins. The Mets’ chances of winning the East increased.
Admit it: You saw the Atlanta score, you thought, “Well, maybe it could happen.”
The Mets must have felt the same way, judging by the raucous clubhouse atmosphere before Game 1 of Tuesday’s twin bill.
The players were joyfully making use of their clubhouse pool table. Yes, they have a clubhouse pool table. It’s right behind their clubhouse Ping-Pong table, the latter a favorite of Jacob deGrom.
There was laughter and attempted corner shots and good-natured ribbing. Any leftover bad feelings from the Atlanta series had apparently been washed away by Monday’s rain and a good night’s sleep.
Or, perhaps, the Mets accepted that the division crown was out of their hands (after being 100% in their hands going into Atlanta). Perhaps they had emotionally moved on to the task of trying to sweep the Nationals to keep that tiny glimmer of NL East hope alive.
Manager Buck Showalter was not about to concede that the impossible couldn’t be done, not with the Mets starting Tuesday mathematically alive.
A lot of the early conversation before Game 1 was about the weather. You know what they say about the weather: everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it (that’s a Mark Twain quote that may or may not have been said by Mark Twain).
Anyway, Showalter asked Howie Rose if he had ever heard of a weather app called “Dark Cloud.”
“Sounds like a website for Mets fans,” NY Post Mets beat writer Mike Puma joked.
“What drives that?” Showalter asked, referring to the supposed “sky-is-falling” nature of Mets fans. “What drives that mentality?”
Then Showalter answered his own question with: “It’s on us. Play better, right? We don’t need anybody else.”
Actually, that was true going into the Atlanta weekend, when the Mets needed to win just one of three to have an excellent chance of clinching the division at home this week.
And it’s true now in the postseason. Just win, baby, and the Atlanta series is wiped from memory.
On Tuesday, the Mets had just concluded the fourth inning of their eventual 100th victory (by a score of 8-0) in the nightcap when the Atlanta game went final.
Take a moment to wallow in what might have been if you need to. Then get ready for Friday, when hope begins anew at Citi Field. That’s what being a Mets fan is all about.