Where have you gone, Timmy Trumpet?
And what about Atlanta and Philadelphia, the Yankees and the Dodgers, and all that other late-summer juice that flowed in and around the Mets?
They’re outta here, to quote a certain local play-by-play man, leaving a remaining schedule riddled with baseball incompetence.
That does not guarantee anything, of course, and the Mets will have to stay motivated and healthy to make this month work for them.
They were reminded of that on Saturday night in a 7-1 loss to the Nationals at Citi Field that featured an embarrassing mess of a five-run ninth inning and was exacerbated by a health scare from Max Scherzer. He left after five innings feeling fatigue in his left side, a decision he later said was precautionary and not a source of great concern. “Better to be safe than sorry in this scenario,” he said.
So instead of Scherzer getting his 200th career victory, Nationals starter Patrick Corbin got his second win in a row to improve his season record to . . . 6-17?
That sounds more like the record of a 1962 Mets starter such as Roger Craig, Jay Hook, Al Jackson or Bob Miller, not a starting pitcher in 2022.
So yes, the Nationals still are terrible. As are the Pirates, the Mets’ next opponent. As are the Marlins, the Mets’ opponent after that. As are the Cubs, the Mets’ opponent after that. Then they play the Pirates again.
The Mets’ next opponent that currently has a winning record is the Brewers, whom they will play on Sept. 19 — by which time the Giants and Jets already will be two weeks into their 2022 seasons.
Then the Mets will play the lowly Athletics.
But they have nothing to apologize for.
They have played the teams they were told to play, won far more often than not and now are allowed to face what SNY analyst Keith Hernandez often calls “the second division,” a phrase out of the pre-divisional era that certainly fits these teams.
So while the two local football teams seek to improve upon their ineptness of the past decade and the other local baseball team seeks to improve upon its ineptness of the past month, the Mets can do their work in relative peace.
Peace, but not obscurity. Mets fans have been waiting for a season and team like this, and they will be fully engaged, as they should be.
The Mets could beat up on the Amarillo Sod Poodles, for all anyone cares, as long as the net result is a division title and a deep playoff run.
Several things will help keep things interesting for fans in the final few weeks of the regular season regardless of how uninteresting the opponents are:
1. The defending World Series champs from Atlanta refuse to go quietly. After the Mets lost, Atlanta beat Miami and now is two games behind. And Atlanta’s schedule is not all that scary, either.
2. There is plenty left to keep an eye on for fans down the stretch, by far the most important of those things being the ongoing health of Jacob deGrom and Scherzer.
3. It’s baseball, Suzyn, and at least once every three days, the worst teams beat the best, as we saw on Saturday.
Perhaps the best thing the Mets have going for them in this situation is manager Buck Showalter, who seems highly unlikely to let things slip away as he seeks to steer his late-career dream team into late October.
But again: It’s baseball. Stuff happens.
In 2007, the Mets lost the NL East by blowing a seven-game lead with 17 games left, even though 13 of their final 14 games were against the two worst teams in the division that season — the Nationals and Marlins.
The Nationals have come full circle since then, winning the World Series in 2019, losing 97 games in 2021 and now trying to make life difficult for the Mets again.
It is unlikely the Mets will make that mistake again. Sunday would be a good day to start proving that.