Who Wants It Least?

I have to imagine there’s a lot of trichotillomania going on amongst baseball fans in the cities of Atlanta and Philadelphia right about now.

I mean, here are the Mets, who started this swoony June 4.5 games in front of the Braves and not much more in front of the Phillies, and have been standing around on a street corner all month more or less screaming, “Please! Someone relieve us of the terrible burden of being in first place! Anybody! Doesn’t anybody else want to be on top for a while? Our hands are hurting!” And nobody wants it.

The most the Mets have been able to give away is a total of three games, and now sit 1.5 games in front of Atlanta and two full games in front of Philadelphia. It’s like that song “The Cat Came Back.” They’ve tried and they’ve tried to give that lead away, alternately refusing to score or prevent runs in ways we couldn’t have dreamed possible even a month ago. But even winning just 4 games all month against 14 losses and being outscored 100-60, they still remain on top, although in the potentially awful position of not even qualifying for a wild-card berth if they do fall out of first place.

All this made me think of that ridiculous The Secret book and video (no, I’m not linking it, it’s already had enough hype, thanks) that made the media rounds not long ago, the one that says Success Is All In Our Heads. If you want to be thin, rich, beautiful, healthy, and always a winner, you need only clap hard enough and believe — what you’ve been given by fate or genetics means virtually zilch. Which made me wonder, of course: What if all sports teams ingested this? Would anybody ever lose?

This all seems perfectly silly on its face. It would appear to be better for one’s sanity, it seems to me, not to believe you have 100% control of everything that happens to you, to understand that other people exist besides you and they have needs and energies of their own, that nobody can do everything or be everything to everyone, and that life tends to go in cycles and has a certain randomness. Because, as intoxicating as believing in your own omnipotence might be, eventually you will run into evidence that contradicts it. Some will run into it sooner rather than later. But run into it, they will.

There is not a huge difference in the talent level of the Boston Red Sox and that of the Texas Rangers — even the “lousiest” player on the “worst” team is still a major league player, with physical gifts you or I or even most minor leaguers can never dream of. This is why no teams go 162-0 or 0-162, or even close to that. The talent level is only marginally higher on the “best” teams. People know this. This is why you hear so many theories of “team chemistry” and “wanting it badly enough.” Even David Wright fell into that trap, stating on the eve of Game 7 of last year’s NLCS that the winner of that game “would be about heart and who wants it more.”

I wonder now how The David felt about his own woeful performance in that NLCS and the Mets losing that fateful Game 7, and whether he would make that statement again. Did he suddenly stop “wanting it” somewhere between his apartment and the locker room? Hard to imagine. If anything, wanting it too much might have thrown The David’s game. That’s what’s called “getting tight.” But isn’t it possible that even with the perfect attitude, they still might have lost, just because…somebody has to?

Even now, I see Mets fans saying, “The team doesn’t care anymore.” Look, I understand the frustration, but sorry, that is nutsycuckoo. How could they stop caring over the course of less than three weeks? Yeah, maybe their play has been a little lacking in the energy department, but that’s what happens when you lose 14 out of 18, you start dragging your butts around a little more. You would too, believe me.

What do I think the difference is between this year’s team and last year’s? Simple. The middle relief isn’t as good.

The Game Improves So Much When You Can’t Hear or See It

How Bad Is It?

Son of Ow, Ow, Ow

Ow, Ow, Ow