Most people stopped paying attention to the Mets a long time ago.
The flap over hats on 9/11 drew a little bit of interest, but the vast majority moved on once the team dealt Carlos Beltran and essentially waved the white flag after their surprisingly enjoyable first half of the season. Those people probably still have a little bit of a warm spot in their heart for the Mets thanks to that first half.
There are no warm spots for the rest of us who have watched the Mets play increasingly wretched baseball with every passing day. The bottom of the barrel came rushing up and hit anyone still giving their time to the Mets directly in the face on Thursday.
On a day that started summery and ended with the bite of November, the Mets lost 10-1 to the Nationals to put the finishing touches on a 1-8 homestand that eliminated any lingering hope that the team could avoid finishing under .500 on the season. The weather was fitting because the only thing you could hope for after watching the Nats score eight times in the last three innings was the end of the season.
After watching this team melt down over the last few weeks -- David Wright has eight errors in his last 10 games, just one bit of statistical shorthand to explain how bleak things are these days -- you would forgive Terry Collins if he was numb to the pain of another humiliation. The manager hasn't been able to excise himself from the suffering, though.
"Perception is reality in our game, and the perception I have right now is we've folded it up," said Collins, "And I won't stand for that. You want to see me be intense? You guys are going to see it. I won't play that game. You come and play the game right. I don't care what the situation is. I don't care about anything but playing the game correctly. That's all I care about. Our fans should be upset. I don't blame them one bit."
Collins said that the recent stretch doesn't take away the good things that happened earlier in the season. He might be right, but it certainly doesn't feel that way and certainly won't feel that way if the last two weeks play out with more of the same infuriating play by a team that looks like they've already stopped caring.
The end of a baseball season is supposed to be a time of sadness. The joys of summer have gone and are replaced by sweaters, school and the long, hard winter to come.
It is very hard to feel even bittersweet about the end of this Mets season, however. What once seemed so bright and fun has become as brutal to watch as a snuff film and, no matter what Collins says, these new horrible images are starting to block out all of the nice ones that came before.
All of you who stopped paying attention made the right decision.