What IfBy: Brendan Bilko
Jose Reyes is the tying run at second as Carlos Beltran steps to the dish. Mets are down one run here in New York in the bottom of the ninth of game six. Two out. Soriano checks Reyes at second, he sets, and delivers – fastball high, ball one. I’m sure Mets fans right now have a certain 2006 at bat of Beltran’s in mind right now. I am of course referring to the Adam Wainwright curveball that caught him looking to end the National League Championship Series that year. Another look at Reyes, and the second pitch from Soriano is delivered – slider in the dirt, ball two. It was a devastating hook and one that seemingly set this organization back years.
I can’t imagine it’s on Beltran’s mind right now though Joe. This is a more important situation we have here. The World Series is for all the marbles, where as the National League Championship series only determines the winner of the National League.
Reyes takes his lead from second. Soriano at the belt, and the 2 – 0 pitch – it’s a fastball hit high and hard and to right field. Zobrist chasing back, looking up, and that ball is gone! Redemption! With one swing from Carlos Beltran the New York Mets have just become your 2010 World Champions of baseball!
This isn’t always how it happens when I think about this scenario, though in my mind Carlos usually does get the game winning hit. The point of this is almost a sort of existential exercise of mine, with the point essentially being to see how I’d feel about the situation while said situation is occurring. Does it feel good? Of course it does. It’s only during the thought process itself though that it feels good. Actually making the story up itself. Go ahead, try it.
After you make up the scenario you can go ahead with the afterthoughts. Usually those are somewhere along the lines of “no way is this possible for reasons x, y, and z” (and then back through the alphabet again). We think about how terrible Gary Matthews, Jr. is at the game of baseball and how poor Jerry Manuel is at managing it a lot. We watch games, crunch numbers, play the part of GM, and complain, complain, complain. Occasionally, it’s nice to let the mind wander for five minutes and think about what if. That’s all.