I was still at work as Game 3 of the 2009 ALCS was about to begin in Anaheim on Monday afternoon. The first pitch was schecduled for 4:13 PM EST. The Angels were traling 2-games-to-none in the best-of-seven series after dropping two sloppily played games in frigid New York over the weekend.
But the Halos, whose 97 wins during the regular season gave them the AL West crown and a playoff berth, were back home. The sun was out, the thunderstix were slap-clapping and Pat Sajack was tucked in a hollow just behind home plate. A win would put the Angels right back in the running to face the winner of the Phillies/Dodgers NLCS. Those two teams were likely just arriving at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia as Jered Weaver readied himself to face Derek Jeter in the top of the first in Anaheim. At the time, the Phils led 2-games-to-1 but hopes of a Freeway Series were very likely much alive on the West Coast. And both L.A. teams surely must have preferred to play in the warm weather of Southern California than in chilly cities in the northeast.
But the cold-weather teams from Philadelphia and New York City had other ideas. The Phillies wanted to defend their title and bludgeon opponents in their bandbox of a home ballpark. They remembered the bad-weather games last year against the Rays and had to feel better prepared for the elements than the Dodgers. The Yankees, meanwhile, were gleefully aware of how the cold affected the Angels in Games 1 and 2 and were beginning to feel a real homefield advantage for the first time in the newest new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. And the New York Mets? They were ready, too, in the swirling winds near JFK airport. One minute before Game 3 got underway in Anaheim, at 4:12 PM EST, an email arrived in my inbox trumpeting:
After a quick check of the standings - jeez, the Mets finished 23 games back of the Phillies in the NL East and 22 games back of the Wild Card-winning Rockies - I was pretty sure of two things. First, there were likely a lot of great seats available at Citi Field during October. And the reason for this was that Jerry Manuel's Metropolitans were not playing any postseason games there.
There was much joke-making after the StubHub gaff, which apparently also sent similar emails to some Cubs fans. To their credit though, the company, much like Umpire Tim McClelland, went on to apologize for its egregious postseason error.
It took StubHub until 7:47 PM EST on Monday night to apologize but they were lucky enough to do it before the first pitch of that evening's NLCS tilt, lest Mets fans became overly confused upon seeing two other teams playing on TBS come 8 o'clock. I know that by the middle innings of the Yanks/Angels game that I had begun to seriously think I had just imagined that my favorite team had become more injury prone than Elijah Price and that in reality the Metsies were cruising to the Fall Classic. I almost tried to buy tickets. But the good people at StubHub, who have always been very useful when I've been looking to lighten my wallet by a multiple of face value for a ticket to any event (even imaginary ones) thankfully disabused me of that notion.
I don't blame StubHub at all for this. Nor do I actually think it's that big of a deal. Nope. This email comes in a distant third place when I'm comparing my most gut-wrenching haha-the-Mets-are-not-in-the-playoffs mementos. And that's because the Mets themselves have provided the top two souveniers of what coulda/shoulda been. They've provided me with my growing collection of tickets to playoff games that never took place