It was well over an hour after the conclusion of Game 5, and in an understandably subdued Shea Stadium clubhouse, Todd Pratt was one of a number of New York Mets still in their uniforms—physically, and at least symbolically, still standing tall. “Just a pinch,” said the backup catcher, holding his right thumb and forefinger about an eighth of an inch apart. “I think that was the difference between us and the Yankees. Their pitching was just a pinch better, their hitting was just a pinch better, their baserunning was just a pinch better, their defense was just a pinch better. No one can say they overwhelmed us, that’s for sure. I know 10 years from now, people may look at the results and see they won the World Series four games to one, but—well, they knew we were out there. We did everything we could; they were just that little bit better.”
I asked another Met who stood tall throughout the postseason, Benny Agbayani, if playing in a World Series lived up to any vision he might have dreamed of as a kid. “It didn’t seem like what I dreamed of,” said Benny. “It was more than I dreamed of. The hype, the excitement…it was a dream where you didn’t want anybody to wake you up.”
Unfortunately for them, the New York Mets were finally, albeit not so rudely (Mr. Clemens notwithstanding), awakened from their dream of a 2000 World Series Championship by the tough, determined old alarm clock called the Yankees. And somehow, it seemed appropriate that Mike Piazza’s valiant attempt at a game-tying home run off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth should fall just a pinch short. Watching the ball come down and land in Bernie Williams’s glove to end this thrilling and intense and exhausting Subway Series, one couldn’t help but notice that the clock had, literally, just struck midnight. No magic slipper, then, for manager Bobby Valentine and his (pardon the word) brave team—but no pumpkin, either. As they used to say in another part of town: Wait ’til next year.