ANDREA SEABROOK, host:
Today is the last day of the season for Major League Baseball. Okay, at least it was suppose to be. There will be one more game tomorrow to determine the final playoff spot in the National League. But another down to the wire race was decided today. And New York Mets fans, we regret to inform you that what looked like a sure thing postseason appearance a few weeks ago, now is officially one of the worse flameouts in baseball history.
Joining me now with the New York postmortem is NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman.
TOM GOLDMAN: Hi, Andrea.
SEABROOK: So the Mets were cruising to division title in the middle of this month and today, the Philadelphia Phillies won that title and the Mets are out of the playoffs. What happened?
GOLDMAN: They had identical records going into the day. The Phillies won, the Mets lost. And so the results mean New York misses by a game. But how this all happened is the real story.
As you mentioned, the Mets were cruising with a seven game lead in mid-September and then they started this free fall. They pulled out of it briefly yesterday with a huge win over Florida. They appeared to have turned things around. Then today, they had their future Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine on the mound. Last month, he became only the 23rd pitcher in history to win 300 career games. So it was this perfect setup for locking up the playoffs spot and then Glavine went out and had one of the worst performances of his amazing 21-year career. And, Andrea, his performance lasted an inning. He gave up seven runs, he had a throwing error, he hit the floor to pitcher with the bases loaded forcing in a run. It was just quick and awful and it really symbolize the implosion by the Mets over the past three weeks. They really never had a chance today.
SEABROOK: So just how bad was this meltdown?
GOLDMAN: Bad. It's being likened to probably the worst collapse in history. The 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, ironically. They led the National League. There were only two divisions then. They led it on September 20th by six and a half games, then they lost 10 games in a row, finished second out of the post season.
Now the Mets have been a very good team in recent years, but this will remind fans of the bumbling, stumbling New York Mets of the early 1960s, probably.
SEABROOK: Okay, so, Tom, there's one more game left. What happened?
GOLDMAN: Yeah. Just in case you didn't get enough with this regular season - 162 games worth - the San Diego Padres lost. The Colorado Rockies won. Now, this forces a tiebreaker game tomorrow between those two for the National League wild cards spot. San Diego only needed to win one of its last tow games to clinch a post-season spot but they lost both. And the Padres really are starting to look jinx. This past week they lost their best hitters in a freak injury. Hot-tempered Milton Bradley was arguing with an umpire. The San Diego manager tried to pull him away and in the process Bradley tore a ligament in his knee ending the season.
The Rockies on the other hand seemed a bit charmed. Their late season surge put them in contention. They've got a great player, Matt Holliday, who's playing very well. And now they'll host this tiebreaker game and have the home field advantage as they try to get into the playoffs fir the first time since 1995.
SEABROOK: And so, Tom, really quickly, with such excitement on these last few days of the season, it seems like baseball is actually doing pretty well despite all the bad news we always hear about drugs and steroid.
GOLDMAN: Yeah, it does. You know, we just heard about a week ago that baseball, for the fourth year in a row, had set a new all-time attendance record. So baseball officials are crowing about that.
You know, fans seemed to care a bit about the doping thing but, you know, they still keep showing up. They still keep watching on TV and they still keep cheering.
SEABROOK: NPR's sports correspondent Tom Goldman. Thanks so much, Tom.
GOLDMAN: You're welcome.
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