Sept. 28, 2008 — The Mets collapse: The sequel. No Hollywood script could have been better.
Shea was rocking as fans came not only to say goodbye today but to see the Mets clinch a playoff spot and win it all at Shea in its final days.
Doomed by a dreadful bullpen that failed them again, the New York Mets completed their second consecutive September slide with a 4-2 loss to the Florida Marlins that knocked them out of playoff contention in the final game at Shea Stadium.
Scott Schoeneweis and Luis Ayala served up back-to-back homers in the eighth inning that put the pesky Marlins ahead, and New York (89-73) lost out to Milwaukee (90-72) for the National League wild card on the last day of the season.
What followed was a typical Wilpon-orchestrated moment not carefully planned out at Shea.
The Mets brought in former greats from Tom Seaver and Willie Mays to Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry for closing festivities that felt more like a funeral than a party.
Still, a vast majority of fans stayed in their seats and cheered their old favorites during a ceremony that lasted nearly an hour in the rain.
“It would have been better if we would have won today, but I don’t think it spoils the celebration,” general manager Omar Minaya said. “What’s going on out there, it’s about the history of this building, the history of the players, the history of this organization.”
As New York was losing to Florida, the Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1, earning the league’s last postseason spot. After filing into the clubhouse, several Mets started cleaning out their lockers and saying goodbyes, with another bitter winter ahead.
It was eerily similar to the previous year, when New York lost at home to Florida on the final day of season, ending its playoff hopes.
That defeat finished one of baseball’s biggest meltdowns—the Mets had led the NL East by seven games with 17 to play before they went 5-12 down the stretch.
This time, they held first place by a season-high 3-1/2 games with 17 remaining before going 7-10 the rest of the way.
Excluding the 1981 split season, the Mets became the first team in major-league history to hold 3-1/2 -game division leads in consecutive Septembers and fail to make the postseason both times, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Missing injured closer Billy Wagner for the final two months, the Mets finished the season with 29 blown saves, including 16 after the All-Star break—most in the National League, according to Elias.
Starting pitcher Oliver Perez was “Bad Ollie” on this day, lasting five-plus innings and surrendering two runs a day after a brilliant performance by starter Johan Santana.
With the Mets trailing 2-0, pinch hitter Robinson Cancel drew a leadoff walk off Florida starter Scott Olsen in the sixth. One out later, Carlos Beltran hit his 27th homer and sent the sellout crowd of 56,059 into a frenzy.
With two outs and a runner on second in the seventh, Jorge Cantu hit a shot to left that appeared to be headed over Endy Chavez’s head until he raced back and reached up to make a difficult catch on the run— a repeat of his heroics from two years earlier. Maybe this time the Mets’ fortunes would be different.
The Mets threatened in the eighth inning as Jose Reyes doubled off dead-armed Marlins reliever Kevin Gregg and Beltran walked, bringing Carlos Delgado to the plate.
Marlins manager Jack McKeon countered with lefty Arthur Rhodes, who got Delgado to fly out to deep left-center field to hush the Flushing faithful.
The Mets finished 1,859-1,713 at Shea, according to Elias.