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Reveling in Mets' misery

Schadenfreude is one of my favorite words. It means finding joy in the displeasure of others. The etymology is German, but the embodiment and execution are distinctly Philly.



is one of my favorite words. It means finding joy in the displeasure of others. The etymology is German, but the embodiment and execution are distinctly Philly.

With that in mind, I set out yesterday to find Mets fans. I wanted to watch them squirm.

So I stumbled down to the corner sports bar near my apartment in Center City. Once there, I met Josh Mendelson, 29, and Dave Brock, 51. Both are neurologists at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Both are transplanted New Yorkers. Both are deliciously bitter Mets fans.

After introducing himself, Dave offered that he's suffered for a long time - through "players like Ron Swoboda," he said grimly. And when I asked Josh if he thought the Mets could beat the Brewers in a one-game playoff should it come to that, he didn't hesitate.

"No. Nooooo." Josh said. Then, just to make sure I understood: "God no."

That's how it went. We sat and drank and watched the Mets lose. While the Mets were busy ending their season in ignominious fashion, Josh and Dave rued the day they first rooted for the Amazin's. Among the things they said as their moods grew darker:

They decided that someone from the organization should reimburse them the full price they paid to watch the Mets on the MLB Extra Innings package.

They laughed when a Cubs fan sent Josh a text message imploring him to abandon the Mets: "You've given it all you can. It's time to switch."

They resolved to write Mets' ownership a letter that would begin "Dear Wilpons, frankly we don't know where to turn."

They agreed that Josh was right when he likened the Mets to the Eagles: "They both get your hopes up. They string you along. Then someone throws up in his helmet."

They openly considered becoming Kansas City Royals fans.

They hoped the Mets might relocate. Perhaps to Oklahoma City - because then they "wouldn't have to care."

They did a little two-man routine:

Josh: Watching the Mets is like having a patient in the ICU.

Dave: And you do everything you can for him.

Josh: Right. But in the end, he still dies.

Shortly after Scott Schoeneweis - whom Josh called Scott "Blown-Weis" - gave up a homer to Phillies castoff Wes Helms in the eighth, the two of them learned that the Brewers had beaten the Cubs. At that point, they had no doubt the Mets were finished. And they were right. Florida sent New York home for good, 4-2.

Toward the end, as everything officially collapsed, the television reminded them to purchase Shea Stadium seats, which "are on sale now."

Dave didn't miss a beat: "For what?"

Huh. Who knew Mets fans could be so much fun?

Jimmy Rollins stood in the clubhouse looking happy and ridiculous. The Phillies had just clinched their second division title in as many years - something that, two days later, is still hard to digest - and Rollins was in full party mode. He had on a too-large division champions shirt, and a division champions hat was pulled down low over his forehead. Oh, and swim goggles. Can't forget those.

For a while, Rollins wrestled with a bottle of champagne. When he finally got it open, he smiled. "I love drinking on the job," he said.

(Who doesn't? Given the state of the newspaper industry, it's practically mandatory.)

Rollins had more reason to celebrate than most. It has been a long season for the shortstop. Compared to last year, his numbers weren't that hot. Then there was the sideshow he created by throwing down with the fans.

But there he was Saturday, coming to the rescue just when everyone needed him most. The mind-blowing double play he turned with Chase Utley saved the Phillies' season, but it also saved the town from utter heart failure. It was the baseball equivalent of defibrillation.

At that moment - as Rollins resuscitated everyone - I was reminded of his importance. There's been a debate about the team's MVP this season - Ryan Howard or Brad Lidge. Pick either and you've made a fine choice. But that's a different proposition than looking forward and knowing who the MVP has to be in order for the Fightin's to avoid repeating last year's abject postseason failure.

Against the Rockies, Rollins had just two more hits than you did. That can't happen this time if the Phils want to go further.

Rollins has to get on base. He has to be who he was on Saturday - the guy with the electric paddles in his hands, ready to deliver a charge when needed. "We know there's more than just winning the division," Rollins said. "We won the division last season. Three games later, we were watching with everyone else. We don't want that to happen again."

That's a start. Let's hope the end involves more boozing on the job.

ESPN keeps running that commercial where Jose Reyes and Karl Ravech do a little rumba. That's fine. It's the only dancing New Yorkers will see this postseason. . . . If you didn't catch Tina Fey's skit about Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric, you should immediately seek it out online. Beyond funny. . . . Love the bright orange retro jerseys that the Flyers' coaches and executives wore over the weekend. . . .Dexter is back. If rooting for a serial killer is wrong, I don't want to be right.