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With Major League Baseball deep in the throes of its annual stretch run, many teams are positioning to achieve a playoff berth. Meanwhile, the New York Mets, baseball’s most lovable losers, are determined to outdo their late season collapses of the past two seasons by finishing in last place in the National League East division.

“We have conditioned our fans to have a certain set of expectations, and we intend to meet them,” Mets General Manager Omar Minaya stated. “You saw us lose it in style in 2007, then we repeated with in 2008; just wait until you see what we’ve got in store for you this year,” Minaya said with a wink and a smile.

In 2007, the Mets led the NL East division by 7 games on September 12th before making history, losing 12 of the last 17 games to succumb to the surging Philadelphia Phillies and miss the playoffs. They repeated their late season swoon in 2008 by falling in 10 of the last 17 to lose the division lead again, as well as their chance at the Wild Card in their final game. This season, the Mets find themselves secured in fourth place in the NL East after September 21st with 11 left to play: 15.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves, 13 games ahead of the Washington Nationals, and 23.5 games behind the first place Phillies.

With just 11 games remaining and a 13 game lead over the MLB-worst Washington Nationals, it is mathematically impossible for the Mets to be overtaken. When the numbers were laid out for Minaya, he didn’t seem to understand. When the subtraction was done for him on a nearby whiteboard, Minaya discourteously snapped, “What are you, some kind of astronaut? We’re just trying to lose baseball games here.”

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