The old adage might say, “it's not about the destination, it's about the journey.” However, the New York Mets will find that difficult to believe at the moment, especially in the aftermath of the upset NL Wild Card round series defeat they suffered at the hands of the San Diego Padres. After winning 101 games and having high hopes to go deep into the postseason, manager Buck Showalter, among others, knows just how much a loss of this gravity hurts.

Showalter, in particular, lamented that despite the Mets' hard work all season long, October baseball is a different animal that punishes teams for slipping up at exactly the wrong moment.

“It’s like I just told them: It’s not always fair,” Showalter said, per The Athletic (subscription required). “It’s cruel. It really is. […] It’s such a roll of the dice in October.”

There might not be a postseason in major North American sports as unforgiving as baseball's. MLB's regular season runs almost non-stop for six straight months and athletes put their bodies in unfathomable grinds in an attempt to suit up for 162 games (or for 30-plus starts, in the case of starting pitchers), only for their fate to be decided by three games, like the Mets experienced.

Nonetheless, Buck Showalter and the Mets' feelings of agony are only exacerbated by how they held the keys to their season over the past week or so. They could have avoided the Wild Card round altogether, but they ended up getting swept by division rivals Atlanta Braves, which proved to be the domino that kicked off their undoing.

Unluckily for them, the bats just couldn't get anything going against the Padres, and the vaunted Mets pitching, which was supposed to be led by Max Scherzer, just couldn't make up for their lackluster offensive production. Out of answers, Buck Showalter tried to do everything in his power to rally his troops, to no avail.

“We certainly weren’t having much luck the way it was going, that’s for sure,” Showalter added.

The Mets could be looking at a huge roster turnover next season, with crucial players such as Jacob deGrom, Edwin Diaz, and Brandon Nimmo set to enter free agency. Hopefully for Mets fans, Buck Showalter could rekindle their 2022 magic for next season in spite of all the changes and uncertainties that await them in the wake of their season's disappointing finish.