In the meantime, right now, there is still much talk from the Mystics' organization about the team "making the playoffs." The BasketCases are very much hoping that during this month-long hiatus, Coach J-Law can help the Mystics regroup and finish out the regular season on a good winning run. If the team shows us when they return that they can truly compete with the likes of Detroit, Connecticut and New Yawk -- and can enter the playoffs through the front door (not due to some post-Olympics meltdown by the Fever) -- then yes, we'll be extremely happy to see them "make the playoffs" and continue playing in the post-season. But until we see that, then no thanks, we're not drinking the Kool-Aid.
Sure, in the early years of the franchise, simply "making the playoffs" was important, no matter what happened. Indeed, we were among the screaming, ecstatic fans in the jam-packed Phone Booth back in August 2000 when the Mystics, in their third season, did just that. The noise in the arena as we faced the New York Liberty was deafening. The atmosphere was electric. Never mind that the Mystics were bounced out in the first round without winning a game, just getting there was thrilling.
The Mystics have made the playoffs only three times since, and on only one occasion -- in that magical 2002 season -- did they get past the first round. More recently, in 2004 and 2006, the Mystics made an early exit, just as they did in 2000. So for this franchise and its fans, just "making the playoffs" by squeaking into fourth place and then losing to the team in first place is truly a "been there, done that" experience. Maybe that prospect seems entertaining for new fans or new front office staff, but it's not an experience that we're particularly excited about. Some other longtime fans have told us they feel the same way. Back in Y2K, "making the playoffs" was a big step up. But when "making the playoffs" becomes the measure of a season's success for a franchise in its 11th year, then perhaps the bar has been set too low.