There will be time for perspective. The bitter winter will pass, the spring will come, and the memories of this franchise's revival will warm the souls of even the most hardened. But first, there will be mourning.
There will be tears for what might have been, agony for just how close they came to greatness, misery for how it all fell apart at the end. The Mets couldn't get out of their own way.
This is what allowed the Royals to ascend to the championship for the first time since 1985, winning Game 5 of the World Series, 7-2, in a 12-inning game that ended at 12:34 Monday morning and ending what had been a splendid summer for the Mets.
Their relentlessness never in doubt, the Royals exploded for five runs in the 12th to break open a tense game. Christian Colon, in his first postseason appearance, ripped a single to knock in the go-ahead run. Half of the Royals spilled onto the field in front of their dugout, their joy unrestrained.
One year earlier, they had been denied on this stage. Now the Royals stood alone.
David Wright arrived at the brink of a championship after nine long years filled with pain and losing. Terry Collins got here after 45 years in professional baseball. The Mets signaled their return after a financial scandal brought the franchise to its knees.
Now they must wait through the winter to chase their first title since 1986. Electric only a few hours earlier, Citi Field emptied out, the fans forced to stomach an unfulfilling end.
Wilmer Flores struck out against Wade Davis and the Royals swarmed the field -- champions at last.
The Royals entered the ninth inning trailing 2-0 but rallied to tie it. For the third time in the World Series, the Mets inched within a handful of outs of a victory. For the third time, they let the lead slip away, their hopes vanishing in a hail of heartache.
For eight innings, Matt Harvey hoisted the Mets on his shoulders, outdueling Edinson Volquez. As the Mets batted in the eighth, their lead at 2-0, the 44,859 in attendance aimed their chants at the Mets' dugout.
"We want Har-vey!" they roared. "We want Har-vey!"
Collins obliged. Harvey sprinted back to the mound, the entire season left in his hands.
When he walked Lorenzo Cain to start the inning, Collins didn't move, allowing his ace to continue. But for all of Harvey's heroics, this was a mistake.
Eric Hosmer ripped a run-scoring double to leftfield that silenced Citi Field and cut the Mets' lead in half. Harvey left to a rousing ovation with the tying run at second base as Jeurys Familia jogged in from the bullpen.
Mike Moustakas' grounder moved Hosmer to third base, setting the stage for heartbreak.
Salvador Perez hit a grounder to third base, where it was fielded by David Wright, who turned to freeze Hosmer at third. But when Wright threw, Hosmer broke for the plate, a move that was both risky and reckless.
A good throw would have cut down Hosmer at the plate. A good throw would have sent the World Series back to Kansas City. A good throw allows the Mets to escape their latest calamity.
But Duda's throw sailed well wide of catcher Travis d'Arnaud. Their relentless on full display, the Royals had tied it.
A stunned Citi Field sat in silence. Harvey was charged for two runs in eight-plus innings. Familia was charged with his third blown save of the World Series. And once again, the Mets burned for their shaky defense, a fact that haunted them in their pursuit of a championship.
In Game 1, Harvey looked to be only a shell of himself. He allowed three runs in six innings, but more than that, it was the way the start unfolded that stoked questions about what he had left.
After the game, he admitted that he shied away from his fastball because it lacked life. He didn't trust his command, making matters worse.
Harvey recorded only seven swings-and-misses and two strikeouts -- abnormally low totals for a pitcher accustomed to dominance. But inactivity, not fatigue, was the cause, pitching coach Dan Warthen insisted.
The Mets' sweep of the Cubs in the NLCS meant Harvey's first start in Game 1 would come after a 10-day layoff. The rust corroded his mechanics. He came back feeling "too strong,'' a common complaint among pitchers accustomed to rhythm.
The remedy was simple, Warthen insisted. Pitching on regular rest in Game 5 would cure Harvey's ills. He was right. His signature slider returned, springloaded with movement. His fastball touched 98 mph, and he guided it with the deft touch of an All-Star.
By the fifth, he had more strikeouts (eight) than he had swings-and-misses (seven) in all of Game 1. But Edinson Royals righty Edinson Volquez allowed just one run in six innings, before turning it over to the Royals' lockdown bullpen. His only transgression came against the first batter he faced, Curtis Granderson. When Volquez floated an 0-and-2 changeup over the plate, Granderson pounced. The ball sailed over the 380 mark in right-center, leaving Citi Field shaking and giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.
Volquez didn't encounter resistance again until the sixth, when the Mets loaded the bases with none out but came away with only one run on Lucas Duda's one-out sacrifice fly.
The inning took a painful turn when Cespedes fouled a pitch off his left knee, ultimately forcing him to limp off the field and out of the game after he completed the at-bat by popping up for the first out.
Earlier, Collins revealed that Cespedes has been batting a hand injury for the last two months. Then he suffered a shoulder injury in the NLCS. Now Cespedes lay on his side, motionless, until the team's trainers rushed to his side.
Cespedes had to be helped to his feet but he resumed his at-bat before limping to the dugout. Juan Lagares replaced him in centerfield, forcing Cespedes to watch as the Mets attempted to save their season without him.