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A Reflection of the 2015 Mets Season

(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

 

I learned in Elementary School, “Patience is a virtue.” I have held that mantra true when it comes to baseball, especially the 2015 New York Mets. No true expectations were being held for the Metropolitans. With the moves the Washington Nationals made in getting Max Scherzer and a few other adjustments, fans including myself were hoping for at least the wild card spot. Everyone knew the Mets had a young pitching staff, and the talent to produce in some way. Fans have waited long and hard, since after 1986, after the surprise 2000 World Series team, and many have endured through the trials of 2006 and beyond. Well let me tell you, patience has paid off, and it’s such a virtue.

I have been lucky to make it to the important highs and lows of the Metropolitans up until the last out of the World Series on Sunday November 1st. Along with family and friends, I have witnessed Endy Chavez’s catch and Beltran’s strikeout in 2006. I have been there for the last out of the collapsing seasons of 2007 and 2008, including the postgame ceremony of the closing Shea Stadium. I watched in agony as Luis Castillo dropped a simple popup at Yankee Stadium. Working with the Mets for one summer, I witnessed Johan Santana sacrifice his body and throw the first no-hitter in Mets history for the fans and the franchise. Walk-offs, blown saves, injuries, hot streaks, cold streaks, you name it. This reflection shows what the Mets and the fans have been through to get to October baseball, patience.

The season started off with promise. During a trip to spring training, I was able to spot the young talent waiting to flourish for the Mets. Everybody was confident and upbeat for a more promising year than last season. Zach Wheeler’s impending Tommy John surgery was a very deflating issue to discuss, but it helped that Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese were there to fill in the holes. While obviously flawed, the beginning of the Mets season started off very promising, going on an 11 game winning streak that nobody predicted coming out of the gate. Jacob deGrom made it to his first All-Star game, and made a huge statement, striking out the side with just 10 pitches. Joe Buck was right on the money (very rare for me to say that) when he stated, “Hi I’m Jacob deGrom, and I have the chance with my stuff to just dominate baseball for years to come.” Jeurys Familia also emerged as the teams dominating closer, given the opportunity after Jenrry Mejia basically turned his back on the fans with not one, but two drug suspensions. Unfortunately, nothing came close to perfect, expect for Chris Heston (and Scherzer later on), who no-hit the Mets after a series of injuries to Travis d’Arnaud and David Wright, the latter who would be trying to battle his way back to the majors after being diagnosed with spinal stenosis. Going to games when the summer started was full of doubt and pain as the Mets had lineups that didn’t resemble a winning team. The #LOLMets movement was in full force and the season wasn’t even at the halfway point. No offense to him, but having John Mayberry Jr. as a cleanup hitter would not fill the fans appetite and it certainly was not doing the Mets any favors. The call-ups of Steven Matz and the emergence of Noah Syndergaard created a buzz at Citi Field not heard before. The poise, the power and the determination of these young players gave hope to the Flushing Faithful. It wasn’t until late July that The Mets really put on a show.

The additions of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe were very refreshing to fans. Two veterans who have had postseason experience helping out a battered team. It wasn’t until a weekday series against the Padres that put the wheels into motion. Wednesday July 29th: The Wilmer Flores trade that never happened. Watching the young shortstop cry after news he had been traded to the Brewers was upsetting, and confusing considering Terry Collins left him in the game. It turns out that supposed plans were scrapped, although nobody really knew what went down. The Mets lost that game, and then lost a terrible, rain delayed game against the Padres. No w, with Washington coming to town, it seemed that the end was near for the Mets. Or so we thought.

The addition of rookie Michael Conforto, who never made it to Triple-A, benefited the Mets greatly. A huge addition, the future was playing now. Curtis Granderson became the team’s MVP, producing at all the right times. That was not all.  On the last day of the trading deadline, the Mets took a gamble and it paid off. Sandy Alderson was able to pick up Yoenis Cespedes, aka “La Potencia” from the Detroit Tigers. After that, including the additions of Addison Reed and Tyler Clippard, the wheels were off. The Mets swept the Nationals, the catalyst of the first game being Wilmer Flores, who after was considered off the team he’s been on since a teenager, hit a dramatic walk-off home run. After that, they went on a path of destruction not seen before. A month before August started the Mets would never be able to come from behind and fight. These Mets however, with the young talent, the strong veterans and the dominant pitching staff changed the script. It was now comforting watching a Mets game, knowing at any point they could make a comeback just like that. One thing about this team was that it seemed everyone liked each other. There was a special comradery on this team, a bond that couldn’t be broken. Once David Wright came back, the team accelerated full throttle past the struggling Nationals. An NL East title was in the palm of their hands, and the Mets made sure to hold onto it.

Unfortunately, not everything could stay positive in Mets land. Matt Harvey and agent Scott Boras created controversy as a lack of understanding on Harvey’s innings limit was brought into play. Fans were getting restless as the Mets tried to accommodate Harvey’s innings time and time again. Was the Dark Knight just lying to us and pulling a Two-Face? After weeks of questions, Harvey stated he would pitch no matter what. And boy did he deliver. Not only did he pitch the most innings ever coming out of Tommy John, but he did so in such dominating fashion.

Watching playoff baseball in NY is one thing, experiencing it is another. For the first time since its inception, Citi Field had a buzz that couldn’t be silenced. Everyone was all in, as the magic was clearly back. The NLDS against The Dodgers was a fantastic experience, especially with Joe Buck’s guy Jacob deGrom dominating against Clayton Kershaw. After Chase Utley broke Ruben Tejada’s leg, everyone was wondering what the Mets would do for payback. The difference between the Mets and everyone else this season, was results. They answered back by beating the Dodgers with their bats and pitching, and making it back to the NLCS for the first time since 2006. The Mets swept the Cubs in impressive fashion, thanks to the otherworldly power of Daniel Murphy. I was amazed at Citi Field, but watching Murphy continue to deliver in Chicago, I could not stop laughing by how he would produce at every at-bat. In the concession stands at Wrigley, Cubs fans were asking what was going on with Murphy, and I could only give a slight shrug. Nobody knew what was happening, but every Mets fan loved every minute of it. Even with a slumping Cespedes and Wright, the Mets took control and forced their way into the World Series.

The Mets were the talk of the town again, and Mets pride was everywhere. Unfortunately, nothing was coming out of the Mets bats and costly mistakes were now their downfall. Murphy was not producing the way he was, and was reverting back to what fans feared. The bullpen was a huge issue, and mental errors cost them games. Being fortunate enough to make it to Kansas City, I received compliment after complement from the people of Kansas City about the Mets. (Disclaimer: the KC people are weirdly nice, high fiving me when the Mets made great plays. It’s a whole different atmosphere from New York and I loved it.  I also found out thanks to fans, that it’s a great place for families, not much else to do when you are single, FYI.) The Royals took advantage of the Mets errors and just would not give up. Back in New York, Matt Harvey pitched the best game of his career, giving fans hope and showing admiration for him after a questionable end to the regular season. Unfortunately, an error of staying out too long, among other things cost him and the team. The Royals are the Michael Myers of baseball; no matter what is thrown at them they keep on coming back stronger. Once you think you have figured them out, it is too late. Watching the Royals celebrate a World Series win at Citi Field was disappointing, especially after witnessing so many highs and lows of the season culminating to a World Series appearance.

While the Mets lost in upsetting fashion, one cannot be more proud of how far they went. Patience has paid off after years of questioning, waiting, tears and anger. The right moves were put into place, momentum shifted onto the Mets’ side and I don’t believe they are done yet. With talent like Gavin Cecchini, Brandon Nimmo, Rafael Montero, Dominic Smith, and more waiting for their chance to shine, I would not be surprised seeing this Mets team continue being a dominating force in the MLB. Momentum may be on the Mets’ side, and I can’t wait to see what they can do. The Mets have unfinished business, and their mission is as strong as ever. Thanks to elementary school, I can value what it takes to be a Mets fan, can you? After all, Ya Gotta Believe.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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