The season started with such hope and promise. After all, the Mets had the best pitching staff in their history, at least since 1969.
They also had a formidable offense, with the return of Cespedes, a healed Wright, a reinvented Duda, a recharged Granderson, and the signings of Walker and Cabrera.
They should have won their division by twenty games, at least, like 1986, the Nationals notwithstanding. And, they were the defending National League Champs, after all.
Then… one by one, the injuries started and players went down. First Wright, then Harvey and after that, the floodgates burst. The season, by mid-August, seemed doomed.
One night, after another dreadful loss, Manager Terry Collins had his usual postgame conference. He was asked one question and instead of answering it, he went on what seemed like a never-ending tirade, where he vented against the media, the team, the fans, and even ownership in a very subtle way.
That seemed to light a spark under the team, as they knew he was both pissed off with the way they were playing and that he had their collective backs. From that point on they won 30 of the next 48 games to get where they are today, and ended the season at a respectable 87-75 record.
Considering that the pitching staff consists of an overweight forty-three year old, who had the most wins for the team, a fire-brand in his second year, with the most team strikeouts and who pitched with bone chips in his elbow, and three kids who were in Las Vegas and Binghamton until August, I think that to have made it to the Wild Card game is more than anyone could have expected on the night of August 11, after the Collins tirade.
As many of you know, I have been Orange and Blue since Sixty-Two, and unlike the other team which plays in New York, I can easily count my pennants and World Series wins on less than two hands. But I am proud of my boys to have overcome adversity, to have made it this far. And if they don’t win tonight, it will be OK with me because on August 11, I thought I was going to have to get ready for football. And THAT is a whole other story.
So, as we have chanted since April 11, 1962, LET’S GO METS! Thanks for another great season, considering what our expectations were when it started and all that has happened since. Good Luck tonight, and let’s hope we get to play at Wrigley on Saturday.
It is the Postseason, where magic happens for magical teams, and maybe, just maybe, the Ghost of Shea Stadium will show up at Citifield to carry the Mets to an improbable win tonight.