“And You May Ask Yourself – Well, How Did I Get Here?”

By: Paul DiSclafani

Aaron Doster / AP

Aaron Doster / AP

If you’ve ever gotten song lyrics stuck in your head, all season long I’ve been hearing the lyrics for “Once In a Lifetime”. In the words of the Talking Head’s David Byrne, “And you may ask yourself-Well, how did I get here?”

Listen to “Once In A Life Time” while you enjoy this article.

How did we get here, Mets fans?

Can you believe that the Mets – Our Mets – are in the National League Championship Series? Last night at Citi Field was electric despite the chilly weather.  I was part of the crowd waving bright orange rally towels and standing up, screaming on almost every pitch.  Quite a different atmosphere from a warm Tuesday night in June against the Marlins, no?

citi field 101715

Playoff baseball in New York knows no equal, especially when it came quite unexpectedly. Back in April, we Mets fans were cautiously optimistic about competing in the NL East.  We knew how good the Nationals were (on paper, anyway), but we also knew how good the Mets pitching staff could be.  But we all know what happens to this team – our team – when we know how good we could be.  We just aren’t.

Something always happens and this year was no different. Right out of the gate, in Spring Training no less, we found out that Zack Wheeler would miss the next 18 months with Tommy John surgery.

“And you may ask yourself, how do I work this?”

Then Daniel Murphy was hurt all spring and had only 21 AB’s. Our closer, Jennry Mejia is then suspended 80 games for PED use and we have to use our primary set up guy, Jeurys Familia to close out games.  Our bullpen was already going to be a weak link, now this?  Sheesh…

david byrne

“Same as it ever was… same as it ever was … same as it ever was …”

No problem, we open the season in Washington and take two out of three to make everyone happy again, only to drop two out of three in Atlanta. We won the home opener (don’t we always?) and then got to see Matt Harvey in person for the first time.  During the game, Captain David Wright pulled up lame sliding into second base with a hamstring injury.  All summer we all became junior orthopedic surgeons and learned much more about spinal stenosis than we ever cared to know and didn’t see Wright in uniform again until the middle of August.

“And you may ask yourself, Am I right? … Am I Wrong?”

Oh sure, we had an incredible 11-game winning streak, then went into Yankee Stadium all high and mighty, ready to take over New York, and spit the bit, losing two out of three and being put back in our place as second class citizens in our own town. A week later, we had lost two out of three in Miami and came home to lose three out of four to the Nationals, going from the euphoria of a 13-3 start to a fairly pedestrian 16-10.  Dillon Gee was 0-2, Jacob deGrom was 2-3 and Jonathan Niese was 2-2.

“Same as it ever was… same as it ever was … same as it ever was …”

And it went that way most of the summer; we would get swept by the Cubs, lose a few, win a few, then sweep the Phillies. We won 5 out of 6, only to lose seven in a row, then win four in a row.  We were keeping our heads above water, treading hard to stay alive and keeping an eye on the prize, as we slowly came to realize something.  The Nationals just weren’t that good.

“Letting the days go by..”

Like everything else in life, it came to a tipping point. We were right there, right on the fringe of catching the Nationals.  They couldn’t put us away and we couldn’t get out of our own way sometimes, but we were still in this thing.  We obviously had the horses once Noah Syndergaard arrived to join Harvey, deGrom and Colon, but we didn’t have the jockeys.

When the Dodgers rolled into town in late July, our cleanup hitter was John Mayberry Jr (batting .165) followed by Eric Campbell (batting .176). Clayton Kershaw, who was 7-6 at the time, took a perfect game into the seventh inning, embarrassing the Mets and forcing GM Sandy Alderson’s hand.

“And you may say to yourself, My God! What have I done?”

You know the rest, Mets fans. The turnaround was so dramatic, so unexpected that we flew past the Nationals before they even knew what hit them.  Within six weeks, just a blip on the baseball season radar, we were preparing for a clinching game for the NL East title.

And last night, with a packed Citi Field, you could feel that energy again. That pure, baseball energy again.  It smelled like October again in Queens.  Suddenly, Cleon Jones bending to one knee to catch that last out in 1969 didn’t seem like it was almost 50 years ago.

cleon jones 1969-2

And there was Keith Hernandez, mustache and all, throwing out the first pitch.  Matt Harvey took the mound and struck out the first two batters he faced, putting a charge into an already electric crowd that was there for one thing only.  To cheer on the orange and blue and remember what October baseball was all about.  That feeling of angst in the pit of your stomach.  As Mike Meyers would say, you are all “fer-klempt”.

We Met fans may not get this feeling too often, but we know it when we see it. And we can feel it.  It’s the postseason and it is always special.

“Same as it ever was… same as it ever was … same as it ever was …”

1969 mets 1

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One comment

  1. Pingback: You Mean I Can Make $25 G’s For My World Series Tickets? « A View From The Bench

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