by: Paul DiSclafani
As a Mets fan, I don’t want to let go of 2015 just yet.
I know, I know, the end result of the World Series was a huge disappointment and we have a great pitching staff and we will get better and blah, blah, blah…
But do any of us really know what is going to happen in 2016? Can anyone guarantee another magical run for the Mets next season? Is this team going to get out of the box strong again, only to be brought down to earth half-way through the season, then be lifted to the same heights that we found ourselves in August?
I believe in this team. I believe in this pitching staff. I believe in Sandy Alderson’s vision (although I STILL want a big bat).
I just don’t have a crystal ball. I remember the crash of 1987 that ruined our chance at becoming a dynasty. I can’t even remember what happened in 1974 or 2001. I only remember that I don’t believe I took the time to really appreciate what happened during those magical seasons when we DID get to the World Series.
I think I may have taken those seasons for granted and just assumed we would get back there again next year. Isn’t that what Yankee fans do each year? I’m not going to do that this year. I want to hold onto those 2015 memories as long as I can and I don’t want the calendar to force me to forget what an incredible ride 2015 was.
It may be time to turn the page on 2015, but I’m going to go kicking and screaming!
For me, the best part of 1986 were the two years leading up to that Championship season, when the Mets were chasing the Cardinals and baseball games in August and September were meaningful. We had to fight for every game and we were building a reputation as a scrappy bunch. By the time 1986 came, the Mets were sleep walking through August and September. I think the NY papers began posting their Magic Number in June.
When we finally got to the post season, we didn’t dominate at all. We had to win two extra inning games against the Astros and one in the bottom of the ninth. And do I really have to remind you how lucky we were in the World Series?
Please understand, I am not complaining at all. Those were the most exciting, gut wrenching postseason games I have ever been involved in and I am proud that we finally prevailed. I enjoyed the result, but can’t say I have good memories of the actual season of dominance. It almost became ho-hum.
I loved this season, and if you didn’t have a chance to watch the FS1 “Tears Of Joy”, you have really missed out (re-airing on Wednesday, January 6th at 9am on FS1).
We really didn’t know what to expect when the season began. We knew that Matt Harvey looked just great in Florida and we got glimpses of that tall kid with the funny last name, Syndergaard. We had another good pitcher in the Rookie of The Year, Jacob deGrom, but we also knew how strong the Nationals were going to be and that everyone else in our Division was just playing for second.
I want to remember that feeling of going into Washington on Opening Day with Bartolo Colon on the mound and then taking two out of three to open the season.
There was “Matt Harvey Opening Day” against the Phillies after the actual home opener that David Wright pulled his hamstring in – an injury that would uncover a much deeper back problem and cost him most of the season.
How great was the 11-game win streak? What about comedian Jim Breuer’s daily Mets wrap up video’s? If there is anyone out there that could capture the true feelings of a Mets fans – the ups and downs – it was Jim Breuer.
As the season chugged along to the All-Star break, we Mets fans were just waiting for the inevitable collapse, but it never came. There were plenty of chances to the Nationals to break away, but by the time we got to late June, I think we all realized that they just weren’t as good as everyone thought they would be.
We also realized something else – both Wild-Cards were most likely coming out of the NL Central, so if you wanted to make the postseason, you were going to have to win your division. So as long as the Mets hung close, they had a chance.
When July hit, the Mets seemed to lose their offense and had hit bottom when the Dodgers came to town and Clayton Kershaw almost pitched a perfect game against a lineup that featured John Mayberry Jr. hitting cleanup.
That began the 10 days that changed the course of the NL East (click on the link if you want to read the entire series I wrote back then).
Do you remember that feeling when things started to change? We promoted Michael Conforto and then got Uribe and Johnson, two professional hitters. Then there was the Wilmer Flores debacle. But for me, it was the three-game series against Washington that started with the early Christmas Present of Yoenis Cespedes on Friday afternoon.
Flores hitting that home run to win the Friday game, the Nats intentionally walking Cespedes to get to Duda on Saturday Night in a 2-2 games and he comes through with a double for a 3-2 win and Syndergaard blowing the Nats away as the Mets hit consecutive home runs off Jordan Zimmerman on Sunday night to move into a First Place tie. Syndergaard ended his night throwing a 99 MPH heater past a helpless, flailing Bryce Harper, who walked back to the dugout shaking his head.
The Mets went on to win 21 games in August and never looked back.
There was another sweep in Washington, including a game that the Nats knocked out Matt Harvey and had a 7-1 lead and Kirk Nieuwenhuis PH a home run to complete the comeback. Another incredible ninth inning comeback, this time against the Braves on a Sunday afternoon, that ended with a Daniel Murphy home run.
In the postseason, we went into Los Angeles to face Kershaw and we stole a game, and then finished them off. How great was Game 3 at Citi Field? Remember the performance from deGrom when he had nothing, but kept getting in and out of trouble?
When the Cubs followed in the NLCS, Games 1 and 2 were so cold it was more like football weather, but we took care of their Ace and never looked back. Oh the fun we had with Daniel Murphy hitting bombs at key moments!
Regardless of what happened in the World Series, Game 3 was worth every penny. To have been there, being a part of what was going on inside Citi Field and being able to share that with my kids, as they say in the commercials, priceless (although it was pretty pricey!).
Yes, 2015, you were pretty good to us Mets fans. Nobody knows what is going to happen in 2016, it could be another year filled with happy memories that might end up in a World Championship.
I’m not going to let the disappointment of not winning the World Series ruin all of 2015 for me. We Mets fans have had a lot of disappointment in the last few years and in 2015, we were playing with house money. And if you have ever gambled, there is nothing better than playing with house money.
I’m looking forward to 2016, as should all Mets fans. But I’m not ready to put 2015 in a box somewhere in my attic just because the calendar says it’s time to go. I want to keep feeling that joy. I want to remember what it was like to wake up with a smile on my face almost every day in the months of August, September and October. When we got Cespedes, when we took over first place, the look on the Nationals faces when we swept them in Washington, the clincher in Cincinnati, 17 home runs from Cespedes, Game six in LA, the sweep in Chicago, Daniel Murphy’s home run tear. It was a wonderful ride.
Happy New Year, everyone and Lets Go Mets!
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