It’s not easy to be a Mets fan. It’s never been: highs and lows, mediocre seasons, players leaving the team to gain immediate success (I’m talking to you, David Cone), some others moving to the East to wear pinstripes. You name it. But’s there’s a certain magic about the Mets, a magic that I fell in love with 29 years ago.
I was born in 1977, so I couldn’t enjoy the 1969 Amazin’ Mets. My first vivid baseball memory is the 1986 team. Keith, Gary, Darryl, Dwight, Lenny, Ron, Mookie: a powerhouse team. Those were the days. No one wanted to face the annoying – on and off the field – Mets back then. They were good while being bad. How’s that even possible, you may ask? Cocaine, booze, parties, “hijacked” planes…and good baseball, very good baseball. This was a team everyone talked about. Davey Johnson’s pupils looked crazy when he wasn’t dressed in blue and orange, but they were crazy good when he stepped foot on the diamond. But after winning the 1986 World Series (thank you, Bill Buckner), the momentum started to fade away. Yes, they won the division in 1988, but that was about it.
Then, after a long streak of ups and downs, the baseball rollercoaster took them to a moment that paralyzed New York: the 2000 Subway Series, their first trip to the Fall Classic in 14 years. I don’t like to talk about the Yankees…and you know the story: the crosstown rivals took the series in five games, wining their I-lost-the-count ring in baseball history.
Fifteen years have passed since then. Fifteen years in which we’ve enjoyed great franchise players (John Franco, Mike Piazza and, most recently, David Wright), great moments (Endy Chavez’s catch in the 2006 NLCS), the team’s first no-hitter (#NoHanSantana), and some other notable episodes. But that wasn’t enough – until now.
It’s October and the Mets are still around: they’re alive and playing their fifth World Series. Who would have known that Terry Collins would take us here, especially sharing the division with the Washington Nationals, who were viewed as the favorite team even before the season started? Just like in 1986, the team had an outstanding season; just like in 1986, the Mets started down 0-2 in the World Series. But the names have changed: Matt, Jacob, Yoenis, Noah, David, Curtis, Jeurys (and Daniel, let’s not forget on-fire Daniel) are now responsible for bringing joy to this side of town.
Game 3 at Citi Field is just a few hours away. Expect 7 line trains packed with title-hungry fans. Expect good baseball. It’s been a hell of a ride for the New York Mets so far, but the best is yet to come. The reasons to hope are many. It’s time to be amazin’ again.