The Mets are so close to shocking the baseball world, again
The Mets are on the brink of a National League pennant. Their first in 15 years, and their fifth in franchise history.
Think about that for a second.
Seven and eight months ago, most never even considered a playoff berth possible.
Many chuckled at the decrees from Terry Collins, David Wright, and the other veterans who felt this Met team was good and had a legitimate chance to be playing for a championship.
The 2015 Mets were being compared to the 1984 Mets: a young, talented but inexperienced team still a year or two away.
As it turns out, they were seven months away. And they are now one win away from shocking the baseball world and proving everyone wrong, again.
Sure, it can be argued the Nationals underwhelmed for 162 games and kept the Mets around just long enough to retro-fit the roster, enrich the clubhouse with a winning culture, and ultimately blow by the Nationals.
It can also be argued that they’re playing the Cubs, and curses do indeed exist and don’t ever die from one lifetime after the next.
And yes, Daniel Murphy has been the Mets superhero in the playoffs, carrying them in one game after the next with his super-powerful and timely home runs.
If the Mets win this series, he will unquestionably be the NLCS MVP.
But maybe the Mets are just that darn good, and can beat anyone at anytime with this championship-caliber pitching staff which has exploited the weaknesses of all of their opponents, and their timely offense which carried them through the final two months of the season and into this remarkably story of a playoff run, defying all odds, proving the naysayers wrong, and officially exorcising years and years of demons, controversy and embarrassment in the process.
Whatever the case is, there is nobody who can take these accomplishments away.
If they have gotten a break, they’ve taken advantage of it. If other teams faltered, the Mets emerged triumphant.
Either way, wins are wins, especially this time of year, no matter how its sliced.
And the Mets need one more win, however it is sliced this time, to get to a place nobody in the world thought they’d be in right now.
But the Mets are wisely not looking beyond Wednesday night in Chicago, not what could looks like an inevitable trip to the 2015 World Series.
“We are not worried about that,” Wright said emphatically on Tuesday night, after the club’s 5-2 win over the Cubs in game three. “We are worried about beating the Cubs tomorrow.”
Wright knows the switch could flip and, while highly unlikely, the Cubs could come back on them too.
“We understand just like we’ve won the first three games, these guys can win the next three games very easily. This is an excellent team, and you give them room to win a game or streak along a couple good innings, and they’re going to get all the confidence in the world and expect to beat us three in a row. So it’s as simple as that.”
It’s that attitude, that perspective, that mentality of not losing sight of today which has kept the Mets focused and primed for each of their matchups, and helped them to persevere to get to this point.
Why change? This attitude and brand of baseball has worked to a sparkling 6-2 record in the playoffs to date and four consecutive wins against three of the four toughest pitchers to defeat in the sport.
Don’t fix what isn’t broken, especially the mentality of the approach.
Sure, it’s awfully tempting to look ahead to the last dance. But despite being up 3-0 on a team everyone else figured was destined for the World Series, the Mets – led by Wright – still need to get through one last obstacle.
“You can’t look past tomorrow,” Wright said. “You have to continue to put your foot on the gas and try to play good baseball and take advantage of the type of baseball that we’re playing and the type of pitching that we’re getting. It starts with our starting pitching.”
They can leave the dreams and fantasties of a World Series berth to the fans, oddsmakers and industry onlookers.
It’s already happening. They just need to seal the deal and fulfill those dreams.
They’re close now.