The Mets always believed in 2015…
It began a year ago, when Terry Collins began touting the 2015 season as if he was the promoter for a world heavyweight title bout.
With their young pitching getting healthy and rising to the top of their organization. Collins proclaimed 2015 to be the year of the Mets dating all the way back to November, 2014.
“2015 is gonna be the year,” he told the New York Post last November. “We’re gonna be in the mix to play in October.”
People ranging from media members to fans thought it was all crazy talk from the fiery Mets manager. They were coming off a season in which they had won 79 games, lacked impact talent at several positions all around the baseball field, and an uncertain ability to fill those holes over the course of the winter.
And the Mets did very little work on the external markets to improve that 79-win roster. They signed Michael Cuddyer almost immediately following the World Series, signed John Mayberry Jr. to a one-year deal, failed to sign or trade for a shortstop for the second off-season in a row, and didn’t fill their gaps in the bullpen until the end of spring training when they acquired Alex Torres and Jerry Blevins.
Only Cuddyer remains, and he is no longer a full-time player after underperforming for a bulk of the year.
Even so, the manager was confident early.
“We’ve been preaching patience for four years, and it’s time to step up,” Collins said a year ago.
A year later, the Mets are October, four wins away from their first World Championship in 29 years, proving most everyone wrong – except himself – in the process.
And Collins remembers all of that bold talk.
“I really believed it,” Collins said following Wednesday’s game. “I just looked at what we had coming back and what our plans were and figured the time was now.”
Indeed it was. 90 regular season wins later, a retro-fitted lineup, crying eyes on the baseball field and flying sandwiches in Florida, the Mets are National League Champions for the first time since 2000.
“One of the things about Terry is he’s honest. When he says something like that, he isn’t just saying it. And I’m glad it happened,” Sandy Alderson told the Post Wednesday.
Collins most certainly managed with a purpose in 2015, which certainly supported his claims from a year ago. No longer was it about patience and player development. It was about winning, and Collins managed the various rosters he had with that purpose, whether it was riding Jeurys Familia’s arm late in games, managing the gas tanks with his young starting pitchers, trying to get the most out of David Wright, and playing to the clubs strengths daily with the lefty/righty matchups once Alderson fortified his roster.
The experimentation was over, the evaluation was over. It was time to win.
And winning is what Collins did in 2015.