At long last, the Mets will play a World Series game…
The day has finally arrived.
Perhaps unexpectedly, but none the less, the day is here.
The Mets will play a World Series game on Tuesday night, 29 years to the day since they last won a championship. Not the Giants, not the Cardinals. Not the Dodgers, not the Yankees.
The retro-fitted Mets.
The power-armed Mets.
The uber-confident Mets.
“I have thought of [pitching in a potential Game 7], but I think we’re going to get it done in four,” Noah Syndergaard told the Bergen Record on Monday in Kansas City.
Why shouldn’t they be confident? Nobody even expected them to be playing meaningful games in September.
Especially the Nationals.
Whatever you want to call them, they’re the Mets. The lovable, downtrodden, always stumbling on their own words and feet New York Mets.
For the first time in 15 years, the Mets will be vying for their third world championship. They need to get through a team laden with players who are fast, make contact, are resilient, and wear pitchers down.
But it can be argued the Mets never had a legitimate chance 15 years ago, especially after their Game 1 disaster featuring poor baserunning and a blown save at Yankee Stadium.
Now, the Mets have a chance. A real good chance.
“It’s pretty surreal. You are preparing like it’s a baseball game,’’ David Wright told the Post on Monday. “But you can’t help but smile when you see the patches and the logos and you go out for a workout and you see the World Series banners.’’
The Mets themselves feature a champioship-caliber starting rotation with fastballs starting at 95 mph, sliders at 90 mph, and guts and grit which has no bottom. It’s enough to carry the baton home to the Canyon of Heroes if the chips fall their way.
They feature a lineup that’s powerful, gritty and as they showed against the Cubs, often creative. It has early game magic, late game fire power, and the ability to create stories and fairytales which will last a lifetime.
That is the New York Mets. When they’re good, they’re magically good and always one of baseball’s truly great and mystifying stories. 2015 is no exception to that rule.
When they’re bad, they’re comically bad.
But they’re not bad today. Perhaps they were four and five months ago. But no, not today. In fact, they are extremely good and perhaps most importantly, red hot at the right time of year.
But consider this unusually turbulent rollercoaster season for the Mets.
They started out 13-3 and laid a solid foundation for a run in the National League East title. Two months later, they had erased their winning record and actually fell one game under .500 at one point in June. They had lost a bulk of their offense to one injury after the next, were asking minor leaguers to be major leaguers, and just hoped their starting pitching could keep them within a prayer of the Nationals of the division.
Their prayers were answered, thanks in part to a season-defining trip to the west coast in early July and their ability to tread water to July 23.
That’s when Sandy Alderson struck, bringing up Michael Conforto, bringing in Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Tyler Clippard and finally, Yoenis Cespedes, circumventing tears, pleas and controversy in the process.
Certain destruction of the Nationals season soon followed, and the Mets shocked the world by winning the National League East, overcoming the first mountain peak of Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, then to the top of the National League mountain by defeating Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and the electrifying Cubs offense to get to this truly unbelievable day.
That is indeed quite the rollercoaster. Not many teams have such volatile spikes in their ebs and flows than the Mets did in 2015.
But again, that’s the New York Mets. If it wasn’t filled with unbelievable moments – both good and bad – it would probably be another team.
There’s one chapter left, and it includes four more wins in the next seven games against a very solid and weathered Royals team in which the Mets will find themselves constantly adjusting if they intend to bring the Commisioner’s Trophy home to Citi Field.
But for the first time really since 1986, it’s doable.
And they’re all in, too.