By Stephon Johnson / @StephonJohnson8
After Game 3 of the World Series, a reporter asked New York Mets third baseman David Wright how he felt after hitting a home run in the first World Series game played at Citi Field, in his first at-bat.
“Running around the bases, it’s like floating,” he said.
And like the ride many Met fans had been on since Aug. 1, it came crashing down when Daniel Murphy’s invincibility star ran out and he became plain, old, non-mushroom-eating Mario again.
But it was fun while it lasted.
The 2015 campaign for the Mets is only surpassed by the 1999 team as the most interesting and fascinating team in the organization’s last 25 years. Yes, we’ve seen “The Worst Team Money Could Buy,” and we watched the 2007 team collapse in epic fashion, but hindsight tells us that 1) it was easy to foresee the bad mix that those 1992-93 teams were going to have and 2) those 2006-08 Met teams were able to make or sniff the playoffs based only on their lineup, as the pitching was ridiculously mediocre.
Mets baseball in 2015 brought you the following:
- Matt Harvey’s innings limit
- Wilmer Flores crying
- Wilmer Flores’ triumph
- That Sunday Night Baseball game against the Washington Nationals
- Yo–en–is Ces–ped–es
- Clinching a division that most people thought they didn’t have a chance in hell of winning
- Clinching a pennant that most people thought they didn’t have a chance in hell of winning
And all of this happened after the All-Star Break.
The Mets’ offense struggled mightily for the majority of the season outside of August and September (and a few games in October). They were no-hit by Chris Heston AND Max Scherzer. John Mayberry Jr. was once their cleanup hitter. One of keys in the cog to their run-scoring resurgence, Cespedes, looks to be one of the best rent-a-players in Mets history (certainly better than Juan Samuel). During all of this, the Citi faithful just ached for the relatively new digs to experience a winning season. They got that and then some.
That wonderful ride ended when Murphy let Eric Hosmer’s grounder go underneath his glove in the eighth inning of Game 4. That didn’t mean that Mets fans were rooting against this team in Game 5, and it didn’t mean that Mets fans were forgoing pumping their fists right along with Matt Harvey after each scoreless inning. But Mets fans thought the possibility of a World Series win after going down 3-1 to this Kansas City Royals team was too much of an uphill battle. The thought of relying on this defense to come up with a big play (or even a routine one) seemed just as far-fetched as it did before Aug. 1.
From the bottom of the ninth inning on in Game 5, it felt like the Citi Field that Mets fans had grown to know since it opened in 2009 — with a sense of doom and wondering how the team would screw up a sure thing or blow the game this time. That feeling came crawling back, and a national audience was there to witness it. Suddenly, the #ThatsSoMets and #lolmets hashtags came back and Yankee fans emerged to scream “27!” — making themselves the #AllLivesMatter of sports fans (with St. Louis Cardinals fans as their only competition).
But Mets fans around the city are still wearing their World Series apparel. Some of them are doing so because they can’t acknowledge that the season’s over, but most of them are because they were shocked, surprised and happy that the Mets even made it here in the first place.
Whatcha you gonna do when the orange and blue sneak up on you??!?!?!
However, next year brings expectations and a brand-new target on the Mets’ backs that the team hasn’t experienced in close to a decade. The organization has a three- to five-year window to do something special, and the possibility that ownership could artificially limit the team’s potential due to its financial issues is just something fans will have to bear. Because of said burden, Cespedes looks to be a footnote in Mets history as one of the best rentals the team has ever had.
But the Mets still have Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, the eventual return of Zack Wheeler, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Conforto, Jeurys Familia and, hopefully, a much better Juan Lagares. Yes, they need more offense of the contact variety, and yes, they need to shore up the middle infield defense most of all, but it’s high time for fans to get positive about the organization again. Well, at least until Opening Day in Kansas City, where the Mets will agonizingly watch the Royals raise their “2015 World Series Champions” banner.
If you’re a true Mets fan, you can’t wait for 2016.
Writer. Reporter. New Yorker.