There was a certian swagger that came with the 2006 season. After winning 97 games and absolutely tearing up the National League, it was a given we would play in the World Series. Even though those dreams died with a curveball from Adam Wainwright to Carlos Beltran, I still felt that the team we had would be one of those rare teams to be able to compete for years to come. The start to 2007 confirmed my belief that we were destined to get over the hump and win a World Series that I could remember. I remember leaving my house pumped to get to the local Ale house and enjoy this win with my fellow Met fans, considering we were playing the Marlins. I also remember, entering the Ale house and seeing a close up of a dejected Tom Glavine and as I glanced toward the scoreboard…I realized why. In a matter of 5 minutes from my house to the Ale house, the Mets had managed to give up 8 runs in the first inning. I was watching the Phillies and Nationals game on the adjacent TV, hoping that Jimmy Rollins’ prediction wouldnt come true. I remember the sound of the ball coming off Ramon Castros bat, only to see the ball die out right before it could go over the outfield wall at Shea and land into the Marlins outfielder’s glove. I remember the feeling as the Mets went to lose the game and witnessing the Phillies win their game against the Nationals. The month long collapse was complete and the magic of the slogan “Our team. Our time” and “Your season has come…” was nothing more than a whisper.
With the unlikely addition of Johan Santana going into the 2008 season, I remember feeling the swagger that we had two seasons ago. With all the baseball talking heads picking the Mets to win the World Series, I remember thinking there was no way we would be denied…the collapse of 2007 was a fluke and we would prove it. I remember the slow start and “Willie-Gate” that seemed to occur on a daily basis. I remember the public relations gaffe the Mets commited when they fired Willie Randolph but (at the time) the confidence I had with Jerry as the new manager. I remember the injuries starting to pile up but the 9 game wining streak leading into the all star break with Jerry Manuel at the helm. I remember feeling a sort of dark cloud being lifted and for once seeing the championship team that everyone knew we were. I remember the Billy Wagner injury in late summer that lead to the infamous “bullpen by committee” that cost us game after game after game. I remember feeling a sense of hope, given our fate was in the hands of a team not name “Phillies” but also the sinking feeling of seeing that familiar foe on the horizon that destroyed my summer just one year ago. I remember the emotional high of Johan Santana’s epic manhandling of our biggest nemesis and a sense of redemption after a whole year of being reminded of 2007. I remember that in less than 24 hours, those feeling were destroyed as I witnessed the baseball being sent over the outfield wall at shea off of the bat of Dan Uggla and Wes Helms. I remember the traumatic feeling of being in the same spot, in the same ale house only 365 days ago. I remember feeling this team will never be the same again.
The Phillies winning the world series was the nail in the coffin of the two worst years(at that time) as a Met fan. However, I did feel a sense of enthusiasm with the signings of Fransisco Rodriguez(fresh off his season breaking saves record), a new start with Citifield and the torrid start of Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado in the World Baseball Classic. With a full year under Jerry Manuel and the bullpen situation squared away, I felt this team had a serious shot at sticking it to Philly. With the baseball pundits picking the Mets to topple the Phillies for the NL East championship, I remember the cautious optimism of the upcoming season and the relief that this year we will not play the Marlins to finish the season. I remember how quickly April turned to May and this team was playing at a level I had not seen since the beginning of 2007. Then the injuries started to stack up. I remember Carlos Delgado was the first man down, then it was Carlos Beltran and then it seemed we had a new injury every few weeks. I remember how slowly June turned into September. By this point I remember the fan base was ripped to shreds, we had lost the majority of the “band wagon” fans we accrued with the 2006 season and 2007 season while the “die hard” fans were so jaded that the intense rivalry with Philadelphia had lost its spice and fire. I remember for the first time in a long time a sense of joy that the season was finally over and at the same time a huge heavyheartedness, knowing that I had just witness one of the worst seasons in Met history.
Going into the 2010 season, I remember feeling extremely cynical about Omar and Jerrys ability to return the Mets back to their former glory. The off season proceeded pretty much as expected, with little surprises and under the radar moves by Omar. It was clear that the Phillies on paper were in a different league compared to the teams of the NL east. Going into the 2010 season, I felt there was an outside chance the Mets can compete for the wild card but it was going to take a level of fight that I had not seen from them for 4 years. The season finally started and the baseball pundits all chose the Mets to finish just one spot above the absolute bottom of the NL east and to have just an 8 game improvement of the injury plagued 2009 season. I remember the season starting very slow but the Mets kept coming back in the majority of the games to make it somewhat close. When they brought up Davis, I remember feeling it was a bad situation to bring the kid up in but considering we were picked to finish 4th anyway, might as well give him a head start at his future job anyway. After the call up, the Mets played the type of baseball that seemed any other team in baseball were chalk full of and the Mets lacked.Â The late comebacks, the timely hits and the fundamental baseball the Mets are showing would usually be described as “grit” or as Ron Darling puts it “These Mets have a lot of fight in them, donâ€™t they?”. The season is very young and there is a whole lot of baseball left to play but there is one thing very clear, this Met team is very different than the ones we have seen the last few years. The Mets have shown the ability to score late in games and fight back against any deficit. While I am not saying they will win the World Series or take the NL east title, I am saying this team is showing a kind of guts that made them fun to watch…a feeling that I dont remember having for quite some time in Queens.