With pitchers and catchers officially reporting to Port St. Lucie in less than a week, it had me reflecting on the current state of the Mets, and how far the team has come in the last decade.
Our way of life has changed immensely since Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. Our country has seen two new presidents, LeBron James has both left and returned back home to Ohio, and people are living with high-tech home assistants like the Google Home.
Most importantly, the Mets are once again relevant in baseball. While this may seem common for a franchise playing in the New York market, the Mets have endured an exceptionally long and painful streak of failure and embarrassment that constantly tested the love and loyalty of Blue and Orange fans.
The years between the 2006 NLCS and the 2015 World Series still haunt me to this day, as we witnessed the team’s massive collapse in 2007, another epic collapse in 2008, and quite possibly most painful of all, Luis Castillo’s infamous dropped ball in a Subway Series game against the Yankees in June 2009.
After the team’s failed attempt to revive hope and make a run with players like Johan Santana, “K-Rod” Francisco Rodriguez, and Jason Bay, all seemed lost. When the suffering became unbearable, the Mets went into full rebuild mode, a trying process that felt like a lifetime and only added to Mets fans’ misery.
Once Johan Santana made history on June 1, 2012 by becoming the first Met to pitch a no-hitter, there was finally something for fans to cheer about.
But 2013 brought uncertainty, as the team had just come off of a fourth-place finish in the division with a 74-88 record, and the lineup was not looking particularly pretty. No Thor, no Dark Knight, no deGrominator. Not even Curtis Granderson, the catalyst that sparked the Mets revival, had joined the team yet! Captain America was all alone, and it seemed like the process was just beginning. Who would’ve guessed that in just a few years things would drastically change.
2013 vs 2017 (Projected) Opening Day Lineups
C. John Buck vs Travis d’Arnaud
3B. David Wright vs David Wright
LF. Lucas Duda vs Yoenis Cespedes
CF. Collin Cowgill vs Curtis Granderson
In 2013, I never would have expected this team to be where it is today. I never would have fathomed that the Five Aces would dominate the rotation, or that a star player like “La Potencia” Yoenis Cespedes would come to Queens and consistently slug the ball at Citi Field. Most of all, I never, EVER would have expected to see the New York Mets take the NL East crown, sweep the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, and make a miraculous trip to the World Series in 2015.
A ton has changed since that dreaded October night in ‘06, and now the Mets are geared to make another serious run at the ‘ship in 2017. It just goes to show that no matter how grim things may seem, Ya Gotta Believe.