NEW YORK METS: The scars of previous postseason failures timestamp my pain. This season, however, went a long way towards soothing those wounds.
From 1985 through 1988, the Mets won 398 games. Like the 1986 team, the 1988 Mets reached the century mark in wins, and captured another division flag. The Mets pummeled the N.L. West clinching Los Angeles Dodgers throughout the regular season, and appeared poised to cement their dynasty - that is, until they ran into Orel Hershiser's record setting arm, Kirk Gibson's swan song, and catcher Mike Scioscia accidentally hitting a Dwight Gooden fastball over Shea Stadium's right field wall during the NLCS. That one is still very disturbing to revisit.
Let's be honest with ourselves with what transpired a decade later. Much of the 1999-2000 success was owed to Wayne (Blockbuster) Huizenga, and his Marlins fire sale after winning the 1997 World Series. Al Leiter and Mike Piazza would not have become available otherwise.
That said, the Mets of Jon Olerud, Edgardo Alfonzo, and Robin Ventura, almost pulled off a remarkable comeback against the Braves in the 1999 NLCS - right up until Kenny freakin' Rogers walked home the winning, and series clinching run in Game Six. That was an infuriating way to lose (rather than forcing a Game 7). I still have trouble reconciling that series, particularly Kenny Rogers' existence.
Then, losing the 2000 World Series was distressing for obvious reasons, as it came against the Yankees.
The 2006 team was a veteran squad constructed for immediate gratification. They were indeed an offensive force that steamrolled the regular season competition. Their starting pitching, however, fell apart at the worst possible time - the opening of the postseason. Even then, the Mets had their chances against the Cardinals in the NLCS. Much transpired that left Mets fans pondering, what if, well before Adam Wainwright delivered his series ending curveball to Carlos Beltran.
Remember Duaner Sanchez? Yeah, me too. I'm reminded how he wasn't there to save Mets fans from Aaron Heilman, much in the same way Jenrry Mejia went professionally MIA this season, leaving the Mets depending on the likes of Tyler Clippard, etc.
As a self proclaimed pragmatist, I try living by a saying, that you can not be disappointed with what you do not expect. That's the best way I can describe the 2015 season. All I wanted from this team was a .500 record, and improvement from their young crop of players. Instead, I got a National League pennant, and baseball lasting into November!
Without question, the New York Metropolitans recently concluded 54th season in franchise history rates among their most Amazin' ever. For the fifth time in their history, the Mets are kings of the Senior Circuit.
I'll take that!
If anything, I'm confident this off-season will prove far more disappointing than the Mets actual loss to Kansas City.
Asphalt road, take me home, under the El where I belong, Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, Queens, Citi Field, take me home...
They say love is blind.
If Fred Wilpon's shameless tribute to the Dodgers didn't quite feel like home to you (like yours truly), then perhaps this changes things? I guess there's a reason why I spend most of my time spanning the Shea Bridge. I spent my childhood, teen years, adolescence, and adult years at Shea Stadium. That's hard to top. But, they say home is where the heart is. In the end, Citi Field finally had its day to shine. Hell, the Home Run Apple even took one for the team off the bat of Travis d'Arnaud.
**Word to the owners: Leave the bandage on the Apple!**
So yeah, now that the place has been decorated with a new National League Champion banner after six long, losing seasons, perhaps a noticeable cold era has indeed thawed.
I'll learn to love her yet.
I'm a man for all seasons.
Good or bad, I love the stories they inspire, but they all take their respective toll. Don't misunderstand me when saying I look forward to the last day of the season as much as I do Opening Day. I like the beginning and finality.
The length of any given baseball season, however, never hits me until the very last out. That's when the long haul ends, the weight of 162-plus games comes to rest, and you realize how much being consumed by teams, players, games, stats, and trends, taxed the brain.