It is a sad state of affairs when the rest of the league laughs at you instead of hating you. One of the most memorable (and hated) teams in the franchise were in the late 80’s (1984-1990 and not coincidentally under the helm of Davey Johnson). The Mets not only won handily but had a clear identity. They were hated but were fighters and they didn’t take mess from anyone. You hit one of their players and you get beaned. You go spikes high on our infielders and you get taken out. Those were, for me at least, the proudest times that I could remember because they took what they had and made it work and they played with guts and the will to win. I’d love to see the pride and attitude again sans the off-field stuff.
Certain fans rip us for being nostalgic. Met fans are always accused of living in the past. Good or bad, much of the best times were in the past. We won a world title, were the #1 team in NYC, and our players showed something rarely seen today. The 80’s teams were hated but they won. Not because they were from NY but because they were flat out good. It’s lame to wait for Perez and Castillo to be relieved of duty. That’s a year. Teams do more with less. No excuse for not making an impact in ’11. Looking back into the past is not always a bad thing. Perhaps the “New Mets” could be what we hoped for and more.
Here are ten moments that speak it loud and clear. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
1. The Mets had a 93-46 (.669) record in 139 games, 22 games ahead of the Phillies with 23 to play. They finished 2nd the past two seasons, after 7 years as one of the worst teams in baseball. The Mets set a franchise record 108 wins—a record that still stands today.
2. In the 2nd of a 3-game set at Cinergy Field, the Mets trailed Pete Rose’s Reds 3-1 heading into the ninth. In the bottom of the 10th, Eric Davis—pinch running for Rose—stole 2nd and then slid hard into 3rd, fighting with Ray Knight. The benches empty into a 15 minute brawl. Both men plus Kevin Mitchell and Mario Soto were ejected, forcing Davey Johnson to play reliever Jesse Orosco in RF for 3 innings, reliever Roger McDowell in LF and RF, and Gary Carter at 3rd for 4 innings for the 2nd time in his career. HoJo’s 3 run homer in the 14th inning and McDowell returning to the mound to get three ground ball outs sealed the victory.
3. In 16 innings, 430 pitches, and 4:42 hours, the Mets defeated the ‘Stros to face the Red Sox in the World Series.
4. The Mets return to the postseason for the 1st time since 1988, defeating the Reds in a one game playoff to win the National League Wild Card. Al Leiter pitches a complete game 2 hit shut out for the win.
5. The Mets defeat ARI 4-3 to win the NLDS in 4 games. Todd Pratt hits the game winner in the 10th inning and advance to the NLCS for the 5th time in team history.
6. The Mets defeat ATL 6-2 to clinch the NL Wild Card. 1st time in franchise history the Mets qualified for the postseason in consecutive seasons. Finally beating their rivals put them in line for the first Subway World Series.
7. The Mets clinch their 4th NL Pennant when they defeat the Cards 7-0 to win the NLCS in 5 games. Series MVP Mike Hampton pitches a complete game three hitter for the win, striking out eight.
8. The Mets defeat the ‘Stros 7-6 in Gm 6 of the NLCS to win their 3rd NL Pennant. One of the greatest games in baseball history, rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the 9th inning, tying the game and winning in 16 innings.
9. Two words. Bill Buckner.
10. The Mets win their 2nd World Championship defeating the BoSox 8-5 in Gm 7.