Notes From a Yankee Fan: The 2015 New York Mets Deserve Your Respect

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Kevin C. Cox

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I am no New York Mets fan, but I have the utmost respect for the 2015 National League Conference Champs.

The Mets’ last dose of winning was 29 years ago, in 1986, with legends such as Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter being the top dogs in New York. All Mets fans know struggle like it’s their best friend; they couldn’t get around having collapsed every year since that distant championship. Yes, the Mets have had very good teams since, but nothing compares to this year’s team, who ultimately failed to succeed at the end of the road.

From 1999-2014, the New York Mets completed nine seasons in which their win percentage landed below the .500 mark. The Mets have had only six winning seasons since the turn of the millennium. They’ve had the talent, they’ve had the pitching staff, they’ve had the die-hard fans, but New York simply couldn’t buy a ticket to the World Series since their last time there in 2000. Even with arguably the greatest catcher of all-time, Mike Piazza, the farthest the New York Mets have gotten with him was the 2000 World Series, where they fell lost to their mighty crosstown rival, the New York Yankees, 4-1.

The New York Mets finally were a threat in the National League after the acquisitions of pitchers Matt Harvey (2012), Jacob deGrom (2014), and Noah Syndergaard (2015). It took three years to built one of the most dominant, youthful pitching staffs. To add to the staff, the 2015 New York Mets starters included veteran fan-favorite Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, and rookie hometown kid, Steven Matz. To close the games for the star pitching staff emerged one of the best relievers in the league, Jeurys Familia.

If you think the pitching staff was good, you should see the depth of the Mets offense. The New York Mets infield consisted of 1B Lucas Duda, 2B Daniel Murphy, SS Ruben Tejada, and 3B Eric Campbell who filled in for David Wright during his season-long injury. Head coach Terry Collins messed with the infield during the year to find the best fit for success. Until the middle part of the season, the New York Mets outfield consisted of Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Michael Conforto and Michael Cuddyer. Around the 2015 MLB trade deadline, the Mets made one of the best mid-season moves in recent years. On July 31, 2015, the Mets acquired Detroit Tigers star power hitter, Yoenis Cespedes just minutes before baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline. Cespedes gave opposing pitching staffs even more trouble than just the regular Mets lineup. He hit 17 home runs and drove in 44 RBIs with a .604 SLF and .941 OPS in 57 games with the Mets. Also around the deadline, the Mets added utility player Kelly Johnson, veteran infielder Juan Uribe and savvy reliever, and Tyler Clippard from the Athletics. The red-hot New York Mets made great moves to make an even greater push to the 2015 postseason.

According to avid Mets fan and English teacher, Mr. Malossi, the “2015 New York Mets were the best overall Mets squad since 1986.” He said, “they had all of the tools to win it all, but just couldn’t come through at the end. But it was a great ride.”

The New York Mets had one of the most successful seasons in team history, finishing the year with a 90-72 record and winning the National League East title on September 26, their first division title since 2006 and sixth overall. On April 23, 2015 the New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 6-3 to complete a perfect 10-game homestand, tying their team record with an 11-game winning streak. The Mets’ season was not just impressive because of the stats, but the way they won their games. They recorded 49 runs over a four game span–an average of 12.25 runs per game. New York tied a franchise record set in 1985 by recording 14 runs or more five times this season.

New York Mets captain and third baseman David Wright said, “This 2015 Mets team is one for the ages. This is special. This is special. I can’t stop saying it. The `69 Mets, the `86 Mets, the 2000 Mets–we are amongst the best Mets teams to ever play, and I couldn’t be more proud.”

The New York Mets played the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2015 National League Division Series, with the Mets taking that series in 5 games (3-2). A home-run-happy Daniel Murphy launched seven home runs in seven straight game, leading the Mets over the Chicago Cubs in the 2015 National League Championship Series, sweeping them 4-0.

An eager team heading to the 2015 World Series, the Mets faced one of the most well-rounded teams in the MLB. The New York Mets lost in five games to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. New York had numerous opportunities to win Game 4 and Game 5, and to tie up the series at two games apiece. After two blasphemous errors by Daniel Murphy (Game 4), and Lucas Duda (Game 5) which cost them the game two separate times, the New York Mets may have just tied up the series.

Bad losses notwithstanding, the main reason the New York Mets deserve endless respect from any fan is because they haven’t been truly great in so long. Especially from New York Yankees fans, the Mets were once considered the laughing stock of the MLB. Now, the Mets can rub their National League Conference Champion pennant, as well as the fact they went to the World Series, in Yankee fans’ faces, after their team was eliminated in the AL Wild Card game.

I’ll say it again; fans as well as Mets players, know struggle like it’s their best friend. The Mets finally deserve all of the credit and hard work for the turnaround of their team.