By Ryan Norton | Posted November 19, 2015
The last time the New York Mets were in the World Series, NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys were still at the top of the Billboard charts, kids were still trading Pokémon cards, and George W. Bush won the presidential election.
Yeah, it’s been a while.
It’s been 29 years since the Mets have last won a World Series title. For nearly three decades since, Mets fans have known nothing but anger, misery, and heartache. The last success the Mets had was in 2006, when they were one game away from punching their ticket to the Fall Classic, before succumbing to the eventual World Series Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. Talking about game seven still makes Mets fans cringe.
After the 2006 season, the Mets floated into mediocrity. From 2008-2014, no Mets team had an above .500 record. Their brand new stadium (Citi Field) was an absolute ghost town. It often looked like there were more popcorn and beer vendors roaming the venue than fans.
Year after year, Jeff and Fred Wilpon (the team owners) promised that the Mets will be better next year. It eventually fell on deaf ears. Fans got sick of hearing it, myself included. I began to fully embrace the Mets as a “lovable loser” type of team. They became cheap entertainment, as you can get a ticket for cheaper than the chicken fingers and fries you would buy at the game.
It’s a tradition in my family that my dad, my brothers, and I make the trek to Citi Field to see the Mets’ home opener, and while it is enjoyable, I always know that it means nothing, as the Mets are seemingly always eliminated from playoff contention by the time the summer rolls around. For some reason, this season just felt different from the get go.
After finishing April with a 15-8 record, including a ten-game winning streak, it seemed as though the Wilpon’s promise of a good team finally came true. It didn’t last long, however, as the Mets reverted back to their old ways for much of May, June, and July, going 38-42 in that stretch.
I was already telling myself, “Well, better luck next year.”
The Mets’ fortunes turned around on the trade deadline on July 31, when they picked up All-Star slugger Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers. After acquiring Cespedes, as well as others including Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and Tyler Clippard, the Mets became one of the most formidable teams in all of the MLB, going on a run that will be remembered for years.
By the time the regular season concluded, the Mets finished with a 90-72 record, their best since 2006, and won the National League East pennant, their first since 2006 as well. For the first time in nearly a decade, the Mets were going to play October baseball.
After a nail-biter of a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mets advanced to the NLCS for the first time in nearly a decade, to take on the red-hot Chicago Cubs. In what is seemingly an upset, the Mets swept the Cubs in four straight games, and punched their ticket to the World Series for the first time since 2000.
When the Mets went to the World Series a decade a half ago, I was only nine years old. And while I was a big Mets fan then, it’s something you cannot truly appreciate until you get older. It’s an indescribable feeling to see a team you’ve been rooting for your whole life, a team who has been the laughingstock of the MLB for years, make it to the championship. Seeing a city become united under the colors of orange and blue was a cathartic experience.
While the Mets played lackluster against the Royals and lost the World Series in five games, this season isn’t anything to beashamed of. If you were to tell me earlier this year that the Mets would be in the World Series this year, I would have laughed so hard that tears would have rolled from my eyes.
The heart and tenacity showed by this team is something that will be cherished by the Flushing faithful forever. On paper, the 2015 Mets shouldn’t have been as successful as they were, but they were able to prove everyone wrong, myself included. The real perk about all of this is that it seems as though the Mets will be a formidable foe in the MLB for the foreseeable future, and while we didn’t get a World Series win this year, Mets fans can be confident that one is coming soon.