Attention citizens of the National League Eastern Division: You have a new champion.
There isn’t a combination of Phillie or Marlin or Brave or National wins that adds to a hill of beans now. They can’t touch us in 2006. We win.
It is fricking remarkable that we haven’t been able to say that since 1988. Back then, we lorded it over five teams, four of which don’t live here anymore. That was the same group we started with in 1969, the year we won our first, the year I watched my first. Then it was the Cubs, Pirates, Cardinals, Phillies and Expos who couldn’t lay a glove on us. It’s 37 years, two expansions, one realignment and one franchise shift later, but it feels familiar. It feels right. It feels home. The Eastern Division of the National League: Our House.
I was watching Sports New York for all we missed while we were there and I’m seeing this Met and that Met talking about how great this is for them as individuals as well as a team and I believe them. I believe everything tonight when it comes to the Mets.
But I’m looking at that clubhouse footage and listening to those interviews and I’m thinking it can’t be any better for them than it is for us.
Oh sure, they’re the champs. They’re the ones who made it so. Becoming a division champion is a big deal for them. But them becoming a division champion New York Met…well, like I said back when we still had a magic number, this 1 was for us.
It’s huge for Delgado and Lo Duca because they’ve never seen the business end of October before. But Delgado and Lo Duca weren’t Mets last year. They’d be happy to earn this result wherever they were.
It’s a great accomplishment for Wright and Reyes. They’re two of the best young athletes we’ll ever see. But they’ve been at this professional baseball thing for just a few years. They weren’t alive when I had already put in 14 seasons on behalf of the club they now call theirs.
Much is to be said for Trachsel, a Met with nothing to show for it except a nice paycheck since 2001. Floyd and Glavine got here in 2003, a very, very inauspicious moment to start being Mets. Aaron Heilman was a Met when being a Met wasn’t cool — and when being Aaron Heilman was highly unfashionable. I don’t doubt they all feel they’ve been through the wars as Mets. They have…a few. It is we, however, who bear the scars of almost every battle this team has fought in the span of our sentient memories.
We love Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez and Chris Woodward and Shawn Green and Mike DiFelice and Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez and Billy Wagner and everybody who did this thing we toasted several hours ago. Of course we loved hundreds of guys who tried and failed to do this thing several years ago and several decades ago. We will love the next bunch that comes along, too. We are Mets fans. We love Mets. It’s the proportions of that affection that change, usually in sync with Met fortunes.
This bunch here is very special. Good players we know they are and good guys they seem to be. We wait all winter for a baseball season and boy have they given us one to luxuriate in and remember, I suspect, eternally. I will forever be grateful to every Met who won me a National League Eastern Division title in 2006. I will forever be happy for each and every one of them. They should be proud of their respective accomplishments in their chosen field.
But it can’t mean more to them than it does to me; does to Jason; does to Laurie who brought us her camera, her bubbly and her passion with three outs to go; to Jim who draws Mr. Met for us; to AlberstonMets who came by and introduced himself in the flesh; to jm with whom I just got off the phone; to CharlieH and to MetLady516 and to Inside Pitcher and to Mo and to Rusty and to Student of the Game and to Jacobs27 and to Kingman Fan and to Bicycle Mom and to Joshua and to NostraDennis and to dmg and to Joelster63…and forgive me if I don’t call the complete roll of commenters who make our blog whole and doubly forgive me if I’m missing you who should be terribly obvious to me, to say nothing of our blogging brothers and sisters whose collective efforts make us a part of something bigger than ourselves and, of course, you readers we don’t know except that we know that you’re out there.
Winning this National League Eastern Division championship means a lot to us, doesn’t it?
We look at the script Mets on those uniforms and that’s our name. That’s us. However it happened, we became Mets a forever ago. We don’t get paid. Doesn’t even occur to us how much being Mets costs us in dollar terms let alone man and woman hours devoted to this cause we’ve made our own across each and every one of our lifetimes. We bleed, we sweat, we cry because, c’mon — what else are we gonna do?
We can do everything for this team except hit, hit with power, run, throw, catch and pitch. So we do what we can. We wear them and we hope them and we yell them and we live them and we write them. We do it with only limited promise and no guarantee of success most years. We do it on the slightest chance that every now and then we can call ourselves the champion of something. It’s not a dealbreaker when we can’t, but it surely serves as a contract extension into perpetuity for us when we do.
We are the 2006 National League Eastern Division Champions. Congratulations everybody. We did it.