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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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High Five!

When we’ve played this late into a year, we’ve been at our most Amazin’. Ours is the franchise over which Roger Angell once concluded, “The Mets go melodramatic in October, it’s in their genes…” He wrote that in 2001, specifically about a series of games from 1988, but also knowing the events of 2000 and 1999 remained fresh in the reader’s memory and that the lingering legacies of 1973 and 1969 were never far out of reach.

Ours were the Mets who never said die; who prevailed late, close and wet; who came out of nowhere and then wouldn’t go away. In the mind’s eye, ours will always be the team that is on in October.

On the televisions and tablets of today, however, we are pre-empted so TBS, Fox and something called Fox Sports 1 can bring you other teams doing what we were sure were once wholly Metsian things.

The Giants persevere past midnight. The Royals overcome resounding unlikelihood. The Cardinals keep boomeranging back. The Orioles are one of 24 franchises to have played a postseason game more recently than October 19, 2006.

All of baseball — save for the Blue Jays, Mariners, Marlins, Astros and Padres — has practically conspired across eight Octobers to make the Mets look immaterial by comparison, but even as we sit on the sidelines and tune in to what others are up to, they can’t take this away from us:

The Mets are the best best-of-five team in major league history.

That’s right. The Mets, who haven’t been in the playoffs since Studio 60 was on the Sunset Strip, are still best at something when it comes to October. Namely, that when the difference between advancement and extinction depends of achieving three wins in five games, the Mets can’t be beat.

They’ve never been beat. In fact, we are on the fifth finger of perhaps the most impressive sequentially commemorative hand in what we’ll call modern baseball history this very day.

On October 6, 1969, the New York Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves, 7-4, to win the National League Championship Series, three games to none.

On October 7, 2006, the New York Mets defeated the Los Angles Dodgers, 9-5, to win the National League Division Series, three games to none.

On October 8, 2000, the New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants, 4-0, to win the National League Division Series, three games to one.

On October 9, 1999, the New York Mets defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-3, to win the National League Division Series, three games to one.

On October 10, 1973, the New York Mets defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 7-2, to win the National League Championship Series, three games to two.

Five of a kind! Or full house, NLDSes over NLCSes! The point is we’re unbeatable in a very specific kind of situation. Where there’ve been the Mets and a best-of-five — which was the LCS format from 1969 through 1984 and has been the LDS format since 1995 (as well as in Striketober 1981) — there’s been nothing but ultimate Met victory…in that very specific situation.

We’re not just the best at best-of-five. We’re the most infallible. Only the Marlins can say they have a perfect record in best-of-five series, but they’ve been in only two of them and, honestly, who can hear the Marlins say anything over that loud, garish home run sculpture in center field? The Blue Jays have also never lost a best-of-five series; they’ve never played one, having conveniently limited their postseason exposure pre-1985 and post-1993 to invisible.

Happy (slightly belated in some cases) 45th, 41st, 15th, 14th and 8th anniversaries to our best-of-five triumphs. May we get a shot at a sixth real soon.

5 comments to High Five!

  • Inside Pitcher

    Holy Saturday in 2006 also coincided with the Yankees’ elimination.

    It was a great birthday :)

  • dmg

    a good memory of oct. 7, 2006: mets advance, yankees eliminated, and that same evening, i’m in the bedroom for the first time with a new girlfriend — a yankees fan, as it happens — and in the middle of things, she puts it together and says, you’re having a really good night, aren’t you?

  • ToBeDetermined

    Gane 3 of the 2015 NLDS, assuming current scheduling patterns hold and weather doesn’t intervene, will take place on… October 11.

    Just sayin’…

  • Lenny65

    I don’t remember 1969 and I barely remember ’73 (although I do recall it was quite a spectacle). 1973 was the season that cemented my fanhood forever, being the highly-impressionable youngster as I was. Yep, the NLCS was five games and most of them took place during the afternoon. Got home from school just in time to see the RoseBud incident.

    1999, the season of disbelief. Other than Pratt’s Big Moment, Fonzie’s insane 2-something-AM grand slam stands out from the Arizona series, what a night. 2000 vs. S.F., great series that sort of got lost in the weirdness of the NLCS and of course, the thing that happened after. But Benny’s 13th inning walk-off, the unbelievable JT Snow/John Franco game and of course Bobby Jones’ gem. Good freaking times.

    2006: I had a trip scheduled and I tried to plan it around the series so I didn’t have to travel on any game days but the only way I was able to pull it off was if the Mets took it in three. One of the rare times when all best-laid Mets plans fell neatly into place.

  • Will in Central NJ

    October 7, 2006: I’m in the parking lot outside the central NJ catering hall that is hosting my 25th high school reunion. A couple of 43-year old classmates, and a couple of husbands of others, are listening to my car radio with me, as the Mets score run after run in Chavez Ravine. Word spreads also that the Yankees are eliminated.

    Ties loosened, united in Met fanhood, we clink beer bottles and other glassware, and agree: this is great. Just unbeatable and great.