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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
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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A Most Worthwhile Pennant

The temptation after a night like Wednesday, when the New York Mets defeated the Chicago Cubs, 8-3, at Wrigley Field to sweep the National League Championship Series in four straight games and claim the fifth pennant in franchise history is to say this is what makes being a Mets fan worthwhile.

Nonsense. It’s been worthwhile all along.

It was worthwhile the first time you picked up something resembling a ball or a bat and identified with the man on TV, the one who threw the ball faster or swung the bat harder than you ever could.

It was worthwhile when you decided that it might be fun to play baseball, but that watching baseball with all your heart and all your soul would be more your forte.

It was worthwhile when you discovered you could wear shirts and caps with the same letters the players on your team wore and you could collect pictures of those players and you could read about them and you could keep watching them on TV and once in a while, if you were lucky, you could go and see them play their games in person.

It was really worthwhile to learn it wasn’t just you who enjoyed these things. You were part of a community, a tribe, something bigger than yourself. Those who shared your enthusiasm for this stuff were not necessarily exactly like you, but they were close enough. And you grew close to them.

In winter, you counted the days until the next baseball season with them. Through spring and summer and into fall, you counted the years until the next great baseball season with them. You reassured each other one was coming. Until it did, you enjoyed as best you could the ones you were given.

You enjoyed the year after your team last went to the World Series. The team sort of went into the toilet early and often in 2001, but you never stopped going to games with your friends, never stopped conceiving of ways the team could fight their way back into a race. To your surprise, they scratched and clawed and made an otherwise horrible September briefly beautiful. They didn’t win anything, but it was still worthwhile.

You enjoyed the years that followed: 2002, 2003, 2004. You didn’t enjoy them that much, because your team never came close to returning to the World Series, but there were still the trappings of a baseball season. There were trips to the ballpark and nights you’d tune in and players you started to pick out as your next favorites. You had no illusions, but you never gave up.

You enjoyed your first hint that things might really get better, in 2005. You enjoyed writing about the goings of old heroes and the comings of new hopes. You enjoyed writing about all of it.

You enjoyed coming so close to the World Series you could taste it. In your heart, you know 2006 was the year; it just got misplaced along the time-space continuum. Then again, the time-space continuum has proven to be a little overrated.

You enjoyed, in the perverse way only your kind could, falling tantalizingly short in 2007 and 2008. There’s at least a couple of songs that say something about it feeling so good to hurt so bad. That was those years. You doubt anyone not immersed in what you’ve been immersed in could understand that feeling something — even feeling something awful — was better than feeling nothing at all. Good thing you know others who are immersed the way you are. Anybody else would think you were nuts.

You enjoyed trying to feel something for your team after it stopped coming close. You were more sour than the naked eye could have divined in 2009 and 2010 and 2011…and 2012 and 2013 and deep into 2014. But it never occurred to you your team wasn’t part of your life, and you never for a second didn’t feel at home with the people who weren’t necessarily exactly like you, but they understood what you were going through better than anybody else could. They were going through it, too.

Because they were close enough. They were close to you and you were close to them and together you dreamed of a night when your team would do something that was becoming unfathomable to the lot of you, like making it to a World Series.

All of that was worthwhile. It was worthwhile whenever you started rooting for the New York Mets. It was worthwhile when the Mets couldn’t win a pennant in the 14 seasons that succeeded 2000. It was worthwhile as the Mets went about coalescing into the kind of team that could win a pennant in 2015.

When the Mets did win that pennant, after sweeping the Cubs…yeah, that was worthwhile, too.

Extraordinarily so.

For those of you who endured some or most or all of the pennant drought that left us high and dry for fifteen long years in the autumnal baseball desert, congratulations. For those of you who got a load of the Mets maybe two weeks or two months ago and thought “that sure looks like fun, I wanna be a part of it,” congratulations to you, too. You chose wisely. Hope you’ll stick around.

For those of you who’ve been at this forever, who can remember not just the last National League championship before the current one but the ones that preceded it, congratulations on a lifetime well spent. You and I know this isn’t just about the pennants and it’s not just about the waiting for the pennants. It’s about every bit of faith and community and bucking each other up and laughing to keep from crying and keeping each other going and moaning and griping because we’re human and coming back for more because we’re Mets fans.

For those of you who are Daniel Murphy (.529, a home run every night), thank you.

For those of you who are Daniel Murphy’s teammates, what’s it like knowing Daniel Murphy? It must be an incredible sensation to be near that much greatness every day. If you’ve touched Daniel Murphy, can we touch you? By all means apply some Neosporin first, because if you’ve touched Daniel Murphy, you’re probably going to need to salve those burns. No baseball player has ever been hotter than the 2015 NLCS MVP.

Murph, a Met since 2008, didn’t do it alone, but you had the sense he could have had it been necessary. It wasn’t. He won the pennant alongside David Wright, from 2004; and Jon Niese, from 2008; and Lucas Duda (author of five essential Game Four RBIs) from 2010; not to mention a procession of Mets who began to stream into our consciousness in 2012 and 2013 when we were convinced a season like 2015 was still light years away: Nieuwenhuis, Harvey, Familia, Lagares, Flores, d’Arnaud. It wasn’t seamless and it didn’t always register as logical as 2013 became 2014 — Why Granderson? Why Colon? Who’s deGrom? — but something was happening. Even as we alternated in our derision and dismissiveness (defense mechanisms as much as the products of dispassionate analysis), the Metscape was shifting.

Onto it strode Michael Cuddyer, Sean Gilmartin, Kevin Plawecki, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Michael Conforto, Kelly Johnson, Tyler Clippard, Yoenis Cespedes, Addison Reed and — because Juan Uribe and Ruben Tejada were hurting — Matt Reynolds. Half the team was new for 2015. They had never lost with the Mets. They joined a cluster of players who had matured and persevered and survived until they could win as Mets. It wasn’t an obvious championship roster until you watched them play as one under Terry Collins, perhaps the most underestimated manager in modern major league history.

Once they all came together and showed what they could do, there was no doubt. Same as there were no losses to the Cubs. Same as there was no feeling like that we felt when Jeurys Familia struck out Dexter Fowler looking on October 21, 2015 — with the respective exceptions of Nolan Ryan, Tug McGraw, Jesse Orosco and Mike Hampton retiring Tony Gonzalez, Dan Driessen, Kevin Bass and Rick Wilkins under similar circumstances in 1969, 1973, 1986 and 2000.

Those were the first four seasons in which the New York Mets ever won the National League pennant. First four. As of 2015, there’s a fifth. You’ll have to revise the total that’s been ingrained into you for a generation. You’ve been so used to saying the Mets have been to the World Series four times. Now you’ll have to say five. I’m sure you can make the adjustment. The Mets adjusted from perennial losers to dynamic winners in 2015. We Mets fans adjusted from thinking this fifth pennant might never get here to embracing it as it arrived: built by Alderson; shaped by Collins; earned by pitching; secured by Murphness; sprayed by champagne; baptized by tears.

We never had to change our ways, though. We may not have always believed, but we were always capable of Believing. It was in us the whole time. Our capability just had to be tapped.

I Believed sometime in late August. I must have. It was one of those nights when I was visiting my dad in the hospital. He was being difficult, to put it mildly. This was when he was recovering from pneumonia and heading for another round of rehab. He didn’t seem much interested in recovering or rehabilitating. He had undergone brain surgery in May, worked hard to regain his ability to walk in June, submitted himself to radiation and chemotherapy in July and seemed to be doing all right until the middle of August. Then came pneumonia and the hospital and a will to live that was crumbling.

This was also when he decided he liked having his son visit to watch the first-place Mets with him. His son thus played the only motivational card he had at his disposal. Dad, he said, I want to watch the Mets in the World Series with you, but you have to get better so I can watch it with you at home. At the very least, it made him less difficult that night.

It’s two months later. He’s not home. Rehab was too much for him. Instead, he’s in what they call palliative care, where they just try to make a person in his situation “comfortable”. But you know what he’s looking forward to doing with me this coming Tuesday night, and what I’m looking forward to doing with him? Just like we did for Game Five of the NLDS and Game Three of the NLCS, we will be getting together to watch Game One of the World Series — Mets-Royals, Mets-Blue Jays, whichever. I promised it to him as if it was mine to promise in August, and these Mets made it a deliverable reality in October.

That makes this pennant a little extra worthwhile for me, just as this pennant makes being a Mets fan a little extra worthwhile for all of us. We’d still be this and do this without this, but getting to have this?

It really gives you something to Believe in, doesn’t it?

73 comments to A Most Worthwhile Pennant

  • Art

    As a lifelong Mets fan, this season has been nothing short of magical. I do pour my soul into this, and when it is rewarded, the feeling is wonderful. Greg, treasure this time with your Dad, as I would have loved to be able to do.
    I said the winner of Game 5 of the Dodgers series would win the World Series, and after my “amazing” prediction of Mets in 4 over the Cubs, my call is Mets in 5 to take home the trophy.

  • Roy Trakin

    Tears of joy and just one of the reasons why we are fans. I ‘ve been there from ’62. And it doesn’t get better. You captured it Greg. A memory you will have as long as you’re alive. With your father. Murphy is almost enough to make me believe in Jesus. This has been divine. Like ’69. Hey that rhymes. Bring on whoever. This feels pre-ordained.

  • Adam in Hoboken

    Greg- such beautiful writing. I’m so happy I came across this blog this season! I started my mets fandom in 1983 as a 4 year old. I became a mets fan for 2 reasons- I lived in Port Washington (so everybody else loved the mets) and my mother liked the team. My mother wasn’t the worlds biggest sports fan, but she enjoyed baseball and had loved the idea of an underdog back in the late 60s. She’s the one who celebrated with me in 86, who taught me how to handle a loss in 88, and who I could band together with in a family full of Yankees fans. In 2013 she passed away, a 27 year survivor of brain cancer. I know right now she’s happy, celebrating with a glass of club soda without ice, but how I would’ve loved to celebrate with her. Enjoy the precious moments with your father, and I hope for you that you to can celebrate one more time together. LETS GO METS!!!!

  • Lou from Brazil

    Once again Greg, you’ve captured everything it is to be a fan, but particularly being a Mets fan. It’s been a tumultuous few years on the field and behind the scenes, but it is so incredible to watch this group play for each other. And for us. I’m thankful for this amazing ride and what they’ve done so far. Best wishes to you and your family. Let’s hope we all get to see one more Mets celebration near the mound this year. Oh yeah, can’t forget: LET’S GO METS.

  • Dave

    Not much to add to that, Greg…as you and Jason capture even the most mundane and forgettable moments of Mets fandom so well, you especially shine in these most perfect moments. It sounds as though your Dad can will some things to happen…make sure a Mets World Series championship is on his list. Everyone’s thoughts are with both of you.

    This is really happening.

  • Dennis

    Absolutely tremendous post. I want 4 more wins not only for all Mets fans and everyone one this forum, but for my oldest son (stepson actually), who chose the Mets back in 1986 as his favorite team at the age of 4 because of me, when I took him to his first baseball game that year (Mets – Phillies at the Vet, of course not really knowing what was going on). We have endured the losing seasons and enjoyed the good ones, made our once a season visits to Shea then Citifield, but has never been able to celebrate a World Championship with me for all of that time. Here’s hoping we all get to do that sometime next week.

  • mikeL

    i’m glad that among all of the rewards of this magical season, you will be able to watch a METS WORLD SERIES (i love writing that kind of thing in caps!) with your dad. i’m sorry that he is in the palliative stage of care and i hope you can both treasure the baseball you watch next week.
    i lost my mom in june of the miracle season of ’99 and that season;the unlikely/unbelievable months that followed to the closing day of the season…and then the last chips falling into place to require the one-game play-in in cincy made such a difference in my life. baseball is beautiful – all the more when a team one loves harnesses something mysterious and magical to do something special. we are all so lucky to be in another magical time. i typically refer to those i discover to be also fans of the same mets as ‘another long-suffering…’ a badge of immediate fellowship.
    and yes, now we will all need to adjust to being fans of the most amazing team of 2015. we are getting to follow in in real-time. in the future others will marvel at the numbers, and not just those of steely dan murphy.
    for the next 6 days, the sports punditocracy will fill time by bringing the rest of the country up-to speed on what we have been watching all along.
    they won’t ridicule the mets, but will instead express how damn special this team is.
    today i will attend a work-pub function – the first like it since the mets were on that amazing start of the season. a yankee fan co-worker tried to tamper my enthusiasm with ‘yea but this is april’.
    perfect timing tonite’s event fall son the first day that met fans everywhere are waiting to see who will oppose OUR team in the WORLD SERIES.

    cheers all!

  • Matthew

    You might want to move this blog to faithinflushing.com.

    The fear, it’s gone.

    The notion that we follow a team for which anything that can go wrong will go wrong belongs in 2007.

    It’s 2015. There’s a new Murphy’s Law.

  • Steve2916

    Btw,

    Guess whose record Murph broke for most HRs by a 2B in single postseason?

    None other than Chase Utley! Ha!

    #LGM. 2015 NL Champs!!!! Woo hoo.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    For the first time since probably 1986 I was actually screaming at the TV while watching a game alone. It’s great to be in my 60’s and act like I’m 12. I owe most of it to Murphy.

    Goodbye TBS. I think I’ve had quite enough cutaways of those 20-something Yahoos in McFaddens. I’ll bet not a one of them ever heard of Felix Mantilla, or even Bubba Trammell for that matter. And if I never see Sam Ryan do another interview I won’t be missing much.

    And why does Ernie Johnson insist on calling Cal Ripken “Ironman” and why does Ripken allow it. I kept thinking of Jimmy Olsen and “Gosh, Superman”.

    And how will we be able to get thru the World Series without Ripken’s insightful commentary. He actually said this about Familia with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th yesterday: “He’s certainly proved himself to be a valuable piece of the puzzle.” Oh, thanks, I wasn’t sure about that.

    • Dennis

      My son and I were talking about Ripken’s insight after Game 3. Rain is falling in the 9th inning and he says “The ball might be getting a bit slippery out there”.

    • Will in Central NJ

      For all the skills that rightfully placed Cal Ripken Jr. in the Hall of Fame, he’s decidedly wooden as an announcer/color analyst.

      During a ground ball into a defensive shift, Ripken stated, “A little bit either way, and he would’ve had it.” Who’s “he”? The fielder or the runner? What’s “it”? The ball or the base?

      Someone should inform “Ironman” that many more casual fans tune in during the postseason, and a color analyst needs to provide more ‘color’. But hey, he’s Cal Ripken Jr…..

      • Dave

        Or when he said something about how Familia was a “contributor” for the Mets this year. Gee, ya think? A closer with 40+ saves who’s f***ing unhittable in the postseason is a “contributor” as though he was a versatile utility infielder or something? Jeez. The computer that was talking to Bob Dylan was more interesting.

    • SJGMoney

      And can we have Ernie Johnson say one more time, just to make it an even 1,000, how the game might have been different if Wright didn’t spear that line drive with the bases loaded. Her Ernie, if my Aunt had balls she’d be my Uncle. Right Ironman?

  • cleon jones

    Greg, i hope your dad feels better. My wife of 32 years passed away on april 6TH. The first day of the season. She was a Met fan. I knew this season would be special. Its been a great ride so far. Four more wins to go!!!. LETS GO METS!!!!!!

  • Michael G.

    I believe with 2 homers in the World Series Murph will be the all-time home run king for a post-season series. More than Ruth, Mantle, Mays. There does seem to be something that drives him in big situations, clutch moments. It seemed many of his regular-season homers came at those times and of course in the post season every moment is like that.

    Greg — Your ability to describe baseball fandom and Mets fandom in particular is unparalleled. Best to your dad.

  • argman

    I am so glad that I work at home because your final paragraphs had me crying. Make that have me crying.

  • Walter

    Great piece Greg. Enjoy the World Series with your dad.

  • sturock

    Great piece, Greg. Enjoy the Series with your dad. I sure do miss mine right now. He would have loved this team.

  • Matt Bogen

    I lost my Mom early this year to cancer. A Cardinals fan growing up, she embraced the Mets living in the New York area and raising a family. I’ll enjoy watching these games with my Dad, though.

    Jared Diamond’s photo of Sandy sitting in the quiet dark watching the celebration on the field says so much – about baseball, about striving, about what’s lost and what is gained. Your post is the caption.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Greg,
    Enjoy the series with your dad. I wish my brother was here so I could enjoy the Series with him. But I have to borrow some Elton John lyrics to sing about the most amazing post-season ever.

    Daniel is playing tonight in a game.
    He makes it look like he’s on a different astral plane
    And I can see baseballs waving goodbye
    Oh no, it looks like Daniel, or is it Babe in disguise?

  • Marc R

    You’re right, it’s always worthwhile being a Mets fan. But it’s extra special being a fan in the company of goodhearted strong writers like you Greg and your readers and commenters.

    It’s also extra special to root for a man like David Wright who so clearly cares so much about performing well for the fans. It’s nice to know our affection is reciprocal.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Worthwhile. As usual, you said it. This wonderful moment is not what makes being a Mets fan worthwhile, but it is a heck of a cherry on top. This team has shown grit and resilience all year, and has totally earned this moment. They have rendered all the second guessers and snarky types mute and impotent. Everyone up and down the lineup contributed, and the pitching, defense, and base running have been superb. Where did all those stolen bases come from!? Has anyone heard anything about Uribe? Before the playoffs I was hearing that if we made it as far as the WS there was a chance he could return. I haven’t heard anything in a while, so I’m assuming that it’s not likely.

    All the best to you and your family Greg. Thank you for all you do to keep us believers informed and entertained.

  • Garrybl

    Beautifully written.
    The story about your father was really emotional — I’m sure nobody could read it without relating it to their own families and feeling for you..

  • Rob D.

    I went to Playwright on W 35th with a couple of guys from work to share in the potential clinching. I left in the 5th just cause I felt I had to get home. I caught a local train (ugh) and followed the game on Twitter.I got home in time to watch the final out. All the feels. I cried. Yes I cried. My 13 year old Yankee fan stayed up and said I’m so happy for you Dad. He wasn’t alive the last time the Mets were in the Series. My college freshman Met fan called and I cried again. I can’t put into words how surreal this is. Non sports fans don’t get it. This isn’t happening and yet it is.

    • Dave

      My daughter is about to turn 21 and is doing her junior year abroad in England, where baseball isn’t really a thing (rugby World Cup is the big event right now). I’ve always told her that I couldn’t wait until she could someday see NY as a Mets city again, because she never has, and now she’s 3000 miles away (although if she wasn’t in England, her school is in Ohio, so she wouldn’t be seeing it anyway). It’s great sharing this with my wife, but if the kid were home it would be that much more fun.

  • Adam Nartowicz

    Dear Greg,

    A masterpiece! Your words seem pulled from my thoughts. I lost my Dad 5 years ago. 91 and a really tough piece of work. He gave me my love of baseball, I turned that into a love of the Mets since I was 5. God bless you, your family and your Dad, for having a hand in creating such a great writer and son.

  • dgw

    Greg,

    You know who’s hotter than Daniel Murphy? You are.

    I’m glad you are able to share this with your dad. I wish I could still share this with mine.

    Dave

  • Lisa Rao

    Okay, this post made me “Wilmer Flores” all over again. Beautifully written, Greg, as usual. Enjoy every minute of the World Series with your dad! xoxo

  • DAK442

    This all seems surreal.

    I’m so happy for David, and Murph, and all the players, and Terry and even the Wilpons. I’m especially happy for the fans who came to the Mets after 1986 and have stuck with them during some lean periods and no championships.

    Y’know what’s funny and awkward? The people in my office congratulating me, as if I accomplished something other than having parents who steered me correctly 49 years ago. I appreciate the sentiment, but… uhh… I didn’t really do anything.

    Best wishes to you and your Dad, Greg.

  • Seth

    Did you catch the little wink we got from the baseball gods as the NLCS ended on a called third strike? For me, that right there exorcised the ghosts of 2006. How absolutely perfectly appropriate.

  • Jacobs27

    Thanks for writing this, Greg.

  • NostraDennis

    My dad died in July 2001 of lung cancer spread to the brain. One of the moments I treasure most is watching game 3 of the ’00 Subway Series with him. It might have been the only ball game we ever watched together from beginning to end. Prayers for you and your dad, Greg.

  • Gil

    Magic number is 4. We got this.

    Great, great piece.

  • Lenny65

    Wonderful job Mr. Prince! I’ve been going through something very similar with my mother during this incredible run so I can certainly relate. IMO it was the single most impressive series sweep in franchise history, they laid waste to the Cubs in a way I never imagined in my wildest dreams. All hail the 2015 Mets, what a blast of a season!

  • Bob

    Mets fan since Polo Grounds-1963
    Greg-You & your father enjoy every moment of the gift that is OUR 2015 National League Champion New York Mets!

    Thank you & Jason for great articles!

    Let’s Go Mets–for ever & ever!

  • Will in Central NJ

    Greg, again I join others in thanking you for sharing the moments through the years, in and around our collective fanhood of the NY Mets. I cherished watching the magic on TV last night, and was thinking of all Met fans, near and far, of the communal joy we all feel.

    Best wishes for the time you and your dad will have together. I’m blessed: my 80-y.o. parents text me weekly on their iPhones from south NJ. They started out as kids whose toys were pebbles in the dirt in the old homeland overseas.

    More memories await us all: THE NEW YORK METS ARE IN THE WORLD SERIES!! I’m still pinching myself!

  • Tim H

    Greg,

    Great piece.

    A number of years ago, I, too, had to deal with a parent in “palliative” care. It was my mother’s last weeks and they were precious. But, I was glad that at one time, she and I shared a singular moment in Mets history – Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. As luck would have it, I actually won two tickets to Field Box seats in a free office raffle. And, with my Mom being a huge Mets fan, I was so glad to be able to get her to her first (and only) World Series game.

    We all know what transpired that magical night. But, for me, it was magical before one pitch was thrown. Let’s hope there are countless more special moments ahead for Mets fans in the coming days.

  • Eric

    “Terry Collins, perhaps the most underestimated manager in modern major league history”

    Collins was questioned for his “gravy” statement before game 5 of the DS, like maybe he was imparting to his players that it was okay to lose to winners like Kershaw and Greinke. Since Collins said that, the Mets have won 5 games and 2 series in a row.

  • Sbrand

    beautiful post Greg. I always savor your blog at times like these. Enjoy watching with your Dad.

  • Nats Fan in N.O.

    I am a Nationals fan, but I have to say, this is one of the best-written, most moving baseball pieces I’ve ever read.

  • Rand

    From Tyler Kepner in the Times: “An ultimate sweep — in which the losing team never leads, even for a moment — is rare for a best-of-seven series. It has happened only five other times in major league history, and never before in a best-of-seven N.L.C.S.”

    This year has been the ultimate year for me as a Mets fan. This team was not a juggernaut that we expected all along would get to the series. This was the little team that could, that kept plugging away, that needed a little help in the form of the Nationals falling apart. But for me, that just made them all the more lovable!

  • LarryDC

    Holy cow, this has become quite the touching discussion of parents and aging and baseball and memories! (Question — think people have deep discussions like this before the Super Bowl? No way.)

    I was at 1986 Game 6 Mets-Red Sox with my dad. I was 20, he was 57. Now he’s 86, and Game 6 is among the many memories that are now lost to him, but I happened to be with him in NYC when the Mets clinched the East, and now, thanks to Greg and the rest of you, I’m going to have to make sure I get up there to watch a World Series game with him too. Maybe even with Justin, who is 7 and carries a middle name, Shea, that commemorates one really amazing night his father and grandfather shared.

  • Abner

    Awesome article. As a lifelong Mets fan (only one in a family of Yankees), I’ve been waiting for this day to come again. I wasn’t around for 69 and way too young for 73 but I was glued to the TV in 86 and 00 and felt the agony of 06-08 and the despair of the intervening years. I’m looking forward to the World Series with my team in it. As a caseworker for the elderly who lost my own father a number of years ago, I appreciate how precious this will be with your father. Let’s win this so what could possibly be your last season with your father turns out to be a championship season you will treasure forever. And if it’s not, then we believe in miracles because we are Mets fans.

  • Lenny65

    The enormity of it all is still sinking in. To do what they just did…sweep the Cubs while never trailing…it’s truly mind-blowing. IMO it could be the most impressive thing I have EVER seen them do. You cannot help but feel that this wave is still cresting too. Every playoff series is always memorable and when they win one it’s always magical but this was simply unbelievable. There’s nothing else to compare this to, this team has been my guiding light ever since Wilmer’s redemption HR landed in that dude’s hat. Onward and upward, Mets!

  • Eric

    “Terry Collins, perhaps the most underestimated manager in modern major league history”

    Another note on this. I’ve liked Collins all along, but like many (most?) Mets fans, I viewed him as a caretaker with a developmental focus on the Mets’ young talent while the team was rebuilt by Alderson. Once the Mets were competitive again, I assumed a more reputable manager like, say, Maddon would be hired while Collins would move on or be reassigned to the farm system – likely the latter given his age, background, and mediocre reputation as a manager.

    Maybe employing Collins as a bridge was the Mets’ plan as well, but this team has evolved so rapidly within the season into the league champion, it was up to Collins to manage in the play-offs for the first time in his career.

    Details are magnified in the play-offs and managers’ decisions flip series.

    Collins has nailed it. The Mets had a razor-thin margin of error in the 5-game DS against Kershaw and Greinke. Collins going out, behind 2-1, to instruct a struggling deGrom and his infield in the 3rd inning of game 5 of the DS instead of subbing in Syndergaard was bare-metal managing. In the CS, Maddon is considered the gold standard for major-league managers. Yet the Mets looked like they had gone to school on the Cubs while the Cubs looked like they had just rolled up to the park and called ‘next’.

    I didn’t know whether we could be confident in Collins as a manager of a regular-season contender, let alone a play-off team. He’s proven that he’s up to it. I’m confident he’ll have the Mets ready for the World Series.

  • Dave R,

    It’s really not a question of whether it’s worthwhile to be a Mets fan. It’s a matter of not having any choice. You go to your first game (in my case, the first game of the first long winning streak in 1969), your blood bans you from being a Yankees fan and you’re stuck.

    Being a Mets fan means watching that Dexter Fowler at-bat in the bottom of the ninth inning and, even with an 8-3 lead, not being able to get Paul O’Neill out of your head and wondering if Familia is suddenly going to turn into Armando Benitez.

    BTW, Howie Rose and Josh Lewin really reflected the torture of what it was to be a Mets fan in the final innings last night.

    • Eric

      If the Mets face the Royals in the WS, that team is tailored to pry at the Mets’ middle relief.

    • Lenny65

      Re: Howie & Josh, they sure did. Howie knows, the Mets’ previous playoff appearances were known for some rather intense dramatics and having lived through Buckner, JT Snow, Endy, Melvin and etc. you learn to never relax until it’s REALLY all over. The 1986 playoffs were packed with absolutely agonizing games, the NLCS game six that year was the most intense pressure-packed Mets game I have ever witnessed. As glorious as some of those classic nail-biters were, I prefer this LOL!

      Bring on the next narrative! “The Royals/Blue Jays have too much —– for the upstart Mets to handle” and etc. The Narrative Destroyers thrive on it.

  • Oogieball

    You gotta believe.

    You *gotta* believe.

    You *have to* believe.

    You are *contractually obligated* to believe, as a Mets fan.

    And most of the time, you know you are fooling yourself.

    But some years, some days, you’re not. Today is one of those days.

  • Steve

    Greg,

    Thanks once again for your unique combination of wit, poignancy and passion, particularly for the Mets. You bring a remarkable maturity and perspective to a blogosphere that more often than not embraces ranters and those steeped in non-reality.

    Sharing your dad’s situation with us was particularly moving. I am a lifelong Mets fan who is the son of a lifelong baseball fan who started with the Brooklyn Dodgers and, like many of his generation, embraced the Mets after Walter O’Malley, a name he never uttered without a four-letter adjective, broke his heart when he moved the team. Our best moments were the summer vacation afternoons in the $1.30 seats at Shea, with the lukewarm Sun Dew orange drink and the pithy pre-Kahn’s hot dogs drenched in Gulden’s mustard (after all, if Sharon Grote endorsed it, it had to be good!. He taught me how to score a game, he steeped me in National League history and we shared the shock and joy of 1969 through the same filter of a wide-eyed kid which I was at the time and that he morphed into every time we’d watch in person or on Channel 9.

    We lost my dad last summer and had his gravestone unveiling this past June. After the service, I stayed behind and gave him the update of the season-to-date–Mets and Dodgers both in first place! Told him if they meet in the post-season we’re there together, physical presence notwithstanding. Flash forward to a week ago tonight. Out of the blue I get a call from an old friend (a Dodger fan, but a baseball fan first) who had an extra ticket for Game 5 in LA become available two hours before game time–it’s mine if I just drive to the stadium and meet him there. Three hours and one hellacious LA rush hour later, I’m in my seat for a deciding game and we’re already down 2-1. We’re in a section full of Dodger blue. I’m nervous and conditioned for the worst. And then I flash back to the summer afternoons at Shea at the top of the stadium (my Game 5 seat was in a similar section) and I can hear him singing Meet the Mets (off-key) along with Jane Jarvis’ organ in my head. We tie and then Murph puts us ahead. It’s close, but I’m less nervous with every passing inning. Now it’s two outs in the 9th. I look up while every other Dodger fan around me is pleading for a rally and I, out loud but drowned out by the crowd, say “Is this really going to happen?” My answer comes with Familia’s strikeout. “We” got to see a division series-clinching game.

    It’s a nice story, to be sure, but nowhere near as nice as you being able to watch the Series next week with your dad. Cherish it. Savor it. Enjoy it. And, please, share it at some point, though as an avid reader of yours you’ll likely have a lot more to write about in the next 10 days. Your ability to tell a story with the acute detail of a born writer is compelling. As one of the earlier posters shared, deep discussions and life sharing is not common on these blogs, but, then again, we are rarely inspired to share by others with less depth. G-dspeed to you both. And #LGM!!

  • eric1973

    To win all 4 games with incredible ease was mindblowing, to say the least. Leaving genius Joe Maddon figuratively speechless was worth the price of admission.

    Ripken actually said that with the big lead, they do not have to use Familia, to which Darling immediately corrected him, saying he would pitch the 9th.

    And to waste even a second on those boneheads in McFaddens while the Mets are celebrating on the field was nonsensical, followed by a shot from a blimp. Incompetence at best, but perhaps we are in the minority.

  • Bill

    WOW. No words. Well done. thank you!

  • Carolina Dave

    greg, my grandmother passed during the ‘dark time’ and as a tribute to her loyalty to the Mets we shared lots of stories and mementos at her funeral, so much so that the priest who came to the viewing and during her funeral mass saw fit to crack several jokes about the futility of being a Mets fan. I seethed. It was not personal, rather it was that he missed the point. My grandmother believed, same as her belief in the resurrection, that this day would come. Keep believing in your Dad and our team!

    Best!

  • Eric (Santa Monica)

    So amazed at how many “wish my dad were alive for this” sentiments I’m reading. Let me add my own. Mine was a NY Giants fan and remained a Giant fan when they moved to SF, but adopted the Mets in their place. He was alive for the 2000 version, but passed in 2003, and the last 5 paragraphs of your article had me crying over my breakfast this morning thinking about all of the missed opportunities I had to connect with my dad when he was alive. I suppose it’s fitting that the only thing we shared in common while he was alive – our love for The Mets – is the thing that keeps his memory alive for me now. Been a real treat and privilege to have this blog to turn to throughout this season and many past and all the ones ahead. It’s going to be a fun world for Mets fans over the next few years. Mets in 6. Can’t wait for Tuesday. #LGM

  • Steve2916

    Greg,

    I could post about the particulars of the sweep of the Cubs, but after reading your heartfelt thoughts, the below must take precedence.

    What you have shared – and will be sharing – with your Dad is precious. He is lucky to have a son like you who is so devoted and who values him so much.

    I went to my first Mets game with my Dad at Shea on 9/7/72 vs. the Expos.The Mets lost 4-0, but does that really matter now? Especially since I lost him far too soon in June ’81, about two months before I would turn 20?

    He was not a huge fan, but he knew baseball. In June, 1980, we attended a game vs. the Cardinals. Craig Swan pitched brilliantly, allowing one run and five hits over nine innings. (Yes, that was back in the day that pitchers were allowed to go nine!) In the last of the ninth the Mets loaded the bases with none out. My Dad astutely commented about what a great baseball moment we were seeing.

    Moments later, Mike Jorgensen singled to drive home Steve Henderson with the winning run. (Thank you, Retrosheet, for helping me fill in the blanks.) Speaking of Hendu, we were there when he hit his first major league homer, a 3-run 11th inning shot to beat the Braves in June, 1977, six days after the Seaver trade. Thank you, Dad for being willing to stay for extra innings on a work night!

    He must be smiling up in heaven today, not so much for himself, but because he knows his son is happy. :)

    #LGM

  • All the best with your Dad. I can’t imagine your emotions right now.