In 2015 the New York Mets were a team that led their fans on an emotional roller coaster. The Mets made fans feel like they themselves were members of the team. It was impossible for a Mets fan not to cry when Wilmer Flores, a lifelong Met, teared up at the news that he had been traded to Milwaukee. When shortstop Ruben Tejada was taken out by Chase Utley in the NLDS, there was immense anger that Utley unfairly injured our shortstop. And there was the joy of watching Daniel Murphy homer in six straight games (no matter what his opinions on certain social topics are). These moments were special due to the connection that the New York Mets had with their fans this year. When the team made the playoffs, I was not able to attend the Division Series or Championship Series but I made certain that I would attend the World Series if given the chance. Luckily I had the opportunity to sit with The 7 Line Army (a group that hosts outings at Citi Field and also sells specially made apparel) for both games 3 and 5.
Having lost the first two games, things were not looking up for the New York Mets. However, fans still had high hopes for the team going into game 3. While I waited on the line for Shake Shack, I watched as a documentary replayed the events of the 1986 team, a team that had also lost the first two games of the World Series. As most may know, that team went on to win the World Series. The fans that were around for that series were nostalgic remembering what it was like when the Mets last won the World Series, and reminiscing on where they were when the ball went through Buckner’s legs or when Jesse Orosco got the final out of the World Series.
There was clearly something special about the Mets being in the World Series and being there for the first time since 2000. There was an air of excitement that night that I had not witnessed at a Mets game before. As Billy Joel sang the national anthem the crowd stood on their feet and would not be seated for the rest of the game. Every fan was nervous yet at the same time had a giant grin on their face, unable to hide the joy they felt that the Mets were in the World Series and playing at Citi field. Even as the Royals took the lead in both the first and second innings, this night felt like it belonged to the Mets as Noah Syndergaard took the mound against Yordano Ventura.
And in the 3rd inning the prophecy came true as the Mets were able to take the lead that they would hold onto for good that night. After that, the crowd remained electric throughout while chanting, roaring and clapping the whole time. The only time anyone ever sat down was during the breaks between innings. The crowd was wild and by the end of the game; everyone believed the Mets were back in the World Series, only down 2 games to 1. Throughout the stadium there were echoes of “Let’s Go Mets!” even as fans flooded out of the stadium to the subway. The chants did not stop there; on the subway ride back to Grand Central Terminal, the chants continued and would not stop. This was what it meant to be in the city and having the New York Mets in the World Series for the first time since 2000.
Unfortunately, the Mets once again were not able to hold the lead in Game 4, putting them on the brink of elimination in Game 5. The tone was clearly different from Game 3, as those high hopes had faded somewhat. However, with Matt Harvey pitching Game 5, DeGrom set for game 6 and Syndergaard set for game 7, the Mets still had three of their top pitchers remaining for the rest of the series. The tone was set early on when Curtis Granderson led off with a home run. Harvey pitched well enough to keep the Royals scoreless.
The whole game had an air of nervousness yet excitement at the same time. Similar to Game 3, fans were continuously on their feet and chanting “Let’s Go Mets!” at the top of their lungs. But there was no doubt there was nervousness with each chant. Even when the Mets took the lead 2-0, fans could recall the previous night with dread when the team had blown a save in Game 4, or even back to Game 1 when Jeurys Familia allowed a home run in the ninth inning to Alex Gordon. This meant that fans knew not to be overly confident.
In the top of the 9th inning Mets fans started chanting Hervey’s name as he was ready to come back out. At 102 pitches though it was very questionable as to why Harvey was coming back in. Back in September there was a huge problem with his agent Scott Boras and Dr. James Andrews over his innings limit, raising questions if he would even be able to pitch in the postseason. And with that known, I thought it was very unlikely for Harvey to come back in, and at worst they would bring in Harvey for one batter and allow him to get a standing ovation before pulling him. Then as expected the Mets collapsed again.
Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain, the first hitter of the inning. Instead of pulling Harvey, he was given one more chance despite me cringing in uneasiness as I knew what I was about to witness. And by now as everyone knows, he allowed a double to Eric Hosmer allowing Cain a run. Harvey was then pulled but the tone in the stadium had completely changed. Instead of the excitement that the game was almost over, everyone knew what was going to happen. It was only a matter of time until Hosmer scored the tying run. Familia got Moustakas to ground out but Hosmer was then at third still with only one out.
On a moment that will stick in my mind forever Salvador Perez hit a roller to third. Hosmer followed Wright down the line and as soon as Wright released the ball, Hosmer dashed towards home plate. Duda threw wide and the game was tied. And all of Citi Field fell silent (except the section for the Royals travel party). The contrasting feeling of the stadium just four batters earlier to that situation was incredible. Some fans were sobbing into their hats and sweatshirts. Others were cursing in anger. The rest of the stadium was dumbfounded, dead silent, not knowing what to do or think. And I was one of them. By not pulling Harvey, it was foreseeable that the Mets would not finish that inning with the lead but it was still shocking. I could not believe that the Mets had managed to once again lose the lead.
After two and half innings of standing silent, and as Sunday night turned into Monday morning, the Royals came to the plate in the top of the 12th. This was the inning where the Mets once and for all put the nail in their own coffin. They gave up 5 runs that inning. With each run surrendered, thousands of fans headed towards the gates, and by the middle of the 12th it was almost empty. At that point there were still a few fans in the section chanting “Let’s Go Mets!” and still holding on hope that they could come back. But I was realistic and did not believe it would be possible for the Mets to do so. And for some strange reason I was satisfied with that.
Maybe I am a realist or slightly a traitor. As bad as it sounds, I did not mind the Mets losing that night. I was actually strangely excited that I was going to be able to watch the Royals win the World Series. The Mets came to bat in the bottom of the 12th and went down quickly with Wilmer Flores watching a called third strike to end the game. The Royals won the championship and mobbed each other at the mound in images that will forever be cemented in my mind, and I was there to witness it (I would have taken photos but my iPhone decided to not work the one time I needed to take photos). Not every fan can say they watched the end of a World Series in person. As a child I remember being woken up by my parents to watch the final innings of the World Series when it was past my bedtime. And now as an adult, I was able to witness it in person and it was truly spectacular. I was happy for the Royals and glad that they got to win the World Series because they rightfully deserved it.
This could be the first and last time that I am able to watch the New York Mets in the World Series in person, as I’ll never know when they will next make the World Series. For two games however, I was really excited to be part of the end of the magic that was the 2015 New York Mets season. There is nothing that can ever equal the excitement that I felt at those two games, or the comradery that occurred between all the fans at Citi Field. However, I am looking forward to being able to attend New York Mets games in 2016 to see the magic continue.Next post: The (Weird) Mechanics of Qualifying Offers
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