How did we get here? Six years ago to the day the New York Mets were playing Game 7 of the National League Championship Series after winning the night before. Endy Chavez—who despite the outcome will forever live in Mets lore—made one of the greatest catches in the history of this team, robbing Scott Rolen of a go-ahead home run in the 6th. I can go through all of it: The Catch, Aaron Heilman, Yadier Molina & strike 3 called. I was 15 years old, watching a full season of Mets baseball for the first time. I went to bed that night fighting off tears, but my father, along with friends, told me the now infamous line we’ve all heard: “Don’t worry, we’ll be back.”
2007 started with so much promise as the Mets dominated throughout most of the season. Weeks away from clinching a second consecutive division title, we know what happened next. An epic collapse that could only leave us in a catatonic shock as we buried our heads for the winter. But 2008 would be different, right? The talent’s still there, all Moises Alou did was get hit after hit after hit. The trade & signing of Johan Santana was supposed to solidify this team & give them a true ace after dealing with the chronic injuries of former Red Sox star Pedro Martinez. The Mets never ran away with things in 2008, but they scrapped & fought throughout the season, which looked as if it would culminate in a redeeming playoff berth that would never come. Shea Stadium closed it doors with a deceiving fly-ball off the bat of Ryan Church. Another collapse. On top of it, we had to go through the closing ceremonies of our beloved Shea. As I laid my head on my desk, now 17 years old & in my first year of college, I didn’t know what to think. But the eternal optimism was still there. 2009 would be better. It had to be—right?
It was April 13, 2009 the day Citi Field first opened its doors for regular season baseball. What looked to be a memorable night turned into anything but. Jody Gerut lead-off the first inning of Citi Field’s history with a home run down the right field line off of Mike Pelfrey. In the 5th inning facing a 5-2 deficit when David Wright stepped to the plate & with one momentous swing of the bat tied the game with the first Mets home run in the stadium’s history. They would later lose the game 6-5 on a balk. The 2009 season would have plenty of strange & painful moments as Sports Illustrated’s World Series prediction wound up to be a major bust. Nearly the entire team would wind up facing injury issues & just like that the Mets became irrelevant for the first time in years.
2010 was the first time since 2004 where there were basically no expectations for the Mets. They looked to surprise many early on when they lead the Wild Card & were 11 games over .500 in late June. I think we know how this ends, unfortunately. Expectations went up early & were quickly brought down with a second half collapse. We would see this trend continue throughout 2011 & 2012 which both ended in under .500 seasons.
So here we are, six whole years since Game 7. Six years since the postseason. In those six years the Mets have had their ups & downs. Unfortunately, every season since then has ended on a low note. After yet another second half debacle, fans are as down as we’ve seen them in a long time. It’s pretty amazing that the New York Mets went from a game away from the World Series to perennial contender to a running joke. Yet with all that we have been dealt & everything I’ve seen since that fateful October night, I continue to look ahead. There is hope. David Wright appears to be on his way to becoming a Met for life, Ike Davis rebounded from a bad first half to hit over 30 home runs, Matt Harvey has begun to establish himself in the majors & Zack Wheeler is right behind him. There’s no question that changes must be made in order to make this a better team, but the phrase “We’ll be back” still reigns true. It’s just taking longer than we thought.