As we say goodbye to 2015, it’s hard to think of the year as anything except a huge positive for the New York Mets. Yes, they fell short of a World Championship. And I guess if you expected a title in 2015, you have a right to be disappointed. But how many realistically, in March of 2015, expected a Mets’ parade down the Canyon of Heroes in November of the same year?
As fans, we hoped for a competitive team at worst, and a playoff berth at best. We got more than that, and it was a great ride. There were so many ups (and several downs) last season. There certainly were enough of both to go around so that we all have our favorite (and least favorite) moments. So in retrospect of a great season, here are my top five memories.
October 15th: Game five of the NLDS…All day, I (and most of the fan base) was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t concentrate at work, and the time until the game started went by at a glacial pace. The Mets, after failing to close LA out in game four, send Jacob deGrom to the mound against Zack Greinke. After a run in the top of the first (Murphy RBI), the Dodgers hit deGrom around in the bottom of the first and take a 2-1 lead. The Dodgers seem to have runners all over the bases from that point on while deGrom is pitching (deGrom allowed six hits and walked three over six innings). Yet, somehow the Mets remain in the game. Daniel Murphy capitalizes on shoddy Dodger defense to tie the game in the top of the fourth (d’Arnaud sacrifice fly), then homers in the top of the sixth to give the Mets the lead. Noah Syndergaard pitches the top of the seventh (2Ks), and Jeurys Familia is flawless for a six-out save. The fan base is delirious. I finally begin to breathe.
The Mets go to Washington DC with a four-game lead over the Nationals. This was the beginning of a make-or-break series. After extending their lead to 3-0 in the top of the fourth,
and Familia close the game, and the Mets expand their lead to five games. More importantly, they take a punch from the class bully, and respond with combination blows for the decision. I eat my first meal of the day after the game, along with a series of deep breaths.
September 8th: After winning the series opener (above), Matt Harvey faces Jordan Zimmermann. Harvey does not have it, and the Mets trail 7-1 in the top of the seventh. Remarkably, the Mets begin to chip away. They score six in the inning, highlighted by a Yoenis Cespedes bases-loaded double. Lucas Duda walks with the bases loaded to tie the game. Kirk Nieuwenhuis homers off Jonathan Papelbon in the top of the eighth to give the Mets a lead at 8-7, and Tyler Clippard and Familia make the lead stand. The Mets lead the division by six after the game, and the post-season begins to look like a reality.
August 2nd: The Mets had gone into a series at Citi with Washington trailing the Nats by three games. After winning the first two to trail by just one game, the Mets send Syndergaard to the mound. In just his third month in the majors, Syndergaard is pitching to put his team into a first-place tie, and doing so on national television (Sunday night ESPN). After giving up a home run in the top of the first, Syndergaard settles down and ends up pitching eight innings, allowing seven hits and striking out nine. The offense is fueled by home runs from Curtis Granderson, Murphy, and Duda. This game showed the Mets were deeper than deGrom and Harvey in the rotation. This game showed the nation, and the Nationals, that the Mets were in the race to stay.
July 25th: This game can be called “the day after”. The Mets had been struggling offensively, and the previous night traded for Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. While neither player has Hall of Fame credentials, both are credible major league players, something the Mets had in short supply up to this point. The Mets pound the Dodgers, 15-2, with Johnson hitting a home run. Michael Conforto goes 4/4 in the game, which proves to be the beginning of good times ahead for the rookie sensation. This game was the first with an improved roster, the first sign that the Mets were “all in” in 2015. They acquired Yoenis Cespedes six days later, further solidifying their lineup and their commitment to winning in 2015.
There were so many more great times in 2015 (the pennant-winner on October 21st, the Wilmer Flores walk-off, etc.). It’s really hard to pick among them. Which games (or other events) would be on your list?
And I want to leave you smiling, so I leave you with this: