There is inherently a lot of “doom and gloom” anxiety that flows through the blood of many Mets fans.
This is understandable given what they have experienced dating back to the 2000 season.
The “run of pain” included a World Series defeat by the Yankees, a gut-wrenching National League Championship Series loss to the Cardinals six years later, collapses in 2007 and 2008, and another World Series loss in 2015, where the Mets were actually a small World Series favorite.
Those Mets fans who also root for the Jets and Knicks have an even dimmer view of their local fandom. The Jets have maybe been the most-sorry New York sports franchise over the last six-plus decades, with no Super Bowl appearances and the longest current NFL playoff drought. At least the Knicks were consistent contenders in the 1990s and made two NBA Finals appearances.
There are many fans who root for the Mets and Giants, but “Big Blue” has been anything but big since their last historic Super Bowl win over the Patriots. But no matter who else they root for outside of baseball, it is time for Mets fans to shed the “doom and gloom” skin they have become so used to wearing since the 1980s concluded. Some younger Mets fans don’t know anything but “the pain” but will now have to get used to a new way of baseball life.
Erasing the Negativity of the Recent Past
Whenever the Mets lose consecutive games or fall behind on a given night, it seems that the customary negativity reigns on social media for a spell. Mets Nation seems to be waiting for the inevitable collapse of the roof, for injuries and bad luck to settle in and ruin what has been a great season so far.
But these are simply not the same Mets, and this is a new era. When things seem to go wrong, the team bounces back. They power through adversity. When the Mets took three of four in Philadelphia this past weekend, they showed just how different this team is and how you can’t apply old negative axioms to them.
In past years, coming off a series loss at Atlanta with two significant pitching injuries would have totally fed into the highly negative narratives, and the expectation would have been for the team to start slipping while facing a playoff-hungry rival. Instead, the Mets soldiered through the storm and finished off the series with a thrilling win that demonstrated their newfound resiliency.
Facing a split of the four-game series and a possible second consecutive loss that would have trimmed their National League East lead to three games, the Mets simply refused to lose. They came back from multiple deficits and survived a rocky spot start by a rookie.
Nate Fisher, the ultimate story in what could prove to be a memorable season, spun three scoreless innings in relief. The banker turned Major Leaguer sparkled in his MLB debut and kept the Mets in the game. It is those types of performances that prove this is indeed a special season in Queens.
If this turns out to be a year to remember for New York Mets fans, we will point back to Mark Canha’s pair of decisive and dramatic home runs in the series finale as pivotal blasts en route to the postseason. In years past, the team might have wilted under the late-inning pressure in such a back-and-forth matchup. Instead, Canha came through with the type of essential and thrilling heroics that are the signatures of teams that contend for championships.
The Mets are Here to Stay as Contenders
The 2022 Mets have continued to embrace and overcome challenges, with several stirring comeback wins and keeping their division lead despite key injuries at times. They have survived absences from Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, and there have been unlikely heroes such as Fisher and Michael Perez stepping in to contribute at important times. Role players such as Daniel Vogelbach and rookies like Brett Baty have proved to be very important pieces of the winning puzzle.
The Mets franchise can be encapsulated into various eras. First, they were lovable expansion losers, then “The Miracle Mets,” followed by dark times in the 70s, a return to glory in the 80s, downs and ups in the 90s, and the disappointments of the first two decades of the 2000s. That latter era did include two National League pennants, which were significant achievements.
These new Mets of the 2020s are under new ownership and leadership, and it’s time to turn the page on the pain. Even if this year’s Mets don’t win the World Series, it is apparent that there is a new vibe and outlook in Flushing.
The 2022 Mets are a serious championship contender and have a strong chance of bringing home a championship in the next few years.
Move forward, Mets fans, and get used to a new experience of consistent success. The sky isn’t going to fall in Flushing anymore.
Featured Image: Mike Stobe/Getty Images