Saturday, October 1, 2016


So if you can believe it, the Mets, after sitting at 60-62 on August 20th, have now not only clinched one of the National League Wildcard spots, but they'll be hosting the game outright on Wednesday night. A team that was basically spinning into utter 2001-ness somehow reached back and rolled out a 1973 finish, steaming home on a 27-12 run that has seen contributions come from all sorts of strange faces, many of them unfamiliar.

How did they do it? Mostly, it's been resiliency. This is a team that probably could have thrown in the towel at any number of points during the season, but they never did. They lost 4/5ths of their starting rotation and didn't fold. For the clinching game on Saturday, 4 of the 9 players in the starting lineup were there on Opening Day, and 3 of those 4 spent large chunks of time on the DL. Somehow, Terry Collins and company kept this team playing together, and these players kept playing for each other, and now they've been rewarded by earning themselves a trip back to the Playoffs, only the second time in the history of the franchise that they've reached the Postseason in back-to-back years.

It's different from last year. Last season was a second-half groundswell that had been building for months, but didn't take off until Yoenis Cespedes arrived, and once they got going, they just couldn't be stopped. This season had the feel of a slow descent into oblivion, the more players got hurt and the team didn't hit. But the thing was, for as bad as things were going, they were never out of it. And then they were 60-62, and they started getting these injured guys back. Cespedes. Asdrubal Cabrera. Jose Reyes. Who the hell figured Jose Reyes was going to play a key role on this team, especially after his shameful off-field conduct? Steven Matz goes down. Seth Lugo picks up the slack. Jacob deGrom goes down. Robert Gsellman picks up the slack. Bartolo Colon continues to reel off victories like he's 23 again. T.J. Rivera starts getting big hits. Alejandro De Aza gets big hits, one night it's Kelly Johnson, another it's Michael Conforto, another it's James Loney. Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce start to turn back into themselves. They come from 5 1/2 games back and hop over 4 teams, and now here they are.

After the six years of Met Hell, we've now been rewarded with a pair of golden years. Of course, I have no idea what will happen to the Mets from here. This could be a short-lived period of Postseason euphoria or this could be the greatest story the Mets have ever written. I already went through the long, strange trip the season is last season.  The only guarantee right now is that the Mets have a game tomorrow, which is meaningless. Then, they have a game on Wednesday night, at Citi Field, with Noah Syndergaard on the mound and 44,000 Mets fans that will literally be roaring for more. Just, after the weird, incongruous season that they've had through 161 games, I guess it does make sense that the Mets have managed to pull this feat off. Because that's Baseball. That's just Baseball.

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