The Mets lost, but that was okay.
Growing up a Mets fan in New York, it was always tough to try and defend your team. When the Yankees fans would begin to trash-talk, there wasn’t much of a reply you could muster. 27 World Series championships is a tough stat to argue with.
The Mets were always much more charming to me, as they did not have the stench of inevitability that clouded the Yankees. Shea Stadium was a garbage dump, but it was our garbage dump.
Over the years different opportunities came up and while I maintained my passion for baseball, my passion for the Mets faded away in the background. I would pull for them, but because of a combination of them being terrible and my interests being elsewhere, I never spent much time following them.
While I had stopped following them, something odd happened. The usually incompetent Mets went out and brought in some of the best front office talent in baseball. And they accumulated a small army of talented young pitchers. Coming into 2015 the Mets seemed to have a real chance at making the postseason.
I followed from afar as the team got off to a hot start and then faded a bit, but staying just close enough to first-place that it remained plausible they would make the postseason. Around the July 31 trade deadline, the team went out and acquired a few hitters to help bolster their lineup, and augment their dominant pitching.
What ensued was a torrid run to the postseason. Franchise player David Wright returned from injury, star-catcher Travis d’Arnaud returned, new-acquisition Yoenis Cespedes played like the MVP and the pitching maintained its dominant form.
The Mets went on a run, winning at a torrid pace and eventually clinching the National League East. I felt stronger emotions that day than I had at any point watching sports in a long time. The Mets would be in the postseason for the first time since 2006.
I was fortunate enough to be there in 2006 when the Mets lost a close game to the St. Louis Cardinals, in a game that included one of the iconic plays in baseball history when Endy Chavez robbed a home run to keep the Mets in the game. That moment was one of the most exciting of my life at the time.
So when I was given tickets to Game Four of the World Series at Citi Field, it felt like a dream come true. After years away from the team that made my younger self so happy, I was going to get to see them play in the World Series.
Arriving early to tailgate, the atmosphere was electric. Mets fans flooded the parking lot hours before the first pitch, talking and bantering and celebrating an exciting time for the franchise. Me and my friends sat around and discussed the things about the team that made us nostalgic. Armando Benitez, Dae-Sung Koo, Braden Looper and a whole other host of names that mean nothing to people who didn’t root for the Mets in the 2000s.
Going into the stadium, it felt as though the crowd did not sit down for the entire game. The Mets have always been a team associated with miracles. Whether it was the 1969 “Miracle Mets,” or the 1986 World Series when Bill Buckner allowed the ball through his legs, the Mets have always been a team that it seemed anything could happen to. Despite the fact that they blew a lead in the 8th inning, the atmosphere was an optimistic one even as it became clear they would lose. There was always tomorrow night.
There is something beautiful about the ways sports brings people together, and the way that baseball in New York does so is one of the more striking ways. In one of the most diverse places in the world, people from all backgrounds can laugh and celebrate and embrace while rooting on the Mets.
So yeah, they didn’t win.
But that was perfectly fine.