Baseball, the MLB in particular, has its great moments, great games, and great seasons. For some teams, such as the New York Mets, it is an enormous accomplishment to make the playoffs and have a great season due to the fact that, unfortunately, this is a rare occurrence. The 2015 baseball season was undeniably a season for Met fans, and just plain baseball fans alike, to remember.
Before last season, the Mets had only made it to the postseason seven times, and had not done so since 2006, nine years earlier. They had also not had a winning season, which is when a team has more wins than losses, since 2008. So when the Mets began the season with a 13-3 record, which was at that point the best in the league, fans became sure that this season would be special.
However, after getting off to a great start, the Mets began to falter a bit. They fell behind their division rival, the Washington Nationals, but still held a decent win-loss record. The Mets did not score many runs. Many times they only won games because of their pitching rotation, which at that time consisted of Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Bartolo Colon, and Jonathan Niese. This discouraged and frustrated Mets fans, including myself. I would sometimes find myself wondering, “Where’s the offense? When will we start scoring runs?”
The season continued in this manner as the Mets still held the second place spot in the National League East Division. Then the turning point in the season began when rumors went around on social media during a game that Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores and Mets starting pitcher Zach Wheeler would be traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for former Met Carlos Gomez. Wilmer had apparently heard news of this during the game and was in tears on the field. He had been with the Mets organization since he was sixteen years old, so hearing that he had been traded caused him to become emotional.
Two days later, possibly the most important game of the season would occur. The Mets were three games behind the Nationals with a three game series beginning on this day. If the Mets could win all three games, they would become tied with the Nationals. Winning the first game of the series would give the Mets the momentum, which would be extremely beneficial for the team. I will never forget this amazing day. It was July 31st, the day of the first game against the nationals in this crucial series. Before the game, which was a night game, the Mets traded for Yoenis Cespedes, a center fielder who had been on the Detroit Tigers. He is an excellent player, so Mets fans were ecstatic about receiving a player of such prestige. During the actual game, later that night, the Mets and the Nationals were tied 1-1 in extra innings. When there is a tie, more baseball must be played in order to declare a winner, and this is what extra innings is. Several great things happened in these extra innings.
First of all, Bryce Harper, who is the best player on the Nationals, and who would also become the National League MVP, was ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes in the top of the 11th inning. This was a great moment. My brother, my father and I were hollering at the television as Bryce Harper walked back to the dugout, cursing and screaming in an incredibly angry manner. But later is when the real magic occurred.
Later, in the bottom of the 12th, the Mets and Nats were still tied. Wilmer Flores was the first batter for the Mets due up to bat that inning. It had been an emotional week for Flores, and he had not hit a home run in over a month. However, Flores pulled through, and ripped a homerun to left center field. My father, my brother and I went crazy as soon as the ball left the bat. The Mets had won the game. What may have been the most important hit for the Mets all season was hit by Wilmer Flores, which was just amazing for the Mets, for the Mets fans, and for Wilmer.
The Mets went on to sweep the series, and were tied in the first place spot in the division with the Nationals going into August. The addition of Cespedes was huge for the Mets, but the Mets also acquired third baseman Juan Uribe, second baseman and outfielder Kelly Johnson, and pitcher Tyler Clippard. The Mets also called up their top-hitting prospect, Michael Conforto, from the minor leagues. All of these pickups led the Mets to a spectacular August in which Yoenis Cespedes went on a hot streak, and the Mets won 20 games and lost only 8. They shot ahead of the Nationals and were close to clinching the playoffs. This would not have been possible without Cespedes, who hit 17 home runs in two months with the Mets.
The Mets clinched the playoffs in a game against the Cincinnati Reds when Mets closer Jeurys Familia ended the game with a strikeout. They celebrated in the clubhouse with champagne and cigars, and watching the game itself and the celebration was a great experience.
The first team the Mets had to face in the playoffs was the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series. They have and excellent pitching staff, just like the Mets. Two of their best pitchers were Clayton Kershaw, who had probably been the best pitcher in baseball for four years before this series, and Zach Greinke, who had the best Earned Run Average in baseball. The Mets took game one against Clayton Kershaw with a score of 3-1. However, game two was a different story.
It was a tie game against the Dodgers when the Dodgers were up to bat. Chase Utley had recently been acquired by the Dodgers from the Phillies. Because the Phillies are a rival of the Mets, and Chase Utley had been such a great player for a long time on the Phillies, he had already been well disliked by Met fans. And when a ground ball was hit to second base, and Ruben Tejada, Mets shortstop, was going to cover second in order to get the double play, Chase Utley slid extremely late and nearly out the baseline right into Tejada’s legs in order to break up the double play. Although this is technique commonly used in baseball, many believed that Utley took it too far, because Tejada’s leg was broken, and he had to be carted off the field. Both runners were safe, and the Dodgers scored several runs after the incident. This led to a Dodgers victory.
The next game, game three, would take place in City Field, the home of the Mets. I attended this game, with the series tied 1-1. Tejada had a cane, and walked onto the field as the players were being introduced and received a loud round of applause. The Dodgers scored three runs in the top of the first, which devasted me, my brother, my father, and my uncle, who were all at the game. However, after the Mets scored a run and had bases loaded and two out, Curtis Granderson hit a three run double to give the Mets a 4-3 lead. From there, Travis d’Arnaud, Mets catcher, hit a two run home run to give the Mets a 6-3 lead, and Cespedes crushed a three run homerun to give the Mets an even bigger lead. The Mets ended up beating the Dodgers 13-7. This was a huge win for the Mets, and being there was an amazing experience.
After the Mets lost game 4, the series was tied 2-2, with the decisive game 5 coming up. This would be the final game of the series, and the winner would advance to the National League Championship Series to face the Chicago Cubs. The Mets had been trailing the Dodgers, but they pulled through and scored some runs themselves to take the lead. It went to the 8th inning, and our spectacular closer Jeurys Familia got the six out save to send the Mets to the NLCS.
In the NLCS, the Mets destroyed the Cubs, sweeping the series 4 games to 0, contrary to what the creators of Back to the Future 2 had predicted. Daniel Murphy went on a ridiculous home run streak, hitting home runs in six consecutive postseason games including the last two against the dodgers and all four against the Cubs. The Mets went into the World Series to face the Kansas City Royals.
During game one, the Mets were winning by one run in the bottom of the ninth in Kansas City. Alex Gordon of the Royals hit a clutch home run to tie it, and in extra innings, the Royals won on a sacrifice fly. After the Royals took game 2, Noah Syndergaard and the Mets bounced back and won game 3. I was fortunate enough to attend game 4 of the World Series. Michael Conforto of the Mets hit two home runs, but the Royals came back after a Daniel Murphy error to win. The Royals then took game 4 to win the World Series.
Although I was upset that the Royals were victorious over the Mets, I was very happy about the season as a whole, and the World Series had some classic games. I had never experienced anything like the Mets 2015 season, and I hope they can pull off something similar in the upcoming season. I like their chances, as Yoenis Cespedes has been re-signed by the Mets, and they will have Zach Wheeler, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, back after the All-Star break. I am very appreciative of last season, and hopefully there will be many more seasons like it to come.