Wow…Unreal. Heartbreaking. Nausea-inducing. Migraine-creating. Soul-diminishing. It is just a few of the on the fly adjectives one could come up to surmise the 2015 World Series as a New York Mets fan.
As a Mets fan we have suffered through many a trials and tribulations. However this series, specifically games 4 & 5, took our Mets fan suffering to a higher level. It was worse than 06′, it was worse than the collapse of 07′ and the subsequent mini-collapse in 08′.It was probably even worse than 00′. Because at least the Royals were not in the midst of a dynasty like the Yankees, and lacked the star power. This was the team we felt was beatable.
Chances are we will look back on this World Series as a mix of missed opportunities and blunders. There was the 9th innings in games 1 and 5 that snatched victory from the teams grasp like a bully would take lunch money in a school cafeteria. Or the fielding blunders by Murphy, Wright and Cespedes that made you say, “not again, not now.” The stomach churning site of seeing a team celebrating a historic victory on YOUR field. And lastly, there is the knowledge that these chances don’t come around often. Will we have to wait another 15 years?
It is the kind of suffering that makes you wonder why you care so much. There is truly no tangible gain from being a die-hard sports fan. But yet we still do it. There is an addictive lore that we can’t fully understand. Maybe it’s the comradery with other fans, or that somehow we think our rooting actually helps our favorite teams get that extra something to push them to victory.
But despite the kind of crappy feeling; that makes you want to bury your head in the covers and not come out for a week; we are having right now, there is something to remember about this season…it was an AMAZIN’ ride. And unlike 2000, where the key players were aging and exiting their prime, this team has pivotal players that haven’t even entered their prime.
So with that in mind, here are 4 reasons to look forward to next year, and have legitimate reason to think that this was just the first part of the Mets’ campaign of terror they shall inflict on the baseball world for years to come!
The Staff Grew Up in the Playoffs
A major question going into the playoffs was how would these young, electric, pitchers handle the pressure filled moment’s playoff baseball can bring. There is never a guarantee success in the regular season transitions into the playoffs. Just ask Dodger fans and their frustrations with Clayton Kershaw in the last three postseason.
The Mets’ BIG 4 had very positive results in their first forays into the playoffs. The highest ERA of the foursome was Steven Matz’s with a 3.68. David Price, Colin McHugh and Johnny Cueto had postseason ERA’s a full point or more higher. Not bad for a kid with only six starts during the season.
Jacob DeGrom became the fifth player in league history to win three road playoff games. Matt Harvey electrified the CITI field faithful in his two home starts and Noah Syndergaard was the lone Mets starter to notch a World Series victory.
They had trouble from a team in the Royals that gave the entire league trouble. But they kept the team in almost every game and, in many instances, surpassed expectations for a rotation that’s oldest member is only 27 years-old.
Zach Wheeler Will Return
The team’s four playoff starters are enough to throw out into the season and expect to compete for a wild-card spot. Yet their wealth of pitching depth will be further replenished with the return of Zach Wheeler.
In a world where pitchers often return from Tommy John surgery better than they were before they left, the knowledge that the team may have a fifth starter who had a 3.54 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 185.1 innings in 2014 has to send a chills down the spine of National League lineups.
Familia is Legit
Most fans lasting memory of Jeurys Familia’s may be the homerun to Alex Gordon in game 1 and the endless stream of hits seeping into the outfield at the end of game 4. But with this season, the Mets probably found their closer for the next five years, at least.
We all know the story; it was spoken many times during the playoffs; of how Familia got to be the closer. It was a rare time the Mets got a lucky break. And Familia rewarded their development of him with the third most saves (43) in baseball this season. Along with having the third best ERA (1.85) of any pitcher with 30 or more saves.
Familia’s stuff lends itself to success. With his hard fast ball, his diving sinker and added split-finger, Jeurys will be making ninth innings difficult for opposing teams in 2016 and beyond.
A Leadership Base with Youth on the Rise
David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Bartolo Colon and Michael Cuddyer. While all of them did not have seasons that matched the money they are being paid, without a doubt their veteran leadership had a major influence on a youth filled team.
Not to be out done, soon to be free agents Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson were also plus additions to the locker room. It may behoove the Mets to re-sign one, if not both, of them to continue to keep a varied veteran presence on the team to groom the leaders of the future.
And the future is bright for the Mets. To go along with their stunning talent on the pitching staff, Travis D’Arnuad, Lucas Duda, and Juan Lagares, contributors to the team’s success this year, are all less than 30 years-old.
2014 first-round pick Michael Conforto has already showed signs of why he was one of their top prospects and names like Dominic Smith, Ahmed Rosario, Gavin Cecchini and Brandon Nimmo are getting much closer to being big league ready.
While this season left Mets fans grief stricken. They had a wonderful ride to the bitter end. However, when the motto “there’s always next year” is said, this time around Mets fans can feel like next year really could be the year. Why not? The Royals just did it.