It isn’t that Mets fans don’t want to believe. It isn’t that they want to complain about everything their
manager or front office does wrong. It isn’t that the fan base likes to think that the sky is falling. Nor do they enjoy waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Quite simply? They have had their hearts broken a hundred times too many.
It was only a couple of weeks ago when fans of team orange and blue were crying to the football gods to please start the season sooner rather than later. The team seemed to be competing. Mets fans were excited.
Then it happened. The shoe fell. As players landed on the disabled list, Mets fans were asking to be put out of their misery.
The giants of the starting rotation began to fall. Matt Harvey went down and out for the year. Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard with bone spurs. Matz with a stiff shoulder. Jacob deGrom has inflammation. These were pitchers that were supposed to dominate for years to come. One year later and now one by one, they seem to be crashing down with the exception one. Syndergaard is still holding on for dear life.
As players went down, blame was thrown at everyone that was employed by the New York Mets organization. If something went wrong, Mets fans found someone to blame.
August has always been the do-or-die month. I like to call it the month of “Ya Gotta Believe“. It dates back to 1973 and Tug McGraw jumping on a table in the locker room. The team was in the bottom of the division. Common sense dictates you do not come back from the bottom. Especially in the month of August. Someone should’ve told the 1973 Mets that.
McGraw helped to breathe new life into a team that seemed destined to fail. It would just be another year that nobody would remember. Another loss. One more season that would not matter. Only it wasn’t. After McGraw’s “Ya Gotta Believe” proclamation, the 1973 Mets went on a run that gave them the division. From last to first. From losers to winners.
Now it would be unfair to compare the 1973 Mets to the 2016 Mets. I mean, baseball was different back in those days. Players played harder in ’73. There were no schoolgirls playing ball. Not to insult the current lot of guys, but these guys are more fragile than a Swarovski crystal vase. Players are coddled. They are babied. When you look at the disabled list, you can understand why.
The 2016 Mets disabled list almost resembles the opening day roster. You already know the list of players. I won’t rehash. If you think about it, it really is a miracle the Mets can get anything done with players that are still in development or are declining in their ability to play a game.
Perhaps it is because of a player whose body defies the odds like Bartolo Colon.
Could it be the homecoming of a son that seemed so lost wherever he went? Jose Reyes came home to the New York Mets and their faithful. With him came fresh venom injected into the bloodstream of a group of guys desperate for excitement.
An outfielder who hurts, yet with one swing of his bat can change the outcome of a game. Yoenis Cespedes is no nonsense when it comes to winning games. He comes to Citi Field with one objective. Win and win big.
I swear, every player in Triple-A must have a bag packed and ready to come to New York. Those players must have enough frequent flyer miles to travel to Japan and back. You can look out on the field and see the kids out there playing the hardest to keep their team in contention, from pitchers to position players.
Rookie pitchers making their mark. A pitcher like Robert Gsellman with his long locks who does not seem flustered on the mound holding the Washington Nationals to just one run. Josh Smoker, a 31st overall pick in the 2007 draft by the Nationals, strikes out Bryce Harper on only four pitches. Outfielder Michael Conforto making diving catches in center field, a position he is not all that familiar with.
Syndergaard and Colon continue to hold the rotation together, but the pitching really has become a complete mish-mosh. From the rotation to the bullpen, it was been like a Dr. Frankenstein experiment.
This is a team that should not be winning games. Nearly every game this team plays should be a loss. You see the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies rounding out the end of the division. The Mets should be right there with them.
How are they competing?
Well, this is the majors. This is what being a pro ballplayers is all about. You find ways to win no matter what is happening. No matter how many injuries there are, you continue to battle. Never leave a man behind? No. You never let a man down. You never let your teammate down. You never say “die”.
This team does not believe in laying down to die. They believe in themselves. They believe in their talent. They believe in each other. There lies the difference. The confidence is not just in themselves. It’s easy to believe in yourself. Believing in your teammate? Well, now that is a whole other thing.
These players get it. Veterans and kids alike know what it means to be a New York Metropolitan player. As a New York Met, as a fan of the New York Mets, the only words you are allowed to say are “Ya Gotta Believe.”
Nothing more. Nothing less. Only the belief that this team will continue to find ways to win.
Oh and in the event you as a fan does not believe in this team? No matter. They believe in themselves. At the end of the day, that is what matters. They must rely on each other to get the job done. So far, they have done just that.
Welcome to meaningful games in September and one game out of the wildcard.