For millions of Mets fans, it’s been a week without baseball. A cold, bleak week in November. That sentence alone sounds incongruous, but it’s worth noting because it’s so different from the norm.
Now we must rejoin the regularly scheduled sporting events in progress and let our memories of this amazing season fade away.
But not so fast. Hold on a little longer.
Game 5 of the 2015 World Series started Nov. 1 and lasted 12 innings before the Royals celebrated their 7-2 win at Citi Field late Sunday night and into early Monday morning. Even Yogi would have to concede that it was finally, irrevocably over.
If only the Mets could have, would have, should have…you get the idea. What we’d give to have had them play one more game—hell, let’s be honest—two more games, even if it meant they’d be going to Kansas City.
It’s been 15 years since the Mets had played any World Series games, and considering how improbable this prospect looked back in July when the team was playing so pitifully, it’s almost a miracle they got this far. It’s understandable we’d still want to be obsessed with the “what ifs” because it was such a great, wild ride.
Let’s imagine if that slow chopper had just bounced a little higher and landed smack dab right into Daniel Murphy’s glove instead of pulling a Bill Buckner behind second base and scooting into right field in Game 4. Or if Lucas Duda’s throw from first base had been a little more on target so Travis d’Arnaud could have caught it at home plate and tagged out the Royals Eric Hosmer before he could score the tying run in the ninth inning in Game 5. Or, for that matter, what if Terry Collins hadn’t let Matt Harvey jawbone his way back to the mound when the manager originally intended to have closer Jeurys Familia come on in relief.
In that fateful encounter, the Dark Knight faced two batters with a 2-0 lead and did not record an out. He gave up a leadoff walk to KC’s Lorrenzo Cain and a double to Hosmer. Far from his usual m.o.
But now, Harvey won’t be pitching until next year. So it goes. Certainly he could use the rest, since he pitched 216 total innings—the most any pitcher ever threw in one season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, according to ESPN.
To his credit, Collins took the blame for trusting his heart, not his mind, and letting Harvey try for the shutout. If it had worked out that night, who knows what would have happened next?
That both men were still wearing Mets uniforms in November was also remarkable. In June, rumors in the clubhouse had Collins about to be let go because the team sucked so—he hadn’t had a winning season in four years—and his fifth one looked like it was on track to be just as bad. But last Wednesday, Collins signed a two-year contract extension, making him the oldest manager still on duty in an MLB dugout, come next spring.
Harvey, or really his agent Scott Boras, had created a stir in September by saying that the ace client should save his golden arm for next year and adhere to a strict innings limit, playoffs or not. All we can say now is that we’re glad Harvey didn’t listen to Boras then, but we sure wish he’d let Collins keep him out of just one more inning—his last.
How glorious it was that David Wright was still playing in November, considering how much pain he’d undergone with his spinal stenosis and other physical issues that had sidelined him for months. But there he was in Game 3, hitting a key home run in the World Series—the first of his career—and helping the Mets beat the Royals to prevent a sweep.
Everybody has their favorite moments of the Series, of the season. The best of times, and the worst. Daniel Murphy embodied both—his playoff home-run record and his egregious errors. I always enjoyed watching him discuss pitch location with the umps. I’m also grateful that center-fielder Yoenis Cespedes became such a catalyst when the team looked lost before the last-minute trade that brought him here, and I’m very happy that Michael Conforto left the Double-A Mets in Binghamton to join the Major League Mets in Queens. And who will ever forget Wilmer Flores and the tears he shed to stay?
Let all those memories and more fill the wintry months to come before pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Because now we Mets fans can say, “Wait ‘til next year!” without fear or loathing. In fact, we can shout it out loud, “Bring it on!”