Nine years ago next week will mark the anniversary of one of the most heartbreaking moments in recent Mets history. The collapse of the 1998 Mets.
Remember that year? Remember when we traded for Piazza and you couldn't believe the Mets actually made a trade for one of the top 5 players in the game? Was this the same team that put their faith in Bobby Bonilla and Mr. I Like to Throw Firecrackers At Kids, Vince Coleman?
With a 1 game lead in the Wild Card and 5 games to play. You could smell the postseason. I remember being in college down in South Carolina and being so psyched that I finally would have to stop hearing from Braves fans down there how the Mets never made the playoffs.
But then the Mets imploded losing the final 5 games and missing the playoffs yet again.
I'm reflecting on this not to try and scare you that the Mets are only 6.5 games up on the Phillies and anything can happen. I was thinking about 1998 because this team is so different than that one, and how we should appreciate how far we've come since 1998.
You have to remember the seasons of losing and the wild card chases to appreciate where we are now. This season has been one of the most tumultuous seasons as far as how the Mets have fooled around with my emotions, but when it comes right down to it they've always gotten the job done. They've still remained in first place.
Every collapse they've had this season has ultimately resulted in a big turn around. The injuries this team has suffered introduced us to some phenomenal talent that we might not have seen this year from the likes of Carlos Gomez, Ruben Gotay, and the acquisition of Luis Castillo. The horrible April that David Wright had has led to an MVP season. The absence of Alou has amounted to his batting .330 with a 17-game hitting streak.
Sure there are still those who have yet to turn their season around (i.e. Delgado, Mota, Schoeneweiss, etc.), but for the most part this team has not let us down.
And I feel that they will carry this well into October. So remember 1998. Remember 2002 even. But I'm sure we'll all remember 2007 well into the future.