This decade with no name was an interesting one for the New York Mets. They started high, then quickly went down to the depths, only to rise again, and then another steep decline in a shocking fashion. Let’s take a look at the top 10 stories for the Mets this decade:
2000 Subway Series
The first year of the decade turned out to be the best for the Mets. They faced the Yankees in the World Seres — the team’s first appearance in the Fall Classic since 1986. Even though they lost, it was a sign that the rest of the decade was going to be a good one. A championship was assured. Sadly, it never happened.
2001 Off Season
The Mets followed the 2000 season with a disappointing 2001 campaign. So GM Steve Phillips moved agressively to fix what ailed the team. He traded for Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn and Jeromy Burnitz, and signed free agent Roger Cedeno. What were the odds all four moves would fail? Whatever they were, they did, and it sealed Phillips’ fate as GM.
Emergence of Jose Reyes and David Wright
Midway through the 2003 and 2004 seasons, the Mets called Jose Reyes and David Wright, respectively, up from the minors. They were both instant sensations, and have gone on to be the faces of the franchise. Reyes has battled injuries, and Wright had a very strange 2009, but it’s nice to see a couple of homegrown players starring for the team.
Scott Kazmir/Victor Zambrano Trade
The Mets were on the fringe of the wild card race in July 2004 when GM Jim Duquette sent highly regarded prospect Scott Kazmir to Tampa Bay for less-than-highly regarded pitcher Victor Zambrano. The trade was lambasted by everyone, except of course Tampa. Kazmir went on to be an All Star, Zambrano went on to nothing. The trade sealed Duquette’s fate as GM.
Omar Minaya Hired
Since being hired in the closing days of the 2004 season, Omar Minaya has shaped the franchise for the second half of the decade, for better or for worse. While he has many, many critics, don’t forget Minaya took over a terrible team and quickly built it into a winner, thanks in part to the Wilpons finally loosening the purse strings.
2005 Off Season
Minaya made a splash in his first off season, signing Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran to big bucks contracts. Martinez turned out to a very fun disappointment, while Beltran, after a horrible first year, has earned his sizable paychecks.
2006 East Division Champs
The Mets won 97 games in 2006, and easily won the National League East for their first division title since 1988. The loss to the Cardinals in the NLCS was like a punch in the face. But still, it was a great year.
2007 and 2008 Collapses
2007 and 2008 were also good years, that is, until the last couple of weeks of September. The 2007 collapse was historic — they lost a 7 game lead with 17 games left to play. In 2008, the collapse was less dramatic (a 3 game lead with 17 play), but just as painful.
Johan Santana Trade
The Mets are probably still wondering how they were able to land Johan Santana, arguably the best pitcher in the game, for next to nothing, prior to the 2008 season. Whatever the circumstances, Santana is a Met in perhaps the best trade in franchise history. His performance on the mound in his 2 seasons has not disappointed.
Shea Hello to Citi Field
Shea Stadium dilapidated right before our eyes. Before it had a chance to collapse around us, the Mets came up with the cash to build Citi Field. The shiny new ballpark has its issues, but the team is addressing them by adding much needed Mets history to the building. Let’s hope Citi Field is kinder to the Mets in the teens than Shea was in the 00s, or whatever the decade ends up being called.
Mug Shots Courtesy Ultimate Mets Database, http://ultimatemets.com/mugshots.php