The Mets clinched the National League East crown Saturday, which obviously means they are going to the playoffs. But it also means we never, ever have to think about 2007 and 2008 again.
Terry Collins or Sandy Alderson (I forget which one) was insistent none of the players was thinking about those collapses. He was likely right; except for David Wright, Daniel Murphy and Jonathon Niese (the latter two played bit roles in 2008), it is a different cast of players. However, we are the same fans.
We lived through those horrible times, and since the Mets never redeemed themselves, we thought it could happen again. Even though the odds were extremely remote, many fans feared another collapse this year. Some never got comfortable until Jeurys Familia struck out Jay Bruce to end Saturday’s clincher.
But now the collapses are ancient history. The Mets have their NL East title — seven and eight years late, but it does not matter. The Mets finished the job.
This is the sixth division crown for the Mets (1969, 1973, 1986. 1988, 2006 are the others). It will be their eighth playoff appearance (Wild Cards in 1999 and 2000).
This is a great accomplishment for the team. They would not be here if it were not for the pitching. But that only got them so close. They needed one big bat, and Sandy Alderson went out and got Yoenis Cespedes. All he did was turn in one of the great stretch runs of all time. So credit Alderson with finally pulling the trigger on a huge trade to help the Mets now.
But I am happiest for Daniel Murphy. He has lived through all of the losing over the past six years, playing all over the diamond, doing whatever he was asked even if it meant embarrassment for him (remember him in the outfield?). Alderson kept trying to replace him at second, but none of the candidates could hold a candle to Murphy. While his defense is still not very good, all he did was hit, hit and hit. He is a huge reason the Mets sit atop the NL East.
And perhaps most important, this will likely be Murphy’s last season in Flushing. To go out a winner is only fitting for a loyal soldier like him.
So now it is on to face the Dodgers. Hopefully the Mets can take home field advantage, making their October just a little easier. But for now, let’s hail the New York Mets — 2015 National League East champions.