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The Story of What This Means to the Mets

Clinching a playoff spot means so much to everyone related to the Mets: players, fans, coaches, and even the owners. Each fan has their story to tell, but so does the team.  Here are the tales of each of the Mets:

REDEMPTION

Terry Collins:  Collins managerial career was supposed to be over when he quit the Angels in 1999. Omar Minaya brought him to the Mets organization in 2010, and Sandy Alderson made him manager in 2011. He kept the team together when everyone was injured, and now, he had a team that can win. His prior teams in pennant races may have collapsed, but not this one. He’s 66 years old and finally making the playoffs as a manager. 

Yoenis Cespedes: Cespedes was the guy traded last year so the A’s could win the World Series. This year the Mets traded for him so they could win the World Series. He’s rewarded the Mets faith in him. 

Ruben Tejada: Tejada was supposed to be the shortstop of the future when Reyes left. Tejada never lived up to the billing and was slated to be a utility player this year. Instead, he’s had the best year of his career, and with a hot September, he now looks to be the Mets playoff SS. 

FINALLY PART OF A WINNER

Daniel Murphy: Murphy first came up in 2008 to provide offense to a collapsing Mets team. The Mets found out he wasn’t an OF and thought he had no position. He worked hard to become an All Star 2B. Now, he’s the 2B of a playoff team. 

Jon Niese: Like Murphy, he got his first taste of big league action during the 2008 collapse. Niese would become a solid arm and eventual Opening Day starter. Even in a down year, he’s become a Daddy and a NL East Division Champion. This may be his greatest year of all. 

Bobby Parnell: Parnell has 37 saves and a one-hitter under his belt in the Mets losing seasons. He was once a big part of the future, but after Tommy John surgery, he’s part of the past. He really tried, but it just isn’t there yet (he’ll find it). If this is his last go round, he’s going out a champion as he deserves. 

PROVING THEY BELONG

Lucas Duda: Duda finally won the first base competition last year over Ike Davis. He would reward the Mets faith with a 30 HR season. This year even with the struggles and the back injury, he’s hit 24 so far. The biggest being the grand slam in the division clinching game. 

Travis d’Arnaud: His career started rough, and he needed to go to the minors to figure out his swing. He did, and he’s raked ever since. He’s also remained a good defensive catcher who’s an excellent pitch framer. Each of the Mets playoff appearances featured a terrific catcher. This year is no different. 

THE YANKEES

Curtis Granderson: When Granderson leads off in Game One of the NLDS, he will be the first position player to appear in a Mets postseason game after first appearing in a Yankees postseason game. Granderson was a big part of the 2009 Yankees World Series team; a team who had no interest in re-signing him. He went from being a part of the Yankees to a leader and the team’s MVP. 

Tyler Clippard: Strangely enough, he came to prominence in a spot start he made against the Mets as a Yankee. He was a villain as a National. Now, he’s a key component of a Mets postseason run. 

Bartolo Colon: The Yankees took a chance that he would be an effective pitcher after rehabbing during a year he didn’t play baseball. The Mets gambled he could be a leader to a young pitching staff. Both gambles played off.

VETERAN LEADERSHIP

Michael Cuddyer: Cuddyer was supposed to be the missing piece offensively. Instead, he struggled and was hurt. He rebounded to be a terrific leader and bench player. He came here to win, and he did it in the regular season. Now it’s time to do it in October. 

Juan Uribe: At the time the Mets traded for him, the offense was in shambles.  He was a stabilizing force in the field and the locker room.  He had a history or being a great locker room guy, and he hasn’t disappointed. He won in 2005 & 2010. It’s now five years later. Will the pattern continue?

Kelly Johnson: He came over with Uribe. He’s had a reputation as being able to play all over and hit anywhere in the lineup. He’s done that in the regular season, and now, he’ll get that chance to do it in the playoffs. 

NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE

Michael Conforto: It took a historically bad offense, a Cuddyer injury, and a terrific AA season for the Mets to call up Conforto. When he came up, they couldn’t send him back down. He’s proven he belongs, and he’s going to be here for a long time. Now, it’s time for him to deliver in the postseason. 

Wilmer Flores: In case you don’t remember, the Mets almost traded him to Milwaukee. He cried at the idea of leaving. Now that the Mets are in the playoffs, his tears are now tears of joy. 

Kirk Nieuwenhuis: Kirk was having a nightmare season, was DFA’d, and shipped to the Angels. He wasn’t any better with the Angels, but the Mets picked him upon his release because their offense was that bad. He came back and was the first Met to hit three HRs at home sparking the rise to first place. 

Logan Verrett:  The Rangers grabbed him From the Mets in the Rule 5 draft. After four ineffective appearances, the Mets took him back and bounced him back and forth between starting and relieving. His terrific spot starts allowed the starters to get the rest needed for the playoffs. 

Sean Gilmartin: He was the Mets Rule 5 pick, who was supposed to an additional lefty in the pen. The Mets grabbed two lefties right before Opening Day making his roster spot tenuous. He carved out a spot as a long man in the bullpen, and he’s outlasted all of the lefties. 

Hansel Robles: The Mets were supposed to be set in the bullpen coming into the season. However, injuries, ineffectiveness, and suspensions led to him getting called up until someone better was ready. He and his quick pitching ways were so effective that he was never sent down, and now, he’s a key part of the bullpen. 

Kevin Plawecki: He was the catcher of the future. The guy that was supposed to force the Mets to choose between him and d’Arnaud. He was pressed into service early with two d’Arnsud injuries. He held his own, especially defensively. He’s now going to be on the playoff roster. 

Erik Goeddel: He’s had a history of arm injuries. He’s fought through them, and he’s pitched well in the bullpen when healthy. He may not have been in the original plans, but he’s pitched well when given the opportunity. Let’s see if he gets the opportunity in October. 

LATE TO THE PARTY

Addison Reed: Even with all the moves, there was still a hole in the bullpen. In late August, Sandy Alderson picked up the former closer, who has been excellent. Reed has locked down the seventh inning, and he gives Mets fans comfort that the bullpen won’t be an issue in the late innings. 

Eric Young, Jr.: He was a former Collins favorite and stolen base champion with the Mets. With him languishing away in AAA, the Mets traded for him to become their Dave Roberts, and he’s delivered. With an unfortunate Uribe injury, he’s quickly becoming an option for the playoff roster. 

ALONG FOR THE RIDE

Dilson Herrera: He’s been labeled the 2B of the future, but he wasn’t this year. With injuries he was pressed into service too soon. He struggled to hit, but he was good defensively. He went back down to AAA, and he raked. He’s been watching the run up to the clincher, but it looks like he’ll be a big part of this in the future. 

Eric Campbell: He’s earned the right to celebrate because he’s done everything he could do to stay in the majors. He made himself an emergency catcher. He plays every position except CF. He won a game with a key pinch hit. He may not be on the playoff roster, but it’s not for a lack of trying. 

Eric O’Flaherty: He was supposed to be the missing piece of the bullpen.  He was going to be the LOOGY. Now, he’s eating up innings so the key relievers can rest up for the playoffs. Even when it seems like someone has failed, there’s still an important role to play. 

Tim Stauffer: He was really here only to provide bullpen insurance and mop up innings when Clippard had the bad back. Stauffer has done his job well. 

Johnny Monell: He was probably never supposed to play, but with injuries and ineffectiveness, he got his shot. He was part of the first half team that was frustrated trying to score runs. That frustration is now gone. 

PLAYED AN IMPORTANT ROLE

Juan Lagares: There’s no denying he was much better last year. However, he’s become a late inning defensive replacement and platoon player against left handed pitching. He’s adapted to this new role without disrupting the clubhouse.   He will be back and better next year. In the meantime, he will be out there for the innings that matter most this October. 

Carlos Torres: He’s had the reputation as having a rubber arm, but for one day he showed he’s got wheels. He may have had a down year, but he’s always answered the call. He’s continued to be versatile. If healthy, he may be heard from again. 

Anthony Recker: Even for a good defensive, poor batting average guy, Recker had a down year. His bat didn’t have the same pop it usually does. However, he’s had a good replies with Colon, and he helped him get back on track after a rough stretch. 

Dario Alvarez: He came on late as a LOOGY. When the NL East was still in doubt, he got a huge strikeout of Bryce Harper. Unfortunately, he’s injured, and he won’t be back. He will be back next year. 

THE YOUNG GUNS

Matt Harvey: For everything you can and will say about him, it needs to be pointed out that it started with him. He was the first arm that came up. He gave the Mets hope. He’s been terrific post Tommy John surgery. Last year, he promised Terry Collins the Mets would be here. It’s fitting he stayed out there for 6.2 innings and got the win in the clincher. 

Jacob deGrom: He was originally supposed to be a reliever. He got his chance to start, and he won the Rookie of the Year Award. He then deGrominated in the All Star Game. Next stop is October. 

Noah Syndergaard: He was the other part of the Dickey trade, but This year he looked like he was the key part of the trade. He’s been amazing at home. He’s stayed around 98 MPH. He’s Thortured his opponents. It’s time to do it in October. 

Steven Matz: We all love the homegrown guy. We all live the local kid. Matz is both. He’s been terrific in his starts so far this year. I can’t wait to see his grandfather going nuts when Matz has his first October start. 

Jeurys Familia: He came into the year as a setup man. He became the closer due to Mejia’s stupidity. He’s been dominant all year. He’s been widely considered to be the Mets MVP. He didn’t make the All Star Game, but he may be the last closer standing. 

THE CAPTAIN

David Wright: There is so much to say about him. He’s the one who came up with Jose Reyes and gave Mets fans hope. In 2006, we thought the Mets were going on a long run with at least one World Series. After the 2007 and 2008 collapses, that dream died. Wright then had to face some losing seasons. 

Even after the Mets refused to re-sign Reyes, he stayed. He took a hometown discount with a team on the cusp of this team getting good again. Then, in a cruel twist of fate, he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. He rehabbed long and hard. He came back to the team, and he produced as if there was nothing wrong. He put the icing on the cake with a ninth inning homerun on the clincher. 

He’s been a leader showing Thor the ropes. He’s the team captain and leader. He means a lot to the team:

He also means a lot to the fans. He’s our guy. It looks like he will be the great player who will be a lifelong Met. It’s why he’s the face of the franchise. It’s why we believe him when he says:

Wright’s getting another chance at a World Series. He probably deserves it more than anyone. I hope he gets it, not for me, but for him. 

THE STORY CONTINUES

This is only the story of the regular season. It’s been a story with ups and downs. I enjoyed every minute of it, and I’m looking forward to the playoffs. 

NOTE: If you think this post seems a lot like  Faith and Fear in Flushing’s “Here’s to the Non-Winner’s” post, I think you’re right. Because of that, I sought the go-ahead for this post. Being the mensch he is, Greg Prince said yes. I encourage you to read his post. It’s fantastic. 

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