Eli Manning Helped Heal Mets Fans
September 30, 2007 was a devastating day for Mets fans.
Tom Glavine had the worst start of his professional career in a spot where he and the Mets could not afford it.
After seven earned in 0.1 innings and the hopes of a comeback dashed when Ramon Castro‘s potential grand slam in the bottom of the first turned into an inning ending fly out the Mets chances of winning the World Series were officially dashed.
Glavine may not have been devastated, but Mets fans who thought this was the year were. The Yadier Molina homer was still fresh in our minds, and Mookie Wilson‘s little roller was become a fleeting memory.
Back in 2007, I was a Mets and Giants season ticket holder. That meant after seeing one of the most devastating Mets loss I’ve ever seen in my life, I made the trek to Giants Stadium to watch the Giants play the Eagles.
If you think seeing the Mets lose that game was bad enough, imagine hearing the taunts of Phillies/Eagles fans during the tailgates and up until the National Anthem. The Phillies had made a historic comeback, and the Eagles were the defending NFC East champions coming off a 56-21 victory over the Lions.
To say the Eagles/Phillies fans were feeling themselves is quite the understatement.
They’d soon be quiet as the Giants sacked Donovan McNabb an NFL record 12 times. In that game, Eli was pedestrian, but he did what he needed to do to win that game.
For a Mets/Giants fan, it was as cathartic an experience as there was. It was also a prelude to bigger and better things.
Heading into 2007, it was the Mets who were supposed to win a World Series, but it was Eli Manning and the Giants who did it. Whereas the Mets made history by losing, Eli Manning and the Giants stopped history from being made by winning.
From 2007 on, Mets fans mostly knew pain and missed opportunities. Our lone bright spot for many years, David Wright, had his career end early robbing his Hall of Fame chances because of spinal stenosis. And yet, Eli was there. He was always there.
In what was the worst decade in New York sports history, Eli and the Giants were the only ones who could deliver a championship. If not for him, there would be a whole host of New York sports fans whose only experience seeing a team win a title would be the Yankees.
Through it all, Eli led the most improvable of title runs, and it happened at a time when New York Mets fans needed it most. We needed something to ease the pain of 2006 and 2007. For that alone, as a Mets fan I love Eli Manning.
As a Giants fan, Eli Manning means more than any other player in Giants history. In fact, because he’s the one who has delivered championships, to me, he’s been the most important New York player in my lifetime.
His eventual Hall of Fame induction is going to be as emotional as Mike Piazza‘s. Until then and well beyond, we have the fondest of memories from Eli Manning’s career.
Congratulations to Eli for a great career, and thank you for the ride.