Mets fans, don’t give up yet.
If you understand your franchise’s history then you had to know that even if the Mets do end 2015 as World Series champions, the ride is going to be eventful, emotionally nerve-wrecking and memorable. Being that there are five games left in the series and 11 teams have rebounded from 2-0 deficits in the past to win the World Series, it is time to switch your pessimistic pitch Mets fans and rely upon history as your guiding force and the catalyst for what should still be a legion of confident fans.
Look at the list of Comeback Kids from 1921 to present.
• The 1921 New York Giants over the New York Yankees, 5-3 (old best-of-nine)
• The 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers over the New York Yankees, 4-3.
• The 1956 New York Yankees over the Brooklyn Dodgers, 4-3.
• The 1958 New York Yankees over the Milwaukee Braves, 4-3.
• The 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers over the Minnesota Twins, 4-3.
• The 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates over the Baltimore Orioles, 4-3.
• The 1978 New York Yankees over the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2.
• The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers over the New York Yankees, 4-2.
• The 1985 Kansas City Royals over the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3.
• The 1986 New York Mets over the Boston Red Sox, 4-3.
• The 1996 New York Yankees over the Atlanta Braves, 4-2.
Those ‘85 Royals and ‘86 Mets teams stand out like sore thumbs don’t they? The last time each of these teams stood on top of the baseball world, they overcame improbable 2-0 deficits to do it in dramatic fashion. Even 3-1 is not insurmountable. The underdog Royals pulled that off in '85 against the St. Louis Cardinals. In both instances, it took some clutch play, boss pitching, a few calls from the umps and mental collapses by overconfident opponents.
Exactly 30 years later, the Royals are trying to rewrite history. They hold a fortuitous 2-0 World Series advantage and don’t want to fall victim to a repeat of Mets history. It took one of the most bizarre plays in World Series history -- a ground ball that unfathomably rolled underneath first baseman Bill Buckner’s glove -- to take a Mets team that was as dead as a deer head on the wall, breath live into it, turn the tides of the entire series and lift them over the Boston Red Sox, delivering a long overdue c’hip to Shea Stadium.
Any Mets fan that remembers that magical evening clutches onto it like rope hanging above a pit of alligators. That moment defined Buckner forever and soiled the hearts of Red Sox fans. It was another demoralizing moment in what eventually became an 86-year World Series drought that was ended in 2004, ironically fueled by the only 3-0 comeback in League Championship history.
Boston won two more World Series, in ‘07 and ‘11, more than making up for the almost 100 years of anguish and failure. Since the Mets last World Series victory, Boston has won three and has exhausted its gifts from the baseball gods.
The Royals have their blue and white cleats on the neck of the Mets, who find themselves stuck in a Back To The Future flick. Facing a deadly deficit against a team that is talented, tough and on a mission.
In '86 Boston’s Bruce Hurst beat Ron Darling 1-0 in a classic Game 1 pitcher's duel. One lone run in the seventh did the trick for Boston. It was a run as uplifting for Boston and damaging to the Mets as the 14th-inning run that lifted KC to a 5-4 win on Tuesday.
In Game 2 of the '86 World Series, Boston got to ace Dwight Gooden early and then abused the Mets bullpen a bit for a 9-3 victory. In Game 2 on Wednesday, the Royals finally got to the unhittable Jacob deGrom and then bludgeoned the Mets bullpen for a 7-1 win.
When a team demolishes your ace in a pivotal game, you can react in two ways. Tank because the heart and soul of your dominance has been compromised. Or regroup and play the next five game as if they are the last baseball games to ever be played on earth. Those wild, never-say-die boys in ‘86 decided to win four of the next five games and transform the streets of Queens into New Orleans Mardi Gras, pre-Katrina. It was the most riveting, tension-filled, remarkable, emotional and impressionable World Series I have ever experienced. Manager Davey Johnson understood the series was seven games. Not two. He was impervious to the criticism and irrational demands of Mets fans and radio hosts of golden-era sports talk in NYC.
Those Mets never blinked, even when facing a swift end to a 108-win season. These Mets have to be similar and harder to kill than tree wetas (mix between a giant cockroach and a cricket) which have a special protein in their blood that prevents water from freezing, allowing them to go into a deep freeze and still have their blood flowing when they wake back.
It's ice water in the vein time.
The Mets stumbled out of the gate 29 years ago, but their talent prevailed and the will to win was evident. We didn’t see that desire to tie the series up from the Mets on Wednesday night. If anything, the '86 staff knew that over a long series, its superior pitching would play a major role in transforming the fortunes of each team.
The Mets had a far superior staff to Boston (even with Rocket Clemens) back then and they have one in 2015 (Even with Johnny Cueto reverting to Cy Young-type form for a game). It's the best in baseball, in fact. You have to believe that over the long haul, being able to throw Dark Knight Harvey, deGrom, Thor Syndergaard, Matz and the boys will matter. It mattered for Dr. K, Darling, Bobby Ojeda, El Sid Fernandez, Rick Aguilera, Roger McDowell and Jumpin' Jesse Orosco.
It’s shutdown time.
Ojeda and McDowell shut Boston down 7-1 in Game 3 as the bats came alive. After being held homerless in the first two games, Lenny Dykstra stepped up and hit the Mets' first World Series dinger, In Game 4 Ron Darling got his revenge from a Game 1 loss and bullied Boston, 6-2. Gary Carter hit two bombs and Dykstra added another. The tide was shifting.
It's all about Games 3 and 4. If the Orange and Blue can win those then it's a whole new ball game.
The Yankees had some dramatic victories and all-time playoff moments during their Dynasty of the late 90s-2000s, but the electricity, confidence and unwavering belief rocking Shea Stadium during the '86 Series reverberated throughout the entire East Coast and the screeching cry and then silent disbelief of Beantown's faithful brought torrential rain pours of sorrow that decimated the hearts of New England baseball fans. On Friday, expect to see a throwback atmosphere of diehard Mets fans packed into Citi Field to witness the sports edifice's finest moments to date (Games 3, 4, 5). After all, it's the most expensive ticket in World Series history. So NY. So full of hype.
And why not ? The Mets have an opportunity to do it again. Get rolling and give deGrom another chance like Gooden got another shot to shut down Boston 4-2 in a crucial Game 5, with the series ties at 2-2.
This will be Thor's shining moment as a Mets pitcher. He's never had a must-win start like this. He's the Bobby Ojeda of the crew. The downbeat. The three to Harvey and deGrom's 1-2. The dude that HAS to get them a win. Help them understand that victory in these moments of adversity are not only possible but a lasting fabric of the New York Mets' historical composition. The Mets have had many a losing season, but when they win, they win big.
It’s all about the fight. The Royals are tough but they aren’t the '84 Tigers. There is a dramatic, competitive series to be had here and Mets fans shouldn’t start waving the white flags just yet.