I don’t know about the rest of you New York Mets fans, but I am walking around with a smile on my face these days. Is it the fact that our 18-13 Mets have a better record than the team that must not be named across the river? Or is it that we just pounded the Phillies in their own house? It may be all that or it could be that these Mets are starting to be Amazin’ again, in a way that is so old that it is new.
Consider this: the 1968 Mets finished with a 73-89 record under a new manager named Gil Hodges. The 2011 Mets finished with a 77-85 record under a new manager named Terry Collins. Both teams had many young and unknown players, but they were told by their managers that they could win if they played hard, practiced hard, and learned the fundamentals of good baseball along the way. We know that the 1969 Mets finished 100-62 and went on to beat two teams in the playoffs and World Series that were much better on paper: the Atlanta Braves and the Baltimore Orioles.
The Mets were the Amazin’ little team that could back then. No name players like Shamsky, Swoboda, Harrleson, Weiss, Seaver, Gentry, Grote and others were able to stop the likes of Hank Aaron and Brooks Robinson. How did that happen? Many people still cannot believe the way the 1969 Mets won it all. That is why they were called the Amazin’s or the Miracle Mets.
Flash forward to 2012. Terry Collins has taken a team that is kind of like the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz. Collins has come from behind the curtain and bestowed upon them brains, courage and, most importantly, heart. No name guys like Turner, Duda, Baxter, Valdespin, Gee, Parnell, and Niese are the current version of the little team that could. Each night they seem to find a way to win and a new unlikely hero to get them there.
Right now the key ingedient is chemistry in that Mets clubhouse. You can tell that they are a tight bunch of guys, all believing in themselves and their manager. Collins has stressed basics, has never given up on anyone (as he could have with someone like Ike Davis, for example), and keeps repeating the idea that the way you don’t lose is to believe you can keep winning. The Mets took three from the Phillies in Philadelphia, not because the Mets are a better team but because they played better baseball.
That was the story of the 1969 Mets. They faced much better opponents but never thought that they couldn’t beat them. The 2012 Mets seem to have that seem intensity, same excitement, and have a similar manager. He believes in them and they believe in him. Now the fans are starting to get excited, and that will mean more people coming out to the park. They should because right now the Mets are the best show in town. Ya gotta believe indeed!
Photo Credits: New York Daily News