If you're looking to jump onto the New York Mets playoff bandwagon, here are some useful tips.
So you want to jump on the Mets bandwagon huh?
I mean, look, I understand. After a comeback win on Sunday over the Braves, the Mets are now the hottest team on the diamond, with a talented young rotation, a suddenly potent offense, and a closer who has somehow succeeded in making Mets fans feel secure. No, seriously, read that last sentence again. The Mets have somehow built a division lead so big that even the Mets can’t blow it, which is the kind of weird paradox that probably precedes other signs of the apocalypse, like deadly plagues, blood rain, and a Trump presidency.
But, hey, until the Four Horsemen actually show themselves, we might as well watch some baseball; and if your own team has fallen out of the race, due to injuries, underperformance, or a truly staggering ability to have every single decision you make somehow blow up in your face (Hi, Mr. Williams!), well, there’s no better time to join the Flushing Faithful on their journey back to the postseason.
There’s just one question we’re required by liability law to ask.
Are you sure you’re up for this?
You really sure?
You sure you’re sure?
Perfect! Welcome aboard! Are there any questions we can answer?
Can you tell me a little bit about the history of the franchise?
Sure! The Mets were born in 1962, after New York’s two National League clubs left town. Not sure exactly what happened there, but let’s just assume it was Bill de Blasio’s fault. In any event, MLB gave New York an expansion team, and they were terrible. Like really terrible. Like, winning 40 games bad. Jimmy Breslin wrote a book about it, which was probably excellent preparation for a career spent around other uplifting subject matter, including political corruption, and organized crime.
Anyways, eventually the team got better. They won a really heartwarming World Series in 1969, (because nobody knew who they were and they sneaked up on people), and a really heartstopping World Series in 1986, (because they had a lot of star power, played in a lot of exciting games, and may have used a great deal of cocaine.)
At the turn of the century, the Mets acquired Mike Piazza, who helped carry the team to a Subway World Series, hit an incredibly emotional home-run following 9/11, and held a press conference to tell everybody that he totally dates Playmates, O.K.? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Anyways, the Mets returned to the playoffs in 2006, and lost in the NLCS thanks to that ridiculous Adam Wainwright curveball we showed you earlier. I mean, that really was some pitch right? Seems almost unfair to expect someone to hit that, or even swing at it, really. That’s the kind of pitch that could send any franchise into a decade of heart-wrenching embarrassment.
So yeah, since 2006, basically nothing has happened.
Also Bobby Valentine wore a disguise once.
Oh, O.K. Cool. But this season has been better?
Definitely! I mean, the team went into the season with a payroll more befitting a small market club. Because, you know, there was that whole “we put the team’s wealth in the hands of one of the most fraudulent financiers in human history” thing. Who hasn’t been there?!
But hey, turns out young players are cheap! And so the Mets actually put together a pretty incredible rotation with some of the best hair in baseball.
Don't you mean arms?
Well, I mean, those are O.K., too, I guess. But seriously, get a load of these locks.
So, the pitching was great, but it was a little tougher to put an offense together with change from the sofa cushions and whatever was left in Mr. Met’s Venmo account. It got so bad that for a brief period, the team was considering asking Michael Cuddyer to turn tricks.
Isn't that illegal?
He’s a magician! Gosh, get your mind out of the gutter.
Anyways, the Mets couldn’t score any runs, the Nationals were running away, Terry Collins was probably going to be fired, and according to MLB bylaws, in the event of a default, the team would have immediately been turned over to its biggest creditor, Bobby Bonilla.
Gosh. So what turned things around?
Well, the Mets decided to swing a big trade at the deadline.
Oh cool, and they acquired a big bat who revitalized the offense?
No, they decided to leave the guy they were trading in the game.
That seems ... insensitive.
Nah, it builds character. See.
Are you sure? It looks like he’s crying.
Well sure, but he got it all out of his system. Then the Mets told him that he wasn’t actually getting traded after all, because ... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. From that point on, he’s played great. And, as it turned out, we made a different trade, for Yeonis Cespedes, who’s hitting .310/.355/.684 since he was acquired. So you see, everything worked out exactly according to plan.
For real? That just sounds like dumb luck.
What other kind of luck would you expect the Mets to have?
Fair enough. What else do I need to know about this Cespedes guy?
Only that he’s pretty much the greatest thing ever. He does all sorts of cocky things like styling after home-runs, and catching the ball underhanded. You know, the kind of stuff that would normally get him killed by New York’s curmudgeonly writer contingent, except that he’s playing so well that nobody can really say anything.
So then the Mets are surely going to re-sign him right?
Almost certainly not. Remember, the whole “poverty through incompetence” thing. But that’s O.K., it just means we’re better able to savor Cespedes for the brief time he’s here. He’s like a case of fine wine that you wait years to open, and then completely drink up in a matter of days.
That’s kind of a weird metaphor.
We’re Mets fans. We drink a lot.
O.K., well, are there any other players on this team I should be excited about?
Are there ever?! There’s David Wright, who’s been through so much misery that watching him this season is like seeing a puppy who’s been let outside for the first time in months. (Thankfully, Wright is completely housebroken.)
There’s Lucas Duda, who is basically the answer to the question, “What would happen if we gave Paul Bunyan a baseball bat and just told him to swing away?”
There’s Curtis Granderson, who has played well all season long, but whose most important contribution has undoubtedly been starting an Instagram account devoted to Lucas Duda.
There’s Matt Harvey, who, in addition to a strong return after Tommy John surgery, has taken his 2nd job as “New York Bureau Chief” very seriously, creating enough #pitchcount #content in the last month or so to ensure that the city’s newspapers survive for, well, at least another year.
And last but certainly not least, there’s Juan Uribe, whose clubhouse karaoke sessions recently attracted the attention of everyone’s favorite late '90s boy band.
Actually, I preferred N’Sync.
O.K., O.K., I apologize. Well, besides former teen idols, the Mets have any other celebrity fans?
Absolutely! You know how they say that “comedy is tragedy plus time”? Well, the Mets have been tragic for quite some time, so naturally, they boast more comedians per capita than any other fanbase! Jerry Seinfeld goes to Mets games! Same with Chris Rock! And Kevin James! And Jim Breuer! Heck, Bill Maher actually owns part of the club! (Because, you know, apparently donating money to the Democratic Party wasn’t enough of a lost cause.)
Wow. That’s actually a lot of comedic bonafides. Is that where #LOLMets came from?
Yep. Absolutely. That’s totally it. It’s not, in any way shape or form, a hashtag that sprung up due to the absurd, ludicrous, soul-crushing nature of the team’s recent history.
We just have a truly great sense of humor.
O.K., I’m intrigued, but can you give me one last reason why I should jump on board?
Do you like ridiculous music videos from a bygone era?
I’ve got two eyes and a soul don’t I?
Well, if the Mets actually pull this thing off, they’re required by law to film a sequel to the “Let’s Go Mets!” music video.
And man, this clip had everything. Baseball card flip fighting. Cheesy '80s video transitions. Human bobbleheads!
What’s a human bobblehead?
It’s that thing where Joe Piscopo taps you on the brim of your cap and you shake your skull like it suddenly came unhinged from your neck.
You guys just might be a little too strange for me. I might have to just sit this October out.
Are you sure?
O.K., you pulled me back in.
Welcome aboard. Ya Gotta Believe.