Led by young stars David Wright and Jose Reyes, the Mets roll to the NL East title by 12 games and finish with 97 wins. But they are upset by the 83-win Cardinals in the NLCS, dropping Game 7 at home. The series ends with a 3-1 loss in which Carlos Beltran strikes out with the bases loaded.
2 of 18John Iacono(4), Chuck Solomon/SI
After beating the Braves on Sept. 12, the Mets lead the NL East by seven games with just 17 games remaining. They lose 11 of their next 15 games, including a pair of five-game losing streaks, to fall out of first place for the first time since mid-May. Tied for first going into the last game of the season, the Mets lose 8-1 at home to the Marlins and finish behind the Phillies in the NL East, becoming the first team to blow a seven-game lead with as few as 17 games to play.
3 of 18AP
Before leaving for a West Coast trip in late June, embattled Mets manager Willie Randolph tells GM Omar Minaya, "If you're going to [fire me] do it now... Don't let me get on this plane." Minaya lets Randolph board the plane and manage the Mets to a win over the Angels before flying to Anaheim himself to fire Randolph in the middle of the night, announcing the move at 3 a.m. ET.
4 of 18Chuck Solomon/SI
Once again, the Mets have a healthy lead with 17 games to play. They are 3 1/2 games in front after beating the Nationals on Sept. 10 but lose four of their next five to fall into second place. They retake first for the last time on Sept. 19, then lose six of nine to fall out of contention for the division title. On the season's final day, they still have a shot at the wild card, but lose 4-2 to the Marlins in the last game ever played at Shea Stadium.
5 of 18AP
In a deal that has become a symbol of their many disastrous free-agent signings in recent years, the Mets ink Oliver Perez to a three-year, $36 million contract in hopes that the enigmatic left-hander can finally harness his considerable talent. Perez, 3-8 with a 6.77 ERA since, is demoted to the minors in 2010. Omar Minaya tries to deal him but finds no takers.
6 of 18Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The Mets' new ballpark is beautiful, but it is controversial before it even opens. Named Citi Field, the 41,000-seat stadium is briefly considered for a name change in the wake of the nation's financial woes, but it opens as planned, and as named, for the 2009 season. Starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey is blown off the mound by a strong wind and reliever Pedro Feliciano later balks home the run that hands the Padres the victory.
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Leading the Yankees by one with two out in the ninth, closer Francisco Rodriguez gets Alex Rodriguez to hit a harmless popup to second base. But Luis Castillo, another Met whose play has not come close to matching his pay, drops the ball, allowing both runs to score and costing the Mets the game.
8 of 18G Fiume/Getty Images
Omar Minaya fires assistant GM Tony Bernazard after reports surface that Bernazard got into a heated argument with Francisco Rodriguez and challenged Double-A players to fight. In explaining the move, Minaya insinuates that the New York Daily News reporter who wrote the story about Bernazard had tried to get a job with the club, creating yet another PR disaster for the Mets. Team COO Jeff Wilpon later issues a public apology to the reporter, but Minaya keeps his job.
9 of 18Chuck Solomon/SI
The Mets have already faded from contention and dealt with injuries to stars such as Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran by the time David Wright takes a 95-mph fastball from the Giants' Matt Cain off his helmet. Wright suffers a concussion and is placed on the disabled list, where he is joined a few weeks later by ace Johan Santana. The Mets limp to a 70-92 finish.
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Carlos Beltran has surgery to repair his injured knee, but the Mets claim that he did so without their permission. A war of words ensues between the team and its star center fielder, but it doesn't change the result: Beltran misses the first half of the 2010 season while recuperating.
11 of 18Ray Stubblebine/Reuters; Keith Birmingham/Valley Tribune/ZUMApress.com; Chuck Solomon/SI
The signing of Jason Bay was supposed to revitalize the Mets' offense. After all, Bay was a three-time all-star, had played at least 145 games in five straight seasons and was a career .280 hitter with season averages of 30 home runs and nearly 100 RBIs. Instead, the injury-riddled slugger has struggled. He played only 95 games in 2010 after suffering a concussion in July. He started 2011 on the disabled list with a rib injury. Bay does not even hit 30 home runs total over three seasons with the Mets.
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Following a loss to the Rockies that drops the Mets below .500, Francisco Rodriguez is arrested and detained at Citi Field for allegedly beating up the father of his girlfriend at the ballpark in view of teammates and their family members. K-Rod is suspended for two games, both of which the Mets win, giving them their first back-to-back victories since late June.
13 of 18Hector Mata/Reuters
After many high-profile, long-term contracts failed to pan out -- and with the club compiling losing records in its first two seasons playing at Citi Field -- general manager Omar Minaya was fired. Many expected the firing after he called out a New York Daily News reporter in 2009, but Minaya, hired by the team in 2004, held on to his job then. The Mets also parted with manager Jerry Manuel, whose contact was not renewed.
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Former ace Johan Santana, who had been solid but not spectacular in his three years with the club, has shoulder surgery in September 2010 that was expected to keep him out of action for at least the first half of the 2011 season. He would miss the entire season. The two-time Cy Young winner while with the Twins has battled injuries since joining the Mets in 2008.
15 of 18AP; Mario Tama/Getty Images
Mets owners acknowledged that they will explore selling a minority stake in the team because of the lawsuits filed against them in relation to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. The lawsuits contend that Fred Wilpon (and other Mets owners and their companies) turned a blind eye to Madoff's scheme, even though there were signs of foul play. The owners have denied these claims and have said they will not sell a controlling interest in the club.
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Long-time equipment manager Charlie Samuels, who joined the club in 1976, was charged with illegal possession of more than $2 million worth of stolen memorabilia, including signed baseballs, bats and other Mets gear. He is also accused of embezzling almost $25,000 from the club through his expense account. Samuels was originally suspended in Nov. 2010 because of his alleged connections to a sports betting ring.
17 of 18Michael O'Neill, Chuck Solomon/SI(2); Al Bello/Getty Images
In an article in The New Yorker, Wilpon makes critical comments of three of the Mets' star players, shortstop Jose Reyes, rightfielder Carlos Beltran and third baseman David Wright, that causes a media controversy for the embattled owner.
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After going an absurd 110 straight innings at home without scoring more than one run, the Mets finally put up a crooked number (2) in the fifth inning against the Nationals on Sept. 11. It is the longest such streak in major league baseball since the Washington Senators went 119 in 1909. The following day they also extended their club-record streak of scoring three runs or fewer to 13 straight home games. The Mets have lost 22 of their last 26 in Queens and have just four wins at Citi Field since the All-Star break - two fewer than the Nationals, one fewer than the Braves, and equal to the Rockies, who swept the Mets in four games at Cit Field in August.
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