By Jason Keidel
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The Mets are so much fun and have Gotham so spellbound that you just can’t go a day without chatting, reporting or writing about them. Even on a day off. Not even Terry Collins’ endless daily monologues have found us fatigued.
There’s something special about this bunch, beyond the obvious splendor on the grass (if you will). And now we’ve learned they have put the miracle in Miracle Mets.
It’s not just the fact that they’ve survived the thorny labyrinth of the playoffs and have remained alarmingly healthy. It’ not just the fact that they found the perfect cocktail of players, from Tyler Clippard to Yoenis Cespedes.
But it’s how they got them. They used insurance money from David Wright’s contract and deferred money from Jenrry Mejia’s contract to land Cespedes and the rest of the pieces from their deadline feast.
Then consider Mike Francesa’s guest on WFAN on Monday. For all the plaudits showered upon Sandy Alderson — and he’s earned them, at least this year — the four most important Mets this postseason all came from the prior GM (with all due respect to Curtis Granderson and Noah Syndergaard.)
That would be Omar Minaya, who bagged Daniel Murphy, Jeurys Familia and Jacob deGrom. Oh, and someone called The Dark Knight. We can argue about Minaya’s overall tenure. But we can’t deny that the Mets aren’t here without that most potent quartet.
They don’t take leads without Murphy, and they don’t hold those leads without deGrom and Matt Harvey. And they don’t close games without Familia’s otherworldly October exploits.
Minaya helped convert deGrom from a shortstop to a pitcher. He defended Murphy to the nth degree, keeping the sizzling slugger from becoming trade bait. And he found Familia and Harvey ahead of his competitors. While MLB teams have scouts and minions on nearly every verdant island on the planet, Minaya had a clear talent for discovering diamonds on the diamond.
Cynics will point to Ollie Perez and Jason Bay. But all GMs bomb. That includes his successor, Sandy Alderson, who was practically begged by MLB to replace Minaya. (As a Yankees fan, I could spend days dissecting Brian Cashman’s personnel gaffes.)
Minaya now works for the MLB Players Association. He’s a native New Yorker, and he’s grinning while his native Mets are two wins from a World Series appearance, no matter how inelegant it ended for him here.
The Mets have made this run despite being 20th in payroll. And you don’t get to win on the cheap without loads of young talent, kids who play eons before they can dine on their big deals. And it turns out that Minaya was pretty good at picking it.
There wasn’t a trace of bitterness, vengeance or vindication in Minaya’s voice when he spoke with Francesa. He was just happy to celebrate his former recruits and former team’s prosperity at the best time. New Yorkers could learn a lot from this New Yorker.
Lord knows that at least four Mets have.
Follow Jason on Twitter @JasonKeidel.