By Jason Keidel
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When two blessed baseball runs clash, you expect a classic, a series for the archives.
When two forlorn franchises intersect in the autumn wilderness, you expect an epic fight. Seven games. Six, at least.
You didn’t expect the Mets to breeze to three wins in three games. You didn’t expect their gifted but neophyte pitching to smoke the most sizzling collection of bats in baseball.
But here we are, one win from the World Series.
How does it feel, Mets fans?
As a Yankees fan, it’s impossible for yours truly to truly empathize with your agony and anxiety, forever waiting for some bizarre malady to befall your team, for the cosmos to correct your good fortune. As Joe Benigno so often echoes, “Oh, the pain!”
Daniel Murphy has morphed into Lou Gehrig. Jacob deGrom, even sans his best stuff, battles through seven arduous innings. Curtis Granderson is climbing ivy and slapping singles. Yoenis Cespedes has re-captured his sizzling, summer form. And even the Captain, David Wright, is heating up.
It’s rare, of course, when the Mets have Gotham so spellbound. But, for some reason, NYC reacts more vehemently and viscerally to the Mets than any other team — including the Yankees.
It’s hard to fathom the Mets’ metropolitan dominance unless you were alive and lucid in the ’80s. I was a senior in high school in 1986, on that October night when the Mets vanquished the Red Sox in the seventh game. I was 17, the Yanks were in the middle of an 18-year drought, and I was feeling pretty ornery toward the Mets, who literally owned the Big Apple’s soul.
When the Mets clinched, I never heard or felt Manhattan so rabid. The ground literally trembled in the aftershocks of Jesse Orosco’s final strikeout.
I was sitting next to my dad in our 14th floor apartment on 97th Street and Columbus Avenue. I stepped out onto the terrace and it shook, jumped, murmured. The sky flowered with fireworks. Taxicabs jammed their horns. The entire neighborhood lunged out to their balconies, screaming and waving a pennant, swathed in orange and blue.
Don’t worry, we’re just superstitious enough to know not to guarantee anything. As a Yankees fan, I’ve suffered the lone plunge in MLB history from the high orbit of a 3-0 lead. But it’s looking good.
Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but the Mets are now 4-0 since I started tweeting during this enchanted sprint toward history. Mets fans have been gracious, grateful, and most inclusive. I got several online slaps on the backside for my contribution.
While admitting I’m a total front-running fraud, I went to 10 Mets fans, asking for permission to board the bandwagon. Nine nodded in approval.
So let’s keep it pithy, people.
Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel