Just one year back it was a year ago that the Mets stood in their dugouts as the Brewers secured a playoff spot in American Family Field. It was an unsuccessful year for the Mets who’s promise was never able to turn into a sufficient amount of victory. When the Brewers were celebrating with their fans, Francisco Lindor looked inward.
“It hurt me a little bit,” Lindor remembered. “I was saying stuff like, ‘I wish I had what they had.'”
As he recounted the story late on Monday evening, Lindor stood in front of his locker as a variety of Mets teammates gathered around him, wearing royal blue T-shirts that bore”October rise “October rise.” A table once stocked with hundreds of glasses of sparkling wine without alcohol was nearly empty. A few players switched to beer. Others took a sip directly from the golden bottle champagne, which teammates gave at Max Scherzer in recognition of his 200th career win. They Mets have just come through with a 7-2 victory against the Brewers to earn their first playoff spot since 2016. Lindor was no longer required to make wishes.
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“It’s been some hard-fought years of either just straight losing or thinking that we were going to make it and then being disappointed in the end,” said outfielder Brandon Nimmo, a Met since the year 2016 and has witnessed the team play just 1 playoff match. “It’s been a tough time on the field, especially in this environment. They expect you to be successful.”
The bigger goals are still in play for the Mets that did not release champagne in the usual manner to ensure at the very minimum a spot for their National League Wild Card Game. They didn’t dogpile on the mound of the pitcher. Instead, after Adam Ottavino struck out Hunter Renfroe to formalize the situation the outfielders and infielders were separated for greetings and hugging. While the players made to return to the dugout as the team Manager Buck Showalter waited to embrace each one of the players each one by one.
They then came back into their home for a string of short talks that included one where the the owner Steve Cohen, who had been flown in to New York earlier in the day, informed the Mets that he was “excited for them and what’s possible.”
For many within the franchise, the possibility started with the time Cohen bought the team in November. 2020. In the two years since then, Cohen has remade the Mets front office and increased their payroll. Cohen spent $341 million to secure Lindor while another $ 130 million was spent to hire Scherzer. He appointed the general manager Billy Eppler and manager Buck Showalter. If you ask around the club and they’ll be able to trace most of the cultural differences all the way back to Cohen.
Jacob deGrom is one who is able to see these transformations through the perspective of a larger lens. Being the most tenured Met, deGrom is the only Met who was present for the team’s final extended postseason in the year 2015. DeGrom described the games as “some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing baseball” and “one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had.” DeGrom believed that the Mets would be contenders in the postseason each year. In the aftermath of disappointment DeGrom started to develop more knowledge of the meant to be a playoff contender.
“You celebrate this,” deGrom added. “To go that long without being back, that makes this special.”
To be fair DeGrom’s teammates were in agreement, saying that although the Mets will fight for winning the NL East title with all the enthusiasm they can manage, their playoff victory deserves recognition too. They walked around the clubhouse, sipping beer as well as taking selfies and throwing jokes at each other. Pete Alonso, whose three-run homer in the fourth inning was shown to be the most powerful move of the game, demanded his teammates give him “ketchup and mustard.” They did so, coloring his neck and his T-shirt with red.
Later, in a more peaceful area of the clubhouse, Cohen came up to Alonso, Nimmo and Eduardo Escobar to inform them of how happy he was about their achievements. Cohen sat with the three for a while, thanking the trio on “the way you guys get along with each other.”
Cohen said that Cohen called the Mets winning their playoff as the “first step” of a long-term journey, stating the “when we go forward, there will be bigger celebrations.” The Mets definitely hope that this will be the case. They are they are the 3rd MLB team to earn an invitation to the playoffs and qualify for the playoffs, the Mets are set to focus their attention at bigger goals as early on Tuesday when they’ll come back to American Family Field for another game with the Brewers. The Braves have just one game away from the NL East.
There’s no time to rest however for one night at the very least there was enough time to be happy, time to reflect, and time to forget the mistakes that have shaped the last few years.
“It means something to our organization, and it means something to our fans to be in the playoffs,” Scherzer stated. “Those are the times you have to play for. We are also aware that there are more memorable moments to be enjoyed in the near future. It’s a day of smiles but tomorrow it’s a grind.”