Kelly reviewed the book So Many Ways To Lose: The Amazin’ True Story of the New York Mets, the Best Worst Team In Sports, by Devin Gordon. You can read the review about what the heck that title means. But the 2021 season pretty much encapsulates this.
From Baseball-Reference.com: The Mets were in first place in the National League East for 91 days, if one counts only the days a team played and was in first at the end of the day, or 114 days if one counts all days of the season including off days. They topped their division as late as Friday, August 13. They ended up 77-85-0, 3rd place in NL East. It was in large part because of a season-ending injury to pitcher Jacob deGrom on July 18, he with an astonishing 1.08 ERA.
There’s a friend of my sister’s named MJ, who swears I turned her on to the Mets in the mid-1960s, after their truly awful early seasons, but before they won the Series in ’69. Curious, because I had thought of myself as a Yankees fan in those days.
There was a farm team in Binghamton (actually Johnson City) that was usually a Yankees farm team. I saw Al Downing, who as an LA Dodger gave up home run 715, I saw play there. The stadium was razed in the late 1960s to build a new Route 17 (now I-86).
By happenstance, I caught the ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Documentary “Once Upon a Time in Queens”. It chronicled the 1986 Mets season. But it also discussed the 1984 and 1985 seasons, and how they built to their improbable World Series victory. It includes many interviews, including Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Mookie Wilson, Lenny Dykstra, and Kevin Mitchell.
Executive Producer Jimmy Kimmel is correct. “The characters and events captured in this documentary are so outlandish it is hard to believe this documentary isn’t a work of 80’s-era fiction. Whether you are a New Yorker, a Mets fan or even a fan of baseball makes no difference. This is the definitive, must-see story of a team and a time whose antics and even existence now seem unimaginable.”
Back in 2012, I documented seeing the ’86 Game Six on TV, with my friend Cee dressed as Gary Carter.
When the Yankees and the Mets played in the 2000 Subway Series, I was a bit torn. The Yankees had won in 1996, 1998, and 1999, so I was thinking the Amazins deserved a shot. It was not to be. On the other hand, I had all but forgotten that they lost to the Kansas City Royals in 2015.
There’s now a stadium in downtown Binghamton. The team that plays there is the Rumble Ponies, the Double-A farm team of the New York Mets. I’ve only been there once or twice, but maybe next year, something the MLB Mets are undoubtedly saying right now.