The 2015 regular season reminded me why I fell in love with baseball. The ups and the downs. The joy and despair. The thrilling victories and the agonizing defeats.
“Baseball is drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast.”-Joe Garagiola
The additions of Michael Conforto, Juan Uribe, Steven Matz, Kelly Johnson,and Yoenis Céspedes in the second act? The way they were all introduced into the plot?
Let me know how I do below.
Be nice, though. It’s hard to just keep this to ten!
10. JACOB DEGROM’S ALL-STAR GAME PERFORMANCE.
“The best stuff we’ve seen all night” -Joe Buck
Jacob deGrom won the Rookie of The Year award in 2014. He was a known commodity. But his 3 strikeout on 10 pitch performance on the national stage cemented his status as a star.
Later in the playoffs, defeating Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke on the road cemented his status as a legend. But that’s another story for another day.
The Mets went into the All-Star break trailing the Washington Nationals by 2 games in the NL East. The offense was largely nonexistent and fans were restless.
It was an amazing experience to step back and watch Jacob deGrom’s otherworldly performance that night. No matter what the future held when the season resumed, we knew we had a superstar on our team.
9. SYNDERGAARD DOMINANT AGAINST PHILADELPHIA.
In the beginning of May, Noah Syndergaard made his debut in Chicago. He had a decent start in Wrigley Field and then great outings against the Brewers and Pirates.
His next start against Philadelphia was special.
7⅓ scoreless innings with 6 strikeouts. And he hit a home run!
It just felt like that Noah Syndergaard had arrived. DeGrom dominated the day before. Harvey was slated to pitch the next game. With Steven Matz waiting in the wings in Vegas, it felt like we really had something special forming right in front of our eyes.
8. HARVEY’S FIRST START
On April 9th, Matt Harvey toed the rubber for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2013.
He held the Nationals scoreless over six innings, allowing just four hits and a walk. Oh, and he struck out 9.
Watching John Buck consoling Harvey in the dugout in 2013 was one of the most gut wrenching sports related images I’ve ever seen.
To watch him come out and dominate a division rival in his season debut was truly remarkable.
7. STEVEN MATZ DEBUT
Notice a trend here? Pitching, pitching pitching.
Matz is in Toronto now, and there aren’t many Mets fans who are upset about it. But I think it’s safe to say we will always remember his debut.
He set major league and franchise records for runs batted in by a pitcher making their debut that day. He pitched into the 8th inning, quieting the Reds’ offense.
His family celebrating in the stands, most notably his grandfather, was absolutely classic.
Again, with Matz joining a rotation of Harvey, deGrom and Syndergaard, it just felt like something truly exceptional was happening in Queens.
6. DUDA’S BIG NIGHT
The Mets came into their first post trade deadline series with the Nationals trailing Washington by 3 games in the standings.
The Mets won the first game in pretty exciting fashion. (We may talk about that game later.)
Yoenis Céspedes was a Met. Things were getting exciting in “panic city.”
The white-hot Lucas Duda kept the good times rolling in Game 2. He hit two home runs and then hit smacked a double, driving in the go-ahead run.
The next night, he went deep off Jordan Zimmerman, becoming the first Met to hit 9 home runs in a span of 8 games.
The Mets would eventually sweep the Nationals. They had momentum behind them and it was an exciting time to be a Mets fan, to say the least.
5. KIRK NIEUWENHUIS’ BIG HIT
Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Wow.
I was thinking about putting his 3 home run game on here, but we gotta go with this one.
That series on the road in Washington. The suspense, the excitement. My word. What a time to be a baseball fan! A Mets fan, in particular.
On this day, the Mets trailed Washington 7-1 heading into the 7th inning. When the Mets were finally retired in the top of the frame, the game was tied.
You could hear a pin drop in that stadium. Even though the game was still tied and there were months of baseball still to be played, I think the Nationals lost the NL East in that inning.
That 2015 Mets team was relentless. After the trade deadline, you never felt like they were out of a game. And when they had a team on the ropes, they didn’t let up.
Perfect example of that was Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the very next inning. The fans in DC had started to come to life again, desperately trying to will their team to victory.
Nieuwenhuis was announced as a pinch hitter and the rest is history. Goodnight Washington.
Where do we even begin?
Thank you Yoenis.
After the Mets acquired Céspedes from the Detroit Tigers, he became the catalyst for some of the most exciting baseball I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing.
Come from behind victories became the norm. Late inning heroics were an everyday occurrence. And Céspedes was in the middle of it all.
Having the belief, as a fan, that you’re never out of a ballgame is an indescribable feeling.
I hate the way Céspedes’ time here with the Mets ultimately played out.
But, hey. We’ll always have the memories from 2015.
So which memory do we pick here? Choosing just one is insanely difficult.
Let’s go with his home run off Drew Storen. At this point, the Mets were cruising to a division title. This was the nail in the coffin for the Nationals.
3. DAVID WRIGHT RETURNS
Watching this highlight will give me chills at high noon in the desert. Don’t think I need to elaborate any further.
2. WILMER FLORES NIGHT IN CITI FIELD
When I said above that no one is creative enough to script the 2015 season, I may have been a little harsh.
You could find someone to write the Wilmer Flores story. But if you were watching it in a theater, you may have thought it was a little corny. Unbelievable. Only in Hollywood.
Witnessing it happen in real life?
Wilmer Flores was included in a trade to Milwaukee. He caught wind of it WHILE PLAYING in a game. He thought about leaving the organization he had been with since a teenager and his emotions got the best of him. His passion for the only team he had ever known was on full display, for the world to see.
Well, the trade fell through.
And two nights later he hit a 12th inning walk off home run against his team’s division rival, clutching the “Mets” logo on his jersey while rounding the bases.
I take it back. I would LOVE to watch that movie.
As we discussed above under the Lucas Duda highlight, the Mets would wind up sweeping the Nationals in that series.
Wilmer Flores was the one to initially knock the Nationals back on their heels. And in doing so, he provided one of the most iconic memories in Met history.
1. METS CLINCH THE NL EAST
Is this the most exciting memory from that 2015 season? Maybe.
Was it the most satisfying? Hell yes.
The Mets won the NL East for the first time since 2006. And if you recall, it wasn’t very much fun to be a Mets fan between 2007-2014.
Here is Céspedes’ otherworldly throw in Pittsburgh. He hadn’t got hot at the plate yet, but showed he is still capable of making an impact in other ways.
One of my favorite Mets’ highlights of all time. David Wright scores from first on Céspedes’ double. He slides home, pops up sees the umpire signal safe and his reaction is pure perfection. Thousands of Met fans did the same thing in their living room that day.
My apologies to Curtis Granderson.
All things considered, he may be the 2015 team MVP. We’ll have to honor him because it feels criminal he isn’t on list.