2006 was a good year to be a Mets fan.
In case you've been living under a rock for the past four years, let me explain to you what's happened. Watching the Mets finally win that World Series in 2006 was one of the greatest moments of my life. Certainly they had their bumps along the way but it seemed as though that Mets team was a team of destiny. After the unforgettable Endy Chavez catch I knew that this team was meant for greatness. Sure, Heilman ended up giving up that home run to Yadier Molina to give them a brief lead but that was forgotten the second Beltran smashed that 3-2 curve off of Adam Wainwright. I still don't think that ball has landed.
After sweeping the Tigers, the Mets were once again New York's team. World Series MVP David Wright said during the wonderful parade down the Canyon of Heroes, "It's unbelievable how well our team came together over the past couple of months. We got the town back. We did it. World [expletive] Champions."
The Daily News and Post for months after the series continued to bash the Yankees. Steinbrenner was furious. Many speculated before that offseason that Brian Cashman would finally be given autonomy over the team but that simply wasn't the case. Steinbrenner broke the bank, posting over $65 million dollars for Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. On top of that, they signed former Yankees Roger Clemens and Alfonso Soriano as well as handing former A's pitcher Barry Zito a record contract. There was talk of a trade that would have sent Randy Johnson to the Yankees but the trade fell through last minute. At the trade deadline, the Yankees would ship top prospects Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Eric Duncan, and Brett Gardner for Mark Teixeria. The Yankees finished under .500 in 2007 and Joe Torre and Brian Cashmen were both unceremoniously fired. Both ended up with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Mets were ready and excited to repeat as Champions in 2007. The Mets pitching rotation going into Spring Training was shaky at best. Omar Minaya knew that some sort of move had to be made, either to sure up the offense or to acquire pitching. The Mets played excellently the first half of the season. The bullpen was excellent even though they lost Chad Bradford, Roberto Hernandez, and Darren Oliver. Reliever Heath Bell was the surprise of the pen, posting a respectable 2.32 ERA. Although Pedro Martinez was lost to injury until September, the pitching staff of Tom Glavine, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Orlando Hernandez, and Brian Bannister held things together.
Unhappy with his attitude, on field antics, and offensive struggles, the Boston Red Sox shipped Manny Ramirez to the Mets on the trading deadline for Mike Pelfrey, Carlos Gomez, Jon Niese, and Lastings Milledge. Inspired by a change in scenery, Ramirez went on an absolute tear during the 53 games he played for the Mets, putting up a .396/.489/.743 line. The Mets also got Ronnie Belliard to play second base. He didn't work out quite as well as Manny did.
Late in the season, the Mets had a bit of a scare. The Philadelphia Phillies, lead by Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, went on a bit of a run late in the season. This was stopped, however, with a three game sweep of the Phillies late in the season. In the game that put the Phillies away, Manny hit two home runs at CBP. They went on to clinch the division against the Washington Nationals on September 29th.
Although they ended up running into the historically hot Colorado Rockies, things were still looking up for the Mets. Manager Willie Randolph did an okay job but many Mets fans complained about his bullpen management. It could be worse - Jerry Manuel could be managing this team! During that off season, the Twins started shopping around Johan Santana. The Yankees were rumored to be involved but their farm system was depleted following the trade for Teixeria. The Red Sox were interested in acquiring him but as luck was smiling on the Mets as they were able to trade Fernando Martinez, Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra for Santana and suddenly the Mets were hot again. They kicked around the tires on Mariners pitcher JJ Putz but instead decided to rely on what they had. In a move considered "typical Omar" the Mets also signed Ivan Rodriguez.
2008 was a magical season. Lead by Manny and Johan, the Mets rolled through the regular season, winning well over 100 games. In a classic NLCS, the Mets ended up winning the League in remarkable fashion yet again as Brad Lidge, perfect through 40 games, gave up a two run game winning home run to Jose Reyes. They would face the young and upstart Rays who surprised everyone simply by being there. The Rays played admirably but the Mets were just too powerful. Once again, the Mets were World Champions.
Back to the Yankees. After missing the playoffs in 2007 and getting swept out of the first round in 2008, George Steinbrenner gives ownership to his son Hank. The Yankees end up with Raul Ibanez, CC Sabathia, and AJ Burnett. The Yankees were once again relevant again and the favorites to win the American League. The Mets resigned Oliver Perez to a reasonable $6 million a year contract. They went into the season using a rotation of Santana, Maine, Bannister, Perez, and Pedro Martinez, who they brought back for one last year.
The Mets were able to resign Manny and picked up Adam Dunn to play right field and Orlando Hudson to play second. One major complaint about the Mets was defense but their offense was so powerful that they more than made up for it. 2009 was a struggle as Carlos Delgado, Reyes, and Beltran all went down with injuries but Angel Pagan, Fernando Tatis, and Ronnie Belliard all played well enough to get the Mets into the playoffs. Just imagine what would have happened if the Mets didn't have that offensive power!
Again the Mets powered through the regular season where they Met the Philadelphia Phillies yet again. Although the Mets played extremely well, they were shut down by Cole Hamels and beaten by the power of Utley and Howard. They would end up losing to the surprising Yankees in the 2009 World Series.
The only major offseason scandal in New York was the Bernie Madoff scandal and to what extent the Wilpons lost money to them. In December, Jeff Wilpon announced that he and his father would be forced to sell the team much to the joy of Mets fans. Although as of right now they haven't sold the team, there have been numerous interested parties including Michael Bloomberg, who plans to incorporate his new upstart "Bloomberg Sports" statistical analysis into the Mets organization.
The future looks really good for the Mets. I can't even begin to imagine what it would have been like if Beltran struck out back in 2006. I can just picture the bloggers furiously writing about how much suffering they've gone through as Mets fans. I'm so glad we've avoided that.