MLB: New York Mets at San Diego Padres

Don’t Look Back In Anger

Sometimes, you just run into the wrong pitcher on the wrong day.

Madison Bumgarner is probably the greatest pitcher in modern postseason history. He was very good in 2010, had his only two bad playoff appearances ever in 2012 backed up by a sensational World Series start, and turned into this millennium’s Old Hoss Radbourn in 2014, immune to rest cycles and pitch counts, the normal laws of pitching and all of that silly stuff. He blanked the Mets for nine innings over 119 pitches, and probably could’ve gone further had the Giants not scored in the top of the ninth. Noah Syndergaard was even better over seven, but one of the majors’ best late-inning bullpens couldn’t continue to hold serve, and the Mets went down for the offseason.

It happens. It sucks. I probably won’t see another live baseball game this year, and that’s always a sad realization. Our friends in the booth scatter for four or five months. You’ll only hear Gary Cohen calling college basketball, Josh Lewin calling San Diego Chargers football, and Ron Darling calling AL playoff baseball … for a few weeks anyway. You won’t even hear the soothing voice of Howie Rose on Islanders hockey anymore, because he retired from that gig. Keith Hernandez will go back into winter hibernation in Sag Harbor and Florida.

We had a lot of fun as Mets fans in 2016, and I think it’s important to keep sight of that through the sadness of the end and the anger of how it ended. The 2016 Mets, for much of the season, were just supposed to go away, buried in the divisional race and close in the wild card race, with stars dropping hurt left and right. Yet they never fell totally out, and blitzed the National League over the last six weeks. How remarkable is it that this team with this roster had a home playoff game?

There were a lot of good times. You might not even remember all of them. So let’s take a brief stroll down memory lane and revisit the 2016 Mets.

There was Asdrubal Cabrera’s bat flip on a season-defining homer that somehow topped Yoenis Cespedes’ 2015 NLDS bat flip.

Bartolo Colon hit a home run!

Remember when Cespedes hit a grand slam in April to finish off a 12-run inning?

We saw what might be the last great David Wright moment, the walk-off on Milwaukee.

We had the pleasure of seeing unique talents like Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard perform regularly. Remember Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard trotting in on horseback during spring training? That was pretty great.

Fanbase darling Wilmer Flores turned his season and maybe his career around with a six-hit game, then launched a Citi Field craze by changing his at-bat music to the theme from Friends.

We all sang along to “Danza Kuduro” for Jeurys Familia.

The Mike Piazza weekend finally fully honored one of the team’s icons.

The emergences of Robert Gsellman and T.J. Rivera and Seth Lugo catapulted a team left for dead several times into the playoffs.

And yes, we can even fondly remember Syndergaard throwing the game of his life in a double-elimination game–

—and Curtis Granderson’s catch that, in another timeline, propels the Mets on another miraculous playoff run.

Soon we’ll be talking hot stove and the Rule 5 Draft and Yoenis Cespedes’ opt-out and the confounding Conforto catastrophe and all that good stuff. The memories of 2016 will fade into the background. But today, this week, let’s look back at the 2016 Mets and smile. Even through overwhelming injuries, it was an awful good year to be a Mets fan. And 2017 could be even better. Don’t let another one of Madison Bumgarner’s masterpieces ruin that for you.

Photo Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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