Back in 1988, the Mets were in the NLCS, against the Dodgers. Against all odds, though, the Dodgers had pulled back into contention and forced a game seven -- well, technically, the Mets forced it, but who's counting.
1988 was an interesting year. Started out with Darryl Strawberry calling out his teammates and getting into a fist fight with Keith Hernandez during the team photo shoot. But Darryl put on an amazing display that year too, putting up MVP numbers all season. Darryl was flashy.
Then there was Kevin McReynolds. See, we got Kevin Mac in a trade with the San Diego Padres in the 1986 offseason/prior to 1987. Kevin Mitchell was gone in that trade, with the perception that he was some kind of cancer. I often point to that trade as the denouement of the 1986 team. When Kevin Mitchell, a certain spark left. he was young, but the rest of the team was aging, and rapidly.
Kevin McReynolds was a good player. We could count on him for a few timely hits, and to just quietly go about his job. But I would venture to say he was the first player I remember that treated his god-given baseball talent as a jay-oh-bee. I'm sure others did too, but he was the first one I remember that really annoyed me like that.
Not that it was for naught. In 1988, he also put up MVP-like numbers and rumor had it that McReynolds and Strawberry's good years cancelled each other out and allowed Kirk Gibson to be the 1988 MVP.
But I told all that to get to this. One of the more controversial statements that ever came out of Kevin McReynolds' mouth (when he actually talked) is that a reporter asked him what he felt like if the Mets lost Game 7 of the 1988 NLCS.
Either way, I win, he says. If we win, I get to go to the World Series. If we lose, I get to go home and hunt in Arkansas. See? Win-win.
Of course, that was paraphrased to death but the idea remains the same. We wanted him to WANT to go to the World Series more than huntin' in the offseason. But the fact remains, he just didn't care or acted like he didn't.
Well, whatever the outcome this weekend, I win. If the Mets get a playoff spot, I get to see some postseason games in New York. If they lose, I get to sit on my fat ass and watch Dexter, Californication and Desperate Housewives on Sunday nights.
See? Win-win. Who knew Kevin McReynolds was way ahead of his time. Thanks Kevin, for showing me the light.