A 70-win season was totally not what we thought on Opening Day, Jose Reyes' injury is questionable, David Wright has lost his power...but it wasn't always so bad, was it?
So let's take a look and see...what were the Met-nificent Moments of 2009?
1.) Gary Sheffield hits #500. I watched this one on television, but wasn't it nice to get a moment like that at our house and NOT be on the receiving end of it? Seriously, something like that is usually like -- what Mets pitcher gave up #500 to Sheffield? All kidding aside, I would say most Mets fans were torn on getting Gary Sheffield. He's a clubhouse CANCER! He's a bad guy! He did roids! The Tigers are paying him to NOT play for them! All of that was washed aside as he made his mark as a Met. True, he earned 499 of them not playing for them, but it was still fun nonetheless.
2.) Jonathon Niese and Josh Thole: Battery of the Future. While they never played together due to Jon Niese's injury, what we saw of Thole in the last few weeks of the season and what we saw of Niese prior to his injury reminded us that the Kids are not only Alright, but that maybe, just maybe, our future wasn't as shabby as some would like us to think. Which leads me to...
3.) F-Mart's first game with the big team. I attended this game with Dykstraw, Fort Greene Met Fan and El Duderino hanging out on the right field bridge, trying to get a good glimpse of Fernando Martinez in the field. This was significant for two reasons: one was -- it was F-Mart for pete's sakes, and the other -- this was something most Mets fans could rally around at CitiField (and as FGMF pointed out, the slice of lemon in her fried calamari was better than anything she ever had at Shea). Although the injury bug didn't miss him either, he has a lot of growing up to do yet at the same time most fans are anxious to see what other contributions to expect from him.
4.) Jeff Francoeur becomes a Met. Although I might have been happier to lose Ryan Church as a result of it (sorry Julie), I was initially upset that a Brave bastard was on our team. This was quickly put to rest with his games -- yes, I know he is allergic to walks, and he thinks OBP is a song by Naughty by Nature...but seeing a guy who isn't afraid to hit and smart on defense is pretty hot (and so is his tush).
5.) Carlos Beltran returns home, sort of, in Brooklyn! I attended this game in early September with CrazyMetGirl, and we saw him get a base hit and RBI in his very first at-bat. There was even a close-call with a long fly ball out, but as CMG said later on, it was like seeing an old friend again. It ended up being bittersweet, though. While it was commendable that he wanted to come back this season, no one would have faulted him for not returning...at the same time, as GK&R said today, you can't help but look at his numbers and wonder what might have been (and SNK and I were saying he would have been an MVP candidate were it not for bruised knee bones).
6.) Nelson Figueroa. I will admit, I was not jazzed about depending on Figgy for much. In fact, I have been known to say that I was quote-unquote done with him after calling out the Nationals on being "softball girls" from his stint in 2008. I get that he's a local boy, he grew up a Mets fan, etc etc. Local guy gone good. I was ready to cut him off, though. Well, I'm actually glad for once I was not the general manager, although he came back with something to prove after being DFA'd, clearing waivers, and then ultimately coming back only to be our most reliable pitcher down the stretch (unfortunately, it was the rest of the team that didn't come through). Nelson Figueroa became this generation's Steve Trachsel, save the whole human rain delay factor.
7.) Fernando Tatis' grand slam game. This game came on a day that was potentially one of the strangest I've ever known as a Mets fan. It was a Monday night, I missed Shea, Omar Minaya made a complete ass of himself earlier in the day at the mother of all press conferences, Tony Bernazard was fired, Adam Rubin's motives were questioned, and it was hot. Africa hot. Hot hot hot outside. I went to the game basically because, well, I didn't want to go to the gym, and I sat with Howard Megdal and CharlieH. I was with CharlieH during the actual home run, and what was funny was that because of our vantage point in the Promenade, we needed to actually watch the hit on the TVs they put up there and we kind of looked at each other like -- um, did that REALLY just go over the wall? The reaction from the rest of the stadium said it all...As we have called it with 20-20 hindsight, CharlieH and I felt like we were getting settled into our new home.
8.) Nolan Ryan returns to Flushing. At the 1969 reunion ceremonies, perhaps the Curse of Nolan Ryan has been lifted by this inviting him back to New York. It was nice seeing him on the mound with Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman for the ceremonial first pitch at the August 22 game.
9.) Macca plays CitiField. I know, this isn't exactly Mets-nificent, but it's my damn site, and I'll calls it like I sees it. It was cool to see a Beatle christen our new stadium and maybe he can sprinkle some of that old Beatles magic around. I think we need it.
10.) Gary, Keith and Ron, and KB too! This is the gift that keeps on giving folks. I know I am particularly grateful that we have such a great trio in the booth, and I know for a fact many fans fear losing Kevin Burkhardt to another network or MLB. We are selfish bastards who want him all to ourselves on SNY!!! When it was evident that the team we signed on for was not going according to plan, if there was anyone who knew how we were feeling as a fan base, it was GK&R. It was bittersweet listening to them say goodbye today, as I felt like I was sending some good friends away for the winter. And I miss Howie Rose too. I gotta start listening to the FAN more often.
I feel like I could find more, but at the top of my head, this is all I can think of. Maybe ending the season with a Bang and not a whimper helped too. If anyone has any other suggestions, feel free to comment below.