Exactly 50 years after they turned amazing, the New York Mets are doing it again. They’ve climbed out of the dumpster to win 14 of their last 15 games and get within a half-game of a wild card berth in the National League. Their win on Friday night at a raucous CitiField was nothing short of amazing. Four runs in the bottom of the ninth — three-run bomb by Todd Frazier, walk-off rip by Michael Conforto — beat Washington 7-6. From 46-55 on July 24 to 60-56 today, the Mets are tied for third in the NL East, just 1 1/2 games back of the second-place Nationals and 8 behind Atlanta, which is surely looking over its shoulder. Shades of 1969, when the Amazin’ Mets ran down the Chicago Cubs in the old NL East, then went on to shock Baltimore and win the World Series. What’s equally amazing about this season is that Mickey Callaway, the former Ole Miss pitcher, is still around as the Mets’ manager. Several times during the club’s early struggles his firing seemed inevitable. But management stayed the course — and Callaway, generally a laid-back type, continued to espouse the positives about his club. “I think they believe in something, and they’re going after it,” he told mlb.com after Friday’s win. A New York Post writer on Friday drew parallels between Callaway and Tug McGraw, the relief pitcher who started the “Ya Gotta Believe” mantra in 1973, when a scuffling Mets team surged late and made the World Series. Callaway credited the vibe in the ballpark with aiding Friday’s rally: “(W)e don’t win this game without our fans.” After his game-winning knock that sent those fans into a frenzy, Conforto had his jersey ripped off by teammates before he could do his postgame TV interview. Said Callaway, in one of the best quotes of the year: “When guys’ shirts come off, it’s probably a pretty good day.” P.S. The Mets no doubt made some fans for life in the Jackson area when their Double-A club played at Smith-Wills Stadium from 1975-1990. Those old cranks, who celebrated a World Series title in 1986, have gotta be loving this.
About The Author
Freelance writer Mike Christensen was a newspaper sportswriter for 30 years, including 26 at the Daily News and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, and is author of the book "Of Mudcat, Boo, The Rope and Oil Can." He covered small college and minor league baseball, including the Jackson Mets, Generals, DiamondKats, Senators and Mississippi Braves, among other duties in his newspaper days. A former youth league second baseman, he is a longtime Atlanta Braves fan and collector of baseball books and cards.
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