Last April, I half-jokingly gave my coworker $25 to bet on the New York Mets to win the World Series during his trip to Las Vegas.
I say “half-jokingly” because while I am a die-hard Mets fan, and always have faith that they could exceed all expectations, I still never expected them to go that far.
Still, the odds were at 15 to 1, so I thought, why the hell not?
So you can imagine my horror when, six months later, the Mets made the World Series, and I had no idea where the ticket was. I never found it, and it ended up being moot since the Mets lost.
Nonetheless, any Mets fans will tell you it was an absolutely magical season, highlighted by a group of dominant young pitchers and a late-season turnaround spurred by the acquisition of Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes in late July. The experience was so great that every few weeks I watch this amazing fan-made video recapping the season just to relive the memories.
But here we go again. April is right around the corner, and I am again going out out on a limb to declare my optimism for my beloved Mets. But this time — I’m not joking.
The New York Mets will win the World Series in 2016.
And this is no bold prediction. Many people, including baseball experts, will probably say the same thing.
For one, they’re hungry for a championship after coming so close last year and falling short. Their dominant young pitching staff — Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and the returning Zack Wheeler — is one of the most hard-throwing, dynamic assemblage of young pitchers arguably in baseball history. And despite their tendency to spend conservatively in the offseason under their cheap ownership, the Mets somehow managed to retain Cespedes on a three-year deal.
The pieces are there. Now all they have to do is win.
And I’m not kidding when I say I am a die-hard fan. Since I started watching the Mets when I was about 7 or 8, I have barely missed a game. And we’re talking about 162 games per year for 20 years.
So it was a complete joy to finally watch them make the World Series last year for the second time since I’ve been alive (I was born six months after the Mets won the 1986 World Series.)
Amazingly, I am an avid supporter of four professional sports teams — the Mets, the New York Rangers, New York Knicks and New York Jets. And in my lifetime — one championship. One.
And it was the Rangers in 1994, when I was 7. Two decades have passed since then.
Needless to say, the sports gods owe me one. And in 2016, the stars are aligned for that team to be the New York Mets. I have waited long enough, and damn it, I deserve it.
As we say in Metsville, ya gotta believe.
I’m already preparing for the misery of repeating this same blog post next April.