Wagner: Uncanny Parallels Continue for 1986, 2015 Mets

Games 1 and 2 of the 2015 World Series revealed what the Kansas City Royals do best. All of a sudden, the New York Mets’ normally dominant power pitching was neutralized in a way it wasn’t used to. The Royals, as they do better than anyone, put balls in play, played good defense, kept the Mets from striking them out often and like they’ve made a frequent habit of doing, resiliently rallied from deficits to pull out victories while jumping to a 2-0 series lead.

As a result, New York saw one of its star pitchers, Matt Harvey, squander a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning before its previously untouchable closer during the 2015 postseason, Jeurys Familia, blew his first save in three months (in the ninth inning) while Kansas City pulled out Game 1 in 14 innings. The Royals then solved the Mets’ best pitcher this season, Jacob deGrom, after he silenced them for four innings, to overcome a slim 1-0 deficit and win Game 2.

Although Major League Baseball history says that teams up 2-0 in the World Series have eventually won the championship 83 percent of the time, and that teams down 2-1 in any MLB best-of-seven postseason series have won that series just 29 percent of the time, there may be some mystical Mets magic at play which could ultimately have the biggest say over any historical precedents or all of the great fundamental aspects which make the Royals so tough to beat.

Is it the numinous quality contained within the black magic hat housing the new apple beyond Citi Field’s centerfield wall, or the within the original version of that hat and apple, moved from Shea Stadium, just outside Citi Field’s Jackie Robinson Rotunda which could help the Mets now, as New York sliced Kansas City’s World Series lead in half with a huge Game 3 home victory on Friday night?

Perhaps, but maybe there’s something even larger going on in the form of some big-time karma helping the current Mets.

Even though the 1986 Mets has much greater expectations (while winning a franchise-best 108 games) than did this year’s 90-win Mets (who were merely a mediocre 52-50 at the late-July trade deadline), consider the uncanny parallels to the last time the Mets won the World Series, in 1986, which happened to be on October 27, the date the 2015 World Series began:

  • The 1986 and 2015 Mets each began their respective seasons 2-3.
  • Each subsequently won their next 11 games to improve to 13-3.
  • Each lost Game 1 of the World Series by one run.
  • Each lost Game 2 of the World Series by six runs.
  • Each won Game 3 of the World Series by six runs.

There’s even something eerily similar about the scores in Games 2 and 3, then and now, even if the results were different:

  • The 1986 Mets lost Game 2 of the World Series 9-3; the 2015 Mets won Game 3 by the same score.
  • The 1986 Mets won Game 3 of the World Series 7-1; the 2015 Mets lost Game 2 by the same score.

So sure, history has its say and Kansas City is still in control for now.

But it’s hard to ignore the similar numbers between now and 29 years ago — especially after New York’s impressive Game 3 win on Friday night, and with a Game 4 pitching matchup (with the Royals’ Chris Young opposing rookie Steven Matz) seemingly in the Mets favor — and not think that an early 0-2 series deficit against Kansas City (like the 1986 Mets, against the Boston Red Sox) might mean that these current Mets had the Royals might where they wanted them, simply because karma across 29 years, says so.

If nothing else, the parallels hearken back even further, to a still-popular rallying cry of an earlier glorified time in Mets history. Yes, with the 2015 Mets following a similar path in some ways as their 1986 ancestors, Ya Gotta Believe!



About the Author

Jon Wagner

Jon has been a credentialed writer with New York Sports Day since 2009, primarily covering the New York Knicks and Hofstra men's basketball. He has also occasionally covered other college basketball and New York's pro teams including the Mets, Giants, Jets, Islanders, Rangers and Cosmos (including their three most recent championship seasons).Jon is former Yahoo Sports contributor who previously covered various sports for the Queens Ledger. He's a proud alum of Hofstra University and the Connecticut School of Broadcasting (which he attended on a full scholarship).He remains convinced to this day that John Starks would have won the Knicks a championship in 1994 had Hakeem Olajuwon not blocked Starks' shot in Game 6 of the 1994 NBA Finals.

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