Years ago, when covering the Mets in Washington, I saw then-general manager Omar Minaya in the back of the pressbox, as the bullpen was, of course, making it interesting on the field.
The always affable Minaya looked at me and said, “We sure don’t make it easy, do we?”
And as you know with the New York Mets, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
On Thursday night, they sure didn’t make it easy either.
It wasn’t easy to dig out of a 3-0 hole against one of the best teams in baseball – not to mention, the one that all the experts are anointing as champions right now.
It’s not easy to play without Curtis Granderson, who is out of the lineup again and won’t be back for a few days at least.
It’s not easy to have Steven Matz on the mound, and you have to hold your breath every time he throws the ball because one of those bone spurs can lock up his arm.
It’s not easy when Jeurys Familia makes it second and third with no one out in the ninth and pitches out of it.
And it’s not easy seeing the National League East slip sliding away after getting swept in Washington the past three days.
But faster than you can say Captain Nimmo…err make that Nimmo, the Mets rose from 20,000 leagues under the sea and won a nice tidy comeback, 4-3 win over those Chicago Cubs.
“It sure came at the right time,” said manager Terry Collins. “To come back against that team, the first game of an 11-game homestead is huge for us. It lifted the spirits of everyone that we can come back, which we haven’t done in a while. It’s a big win for us.”
Add to that a possible game changer. The Mets are a little less desperate tonight and this is the type of win which can turn around a season. The club has been meandering for the past two months and lost the games against teams they should have beaten.
With a litany of bad news to boot, which can demoralize any team. Both Matz and Noah Syndergaard have bone spurs, Granderson is out with a calf pull and let’s not forget David Wright and Lucas Duda. You have to wonder if this team was cursed.
And it will probably stay that way for now. There aren’t many trades to be made. Yes, Jose Reyes and Juan Lagares are waiting in the wings and will be here if not over the weekend, possibly early next week, but the schedule doesn’t afford a July 4th holiday for the players.
So the Mets just have to build on today. Three more with the Cubs before the Marlins and Nationals come into town. All games are important.
A win like tonight shows the Cubs are not invincible and maybe after getting swept in the NLCS last season, the Mets are in their heads. This is five straight against the anointed ones.
Tomorrow, Jacob deGrom is on the mound and the Mets could build something. Even after the beating they took in DC and the trouble they had with the Braves, they are tied for the second Wild Card with the Marlins.
So, if last year, the Mets’ turning point game was Wilmer Flores homer against the Nationals, then maybe this season, it’s tonight.
We will soon find out, but one thing is for certain.
It won’t be easy.