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Looking back at the past calendar year of Mets baseball—and looking forward

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Against all the odds, the Mets took us on a both highly improbable and highly entertaining journey over the past calendar year.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

One year ago tomorrow, Mets fans across the globe will “celebrate” the one-year anniversary of the game featured below. Check out that box score and you’ll quickly remember what game it is that I’m talking about.

That is, of course, the game when Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers came into town against a gutted Mets lineup, the day when it appeared like a foregone conclusion hours before game time that he would dominate the Mets. Not to anyone’s surprise, he ultimately did. This is the game that felt at the time like the nadir of the season and the one everyone pointed back to in September, October, and throughout the offseason to show just how far the Mets had come in such a short period of time.

Think about where we all were at this point one year ago. Most importantly, think about where we thought the season was going (or not going).

There was no Yoenis Cespedes; he was still donning the Tigers uniform for another week. There was no Juan Uribe or Kelly Johnson either. They would be acquired from the Braves one day later, July 24, the same day a highly touted prospect named Michael Conforto would make his big league debut after beating up on Single-A and Double-A pitching. Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed? They were still out west, Clippard closing in Oakland for a few more days and Reed freshly returned from a stint in the minors.

But there’s so much more here than just player acquisitions. Wilmer Flores’s tears? They had no meaning to us one year ago today. The waterworks, turned on by the rumored and then aborted trade of Flores and Zack Wheeler to Milwaukee for Carlos Gomez, wouldn’t occur until July 29. Recall another nadir moment, Jeurys Familia serving up Justin Upton’s three-run home run in a 9th inning surrounded by two long rain delays? That was July 30. And Wilmer’s now infamous walk-off home run against Nationals’ reliever Felipe Rivero in the 12th inning? Nope, a year ago that was merely fantasy. That happened July 31.

A baseball season is such an amazing time capsule of small moments and varying emotions that come together to create one large whole. You’re up one day, you’re down another. One week you’re a World Series contender, another week you’re ready to blow it all up. We as humans get caught up in the minutiae of the day-to-day. It’s our nature, it’s one of our flaws. Sometimes we have trouble catching ourselves and seeing the forest while standing amongst all of the gigantic oak trees.

Who would’ve thought one year ago tomorrow, while watching Clayton Kershaw mow down a lineup featuring John Mayberry Jr. and Eric Campbell hitting 4th and 5th, that this Mets team would be playing in the World Series three months later? Who would’ve thought one year ago tomorrow when Daniel Murphy was hitting .268/.322/.386 that he would go on an historic home run binge that would propel the Mets through Kershaw’s Dodgers and through Jake Arrieta’s Cubs? Who would’ve thought, even more shockingly, that he would be a National League MVP candidate one year later with the Nationals?

Now you may be reading this and thinking I’m trying to apply what happened with the 2015 Mets to the 2016 Mets, and that’s not necessarily what I’m trying to do here. The 2015 season was special for the Mets and I did my best to enjoy it while it was happening. I realize and accept that that isn’t the norm, what we saw in 2015 was a confluence of so many factors. To fully expect what happened in 2015 to happen again is foolhardy, at best.

But does that mean it won’t happen again? Does that mean it absolutely couldn’t happen again? I’ll let you use your own judgment to answer that question for yourself.

While you do that, I’m going to sit back and appreciate the ride that the Mets have given us over this past year. We didn’t think it could happen, we didn’t know it would happen, but somehow it did. Maybe someday, with a few smart acquisitions and some good luck, we’ll get to see a run like that happen once again.