PORT ST. LUCIE, FLA. –
When Spring Training began here in February —I can’t remember whether I was joking or being serious — I said to my dear friend Joel McGuirk: “Joel, this team is going to win the National League East.”
He laughed hysterically and told me I was nuts — “This is the Washington Nationals’ division to win, and they absolutely will. Maybe the Mets will grab a Wild Card, but no way they’re winning this division.”
Up to about July 28, it looked like Joel was going to be right. But then something magical happened. First, it was a trade for Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. Then it was the non-trade for Carlos Gomez that left Wilmer Flores in tears. Tyler Clippard came to the Mets, too. But then it was perhaps the biggest deadline deal in Mets history, one that brought Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers to the Mets that changed everything.
At the time, they were 52-50, and it looked like perhaps it would just be another year of futility. But after one of the most incredible runs in the team’s history, there was little doubt by Sept. 1 that this team was going to win the NL East. But the end of the regular season was a bit perplexing. The Mets went into that late-season slump. And in reality, they limped into the post season.
We were reminded that the 2000 Yankees also limped into the playoffs, too, and we all remember what happened with that team.
So maybe the 2015 Mets would or could follow suit?
To this point, they absolutely have. Beating the Dodgers in 5, with the conclusive Game 5 in Los Angeles, was amazing enough. But in February, if anyone told you the New York Mets would then go on to the National League Championship Series and sweep the Cubs in 4, you probably would have laughed at that hysterically as Joel did when I suggested they’d win the division.
In the process, what Daniel Murphy has done by hitting home runs in six-consecutive games has been nothing short of historic — and legendary. No other player has ever done that in the post season. No one.
And the Mets’ young arms, from Jacob de- Grom, to Noah Syndegaard, to Steven Matz to Matt Harvey have been nothing short of spectacular. What Jeurys Familia has done as the closer — having given up a couple of hits and no runs in 9-plus innings is on par with what Mariano Rivera did so very often for the team in the Bronx.
And now here we are, this little team from Queens on the verge of doing what only two others in franchise history have done.
The World Series will not be easy. Then again, the same was said of the NLCS. But is there any reason to believe the Mets won’t win the Fall Classic for the first time since 1986?
No one should expect Murphy to continue to do what he’s done. But just at the right time, Lucas Duda has come alive after striking out what seemed to be 124 times until Game 4 of the NLCS. If the pitching continues at this level, they can and should beat the Kansas City Royals. And oh how sweet it will be.
And yet, this all reminds me of a dear friend who is no longer with us — and whom many of you knew. And with her not here, all of this just isn’t what it could have been.
Her name was Barbara “Bo” Field. Mets fans knew her as “Mets Lady,” the woman who for decades, sat behind home plate and who believed she was responsible for making Bob Stanley throw that wild pitch in the 1986 World Series in Game No. 6.
Bo lived for many years in Kearny, with her husband, Robert, who ran Field Paints on Midland Ave.
I’ll never forget a day in the late ‘90s when I realized I had known “Mets Lady” for a long time. Bo was a server at the Lyndhurst Diner for 25-plus years. An old friend of mine and I used to go to the diner a lot. We always asked for Bo to be our server when she was on duty.
That night, when she was off duty, she came into the diner in her Mets hat with all of the jewels and pins that came along with it. And somehow, our Bo was “Mets Lady,” someone we’d known for years. It all came full circle.
She loved the Mets more than anyone ever has. There is no argument about it.
It was a very sad time a few years ago when Bo left this earth. She died Oct. 13, 2012. But oh how she would have loved what is happening at Citi Field this year.
If there is any reason to doubt the Mets winning the 2015 World Series, I’d like to think Bo has been looking down on these last few months, all while nagging St. Peter to find a way for her beloved team to win it all for the first time in 29 years — and for only the third time ever.
I’d like to think it’s at the point where St. Peter has said, “Fine, Bo. We’ll take care of it.”
If she were here today, she’d probably tell you: “Hun, of course the Mets are going to win the World Series. They’re too hot right now for any other team to win it all. No way those kids from Kansas City win this.”
And somehow, I think she’d be right.
For all those years of futility — 2007, 2008, 2009, heck, almost every year other than 1986 and 1969 — it’s time for New York’s “other” team to get that parade down the Canyon of Heroes in Manhattan.
And if for no other reason, let it be for Bo, whose photo has been on the front page on the New York tabs, who once visited Regis Philbin to talk about her hex on Stanley and who cheered on the Mets like few others have before or since.
Indeed, the 2015 New York Mets are a special team.
And maybe, just maybe, in a few days from now, we’ll finally, after almost three decades, be able to call them something more than just a special team.
And maybe that might just be World Champions.
So, Let’s Go Mets! And let’s do it for Bo.
Editor’s Note: Observer Sports Writer Jim Hague was hospitalized last week and was unable to cover the past week’s sports events. This was the first week he’s missed in the 13-plus years he’s been on the Observer staff.
We wish him a very speedy recovery.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.