This has been a rough year for Mets fans. I mean, they’re all rough years, to hear some of my friends tell it, but there’s something particularly painful about this season. It’s probably the combination of promise and potential with the midseason collapse that’s now approaching its inevitable conclusion.
This year saw the franchise’s first no-hitter thrown by Johan Santana. It saw the rise and near complete dominance of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. And, of course, it’s the 50th anniversary of the franchise’s birth. This was supposed to be the Mets’ year, and for the first half of the season, it looked as though a playoff spot was in the cards.
After the All-Star break, though, the team took their annual nosedive…and they took it HARD. Losing streaks became the norm. The Mets had returned to mediocre form. It’s been disheartening the last few months, to say the least.
But despite that depressing turn of events, the Mets are the lovable bunch from Queens that they’ve always been, representing New York in a way that the Yankees–with their enormous payroll and roster of top players–never can. That’s why I was so excited to receive the commemorative 50th Anniversary Collector’s Set from A+E, which is set to be released on Tuesday, September 18. [Full disclosure: Collectors Quest is a partner of A+E Networks.]
The set offers fans 10 DVDs filled to the brim with memorable games and history-rich documentaries that take you through a half-century of ups and downs. The book itself is a luxurious hard-bound journey through the team’s history, highlighting classic players and important figures from the franchise’s fifty years of memories.
I do wish that they could’ve crammed in the DVD immortalizing Santana’s no-hitter from June 1 this year, though I have a feeling that the design of the box set was approved long before the season even started. But the set has some pretty choice games included on the DVDs, even without the No-han. In addition to documentaries delving deep into the World Series-winning seasons of 1969 and 1986 (the only ones so far), we also get to witness Game 3 of the ’69 series, Game 6 from the 1986 NCLS against the Houston Astros, and the infamous Game 6 from the ’86 World Series (the one in which a slow-roller went right through the Red Sox’s Bill Buckner’s legs, leading to the Mets’ victory).
But being a Mets fan isn’t all about big-time victories—quite the opposite, in fact. It’s about finding ways to come together in the face of overwhelming odds and tough times. That’s why it was so fitting that the set’s designers included the home game from September 21, 2001—just ten days after the September 11 attacks that rocked New York and the world. That was actually the first DVD from the set that I watched, which just so happened to be this past Tuesday, the eleventh anniversary of the attacks. It was more than a little emotional to watch, as clearly everyone on-screen is still extremely shaken up by the attacks.
The game holds special significance, though, because it was the very first sporting event to be held in New York since the attacks, and ends with Mike Piazza hitting a two-run homer to win the day for New York. The DVD is important, and it’s emblematic of what it is to be not just a Mets fan, but a New Yorker, and an American.
Sorry to get all heavy there. If you’re a Mets fan, this set is a must-have. It represents a success story that’s more about the journey than the destination. The Mets keep trying to find their way every year, just like the rest of us.