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Ya gotta believe

No situation too desperate for Mets fans

Click here for more on this story
Posted: Wednesday October 25, 2000 2:48 AM
Updated: Wednesday October 25, 2000 8:45 AM

  Rowdy Mets fans No deficit can faze the Mets or their fans. AP

By Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated

NEW YORK -- A few hours before the start of Game 3 of the Subway Series, two Yankee fans were hobnobbing outside a midtown office building when a Mets fan walked by. "Two more games, baby!" one Yankees fan said to the other.

"Yes," the Mets fan said in passing, "Two more games 'til a tie series."

No sane fan likes to be down 2-0 in a series, but Mets fans have always had something of the irrational dream in them. They have slogans with words like "magic" and "believe" in them and you get the feeling that they're happiest when things aren't going quite their way, when having a whole lot of faith is in order.

Mets fans are the Don Quixotes of this series. And, they'd likely tell you, their windmill can kick your windmill's ass.

Belief more than anything is what defines Mets fans. It defined them in '73 and in '86 and it defines them now. Last year, the Mets were down 3-0 to the Braves in the NLCS, and down a run late in Game 4. But Shea never quieted, not as the Mets rallied in that game and not the next night as the Mets scored two runs in a steady rain in the bottom of the 15th inning to send that seemingly dead series back to Atlanta.

CNN/SI at the Series
Closer Look
The Mets weren't getting any bounces in the World Series until a funny hop started their game-winning rally.
Mets Locker Room
Benny Agbayani's clutch RBI double brought a sense of calm -- and relief -- to the Mets.
Yankees Locker Room
The Yankees were openly concerned about giving life to a team that could have been all but out of it.
SI's Jeff Pearlman
Three months ago, Bubba Trammell was on a last-place team. Now he's playing a key role in the Mets' title run.
SI's Jamal Greene
Paul O'Neill is an old 37. But there's still nobody else you would rather have on your team.
SI's Stephen Cannella
Each coming off a poor performance, Rick Reed and Armando Benitez had a lot to prove in Game 3.
SI's Kostya Kennedy
Mets fans are the Don Quixotes of this series. And, they’d likely tell you, their windmill can kick your windmill's ass.
On the Diamond
Even two days after the infamous bat incident, the Roger Clemens talk won't go away.

Benny Agbayani, LF, Mets
The man with the bold prediction came through. Agbayani's go-ahead eighth-inning double was clearly the key hit in Game 3 -- and who knows, maybe the series.

Bernie Williams, CF, Yankees
The World Series funk continues. A career .125 Series hitter, Williams is 0-for-11 against the Mets, including leaving four runners on base in four hitless Game 3 at-bats.

In the one game the Mets lost in this year's NLCS, they trailed the Cardinals by 8-2 in the ninth. Yet when they got a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth, the crowd was up and screaming as if six runs were nothing at all. The Mets won the next two at home.

In Game 3, Shea Stadium rocked the way Yankee Stadium hasn't in this series.

Rick Reed went 0-2 on the leadoff hitter Jose Vizcaino and the mass of believers was up and cheering, Then they broke into chants of "Ti-mo, Ti-mo" when right fielder Timo Perez caught Vizcaino's routine fly ball for the game's first out.

Reed had five strikeouts in the first two innings and the Shea crowd rose each time he got to two strikes. Yankee fans simply don't get like this. Too much winning has made them blasé.

Yankee Stadium is a much more beautiful, far more historic place than Shea, of course. But Shea has an intimacy that never comes to the Stadium no matter how often Joe Torre weeps.

It's 1:10 a.m. as I'm writing this in the mezzanine at Shea. Armando Benitez threw the last pitch 45 minutes ago. You can hear a swarm of Mets fans screaming "Let's Go Mets" outside. They're a long way off, subway bound, and you can hear them clear as the boiler rumbling in your basement.

The evening's first sustained cries of "Let's Go Mets" began some five hours ago, at 8:11, 26 minutes before the game's first pitch. In the ensuing time, fans talked about all the good that they were sure was to come in Game 3.

Someone mentioned the Jets' phenomenal fourth-quarter comeback against the Miami Dolphins the night before. "It's a good omen," he said. Mets fans believe in omens.

Even earlier, during batting practice a row of fervent faithful had gathered behind the Mets' dugout. One man held a baby in his arms. How's this for an omen for that kid's life: The swaddling clothes, even the pacifier, were orange-and-blue.

The man jostled his babe gently in his arms and joined in with a cheer of "Mets in Six! Mets in Six!" And you got the feeling that those crazy Mets fans believed that right then, trailing two games to none in the Subway Series, they had the Yankees right where they wanted them.

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