Darryl Strawberry went through it with the Mets in 1986 and then again with the Yankees in 1996. Both teams fell behind 2-0 in the World Series. Both teams rallied to win the championship.

"Down two doesn't mean anything," Strawberry said at Citi Field before Game 3.

Now, these Mets must overcome the same obstacle against the Royals. While the odds aren't in their favor -- about 80 percent of teams that fall behind 2-0 go on to lose -- the task is far from impossible.

"You've just got to play baseball, play a fundamental style of baseball," Strawberry said. "We were down two in '86 and we went up to Boston and we had Bobby Ojeda pitching and we had Gary Carter come up with some big hits. That's what it takes. It takes players to step up. That's all they need."

In 1986, Strawberry said the bright lights of the stage might have had an impact, though it faded quickly enough for the Mets to regroup against the Red Sox.

"Getting to the World Series, you get excited," Strawberry said. "I think that's what it was for us. We got excited for the first two games when we didn't show up. We got the butterflies out and after that, we just got down to playing a baseball game."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

With both the Mets and Yankees facing long odds down 0-2, one fundamental truth remained.

"The clubhouse has to believe they can win," Strawberry said. "That's the thing we always believed -- we could win."

Strawberry, 53, said he hasn't paid close attention to baseball this season. But he nevertheless said he continues to pull for the Yankees and Mets. He's excited in particular about the Mets' young pitching staff.

Mets videos

"I'm happy for them, real happy for them," said Strawberry, a first-round pick of the Mets in 1980. "Like I said, this is like home for me. This is the organization I started my career in, grew up in the farm system. To see some of the young players they have excited me again because that's what it's all about: build through the farm system and bring the young players up."