David Lennon is an award-winning columnist and author who has been a staff writer at Newsday since 1991. Show More
CHICAGO - Don't worry about waking up. What you witnessed Wednesday night at Wrigley Field actually happened. This may be a dream, but it's the best kind, the one that finally comes true.
The Mets are going to the World Series. They've earned it. You've earned it. Maybe this will take a day or two to really sink in, to absorb the sheer magnitude of these feelings. But we're here to say, you're not alone.
"Are you kidding me?" said David Wright, soaked in Champagne. "The World Series! The World Series! This is one of the best days ever for me."
Coming from Wright, the captain who has persevered through the darkest of times for this franchise, we believe it. Wright is the lone survivor from that immensely talented 2006 Mets team, was there at Shea the night Carlos Beltran took that called third strike from the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright.
Wright knows your torture. He felt your pain. But that's in the past tense. Forget Beltran. Forget Wainwright. Wipe them from your memory. Those two only exist now as a running joke, something to be shaken off, a remember when.
There's only one common goal now, one shared history. A 90-win regular season, a five-game, grinder of an NLDS win over the Dodgers, followed by -- let's face it -- a stunningly easy four-game sweep of the Cubs in the NLCS.
The Mets closed it Wednesday night with their unbeatable weapon, Jeurys Familia, who sank to his knees after getting Dexter Fowler on a called third strike to seal the 8-3 victory. The dugout emptied, racing Travis d'Arnaud to the mound, where the entire blue-and-orange heap shimmied and yelled.
In the aftermath, principal owner Fred Wilpon made his way up the runway toward the clubhouse, preparing to enter the champagne-spraying melee. Wilpon said he was amazed by the number of Mets fans at Wrigley for the clincher, then disappeared up the stairs.
Behind those doors, Lucas Duda stood somewhat in shock. He ripped the Cubs' heart out in the first two innings, then stomped on it, first with a three-run homer in his opening at-bat and later with a two-run double. Duda, like Wright, has weathered some difficult stretches in Flushing. And now he'll be joining the Mets at the pinnacle of the sport. From the bottom to the top, indeed.
"It's pretty surreal to be in this position," Duda said. "I'm speechless."
You want surreal? How about Daniel Murphy, who slugged his seventh home run of this postseason -- and now owns the record with six straight, beating Beltran. As remarkable as this Mets' run has been, people will be talking about what Murphy has done this October for a very long time. And he's still going.
"I'm going to be able to tell my kids someday that I played with Daniel Murphy," said Michael Conforto, the rookie who began this season at Class A St. Lucie. "He's a legend of the game."
That's the stuff that's happening around the Mets now. Crazy, unbelievable things. And that's not just us saying it. In the cramped, boozy visitors clubhouse afterward, it seemed like every member of the organization, from bullpen catcher to the owners, were more dizzy from the incredible journey than the Champagne.
The Cubs won all seven games between these two teams during the regular season, and the Mets returned serve with a vengeance, using their superior young rotation to stifle Chicago's bruising offense. Unleashing Murphy, the NLCS MVP, was an overwhelming part of that attack.
But these Mets are far from a one-man show. It took a long time to get here, measuring the distance from mid-February in Port St. Lucie, where Wright recalled people "giggling" at the Mets' assertion they were a playoff team. No one is laughing at the Mets now. And whichever AL champ they face next week, when the Fall Classic begins in either Kansas City or Toronto, better take them seriously.
"This team is a combination of the Miracle Mets and Ya Gotta Believe," Wright said. "We're going to go down as one of the greatest Mets teams ever assembled."
Shortly afterward, Terry Collins appeared, saw a large gathering of friends and family, and stood at the top step.
"We're going to the World Series!" Collins screamed.