The Mets’ awful, funky, fun first era, before the miracle of 1969, lasted exactly seven years.
Their miraculous second era, from the Championship of 1969 to the last good year of the Seaver-Koosman team in 1976, also lasted seven years.
Their thanks-a lot M.Donald Grant third era, from the trade of Seaver to the promising end of 1983, also lasted exactly seven years.
The Mets fourth and greatest era, from 1984 through 1990 was exactly seven years long.
Their fifth and most unpleasant era, from the horrors of 1991 to the coming of Piazza in 1998, lasted seven years as well. I know I’m cheating a little on this one, since the new era really begain in 1997, but this isn’t entirely unreasonable, is it?
Mike Piazza was signed to a seven-year contract. It would not be inappropriate to say that 1998 was another coherent seven-year period, would it? The era of Piazza. The era of great thrills and disappointments, of Bobby Valentine, the Atlanta Braves, and a lot of old, talented, interesting, and not always dependable players.
Johan Santana has just been signed to a seven-year contract.
You know the number of the train that takes you to Shea.
You know the size of our lead in the NL East with seventeen games to go in two thousand and SEVEN.
You know whose inexplicable slump had an awful lot to do with the collapse.
It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say that seven is a lucky number for the Mets. Would it be accurate to say that anything is lucky for the Mets?
Something, however, is going on with seven. Nobody planned those coherent seven year eras, but they happened. So what am I trying to say?
I’m not sure. When you follow a team like the New York Mets, you have a tendency to look for patterns in stars and numbers. Maybe you think that the patterns you discover will explain something. They don’t.
But you become crazy enough to see the patterns. They’re like monsters in the wallpaper.
Seven years is a long contract for the Mets. But it was necessary and inevitable. This is what they had to do to begin to convince us that there are no monsters in the wallpaper.