Mets fans waited a long time for a year like 2006. Exactly two decades after their last world championship, the Mets once again achieved the kind of victory, chemistry and resiliency that would allow them to decimate the National League East, sweep the Division Series, and just narrowly miss the World Series.
Now, Major League Baseball Productions' new DVD The Team. The Time. The 2006 Mets recreates that thrilling year with over 100 minutes of riveting original game footage enhanced by exclusive commentary from favorite players, Mets media figures, and the chiefs themselves, Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph. The DVD is $19.99 and available now at the Mets.com Shop.
Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor and lifelong Mets fan Tim Robbins, the DVD opens with the question: "How do you become one with the city you play for?" And, indeed, laying the groundwork with acquisitions like Randolph, Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran -- and then two years later securing a seven-game division lead by April 29 -- well, that's a great way to start.
Watching the many Mets highlights of 2006, even if you know what's coming, the excitement builds all over again. From a leaping David Wright's walk-off hit against the Yankees, to an 11-run, two-grand slam inning against the Cubs (which moves SNY's Gary Cohen to exclaim, "This team could accomplish just about anything!"), to that sweet, champagne-soaked Sept. 18 clincher -- no notable moment goes unheralded.
Nor does the unique chemistry of the '06 Mets clubhouse go without celebration. Never-before-seen footage from the All-Star Game captures some of the spirit and fun of the six players in attendance -- a franchise record. At the CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby, Wright and Paul Lo Duca tease each other while Jose Reyes acts as cheerleader. And after Wright knocks out a home run in his first All-Star at-bat, Tom Glavine jokes, "You keep it up, you're gonna be as popular as me one day." Wright's response? "I can only hope to be half as popular as you, Glav."
Moments like these make it obvious why this team became so beloved to its players, broadcasters and fans alike. Carlos Delgado describes it best: "Our ballclub? I might be a little biased. I love it. I love our ballclub."
Other highlights of this comprehensive DVD include a revisit to the August on-field celebration of the '86 Mets, a detailed look back on each crucial postseason moment, and even the offseason tour to Japan, where Wright, Reyes, John Maine and Julio Franco (as hitting coach) tore it up in a victorious exhibition game. Bonus features include a reel of every walk-off win, coverage of the overjoyed clubhouse celebrations after the division and NLDS clinchers, a Spanish-language profile of Beltran and Delgado, and a preview of the stunning, $800-million Citi Field.
In 2007, the Mets may face tougher challenges. The Braves are battling back, and at least so far there is no safe NL East lead. As with last year, injuries have taken some key players off the field early on. But the Mets have proven they are still one of the hardest teams to beat in the NL. This season has seen its share of fighting spirit, dramatic wins and team unity -- if perhaps with less hair to speak of, after the team mass head-shaving. And with the Empire State Building blazing blue and orange after the Mets took the first Subway Series in Interleague Play, well, it's tempting for a Mets fan to believe that indeed, our "season has come."
Toward the end of The Team. The Time. The 2006 Mets, WFAN's Howie Rose captures what all fans must have felt after the resurgence of this dominant team last year.
"I'll always cherish the 2006 season," he said. "Especially with the hope that there are even better times ahead."
Zoë Rice is the author of the 2006 novel, Pick Me Up, and the blog Pick Me Up Some Mets!. Additionally, she profiles current and former Mets for OverTime Magazine. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.