It’s something all Mets fans want. The desire from the fandom has long been public. It should have been done three years ago.
So naturally, the Mets, for the longest time, didn’t do it.
But once again, it seems the signing of Yoenis Cespedes has signaled the start of a new age in Mets fandom, an age wherein the Mets are finally getting things right. First they signed Cespedes. Then they emphasized the importance of Sunday games. And now, Mike Piazza’s number will finally be retired.
Mike will join Tom Seaver as players enshrined on the left field wall. It doesn’t get any more exclusive than that. In seven, ten, twelve years, David Wright may – should – join them as well. Other than that, the left field wall is a club that, for the foreseeable future, will not accept any new members.
It’s interesting, when you think about it, that the wall will feature, should Wright be duly honored, only those three players, two of whom played together and one of whom didn’t. Wright and Piazza were on the same team in 2005. Piazza came to New York in 1998. Wright is still here.
In other words, since 1998, we’ve been living through the tenures of two of the three greatest Mets of all time.
No, Piazza didn’t win anything, and Wright hasn’t won anything yet. That doesn’t bother me. You can hardly blame Wright for Aaron Heilmann’s ineptitude or Beltran’s strikeout, or Piazza for Timo Perez’s, shall we say, unorthodox baserunning techniques, or Armando Benitez’ sudden failure under pressure.
The regular season is where the real baseball gets played, and the regular season was when these two players slugged their way through the Mets record books, emerging 2nd and 3rd in home runs, 1st and 3rd in offensive WAR, 2nd and 4th in batting average, 1st and 3rd in RBIs, and 1st and 8th in hits.
And sure, through it all, the Mets never won anything. But we, their fans, had – and continue to have, as long as David Wright wears a Mets uniform – a chance to witness greatness. And that’s a win if there ever was one.
Mike Piazza belonged up on that wall the day he left New York more than ten years ago, or at least the day he retired. The Mets were late, but they got it done. It’s done, it’s clear, it’s decided: Mike Piazza is as great a Met as ever there was.
And come July 30th, the fifth number on the left field wall will make it official.