Thirty years later, two thousand sixteen Mets have some of that 'eighty-six swagger

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Source:   —  April 03, 2016, at 6:00 PM

They boast a star-studded, youthful rotation, with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, and ageless Bartolo Colon is a capable fill-in to circular out the grouping until Zack Wheeler completes his rehab from Tommy John surgery.

Thirty years later, two thousand sixteen Mets have some of that 'eighty-six swagger

Thirty years after their latest world championship, the NY Mets have the talent to duplicate that magic.

They boast a star-studded, youthful rotation, with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, and ageless Bartolo Colon is a capable fill-in to circular out the grouping until Zack Wheeler completes his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Meanwhile, with the unexpected re-signing of Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets have a legitimate lineup that should ensure the stellar starting pitching doesn't go to waste.

Recollect when John Mayberry Jr. batted cleanup on July twenty-three latest season? Well, in his final Grapefruit League lineup before the Mets broke camp, manager Terry Collins had so many legitimate major leaguers at his disposal that  Travis d'Arnaud batted eighth.

"Every night, we're going to send a beautiful quality pitcher to the mound," Collins said. "That'south what gives me optimism."

The Mets open the season on ESPN Sun Night Baseball with a World Series rematch with the KS City Royals. Harvey and Edinson Volquez, who squared off in Game Nos. one and five, will reprise those matchups presently that Harvey has dodged an issue with a blood clot in his bladder.

Can the two thousand sixteen Mets bring the organization its first title in precisely three decades? Curiously, Ron Darling -- a member of the one thousand nine hundred eighty-six championship team and a current Mets broadcaster -- looks to the Royals for his inspiration.

KS City's two thousand fifteen title came precisely thirty years after the city'south previous title and a year after it lost the World Series. The Royals' success in Oct provided a huge stage for the club to honor heroes from the 'eighty-five club, including George Brett and Bret Saberhagen.

"I got a lot of inspiration watching the Royals latest year. A lot of their players from thirty years ago got a lot of spotlight because of what they did," Darling said. "I wish the Mets to have that same experience -- this version, on the thirtieth anniversary, to have their own world championship. It'south funny, on our anniversary I just think about the Royals winning the World Series."

The 'eighty-six Mets were known for their, shall we say, personality. This year'south grouping has some personality too, with Cespedes' early spring training exploits including a cavalcade of vehicles, a prize-winning hog and even a horseback-ride entry into camp. Harvey is known to embrace the NY nightlife, including attending NY Rangers games with models.

Still, Darling and fellow 'eighty-six hero Keith Hernandez suggested that comparing the personalities of the previous championship team -- which featured the likes of Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and Wally Backman -- to the current grouping is a bit of a stretch. Times have changed, and things have become more corporate in baseball clubhouses.

"In some ways, this grouping has some maturity," Darling said. "But I think it'south necessary for NY teams to have swagger and personality and people who the fans are attracted to. That'south portion of playing in New York."

Said Hernandez: "It'south generational. Players are different today. I'm two generations, just about, ahead of them. There'south a big difference."

The Mets didn't have a beautiful latest two weeks in Florida. They went winless in their final thirteen games in the Grapefruit League. Harvey was roughed up in each of his latest three outings. During the latter portion of camp, Cespedes failed to choose up a ball at the base of the outfield wall, which resulted in an inside-the-park residence run. Then, on the final day in Florida, he misread ex-Met Daniel Murphy'south fly ball, and that resulted in a triple.

Still, the talent is there, and there are plenty of positives. The team definitely has camaraderie. It broke camp healthy, with David Wright playing regularly the final week, Asdrubal Cabrera overcoming a strained patellar tendon in his left knee and other tiny injuries such as Michael Conforto'south back spasms, Lucas Duda'south neck stiffness and Cespedes' shoulder twinge proving fleeting. Syndergaard and deGrom dominated their opponents, even with deGrom'south velocity mostly sitting at 91-93 mph.  Juan Lagares, who dropped twenty pounds during the winter, looked a lot more love the two thousand fourteen Gold Glove winner tracking down baseballs, though he didn't obtain a chance to demonstrate that his once-lethal arm has returned.

The Mets, however, finished Grapefruit League play with a 7-16-5 record.

Still, Collins said, "Many, many years ago I was told, 'Be concerned what you look in March. Don't pay much attention to it.'"

The season starts for real now.

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