Jockbeat

They Crawled Out of the Swamps to Save the Mets

As the Mets embarked on a playoff run in 1986, the Voice’s Jockbeat section exposed the secret behind their success

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Despite some bright spots in the starting pitching staff, the Mets have not had the kind of year many envisioned this past spring. Since the team is out of the running for this year’s Fall Classic, we decided to travel way, way, waaaayyy back in time, to happier days.

To the age of the dinosaurs.

1986, to be exact.

In the October 14, 1986, issue of the Voice (which would’ve hit the stands on October 7, just prior to the start of the NLCS pitting the Mets against the Houston Astros), the Jockbeat section of the paper featured a full-page exposé, “Favorite Dinosaurs of the Mets.”

Frank Cashen, G.M., pointed out the basics: “Dinosaurs are important to any winning organization. And when your dinosaurs go, so does your competitive edge. I was talking to George Steinbrenner the other day, and he agreed with me. He said, ‘You know what killed off those great Yankee teams of mine, don’t you? Extreme cold and changing vegetation.’ ”

Left fielder Mookie Wilson added a player’s perspective: “When I’m in a slump, I comfort myself by saying if I believe in dinosaurs, then somewhere, they must be believing in me. And if they believe in me, then I can believe in me. Then I bust out.”

And pitcher Dwight Gooden imparted some field-level expertise: “Absolutely no question, the highlight of my season was finding that claw bone in the late Cretaceous formation just outside our dugout. Scaling up its dimensions, I’d conclude it was from a creature that was about 6-1 and 200 pounds…probably Tom Seaver.”

Now we know why that lovable team from yesteryear went on to win it all against the hated Boston Red Sox — who, we suspect, wouldn’t even recognize a Parasaurolophus if it was chowing down on the centerfield grass in Fenway Park. The takeaway? Know your dinosaurs — or lose the World Series.

Right about now you might be thinking to yourself, “How did anybody even think of this?”

Well, that’s what Jockbeat was for. We’ll be unearthing more than just dinosaur bones in future posts.

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