January 26, 2001: The Mets announce they have signed Alex Rodriguez to a ten year $256 million dollar contract.
With Rodriguez in front of him in the lineup, Mike Piazza finishes second to Barry Bonds in the 2001 MVP despite having an impressive 43 HRs and 124 RBI as a catcher, leading the Mets to 91 wins.
Following the events of 9/11 the Mets and Yankees meet up again in another Subway Series. This time the Mets come out on top in 6 games.
2002: With A-Rod eating much of the payroll the Mets find it hard to keep the 2001 Champions together, and slip to a 86-75 season.
2003: A-Rod puts together an MVP season as Bobby Valentine’s Mets finish first in the NL East behind the strong pitching of Al Leiter, Tom Glavine and Steve Trachsel and a surprising 34 home runs from Tony Clark. However, the Marlins knock the Mets out of the NLCS leading some to say A-Rod is not clutch in the playoffs.
2004: It is a year of transition in Flushing as A-Rod is joined by second baseman Jose Reyes and third baseman David Wright. The big free agent acquisition is Japan’s Hideki Matsui. However the Mets are not able to keep pace with Atlanta, and the fans blame A-Rod for only hitting 36 HRs.
2005: Bobby Valentine’s Mets win the east with 92 wins. A-Rod wins another MVP although dropped to 4th in the lineup to give protection to David Wright. The Reyes-Wright-Rodriguez-Matsui offense is quite formidable and the Mets defeat the White Sox in the World Series in 6 games.
2006: Valentine’s Mets run away with the east, and advance to the World Series after a clutch hit by Matsui in Game 7 of the NLCS. The Mets roll through the Tigers to win their second straight World Series. George Steinbrenner wonders why the Yankees don’t have players like A-Rod and Matsui and congratulates the Mets. All Star second baseman Jose Reyes is the NL MVP with 122 runs scored.
2007: On his way to winning another MVP, A-Rod is criticized in the press for asking for a day off late in September. Up 7 with 17 to play Valentine leaves nothing to chance and asks A-Rod to play. The clubhouse chemistry is never the same and the Rockies eliminate the Mets in the NLDS.
2008: A-Rod hits a mortal 35 home runs and the Mets never get in a groove. Bobby Valentine is fired in mid-May with allegations that he has lost the clubhouse. New manager Jim Tracy fails to rally the team and the Mets miss the playoffs on the final day of the season. Many fans blame A-Rod.
2009: Citi Field opens with a 7-6 victory over the San Diego Padres thanks to an 8th inning home run from Rodriguez. ”The House that A-Rod built” also features a nightclub called “A-Rod’s” out behind centerfield. On May 1st Rodriguez pulls a hamstring, one of many injuries plaguing the Mets that year, and the team struggles to a very disappointing 70-92 record.
During the World Series A-Rod announces he will not be returning to the Mets, citing how he has always wanted to play for the Boston Red Sox.
Time has resumed its shape. All is as it was before. Many such journeys are possible….let me be your guide.
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