David Wright Jacob deGrom
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Here’s a look at how the 2009 New York Mets compare to today’s version of the team.

The first big meme of 2019 is already starting to wear out its welcome. The 10-year-challenge has subjected us to current photos of our bosses, cousins and assorted Facebook friends next to pictures of the same people from 2009. With that in mind, it would be interesting to subject the New York Mets to the challenge.

ESNY recently analyzed the projected 2019 Mets lineup. In keeping with the 10-year challenge, let’s look back at the state of the Mets in 2009.

New field, same results

The Mets headed into the 2009 season with high expectations. Many predicted the team would either win the division or take the wild-card spot. As long-time fans know (but would like to forget), the 2008 Mets were eliminated from postseason play on the last day of the regular season for the second-straight year.

2009 was to be a new start on the field with the opening of the club’s brand-new ballpark, Citi Field.

The Mets brought in free-agent closer Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez. They also picked up aging power hitter Gary Sheffield after he was released by the Detroit Tigers.

The Mets won their opening game in Cincinnati. However, they weren’t so fortunate for the home opener back in Queens. Perhaps it was meant to be, as the San Diego Padres defeated the home side 6–5 to kickoff play at Citi Field.

Johan Santana
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The starting rotation was anchored by Johan Santana, who won 13 games before needing season-ending surgery in August. The rest of the rotation was made up of Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, Livan Hernandez, and Oliver Perez. Think about that when you’re watching Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler this year!

The 2009 Mets hit for a high average

David Wright and Jose Reyes anchored the left side of the infield and were in their prime. Luis Castillo hit .302 and stole 20 bases while manning second base. Sadly, he’s best remembered for his dropped pop-up versus the Yankees that led to an infamous loss.

The lineup included good hitters such as Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan, and a young Daniel Murphy. The Mets tied with the Dodgers for the highest team batting average in the National League in 2009 at .270.

However, the team’s pitching staff put up an unhealthy 4.45 team ERA.

Interestingly, the 2019 Mets head into the season in the opposite situation. The pitching staff looks solid; the offense has a lot of room for improvement.

The 2009 Mets were seven games over .500 with a 28-21 record at the end of May. Unfortunately, they went 9-18 in June and then 12-14 in July, setting the tone for the rest of the season.

One thing the Mets are consistently good at is having a lot of players on the disabled list. That was true in 2018, and it was very evident 10 years ago. In fact, 20 Mets spent time on the disabled list during the 2009 campaign for a total of 1,480 days. That total was more than any other team in the MLB that year.

Jose Reyes, New York Mets, MLB
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The highlights of the season were Gary Sheffield hitting his 500th-career home run in April and Jose Reyes stealing his 300th base in May.

Despite these achievements, it was a season to forget, with the Mets finishing 22 games under .500 (70-92). Only the Washington Nationals fared worse in the division.

Variations on the Mets 10-year challenge

Mets fans have a sense of humor, and some have taken to social media to apply their own versions of the 10-year challenge to the team. Here are some examples:

[membership level="0"] [/membership]

The good news for Mets fans is that Spring Training is right around the corner. As every baseball fan knows, the new season is a clean slate, and anything is possible. The real challenge for the Mets will take place over the next nine months. Hopefully, when October comes, the 2019 Mets will have fared a lot better than the 2009 team.

It’s only fitting to give the last word to none other than Mr. Met. Here’s the mascot’s 10-year challenge, which proves he hasn’t changed a bit:

I am a life long Mets fan that has seen it all. From Beltran striking out with the bases loaded in 2006, to watching the Mets collapse and miss the playoffs by losing on the last days of the season in 2007-08 I have gotten used to the joy of being a Mets fan. Of course there has been some winning and hopefully there will be more to come. Mr. Met is a hero.