It Took a Pandemic to Finally Tame Those Wild 1986 Mets (A Little)

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It’s hard to imagine the 1986 New York Mets confined in any way, shape or form, but just like most Americans, the wild boys of baseball are currently safe at home like never before.

The legendary team that posted 108 victories in the regular season before winning two of the most dramatic postseason series in history, were known for their brashness and toughness. The Mets were hated by pretty much anyone who wasn’t a fan of the orange and blue. They were so good, that they would tell you exactly how they were going to beat you, and then they would go out and do just that. They’d beat you on the scoreboard and sometimes they’d even beat you with their fists. The Mets partied all night and still were able to dominate baseball.

Now, they are finally tamed. Sort of.

Infielder Howard Johnson already had a World Series ring when he joined the Mets in 1985. When HoJo hit New York, he was one of just a handful of Mets to have already reached the national pastime’s mountaintop. Johnson won it all with the Detroit Tigers in 1984 and first baseman Keith Hernandez did the same with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982. Mets outfielder George Foster claimed two titles as a member of the Cincinnatti Reds, but after Foster was let go by the Mets in early August, Johnson and Hernandez were the only two that knew what it was like to win it all. Their experience paid off.

The rest of the team was made up of vets who had not yet reached the ultimate prize, and young guys, many of whom came up through the Mets farm system. Lenny Dykstra was one of those players. The outfielder climbed the ladder in the Minors, all the way to Shea. He showed up with a style of play that made him an instant hit in the Big Apple. Dykstra’s uniform was always dirty. The tobacco was plentiful in his cheek. They called him ‘Nails’ because he was ‘as tough as them’. He’d run through a wall for you. On a team of wild boys, all things considered, Dykstra may have been the wildest. That’s saying something when your roster includes Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Wally Backman, and Hernandez. Dykstra’s infectious play and attitude captivated New York. He went on to provide the team with some of the biggest clutch hits in franchise history.

Now, those old Mets are older. Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter and multiple coaches have passed away. The rest are, for the most part, thriving. HoJo has had a very successful run as a coach and manager. He’s coached with multiple big league clubs, including the Mets, and has captured multiple championships as a Minor League skipper. He’s a Christian and a family man.

As for Dykstra…well, if he was arguably the wildest Met back in ’86, he is absolutely the wildest one now. There is no argument. Dykstra has made headlines for a myriad of zany things. He is also a social media presence, unafraid to speak his mind on any topic. Some of those topics are the same things that ball players talked about in 1986. Namely, baseball, politics, and girls.

Since the Chinese coronavirus hit, Americans have been spending their time differently than usual. But, not all are spending it in the same way. That holds true for the 1986 Mets. It seems they are all taking care of themselves, but the approach to that endeavor has varying degrees of wildness.

For Howard Johnson, many of us may be able to relate. “I am spending time with my wife, getting to projects that we haven’t had time to do,” Johnson told Breitbart Sports. “I’m also spending time in God’s word and praying daily. The more people pray, the better.” He’s right. Countless stories have poured in since the virus struck about the power of prayer during difficult times. Just like he did in 1986, Johnson has the right approach.

As for Lenny Dykstra, well, he’s being Lenny Dykstra. “I pretty much have my same routine, but obviously not the public events,” Dykstra said. “I guess I’m responding to more amorous female fans than usual. They’re getting a bit stir-crazy, I guess.” The 1986 Mets loved the ladies. That hasn’t slowed down one bit for ‘Nails’. Dykstra provides his own, unique coronavirus video updates to fans when he’s not engaging with women online. Dykstra has also offered his advice to a self-proclaimed ‘sexually frustrated’ Gwyneth Paltrow recently on Twitter. Following Dykstra on social media nowadays is a lot like following him back in his playing days. Wild.

Many Americans are missing baseball on many levels. But if World Series champions can get through this pandemic, so can the rest of us. That’s the message from Johnson and Dykstra. Like the 1986 Mets, Americans are tough. Like the championship Amazins, our President is brash. Like New York did all those years ago, we will win in the end.

“To baseball fans frustrated out there, we will have baseball soon enough,” said Johnson. “Spend time with your family and be patient. But most of all, stay in your homes.” More solid advice from the three-time 30-30 man.

Dykstra also has some words for baseball fans. “Use this time to expand your mind,” he said. “Use the time, energy, and money to do something else. For example, reading.”

As far as recommendations, Dykstra suggests House Of Nails by Lenny Dykstra. Meantime, the Dykstra coronavirus updates are available on all of his social media platforms. If you like to be entertained, you’ll love these.

The 1986 Mets were known for staying out all night. Now, they’re staying home until we beat this invisible plague. Decades later, the wildest of champions still know what it takes to win.

Follow Kevin Scholla on Twitter @kevinscholla

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