New York Mets fans have endured a lot this season. Yes, the team added Francisco Lindor in the offseason and were atop the NL East for three months -- only for it to collapse in August and September by losing 25 of its 40 games. Now their playoff hopes are slim. Then Mets players made matters worse by throwing their thumbs down to Citi Field crowds.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright twisted the proverbial knife into Mets fans even deeper on Monday. After blanking the Mets for zero runs en route to his 16th win of the season, Wainwright compared his first-inning, bases-loaded strikeout of Jeff McNeil to his 2006 NL Pennant-clinching strikeout of Carlos Beltran.
Adam Wainwright, recounting his bases-loaded strikeout of Jeff McNeil in the first inning: "I like nostalgia, and I felt Mets fans in a bases-loaded situation wanted to see me throw two curveballs and a changeup ... I gave the people what they wanted."— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) September 14, 2021
"I like nostalgia, and I felt Mets fans in a bases-loaded situation wanted to see me throw two curveballs and a changeup," the 40-year-old Wainwright, who has played his entire 16-year career in St. Louis, said after the team's 6-0 win. " ... I gave the people what they wanted."
A rookie in 2006, Wainwright was in Shea Stadium facing Beltran with his Cardinals up by two runs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. It was Game 7 of the NLCS, and the Mets hoped to make their first World Series since 2000. Wainwright eliminated that possibility by striking Beltran out with a curveball and punching the Cardinals' ticket.
The Cardinals eventually won the 2006 World Series in five games over the Detroit Tigers. Wainwright pitched three innings in relief during the series, allowing no runs, striking out five and giving up two hits and a walk.
Wainwright has developed into one of the game's best since his promising rookie season, earning three All-Star appearances and two Gold Gloves. The Mets, meanwhile, have appeared in only one NLCS since -- a sweep of the Chicago Cubs in 2015 -- and still haven't won a World Series since 1986.
The Mets (72-73) hope to turn their luck around against the Cardinals (74-69) when they meet again at 7:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field on Tuesday.