If you’re a child of the 1990s and born into New York Mets fandom, like our boy Felix, some of your fondest memories are of this team donning black uniforms. Some of your brutal ones are, too, but at least from the turn of the century through most of the aughts, the good normally outweighed the bad just enough for people to long for the day the Mets would be “back in black.”
So much so that their return was a promise Steve Cohen made after purchasing the ballclub prior to this season.
“I can say with absolute certainty that the black jerseys are coming back. They’ll come back for a few games this year at some point, and you’ll be able to buy those jerseys at some point. I’ll leave that to my marketing people. But the black jerseys are coming back,” Cohen said in late March.
He later added, “I think people want to celebrate –– another example of celebrating Mets history. The team performed well at that time, and people have fond memories of that, and I’m happy to accommodate the fans. Most of the fans want it, and the players want it. ... We have some designs that I want the players to be involved in picking out the right design.”
The Mets haven’t worn the uniforms since 2012, after they were made a staple beginning in the 1998 season (one year prior to making the NLCS, and two prior to their Subway Series loss to the Yanks).
And here we are: July 30, the day before the trade deadline, as the Mets host the Cincinnati Reds… and the return of the black jerseys.
Currently, the Mets are 47-40, leading the division by 3.5 games ahead of the Phillies and 4 up on the Braves in the National League East. Ideally, the black uniforms will provide some sort of additional nostalgic jolt. After all, they did advance to that 2000 World Series, and clinched the 2006 NL East Division, while wearing them.
Perhaps most famously, Robin Ventura’s 1999 grand slam single also came in the old black unis.
As Mets fans well remember, no lead in the NL East is safe, so any little thing the team can do to summon good vibes of old will be a welcome addition in Flushing.