Mets captain David Wright easily recalls the electricity and excitement of 2006, the last time the Mets reached the postseason.
"It's very similar to these last few weeks," Wright said, as the Mets rode the emotional high of pushing around the Nationals and moving closer to a return to the playoffs.
Now, the Mets have a chance to make advances on another front, by proving themselves worthy of seizing the spotlight in the Subway Series against the Yankees.
For Wright, the showcase will be another chance to prove that the Mets' turnaround is not just a fleeting blip in what has been the Yankees' near-total domination of the city over the last two decades.
"They're very knowledgeable, smart baseball fans here in New York," Wright said. "They can kind of see through when you're fake, or if you don't play the game correctly. They can see right through that. I think it's important that you go out there and earn their trust. You earn kind of them coming up and pulling for you. I'd like to think that we've done that to this point."
Wright said he has sensed a shift in the perception of the Mets, especially after a flurry of additions transformed the roster at the trade deadline.
He described the city as "starved for winners," with the Mets eager to show they're worthy of such a distinction -- the kind of team that can win the affection of fans.
"That's ultimately what New York wants," Wright said. "They love gritty, younger-type teams, homegrown. And I think that's what we can provide. We play exciting baseball. You get those fans behind you, you get that city behind you, you can definitely get some momentum for sure."
Seizing that momentum, however, requires that the Mets build on what already has been a season-defining few months.
"Yeah, I think you have to go out there and earn the respect of the fans," Wright said. "It's not something that I think is given. I'd like to think we've done a pretty solid job thus far of trying to earn the fans' backing and kind of the fans' approval."
The Subway Series this season carries even more weight, with both the Mets and Yankees clawing toward October. The Mets lead the NL East by eight games over the Nationals, while the Yankees are 31/2 games back of the Blue Jays in the AL East. The timing only adds to the intrigue.
"It's very similar to a college football rivalry, where you obviously want to beat the in-town rival in this case," Wright said. "But ultimately, you're judged on let's make it to the postseason. It's a bonus if you can win this series. But in this situation, we're not talking about May or June. We're talking about September."