This wasn't supposed to happen to the Mets. The sweep of the Cubs, the elimination of the favored Dodgers, even making it to the playoffs at all.
An Amazin' World Series berth seemed like a dream to fans on Thursday, especially the die-hards who stuck with the team during some fallow times in recent years.
After all the collapses, the losing seasons and the financial hardships, fans are simply glad their patience has finally paid dividends.
"It's kind of like a dream; it's usually a nightmare being a Mets fan," said Bob Daly, 54, of Brooklyn, who works in real estate. "It's been some tough years, so sticking with them is a good feeling."
Fans flocked to merchandise spots across the city, including Modell's and the Mets team stores, to commemorate this rare digression from the cycle of early season promise and late-season disappointment.
"I think they're about to win us a miracle," said Paula Heller, 44, of East Rockaway, as she sopped for new Mets gear at a Modell's in midtown. "That's the only way we do it."
This year is especially sweet because the Mets don't have to share attention with the Yankees, unlike in the 2000 Subway Series. They are second-fiddle no more.
"When they see the Mets on the back pages, they get a little bristled, and it's great for us," said Brian Smith, 36, of Yankees fans as he shopped for an NLCS champions shirt.
To further emphasize just how strange an experience 2015 has been for fans used to losing and disappointment, Gary Trahann, 52 of Flushing, noted that the Mets actually went ahead and did something to solve the team's issues when they acquired slugger Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline.
"It's like the head office went on Facebook, read everyone's comments and finally did something about it," he said.
Genevieve Murphy, 33, said she appreciates support from casual fans and other New Yorkers, but the four-game sweep of the Cubs and return to the World Series after a 15-year drought vindicated the most devoted Mets fans.
"It's great to have any New York team in a championship, but I think this one is for us fans," said the Bronx native, who is such a die-hard she had Mr. Met at her wedding last year.
Fans won't know until this weekend whether the Mets will take on the Kansas City Royals or the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series beginning on the road Tuesday.
But no matter the opponent, they won't stop believin' in their underdogs-turned-National League champs.
"We're just really excited. Mets fans are always hopeful at the beginning of the season and then the hope slowly dies," said Brittny Knight, 31, a Greenwich Village resident who was wearing a Jacob deGrom jersey on Thursday. "This year we just kept going: It's surreal." (with Sheila Anne Feeney and Jason Shaltiel)