Admit it, you didn’t know who he was either.
When left-handed pitcher Nate Fisher entered the game for the Mets in the fifth inning Sunday’s win in Philadelphiaeven some of the people on the field were a bit unfamiliar.
“I didn’t know who the guy was when he came into the game,” said Mark Canha, Sunday’s offense hero, who wasn’t sold on Fisher’s story, calling it “pretty cool.”
“He did a great job for us today.”
In June 2021, Fisher was working as a commercial lending analyst at First National Bank of Omaha before the Mariners placed a flyer on him, plucking him from the world of finance and giving him another shot at his MLB dream. Fisher appeared in 21 games for the Mariners organization at various levels of their minor league system before being acquired by the Mets for 2022. His first day in the majors had to wait until he played 24 more minor league games for the Mets, 12 in Double-A and 12 in Triple-A.
As one of the most memorable figures in the Mets’ silly weekend series in Philadelphia, throwing three shutout innings that were interrupted by a rain delay, Fisher immediately endeared himself to his teammates and lent even more legitimacy to the idea that these Mets were destined for greatness.
“It’s been a crazy journey,” Fisher said, summing up both his personal journey and that of the 2022 Mets. “Always believed in myself, never got down on myself. I am grateful to the people around me who supported me when there was some uncertainty.”
Fisher was also asked what was harder to go through: the Phillies’ lineup or the tough bullpen shift.
“Probably the Phillies lineup,” he said with a dazzling smile. “But in the bank, such days can also drag on.”
“Working in a bank is a lot easier,” Buck Showalter said. “I’m sure there are some really hard parts of working in a bank. Believe me, I know the story. That’s pretty cool. The guys were so pumped.”
These guys have seen a long line of random, unknown, or previously unknown players pitching for the Mets this season. Rookie outfielder Nick Plummer made just 31 plate appearances before being designated for assignment in mid-August and then moved to Triple-A. But in May, he helped the Mets beat the Phillies with a game-tying home run in the ninth inning, then came back the next day with another homer and four RBIs to beat the Nationals.
Tyler Magill, known as “The Big Drop,” had to make an emergency start on Opening Day when Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer started the season with injuries. He held Washington to no runs, went 5.1 more innings against the Phillies in his next outing, and three starts later started the Mets’ combined no-hitter, striking out again for the Phillies, a theme this spring and summer in Flushing.
Now that the season series with Philly is over, the Mets may also take some time to appreciate just how thoroughly they dominated their neighbors to the south. Each of the recent four-game series at Citizens Bank Park has been a Mets home game, and when the Mets won three games, there were many chants of “Come on, Mets,” prompting Phillies fans to respond in the only way their natural instincts know: booing.
Amazin’s 14 wins against the Phillies ties the franchise single-season record. A plus-37 run differential (100 runs scored compared to 63 allowed) shows that these two teams have never been this close. It’s hard to put together a trophy season without a sweep of the divisional games, and while the Mets’ complete rejection of the Marlins and Nationals isn’t a surprise, the elimination of the Phillies’ playoff hopes adds another reason to believe that The Mets can comply with the owner Steve Cohen’s Championship Prophecy.
It takes a village to win a championship. Some of those villagers — like Fisher, Plummer, rookie pitcher Colin Holderman and his 15 games of relief, or relievers Steven Nogasek and Tommy Hunter, who are separated by nine years and 468 games of MLB experience — are only going to be in town for a short time. Such is the nature of the MLB season and the amount of people who embrace it. But whether they’re role players or guys like Trevor Williams and Daniel Vogelbach who have become part of the furniture, it seems like every person who dons a Mets uniform this season is destined to do something incredible for the greater good.
Watching this team day in and day out, it’s clear that they are in the top spot in the major leagues. The old team of destiny tropes may be largely manufactured by the media and impossible to quantify or really define without falling into other clichés. But if the players on the field truly believe they are meant to be something special, that kind of determinism can be as powerful as ninth-inning home runs to upset the Phillies.
As Fisher said Sunday, they all wanted to be players in Major League Baseball, so the Mets might as well play elite baseball while they’re here.
“It’s my dream, so I just tried to make the most of it.”
That doesn’t sound like a bad tagline for a season highlights video.