2016 Shouldn’t Be a Disappointing Season
Between 1984 – 1990, the Mets finished in second place or better. Over the course of these seven seasons, the Mets averaged 95 wins. Without question, this was the best stretch in Mets history. It’s strange to think that any point in time your team averages 95 wins over the course of five seasons, you are disappointed. However, as Ron Darling expained to Mike Francesa, he feels “very disappointed” that the Mets didn’t accomplish more.
While Dariling’s feelings are understandable, and many Mets fans would agree with him, there are a number of reasons that we can point to as the reason why the Mets didn’t win more. Rick Sutcliffe went an amazing 16-1 after the Cubs acquired him helping them win the division in 1984. The Mets had to contend with a really good Cardinals team year in and year out. The Mets were snakebit with injuries during the 1987 season. The Mets ran into Orel Hershiser, who had one of the greatest seasons for a pitcher ever in 1988, in the NLCS. However, truth be told Davey Johnson managed a horrific series. In 1989, the team was in transition, and in 1990, the Pittsburgh Pirates were just better and were embarking on their own run. All of these reasons are valid, but the main reason everyone points to would be the drug problems, namely with Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.
There’s another reason why those Mets teams only got one shot at a World Series – the postseason format. Back in that time frame, the only teams that went to the postseason were the division winners. In today’s game, it would be unheard of a team winning 98 games not only missing the postseason, but also missing the postseason by three games. If you apply, the current postseason rules and divisional formats to the 1980’s, the Mets would have had won the NL East for all seven of those seasons. Its possible that instead of talking about the 1986 World Series, we’re talking about the Mets’ dynasty. It’s possible the Mets would’ve won multiple World Series during that stretch. It’s also possible that like the Braves in the 90’s, the Mets would only win one World Series, and we would be left questioning what happened.
Whatever may be the case, it’s apparent that those Mets teams did not get as many chances to reach the postseason as this current Mets team will. Last year, the Mets won the NL East with 90 wins. From 1984 – 1990, the Mets only won the NL East in the two seasons they won 100 games.
There is no reason for this Mets team to only go to the postseason twice with their current core group of players. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard are under team control until 2019. Young players like Michael Conforto already contributing, There are big prospects like Dilson Herrera and Amed Rosario who we should see within the next few seasons at Citi Field contributing to what is already a World Series contending team. Without being too unreasonable, I believe this Mets team is set to contend for a longer period of time than Ron Darling’s Mets’ teams. To expect that seems unreasonable, but when you consider the young talent already on the team and in the pipeline, it’s certainly possible.
So before the Mets play their home opener today, they’re going to raise 2015 National League Champions flag. As we saw again that postseason, there is a lot that can happen along the way that can help you advance in each series. If not for Daniel Murphy having a game for the ages, and the Dodgers being unable to hit deGrom despite him having nothing, the Mets lose in the NLDS. The Mets are instead raising at 2015 National League East flag. So no, the 2016 season is not World Series or bust, nor in retrospect is the Mets only winning one World Series from 1984 – 1990 really disappointing.
With that said, I don’t blame Ron Darling for feeling the way he does. I won’t blame the current Mets players from feeling the same way about 2015. There is a World Series championship in the Mets clubhouse. Whether that is in 2016 or later, we do not know yet. Right now, I will say that as long as this Mets group wins one World Series, I won’t be disappointed because I will have been able to see something that has only happened twice in the Mets 54 year history. No matter what happens in 2016, it promises to be a special season, and I can’t wait to watch each and every minute of it.
Lets Go Mets.