2015 World Series

Mets Are Baseball’s Best Expansion Team

For the first time in baseball history, the World Series is about to feature two expansion teams. For the uninitiated, here’s the complete list of baseball’s expansion teams:

1961: Angels and Rangers (Senators)

1962: Astros (Colt .45s) and Mets

1969: Brewers (Pilots), Nationals (Expos), Padres, Royals

1977: Blue Jays and Mariners

1993: Marlins and Rockies

1998: Diamondbacks and Rays

Looking over these teams, there are only nine World Series titles amongst them all. Furthermore, there are only 20 World Series appearances in this group. Extrapolating further, these teams have combined for 75 playoff appearances. 

Through all of that, the Angels are the only franchise with an overall winning record. The Astros have the most playoff appearances.  With all of that, the Mets are the most successful expansion franchise. 

The Mets five pennants are more than any other franchise. Royals are second with four. The Mets are tied with the Blue Jays and Marlins for most World Series wins. The Mets trail only the Astros (10) and Royals (9) in playoff appearances (8). 

The goal for any team is to win the pennant and the World Series. The Mets have done that more than any expansion team. However, if the Mets lose to the Royals, the mantle would be shifted to Kansas City. This is but one of a dozen or so subplots to this World Series.  With that said, as of right now, the Mets are baseball’s best expansion team. 

Lets Go Mets!

The Mets Have an Opponent 

After a hard fought game with very questionable calls, the Royals are going to their second straight World Series. Seriously, there was once again bad umpiring and replay

This was ruled a homerun:

 

And this was called a strike:


That changed the AB from 3-1 with runners on second and third with one out to a 2-2 count. 

If this happened to the Mets, I would be screaming bloody murder right now. I feel bad for the Blue Jays fans right now. That team, those fans, and the game of baseball deserved better.  Congratulations to the Blue Jays on a great year. To Blue Jays fans, you have my sympathy. You didn’t deserve this after 22 years of waiting. 

 Note, I’m not saying the Royals were not the better team or that their victory is tainted. I’m says they got lucky in this game. 

That scares me as a Mets fan. Not only is this Royals team on a mission, but now, they’re getting calls like this. The Royals are a great team, and it should be an interesting World Series. I’ll do my prediction later, but I think you know where I’m going. 

 

Should Matz Stay in the Rotation?

When Steven Matz was first called up it was a phenomenon. He won his first start going 7.2 innings allowing five hits, two earned, three walks, and six strikeouts. He went 3-3 at the plate with a double and four RBIs. The start was so good his grandfather also became a legend:

  
His second start was equally as impressive. He won that game too going 6.0 innings allowing two hits, none earned, two walks, and eight strikeouts. After that game, he was diagnosed with a torn lat and shut down for three weeks. 

He did come back from the lat year making four September starts. In those games, he averaged 5.1 innings with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.455 WHIP. These were not poor numbers, but they certainly weren’t the Matz we all saw in July.  He then injured his back. After a good Instructional League start, he was put on the NLDS roster and named the Game 4 starter. 

Predictably, his numbers again dipped after a long layoff. He lost what could’ve been the clincher.  He threw 85 pitches over five innings allowing six hits, three earned, two walks, and four strikeouts. He was lined up for the clincher in the NLCS. He went 4.2 innings allowing four hits, one earned, two walks, and four strikeouts. Bartolo Colon had to come in and get him out of the jam. 

In the postseason, Matz is 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.448 WHIP. He’s only averaging 5.0 innings. I’ve heard he’s pitched well considering the layoffs. I’ve heard the Mets didn’t catch a popup in the fifth inning in Chicago.  You know what these are?  Excuses. It covers up the fact that he hasn’t been that good. If the other three starters weren’t as dominant, he would be killing the bullpen. 

So who should start in his place?  I would argue Colon, which is not something I ever thought I would say. He’s made four appearances. In the first, he induced a double play grounder, but we know what happened next. Since then, he’s pitched 5.1 innings allowing three hits, one earned, one walk, and six strikeouts.  In these postseason, he has a 3.38 ERA and a 0.750 WHIP. 

I say this even though Colon has been good in the pen and was tattooed by the Blue Jays earlier this year. However, that game was Toronto. I’m hoping the colder weather and a friendlier ballpark would help him in the World Series. 

I still think Matz could stay on the roster. It may be helpful to have another lefty in the pen. Additionally, he’s been fine in the beginning of games. Let him come in and air it out; put him in a position to succeed. 

I do not think the Mets will make a change.   I can understand why. I can still see Matz turning it around.  I hope he does because the Mets are going to face a much tougher opponent in the World Series. He’s going to have to return to July form. 

He better because the Mets will need him. 

Wish Mike Piazza Was Here

From the moment he arrived in 1998, Mike Piazza brought the Mets to another level. The Mets went from young and improving to a playoff team. 

He was joined by some terrific Mets along the way. Edgardo AlfonzoJohn OlerudRobin VenturaAl Leiter, etc. However, Piazza was the man. He was (and still is) the greatest hitting catcher in the history of the game. With some bad luck and some other factors, the Mets didn’t win the World Series when Piazza was with the Mets. 

The Mets missed their shot.  The Mets were beset with hard times and bad decisions after that. However, Piazza still had his moments: 

However, he never got his chance to go back to the playoffs, to win a ring. I thought about that in 2006. I was hoping the Mets would bring him back like they did Lee Mazzilli in 1986. I understood why they didn’t. 

Paul Lo Duca had a terrific year. Piazza was still a capable starting catcher with pop in his bat. You couldn’t ask either to sit on the bench. You also don’t want to invite the controversy. It still doesn’t mean I didn’t miss him, especially with Ramon Castro being the backup catcher. 

For the first time since 2006, the Mets were in the playoffs. For the first time since 2000, the Mets are in the World Series. There was a time it was all because of Piazza. He’s retired now on the cusp of the Hall of Fame. It’s where he belongs. 

I just wish he was here. 

Conforto is a Winner

Good things have happened to the Mets since they called up Michael Conforto. He was called up on July 24, 2015. At that time, the Mets were 49-47, and they were three games back (four in the loss column) in the NL East. 

After Conforto’s call-up, the Mets went 41-25. That’s a .621 clip or a 100 win pace. Sure, there were other moves, but he was the first move. With the Mets now in the World Series, he’s putting together a Miguel Cabrera type of rookie year. He’s also looking to have a Jason Varitek type of year:

Varitek and Ed Vosberg were alone in that group until Tuesday when they were joined by Conforto. It should be noted that Varitek (2004 & 2009) and Vosberg (1997) won their World Series. It’s now Conforto’s chance to follow their lead. I like his chances. Conforto has been a winner all his life. He’s now helped make the Mets winners. 

Harvey Leads Rangers to Victory

As everyone predicted, Matt Harvey was at the Rangers game tonight:

It’s great that he got a standing ovation. Not a boo to be heard. It seems now that everyone is a Mets fan in New York. Everywhere I was people were talking about it. There was a run on stuff at Modells. Dicks was limiting sales on hats and t-shirts to one per customer so they wouldn’t run out. 

The main reason for all of this might be because the Mets are the only show in town for the first time since the 2006 NLCS, or the 1988 NLCS, depending on your perspective. It’s a sign the Mets could be taking back New York

If they don’t, who cares?  The only thing I really care about now is the World Series. If the Mets do win the World Series, you can only imagine the ovation Harvey will get at that game. With Game 7 of the Workd Series slated for November 4th, the next Rangers home game will be Tuesday, November 10th against Carolina. I can’t wait to see the video and hear the ovation then. 

By the way, the Rangers won 4-1 with Rick Nash scoring an empty net goal without putting the puck in the net. Apparently, with the MLBAM/NHL deal, the NHL adopted the Chase Utley rule

What to Watch Instead of Baseball Tonight

After the euphoria of last night, I’m all pumped up. I want to watch baseball. Nope. It an off day in the ALCS. There’s now a void at 8:00. 

I have a suggestion. We should all watch Back to the Future, Part II. First off, any of the Back to the Future movies are terrific. My factory is the first one. It would be a desert island movie for me. I could talk about and quote that movie all day. The second one was a good movie. Surprisingly, the movie has now occurred in the past since Marty went to October 21, 2015.

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of this movie was when the headlines on the newspaper changed. When I throw it on tonight, I’m going to see if it automatically updated like we saw in the movies:

Vine provided courtesy of @lets86it. 

Maybe we’ll see this:

  
If it does, I’ll be saying this all night:

I Want More

My brother and I got into an argument before the season started. We were both optimistic about the Mets season. However, I thought the Mets were an 85 win team that could compete for the second Wild Card. He thought they could win the World Series. 

I didn’t think this was possible. I thought there would be an innings limit problem with Matt Harvey (there was). I didn’t think the Mets would make a trade to go for it (they did). I thought 2016 was their year (it still might be). On the other hand, my brother knows nothing about baseball. Like nothing. He doesn’t even own a Mets jersey. He had to buy a hat for the playoffs. Why believe him?

Just kidding. My brother is a die hard fan too. He’s not as crazy as I am (who is?), but a diehard nonetheless. He was just more optimistic. I think he was more optimistic than most Mets fans out there. If most are being honest, they didn’t see this coming, especially with David Wright hurt and John Mayberry, Jr. batting cleanup. 

By any measure, this season has been a complete success. Even if the Mets get swept in the World Series, it was a successful season. With all that said, I won’t be satisfied unless they win the World Series. 

These chances come do infrequently, especially for a team like the Mets. Think about it. That loaded 80’s team won the only World Series they were in. The Mets went to back-to-back postseasons in 1999 and 2000, and they had no World Series to show for it. The 2006 Mets were built for the long term. All we saw was a Game 7 in the NLCS and two collapses.

Sure, with this young pitching, we can see an 80’s like run. It could be more successful because there’s now four extra playoff spots. However, we’ve seen this before. You need to seize the opportunity when it comes. If you don’t, you may never see it again. 

I will always look fondly on this season like I do the 1999 and 2006 regular seasons. Now, I want to remember the 2015 season in its totality. 

LETS GO METS!

Thank You Mike Hampton

In 2000, Mike Hampton became the first Met ever to win the NLCS MVP. He was 2-0   He didn’t allow a run. He pitched a complete game shutout in the clinching Game 5. 

He was terrible in his only World Series start. He allowed four earned in six innings, and he wasn’t even that good. He was critical of Mike Piazza for not starting a brawl after the Roger Clemens bat throwing incident. He made this statement even though he tied the rubber in Game 2, and he never sought retaliation. 

After the season, he left the Mets for Colorado due to the school system. I’m sure the eight year $121 million contract didn’t play a part. He warned every boo that would be rained upon him on every return trip to Shea Stadium. So why am I thanking him?

David Wright. Wright was the compensatory draft pick the Mets received when Hampton signed with the Rockies. Because Hampton left, we’ve had Wright’s terrific career. He’s been an All Star, MVP candidate, and the Captain. His career so far merits Hall of Fame consideration. 
Now, he’s going to play in a World Series. It may be nine years after than we thought, but Wright has led the Mets to the World Series. It wouldn’t have been possible if Hampton didn’t do to Colorado. 

So, thank you Mike Hampton for leaving town. We were better off for it. 

It Was Worth the Wait

My favorite Mets team was the 1999 team. I loved everything about that team from Bobby V to Mike Piazza to Edgardo Alfonzo to Robin Ventura to John Olerud. It was my first real taste of a pennant race and the playoffs. I was lucky to be there for Pratt’s All Folks and the Grand Slam Single. I look back on the year with melancoly because of this:

In 2000, the Mets got Mike Hampton. The season became World Series or bust. A strange feeling for a Mets fan. Hampton would deliver. He was the NLCS MVP. The Mets then had to face the Yankees in the World Series. It was a cruel series with Todd Zeile‘s ball landing on the wall and falling back into play.  Timo Perez didn’t run and didn’t score. Roger Clemens threw a bat at Piazza and wasn’t ejected. The series then ended in the most heartbreaking way possible:

The Mets would be terrible for the next few years, but everything came together in 2006. Our homegrown stars, Jose Reyes and David Wright, we’re becoming superstars. They were joined by the two Carloses: Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado. It was a team that ran roughshod over the National League. Beltran was the best baseball player on the planet that year (who somehow didn’t win the MVP). The Mets had momentum in Game Seven with Endy Chavez’s catch. Here’s how that season ended:

In 2007, the Mets reloaded and were primed to go back to the World Series. They were up 7 with 17 to play. On the final game of the season, they sent future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine to the mound with his 300 wins. He wouldn’t be devastated when he got out of the first, but we would:

In 2008, the Mets diagnosed their problem, and much like 2000, they went out to get it. The Mets brought in Johan Santana, and he delivered. they needed him in a strange year that saw Wille Randolph fired after a win on the first game of a west coast trip. The interim manager threatened to cut Reyes if he didn’t come off the field after pulling up lame, and people acted like it was a good thing. Through all of that, the Mets were collapsing again, and yet an injured Santana took the ball on three days rest. He saved the season, but only for a day: 

The last three were the most difficult for me because I was there. It got more difficult because Citi Field was initially a disappointment. It got worse because the product on the field was bad. 

Then Matt Harvey came up and was an All Star. Jacob deGrom came from seemingly nowhere to become a Rookie of the Year and an All Star. They were joined by Noah Syndergaard. The Mets made a flurry of trades including one for Yoenis CespedesDaniel Murphy had an out of body experience. Then this happened:

All that pain. All that suffering. We know what it’s like to be Mets fans. There’s pain and suffering. However, there are moments of pure joy. It’s all the losing that makes nights like last night all the more special. 

We’re Mets fans. We were there for all of this. There are older fans who experienced more pain, but also more joy. There are younger fans who only know losing. Now, we’re all Pennant Winners. It’s like the 80’s again when the Mets are the best team of baseball. We’re “Back in the New York groove!”