Mookie Wilson

Eli Manning Helped Heal Mets Fans

September 30, 2007 was a devastating day for Mets fans.

Tom Glavine had the worst start of his professional career in a spot where he and the Mets could not afford it.

After seven earned in 0.1 innings and the hopes of a comeback dashed when Ramon Castro‘s potential grand slam in the bottom of the first turned into an inning ending fly out the Mets chances of winning the World Series were officially dashed.

Glavine may not have been devastated, but Mets fans who thought this was the year were. The Yadier Molina homer was still fresh in our minds, and Mookie Wilson‘s little roller was become a fleeting memory.

Back in 2007, I was a Mets and Giants season ticket holder. That meant after seeing one of the most devastating Mets loss I’ve ever seen in my life, I made the trek to Giants Stadium to watch the Giants play the Eagles.

If you think seeing the Mets lose that game was bad enough, imagine hearing the taunts of Phillies/Eagles fans during the tailgates and up until the National Anthem. The Phillies had made a historic comeback, and the Eagles were the defending NFC East champions coming off a 56-21 victory over the Lions.

To say the Eagles/Phillies fans were feeling themselves is quite the understatement.

They’d soon be quiet as the Giants sacked Donovan McNabb an NFL record 12 times. In that game, Eli was pedestrian, but he did what he needed to do to win that game.

For a Mets/Giants fan, it was as cathartic an experience as there was. It was also a prelude to bigger and better things.

Heading into 2007, it was the Mets who were supposed to win a World Series, but it was Eli Manning and the Giants who did it. Whereas the Mets made history by losing, Eli Manning and the Giants stopped history from being made by winning.

From 2007 on, Mets fans mostly knew pain and missed opportunities. Our lone bright spot for many years, David Wright, had his career end early robbing his Hall of Fame chances because of spinal stenosis. And yet, Eli was there. He was always there.

In what was the worst decade in New York sports history, Eli and the Giants were the only ones who could deliver a championship. If not for him, there would be a whole host of New York sports fans whose only experience seeing a team win a title would be the Yankees.

Through it all, Eli led the most improvable of title runs, and it happened at a time when New York Mets fans needed it most. We needed something to ease the pain of 2006 and 2007. For that alone, as a Mets fan I love Eli Manning.

As a Giants fan, Eli Manning means more than any other player in Giants history. In fact, because he’s the one who has delivered championships, to me, he’s been the most important New York player in my lifetime.

His eventual Hall of Fame induction is going to be as emotional as Mike Piazza‘s. Until then and well beyond, we have the fondest of memories from Eli Manning’s career.

Congratulations to Eli for a great career, and thank you for the ride.

Zack Wheeler Leaving Is A Great Day Because The Wilpons Sold The Mets

Today should have been a terrible day in Mets history. Despite his desperately wanting to stay with the Mets, the team made no offer to Zack Wheeler. That was even the case with him accepting a discounted deal he gave the Mets to match or beat.

Still, even with Wheeler leaving, today was one of the greatest days in New York Mets history. In fact, it may be better than the day Tom Seaver fell into the Mets laps, Cleon Jones caught Davey Johnson‘s fly ball, Mookie Wilson hit a little dribbler up the first base line, Jesse Orosco threw his glove in the air, or the day the Mets obtained Mike Piazza.

If this seems like hyperbole, it isn’t, at least not too much of it. As we saw in 1980 when Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets, ownership means everything in pro sports. One day, you’re completely irrelevant playing in Grant’s Tomb, and the next, you’re in the greatest stretch in franchise history obtaining Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter to help the team win the second World Series in franchise history.

These types of things were no longer possible. Not really. Between Jeff Wilpon’s mismanagement and the extremely restricted finances in the wake of the Madoff scandal, the Mets couldn’t continue a prolonged run.

After that shocking 2015 pennant, the Mets lost the Wild Card Game the following year and were under .500 in each of the successive two years. Much of the reason why was a series of penny wise pound foolish decisions.

That can now change with Steve Cohen increasing his ownership share in the Mets from 4% to 80%. With that the Mets went from the Wilpons who are not billionaires to someone who is the richest owner in baseball.

This means it’s no longer a fait accompli Noah Syndergaard and Michael Conforto are as good as gone when they hit free agency. It means there’s a good chance Jacob deGrom gets the chance David Wright never did – to be the face of a Mets team truly dedicated to winning.

The Wilpons are gone or soon will be. With them leaving and being replaced by a man with deep pockets and an ability to properly run an organization, anything is possible.

For his part, it’s sad Wheeler won’t get to experience it. For Mets fans, we can’t wait to see what happens next. That’s not a position we’ve really ever been in since the team moved to Citi Field.

RIP Bill Buckner

Back in 1986, my aunt was living with us, and she was engaged to a man who would be my uncle in less than a year. Both families were crazy Mets fans, and so the families decided the best time to have an engagement party was for Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. I don’t remember much about that party or that season, but the six year old me remembers the roar in my parent’s basement as Mookie Wilson‘s grounder went between Bill Buckner‘s legs.

It’s not always a scene you see. In-laws openly embracing each other jumping up and down in joy. Really, aside from the birth of a baby, can you think of something that could bring families that much together and that much joy?

But that was our joy. For Buckner, it was obviously humiliating, and oddly enough, it was something he feared heading into that World Series. It’s hard to imagine your worst nightmares becoming true, and then becoming a scapegoat for Calvin Schiraldi and Bob Stanley choking, Rich Gedman whiffing on a ball he should have caught, and John McNamara having one of the worst games and series anyone has ever seen.

Sure, Buckner would got 2-for-4 in Game 7, and he would start an eighth inning rally for a desperate team, but like the Red Sox rally there, it was too little too late. He became a villain in Boston, and he would struggle the following year leading to his eventual release. In many ways, he never quite got to make up for the loss which was somewhat unfairly attributed to him. Worse yet, he was chased out of his Massachusetts home to live on the other side of the county.

Despite all that, Buckner had a life well worth living.

Even with him being chased out of Boston, he would not be chased out of baseball. He was the hitting coach for the 1996 – 1997 Chicago White Sox. By OPS+, Frank Thomas would have the second best year of his Hall of Fame career under Buckner’s tutelage. By wRC+, over that two year span, the White Sox had the sixth best offense in the Majors. This was the last time Buckner got to wear a Major League uniform on the field.

As the years progressed, Buckner would do autograph shows with Mookie Wilson, and the two would eventually become friends. There is a certain integrity in a man who did not hide from the worst moment in his life. There’s more integrity to stand there and be accountable like he was at the autograph shows and when he was there for MLB Network for the re-telling of the game. More than any of that, Buckner never pointed his fingers towards his manager or teammate. Rather, he accepted the blame for his role like the real man he was – a real man who raised a family with two daughters and a son.

Time heals all wounds, and it would for Buckner. Finally, after the Red Sox broke the curse and won the World Series, he was able to return to Fenway. Instead of being chased from the park, he was cheered, and he threw out the first pitch. Eventually, Buckner, himself, would be in on the joke appearing in a hysterical episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where this time he saved the day by making a catch:

That would mark the second time for me Buckner would bring me joy. The first was his worst moment. The second was one of his best.

In his life, Buckner brought joy to millions in his best times. He won a batting title with the Cubs in 1980, and he was an All-Star for that team a year later. He helped the 1974 Dodgers get to the World Series. He was a good player with 2,715 hits, which was more than many Hall of Famers.

Overall, Buckner was a good ballplayer who had a bad moment. It was a moment which will forever follow him, and it is a moment which forever defined him. In 1986, he might have defined him as a choker who was not welcome in Boston. By 2019, it defined him as a human being who was able to persevere to have a good life. Fortunately, that is the man we remember today, and it will be the man who will be remembered going forward.

Rest in Peace, Bill Buckner.

Mets Failure To Honor Their History Went Well Beyond Seaver Statue

With Tom Seaver being diagnosed with dementia, there is a renewed call for the Mets to honor their history and to build a Seaver statue outside Citi Field. For Mets fans and for other teams, this is something which should not be up for a debate. After all, when other teams built their new stadiums, they incorporated statutes of their great players around their ballpark. Even older stadiums are incorporating statues.

This is part of honoring a team’s past. This is something which seems obvious, but it never occurred to the Mets when they build Citi Field.

Looking at the original construct of Citi Field, the seats were green, and the outfield walls were black. The Home Run Apple from Shea Stadium was tucked away. The Mets Hall of Fame was nowhere to be seen. Really, the only trace of the team’s history was the retired numbers and pennants on what was then known as “The Great Wall of Flushing.”

To be fair to the Mets, it may have been an honest oversight. Moreover, it could have been the result of public pressure altering plans. Due to a number of circumstances, there was a push to name Citi Field after Jackie Robinson. For example, George Vecsey wrote an article about it in the New York Times. He would be far from the only one.

Really, this was a pressure the Mets had faced since 1997. Whether it was in response to the pressure or whether it was always part of the plans, the Jackie Robinson Rotunda was born in a ballpark which was meant to invoke memories of the old Ebbets Field. Certainly, that left plenty of room for the detractors before anyone ever stepped foot inside the stadium.

While the perception the Mets had no intention to honor their history may not have been fair, the team gave it credence when the Mets overreacted to Dwight Gooden signed a wall in what was then dubbed the “Ebbets Field Club.” Initially, the Mets planned to erase the signature. As reportedby the New York Daily News, the Mets heard the backlash, and they were going to listen to their fans:

PR honcho Jay Horwitz said the wall will be removed from the club, preserved behind Plexiglass and moved to an undisclosed area at Citi Field that is more accessible to all fans. He added that the Mets plan to procure similar autographs from other popular ex-Mets such as Tom Seaver, Darryl Strawberry, Mike Piazza and Mookie Wilson and display them around the concourse.

It has almost been a decade since this incident transpired. Honestly, has anyone seen a wall with autographs from all the great Mets players? Is it hiding in some suite most fans don’t have access? Is it in the executive offices no one sees? Is it tucked in a corner somewhere in an area no one regularly passes during games?

Perhaps one good location for the wall would be the Mets Hall of Fame. The Mets Hall of Fame is a whole other matter all together.

You could point out one of the reasons why the Mets Hall of Fame may not be all you want it to be is due to limited space. Of course, that is a problem which arises when you don’t make provisions for one in your original plans for the ballpark. It’s also a problem when the team sells important memorabilia like the jersey Mike Piazza wore when he hit his post 9/11 home run.

Of course, this shouldn’t surprise anyone was the team store really spills into the Mets Hall of Fame. While you’re crowding to see the original Mr. Met costume, you can go through the racks of game worn wear and other merchandise which has spilled on over from the main team store.

But it’s not just the lack of statues, or the inaccessible and probably nonexistent wall, or even a ill-executed Hall of Fame. Just look at what happened to the retired numbers and pennants.

The once prominently displayed retired numbers on the left field wall now hang high above the left field Promenade above the foul pole. The pennants have also been removed from the left field wall. They now reside on the facade hanging above the field level in left field. Now, this may not seem like all that much. After all, most teams do not have their retired numbers and pennants on full display on their outfield walls, but for the Mets, this is a clear break in tradition with no real reason for it.

In the end, that’s the biggest problem. There’s no real reason for any of this. The Mets are a franchise which is now 57 years old. They have have had two players inducted into the Hall of Fame. They have won two World Series and been to three others. They have played in some of the most classic games in Major League history, and their status as an expansion team has forever ingrained them in the fabric of the game.

And yet, when you walk around their ballpark, with or without a Seaver statue, you’d have no idea that was the case.

Game 6 Would Not Have Happened In The NFL

In Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, with the Mets one loss away from losing the World Series, Dave Henderson led off the top of the 10th with a home run off Rick Aguilera. After that, the Red Sox would rally and tack on another run on a Marty Barrett RBI single.

After two quick outs to start the bottom of the 10th, all mayhem would break loose starting with a Gary Carter two out single. Eventually, as a Mookie Wilson grounder would slip under Bill Buckner‘s glove, the Mets would be euphoric, and baseball would have one of the greatest games ever played. It is a game which is the epitome of what makes baseball great. So long as you have one out remaining, anything, and as we saw on that October 25th night, ANYTHING can happen.

As we saw last night, that doesn’t happen in football.

Last night, in a back-and-forth finish to the AFC Championship Game, the Chiefs and Patriots headed to overtime. The Patriots won the toss, and they took the ball 75 yards before scoring the game winning touchdown. That’s similar to Super Bowl LI where the Patriots overcame the largest deficit in Super Bowl history to tie the score and force the first ever Super Bowl overtime. The Patriots won the coin toss and marched down the field and won without Matt Ryan and the Falcons touching the ball.

If the NFL overtime rules applied to baseball, the Boston Red Sox would have won the 1986 World Series after Henderson hit a leadoff homer against Aguilera. If that seems stupid, it should.

The NFL is the only sport that allows an overtime game be decided without permitting both sides to have a chance to score. Sure, it there wasn’t a touchdown, the Chiefs would have had an opportunity, but there was a touchdown.

Even if you were to look at the NHL having sudden death, it’s important to remember they have a face-off and not a coin flip to determine initial possession. They also also set no impediment for the losing team to have a fair shot at scoring. If you were to apply the NFL rules to the NHL, it would be flipping a coin and determining which team goes on the power play to being overtime.

Really, the NFL overtime is a gimmick, and it’s a dumb one at that. While they can assert it’s for player safety, they have no issue playing a full 15 minutes in the event of a tie. As we saw in the 2013 playoff game between the Rams and Panthers, the NFL has no issue going to a second overtime to decide a playoff game. They also have no issue with Thursday night games.

Fact is, the NFL is cheating their fans of a real chance to see something special. Sure, the Patriots win over the Chiefs was memorable, but as we saw with the 1986 World Series, they’re missing on what could happen next. It’s what happens next which takes a great game and makes it legendary.

It’s why baseball will always be better than football.

Mets Blogger Roundtable: Promotions Mets Should Have in 2018

On Sunday, I published a tongue-in-cheek recommendation as to what promotions the Mets should have during the 2018 season.  The original concept of the post was the Mets promotional schedule feels like it is lacking this year, and the team should be looking for better ways to honor their players.

With that in mind, I asked the Mets Blogger Roundtable what promotions they would like to see the Mets institute during the 2018 season:

Michael Baron (MLB.com)

The Mets should re-introduce Old Timers Day. Promotions are nice, but they generally consist of things which either break, get lost, forgotten, or all three. Old Timers Day can be traditional and memorable as fans connect emotionally with the players. Sure, there’s no sponsored bobble head doll, hat, or a fidget spinner that goes with it – sometimes the greatest souvenir can be reconnecting with the past, which is why what such a day would be so great for everyone involved.

Roger Cormier (Good Fundies & Fangraphs)

There was a character on “Rick and Morty” called “Mr. Meeseeks.” He lived only to fix one problem of yours before ceasing to exist. He wanted to cease to be, is the thing – his catch phrase is “Existence is pain!” Naturally, some unknown hero on the internet created a “Mr. Metseeks.” My interpretation of Mr. Metseeks is Mr. Metseeks cannot die until the Mets win the World Series. We all started kind, then have only grown more bitter, and increasing irritated over the years, when the Mets did not fulfill their destiny. We are all Mr. Metseeks. Let’s have an action figure of ourselves some Saturday in 2018. Why? Because a “Jay Brews” shirt sends the wrong message to the youths.

Ernest Dove (MMO & MMN)

As a South Florida resident and fan of the High-A St. Lucie Mets, I can’t help but suggest the MLB Mets model the St. Lucie Mets with $1 beer $1 hot dog night. With ticket prices continuing to skyrocket, I think it would be a great idea for Mets to win over their fans with a night of cheap food and drinks.  I’m not suggesting bottles of beer. I’m talking $1 plastic cups here. It might pack the place.  And along with the obvious on the alcohol, this would also allow for parents to ensure all their kids are fed. Do it!

Michael Ganci (Daily Stache)

As for a promotion that I would like to bring back, could you imagine if they reincarnated the Pepsi Porch idea? Remember when you could bring a bottle of Pepsi and gain entry? My father and I did that a zillion times growing up, and I almost got killed by a Kevin Orie home run. It encourages more fans to come, and I’m sure the Mets can afford to designate a section, but the sponsor would obviously have to be Coca Cola, since we now have the Coca Cola Corner.

Mark Healey (Gotham Baseball)

Old Timer’s Day; as a kid I always loved Mets Old Timer’s Day, and frankly, I miss it dearly.

In 2009, the New York Times quoted then-Mets executive Dave Howard: “It was particularly unpopular as a promotion. We didn’t see an increase in ticket sales or interest from sponsors or even from people who already had tickets. It died of its own unpopularity in the early ’90s. We felt we were better served by bringing our alumni back over several days instead of one day.”

Now, I liked Dave Howard, nice guy, but that statement was crap. a) outside of a rare 1986 tribute when the hell do the Mets ever “bring their alumni back?”

Maybe be creative? Maybe call it “Amazin Day,” and combine the old Photo Day with an autograph day, have the former Mets like Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry, Art Shamsky, Mookie Wilson, Rusty Staub, Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza, Felix Millan, etc. gather at Citi Field and have a Mets fan’s dream of a day? Yeah, it would cost money, but it’d be sold out and there are a thousand marketing ideas that would make it a must-have ticket (and memorabilia money maker) every year!

The idea that Mets fans wouldn’t embrace a day to celebrate their team’s history is ridiculous.

I wish it was only a cost-effectiveness issue.  But it’s not. Frankly, the Mets can’t even send out a promo video without doing something dumb like trying to avoid the existence of a 20-game winner who just won the organizations first Cy Young Award in almost 30 years. It is the fear of ridicule, of blowback, and of honest feedback from a fanbase that’s tired of the losing and the stupidity. In 1989, Davey Johnson was omitted from the list of some two dozen people invited to Old-Timers’ Day.

Why? If the Old-Timers’ Day crowd cheered Johnson, would the Mets’ front office and Harrelson be embarrassed? If the crowd booed him, would he be embarrassed? Like many, many, many others have said many, many, many times, the Wilpons and by extension, their PR and Marketing departments lack a cohesive link to their smartest and most loyal fans. Maybe it’s time to listen to a few of them.

Joe Maracic (Loud Egg)

Replace Free Shirt Fridays with Funko Fridays. All fans in attendance will receive a Mets Funko toy, designed by me of course.

Bring back Banner Day. Not the half-hearted Banner Day at ten in the morning. Scheduled doubleheader, banners in between games. With a full crowd to watch.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing)

Specific to 2018, I would love to see the Mets honor Buddy Harrelson while he can enjoy it. Invite him to throw out the first pitch before a full house on Opening Day; have a day or night in his honor, with his contemporaries on hand; give out a Buddy bobblehead, tied in to raising funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s research. The sooner the better.

In a broader sense, dedicate a day or two every season to an all-time vintage Met who deserves (at least) one more torrent of appreciation. The template should be Ralph Kiner Night in 2007, presented for no reason other than we loved Ralph Kiner. It’s the kind of thing that infuses the honoree and the fans with an unbeatable feeling.

It should go without saying that the Mets can and should do more to blend their history into their promotional activities. That’s putting it mildly.

James Schapiro (Shea Bridge Report)

I don’t have any grand wisdom to offer as far as promotions go, but I do know which ones I’ve liked. A few years ago, in April 2014, I believe, the Mets, one game, gave away Shea Stadium canvas prints. I still have mine; it’s fantastic. I’m sure it’ll go up on the wall one day. I’d love to see more of these — hell, I’d love a canvas print of every guy on the roster. Again, there’s no long-winded reasoning here; I just think it was a great item.

Mets Daddy

Look, I think it is pretty clear the Mets are not going to have an Old Timers Day.  It doesn’t matter how much the Mets fans clamor for it; it’s not going to happen.  However, that doesn’t mean the Mets can’t find another way to give the fans what they want while simultaneously spreading out days they bring back former Mets.

Back in 2012, I attended a game with my family, and as I walked through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, I was shocked to see Darryl Strawberry signing autographs.  It seemed too good to be true, and it was slightly.  In order to get an autograph, you had to purchase a box of gummy candies, which were being sold by the Darryl Strawberry Foundation in support of autism research.  Being completely unprepared for the moment, I went into the team store, and I purchased a stuffed Home Run apple.  To this day, one of the coolest autographs I have is an autographed Home Run Apple from the Mets all-time home run leader.

This is something the Mets should look to do once a week.  Bring back an old player and have them sign autographs in the rotunda.  Like with Strawberry, you can tie it into a charitable purpose.  It doesn’t even need to be the best players like Johan Santana.  If you think about it, there should be a line to Corona of Mets fans who just want to shake Mike Baxter‘s hand for making the catch which kept Santana’s no-hitter alive.

This is great for fans who want to meet their favorite players, take a picture, and get an autograph.  It’s also great for the Mets because they will get a mad rush to their team store for people looking to buy something for that player to sign.  Really, this needs to happen.

I want to thank the various writers for taking the time out to participate in these roundtables and for presenting some truly inspired ideas.   You can read more of their original and interesting work on their respective sites.  Please take a look by clicking on the link to their sites.

 

 

Meet The Mets Fan: Mets Daddy

During the course of the 2018 season, my hope is to feature a new Mets fan each and every week by having them answer five quick questions about their particular fandom.  For me, this is part of a natural outgrowth of the site because part of my intention was to discuss my experiences as a father raising my sons to be Mets fans.

As we know being a fan is a unique experience for everyone, and I’m sure my sons will have a much more unique experience than I have had as a fan.  The hope is to have a fun mix of fans – celebrity, media, and average fans like you and me.

So to that end, I will start off the new feature answering the same five questions butchers, bakers, and the people on the streets will be answering.

The Mets Fan:

For my readers, I am the self dubbed Mets Daddy.  To my sons, I am just daddy.  To my detractors, I am someone that just needs to go away.

Alongside my work here, you can also find my work on Metsmerized OnlineMets Minors, and Gotham Baseball.  With a newborn in the house and a four year old, there’s not much opportunity for me to sleep, so it’s more entertaining to write about the Mets than to watch the same terrible late night TV night in and night out.

How You Became a Mets Fan:

My father grew up in a household where my grandfather was a New York Giants fan, his younger brother was a New York Yankees fan, and he was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan.  Given that environment, you could understand why he would look to ensure his children grew up Mets fans.

As a little kid, my dad saw an opportunity with my love of strawberries.  He told me about how the Mets had this great player coming to the team named Darryl Strawberry.  When Strawberry was called up to the Mets, he took me to my first ever Mets game to see him play.  Seeing my first ever baseball game at Shea Stadium helped make me the diehard fan I am today.

Favorite Mets Player:

When I think of my favorite Mets player, there are a few names I consider.  As noted above, Strawberry is on the list.  Gary Carter was always a favorite of mine, and growing up, I wanted to become a catcher because of him.  In more recent vintage, Daniel Murphy was a person favorite, and how could he not with the 2015 postseason he had.  Like any other Mets fan, I love David Wright.

However, my guy will always be Mike Piazza.  When he came to the Mets, this went from a nice little team to a World Series contender.  I still remember all of the homers including the one after 9/11, which for my money is the biggest home run ever hit.  More than that, Piazza is a guy who wanted to big stage, and when Cooperstown came calling, he chose to be a Met partially due to us fans.

Favorite Moment In Mets History:

I’ve been exceedingly lucky as a fan.  I was there for the Todd Pratt homer clinching the 1999 NLDS.  I was in the park the night of Robin Ventura‘s Grand Slam Single.  There was also the Bobby Jones one-hitter.  My first real memory as a fan was watching Mookie Wilson‘s little roller up the first base line go through Bill Buckner‘s legs.

However, despite all those classic moments, the one I will always treasure most was going to Game 3 of the 2015 World Series with my dad and brother.  It also helped that Noah Syndergaardstood 60’6″ away, Wright hit the first World Series homer in Citi Field history, and Curtis Granderson hit a homer to give the Mets the lead for good that game.  The fans even got a chance to sing along to Piano Man with Billy Joel.

Going to a Mets World Series game with my dad and brother had long been a dream of mine.  Seeing them win a World Series game and feeling that euphoria leaving Citi Field that night will be next to impossible to top.

Message to Mets Fans:

Some of the best Mets seasons are never the ones you expect.  The 1969 team was never supposed to win.  The 1999 Mets were put together on a wing and a prayer.  Back in 2006, it was hard to believe anyone would ever unseat the Braves as the NL East Champions in the Wild Card Era.  Heading into the 2015 season, Bryce Harper was asking where his World Series ring was after the Nationals signed Max Scherzer.  As Mets fans, we had Michael Cuddyer.

Point is, even if you are extremely frustrated by the Wilpons and how they choose to operate this team, just remember, when you least expect it, that old Mets Magic is right around the corner.  After all, Ya Gotta Believe!

Cubs And Red Sox Have Recently Won World Series Titles, Mets Haven’t

When I was talking with my Dad about the postseason, we were prattling off how most of the teams in the postseason haven’t won in quite some time:

  • Astros – Never
  • Nationals – Never
  • Rockies – Never
  • Indians – 1948
  • Dodgers – 1988
  • Twins – 1991
  • Diamondbacks – 2001
  • Yankees – 2009
  • Red Sox – 2013
  • Cubs – 2016

Just go back over that list again.

For nearly a century, the dream World Series matchup was Red Sox-Cubs. 1912 versus 1908. The Curse of the Bambino versus the Billy Goat Curse.

Then there was all of the Hall of Famers on both sides who never won a World Series. For the Cubs, you had absolute legends like Ernie Banks and Ferguson Jenkins.  The Red Sox had Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.

Throw in Fenway and Wrigley with the Green Monster and the ivy, this was the World Series to end all World Series because these were two teams pathologically incapable of winning World Series.

Until recently.

We know it all changed for the Red Sox with a Dave Roberts stolen base propelling the Red Sox to overcome an 0-3 ALCS deficit.  It would be a Kris Bryant homer to start the game winning rally in Game five of the World Series.  Before each of those moments, these were two franchises who seemed incapable of winning a World Series.  There was also a time the Mets would take full advantage.

In 1969, the Cubs went from Ron Santo clicking his heels to a black cat crossing their path.  We would then see Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman pitch the Mets to their first World Series title.

In 1986, Mookie Wilson hit a little roller up along first that got past Bill BucknerRay Knight scored the winning run en route to a Game 6 win and eventual World Series title.

Even in 2015, the Mets beat up on the Cubs.  Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom dominated them from the mound, and Daniel Murphy homered the Mets to the team’s fifth pennant.

Now, the Mets are behind both the Red Sox and the Cubs.  Now, it looks like the Mets who are the team that can’t win a World Series.

In 1988, Mike Scioscia hit a grand slam against Dwight Gooden.  In 1999, Kenny Rogers walked Andruw Jones with the bases loaded.  In 2000, Timo Perez didn’t run out a Todd Zeile fly ball that landed on top of the wall.  In 2006, So Taguchi homered off of Guillermo Mota, and yes, Carlos Beltran struck out looking against Adam Wainwright.  In 2015,  Jeurys Familia blew three saves with the help of Daniel Murphy overrunning a grounder and a way offline Lucas Duda throw.  Last year, it was Conor Gillaspie who hit a three run homer in the Wild Card Game.

In reality, the Mets aren’t cursed even with all that ensued after the Madoff scandal.  However, with each passing year, you can forgive fans for starting to feel this way.  It’s been 31 years since the Mets last won a World Series.  In those 31 years, the Mets have reached the postseason six times, and they were eliminated in excruciating fashion each time.

Again, the Mets are not cursed.  Still, it is depressing to now live in a world where the Red Sox and the Cubs have won a World Series more recently than the Mets.

I Still Have Hope . . . Sandy Shouldn’t

After a sweep of the Giants in San Francisco, fans could allow themselves hope for the 2017 season again.  Yes, the Giants are a dreadful team, but there was a lot to like about the Mets in that series.  If you dig deeper, there is still things to like about this Mets team.

Jacob deGrom is in a stretch where he has gone at least eight innings in three consecutive starts.  This could be the best stretch of his career, which is certainly saying something.

Rafael Montero has now had three consecutive strong outings allowing just two earned runs over his last 14.1 inning pitched. In this stretch, he not only finally looks like a major league pitcher, he looks like a good major league pitcher.

Curtis Granderson has been the best hitting National League outfielder in the month of June (204 wRC+), and he’s been hitting .297/.408/.595 with 13 doubles, two triples, nine homers, and 23 RBI since May 1st.

Jay Bruce has been resurgent hitting .315/.358/.629 with four doubles, eight homers, and 17 RBI.  He’s on pace for his first 40 home run season and just his second 100 RBI season.

While acting unprofessional about the switch to second base in the clubhouse, Asdrubal Cabrera has been nothing but professional on the field going 7-14 in the series and playing a very good second base. 

Lucas Duda is flat out raking hitting .375/.474/.813 over the past week, and as we know when Duda gets hot like this, he can carry the team for a long stretch.  Just ask the 2015 Nationals.

Lost in all of that is Yoenis Cespedes being Cespedes, Addison Reed being a dominant closer, and Seth Lugo stabilizing the rotation.  There is even the specter of David Wright returning to the lineup.  When you combine that with the Mets schedule, this team is primed to reel off nine straight wins.

If the Mets were to win nine straight, they would be just one game under .500.  At that point, the Mets will be red hot heading to another big series in Washington.  Last time the teams played there, the Mets took two of three.  After that is a bad Cardinals team before the All Star Break.

Combine this hypothetical Mets run with a Rockies team losing six straight, and the Mets are right back in the mix with a bunch of teams hovering around .500 for a shot at the postseason.  Last year, the Mets were under .500 as late as August 19th, and they still made the postseason.  Throw in a potential Amed Rosario call up, and you really have things cooking.  Why not this year’s team?

Well, that’s easy.  The bullpen is a mess.  You have no idea when Noah Syndergaard and Neil Walker can return if they can return at all.  Jose Reyes is playing everyday.  The route to the postseason partially relies upon Montero being a good major league pitcher, and the Mets calling up Rosario.  At this point, those are two things no one should rely.

As a fan?  We should all enjoy the ride for as long as it will carry us.  As Mets fans, we have seen miracles.  We saw this team win in 1969.  We saw a team dead in the water in 1973 go all the way to game seven of the World Series.  We watched a Mookie Wilson grounder pass through Bill Buckner‘s legs.  We saw Mike Piazza homer in the first game in New York after 9/11.

As fans, we can hold out hope for the impossible.  We can dream.  Sandy doesn’t have that luxury.  He needs to look at the reality of the Mets situation and make the best moves he possibly can.  That includes trading Bruce, Duda, Granderson, and any other veteran who can get him a good return on the trade market.

That still shouldn’t stop us from dreaming.  Who knows?  Maybe Rosario, Gavin Cecchini, and Dominic Smith can led the Mets to the postseason after Sandy is done selling.

Americas Past Time May Become New York’s Sport

The greatest player, Babe Ruth, built his legend in New York.  Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in New York.  We still wax poetic about Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.

New York is the home of some of the greatest games ever played.  Bobby Thompson hit the shot heard round the world, and Mookie Wilson hit a little dribbler up the first base line.

Teams that are based in New York have won 35 World Series.  This is the most amount of championships belonging to any city in any sport.

Despite the largely debunked story about the origins of baseball, the Baseball Hall of Fame was built and placed in Cooperstown, New York.  Naturally, New York teams have the most amount of Hall of Famers.

If baseball is American’s Past Time then New York is its heart and soul.  And yet, it took a class of fourth graders from Cooperstown to make the case baseball should be the official sport of the State of New York.

In a report from The Citizen, Ms. Anne Reis’ fourth grade class did the research and made the case that baseball should be the official sport of New York as part of a lesson on official New York State designations.  They provided their findings to their local state senator Jim Seward.

Seward has taken the information, and now he has proposed a bill in the legislature to designate baseball as the official sport of New York.  Such efforts should thrill baseball fans everywhere.  Undoubtedly, it was a special moment for Ms. Reis’ class.

Upon her now former students hearing the news, Ms. Reis said, “”They’re thrilled.  They’re in fifth grade at this point, so I went downstairs and went to all the different classrooms and let them know what had happened.”

Hopefully, this designation will become official.  We all know how important baseball is to the state.  We need not look any further than the importance of Mike Piazza‘s home run in the first game back in New York after the terror attacks of 9/11.  Baseball matters, and it matters more in New York than anywhere.

These kids know that, and they did something about it.  These children accomplished something by putting in the requisite time and research.  It’s a testament to them, and it is a good example for people everywhere.