Eyes on the Prize

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. So at this rate, the Mets should be superb by October. Going into last weekend you figured the Mets had only a week left of baseball, and then a week of coasting. It looks like they decided to do it the other way, taking off for a week, hopefully followed by a week of good solid baseball. They went from being probably the first or second team to clinch, to a team letting the competition have a shot at the prize.

If the Mets play doesn’t give you faith in a postseason berth, and why should it, you have but to look south, at Philadelphia. This team is truly abysmal. They can outhit just about anyone, but when it comes to the playoffs and October, hitting just doesn’t get it done; You need to be able to pitch. The inability for the Phillies, and the Braves, to play truly competitive baseball for any length of time has been a double-edged sword. Sure it makes winning the division a little easier, but It bestows an air of confidence on the Mets that they haven’t deserved. It’s about time for the Mets to grab the prize that’s been sitting their all season long for the taking, before they knock it into the Phillies lap.

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Brave Woes

We got the one game, which of course is less than optimal. However, we retain a comfortable four loss lead in the division. This was a much more important series for them than for us. Had the Mets won two, the Braves would be six back and in trouble. Now they’re not as much in trouble, but like they have for the past three months, they’ll be playing a series this weekend for third place.

Worry-warts are saying that this is the same old Mets team, struggling against the Braves. I think differently. That particular struggle was put to rest last year. The reason the Mets are 4-8 against the Braves this year is precisely that they’re not that good. The flip side is that the Braves know that the Mets are the team to beat, and they don’t seem to have any sort of struggles in playing the Mets. While the Mets see the Braves as just one of the teams they have to hold off, the Braves see these games as must wins. The Braves know that they have to beat the Mets to get to the top, and they play these games appropriately.

The Braves have to play this games this hard, because they’re not that good. They know they need to get through the Mets to win the division, because even winning what they have against the Mets, they’re not in first. If the Mets had even split these 12 games with Atlanta, I’d probably be discussing resting players already. All is not lost though. The Mets have two options that they can very easily take. The first is to start playing like they’re capable, beating teams left and right, starting with the Marlins this weekend. If they play strongly, there is no way the Braves can catch up. The other option is to play the six remaining games against the Braves hard, and put the distance between them that way.

The Mets have the capability to play well, and to win this division. They are easily the best team in at least the East, if not the whole league, and when they play well no one else has much of a chance.

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The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Mets

Here come the Braves. Literally, not figuratively, though if the Mets play badly this week it could be both.

In some of the time I spend in the Hot Foot Bleachers, I mentioned once that this upcoming series is a lot bigger for Atlanta then it is for the Mets. I was laughed at, but it still holds true. The Braves are four and a half games back, which means the best they could reach is two losses behind the Mets with a sweep. If the Braves win the series, which is what I’m sure they’re setting out to do, that puts them four losses back. Three and a half games back with only 48 left to go is what the Braves are aiming for. This isn’t a threat to the Mets; the Braves have been hovering around three and a half for a while now, unable to really put on the pressure. They’ve flirted with third place more than first place.

That said, the Mets still should go out there and win this series at home. They need to brush them back with the attitude of “What? You’re still here? This is our division now, check in again sometime next decade.” They can do this; they just won series against the two contenders in the Central division, they won a seven game road trip against the West division contenders. It’s time to show the Braves that there aren’t any contenders in the East division, only a repeat champion.

I have heard no word yet on if Willie Randolph is going to pitch his pitchers on normal rest next week, taking advantage of the day off to get Maine to pitch Thursday against the Braves instead of Friday against the Marlins. It would be the right move to get the best pitcher in the rotation to pitch against the team currently sitting in second place in the division.

I want all the Braves fans to be thinking about one thing Thursday night; the Friday preseason Falcon game against the Jets.

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The First Stumble

Apr 12, 2007 05:03 PM

The Mets are now 5-3, two games out of first and one day removed from Oliver Perez’s Walk-a-thon. The pessimists are all pointing and saying “See? How are we going to compete with starts like this?”, but I’m not panicking. Perez pitched well in game 7 under pressure, he pitched well in the spring and in his first outing this year. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and blame this on the cold. Maine’s situation was similar, he struggled with his control, but he kept it manageable. This was a lot like how he pitched last year; struggling and then getting out of it. I have confidence that they’ll both improve over the course of the season. It will be interesting to see how Pelfrey does on Friday, but I think he’s ready to make an impact. The Mets bats started out well, but now they seem to have lost that groove, but only fools think that they’re suddenly not going to be able to hit. Atlanta won’t stay this hot, and the Mets are not going to struggle like this for long. If anything can get the Mets hitting going strong, it’s the upcoming series against Washington Nationals pitching.

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Ticket Woes

Feb 26, 2007 01:27 PM

It gets harder and harder to get the platinum level type ticket every season. Last year I managed to have tickets for opening day, and all three subway series games. This year I have 3 tickets to opening day, and 3 tickets to one of the Subway Series games. I also have 4 tickets to a second subway series game, but that’s only because I took the financial hit and bought a Saturday season-plan which included one.

Sadly baseball is becoming, at least here in New York from my perspective, a sport for richer folk. Now I don’t remember the days where you could see a baseball game for less than the current price of a mocha at Starbucks, but even at 24 I can see the ever increasing cost of being a fan.

I understand that a fan has to remember that baseball is a business, but I think that _baseball_ needs to remember that it is also a game and a passion of a lot of ordinary, average people. It’s understandable that baseball tries to make money, by offering corporate boxes, charging more for prime games, and the like. There are millions of us out here that are fans that cannot come up with hundreds of dollars to see a couple of games, but are willing and enthusiastic about spending what money we have on the sport we love. Making it hard for the average fan to buy a cheap ticket, even to deep bleacher seats just alienates us, and mutes our interest in the game.

Some people have wonderful memories of paying quarters to get into memorable games of baseballs rich history, remember getting into the bleachers just so they could see some of baseballs great players play. Others listen to stories of fathers, or grandfathers, or uncles as they recollect some of the exciting games they went to, even if they weren’t rich, while we listen on, remembering just how much to costs to be able to goto a game today.

With the construction of Citi Field, and others like it, the philosophy of having no bad seats is a wonderful one, but if the trade off is the cheapest ticket being $20 or $30+ dollars, I’d be just as happy watching it at Shea. For the true fans, it’s not about the seat, the concourses or the view. It’s about the game in front of us.

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