The wave of optimism coming from the Mets fanbase this weekend has been refreshing. Welcome to the club. (Guest euphoria welcome) It’s impossible not to be giddy about how this team played this weekend. Finally, a Mets pitcher has pitched a no-hitter. Believe it.
What else can you believe? An MVP? Playoff berth? The World Series?
Why not? Many of us would’ve put the odds of those above a no-hitter, and we’ve beaten those odds. David Wright has to be one of the favorites for the MVP a third of the way through the season. You could make a case for both Johan Santana AND R.A. Dickey as Cy Young candidates. According to ESPN’s Cy Young predictor, R.A. Dickey is the early favorite.
The Playoffs? Well, the Mets are now tied for first place in the division. They’ve been in “If the season ended today” position to make the playoffs most of the season. Winning in the playoffs? I’ll take my chances with R.A. Dickey, Johan Santana, and David Wright, that’s for sure.
Greg from Faith and Fear in Flushing has this to say on those “We’ve never had XXX” lists:
“And what’s left of a never-got-one nature to ache for anyway? Put aside a World Series championship even if you’ve never seen one before, because the Mets have two of those. They have cycles, triple plays, a 6-for-6 night, 10 consecutive strikeouts, a batting title and now a no-hitter. What is left hanging out there on the vine that can be attained on the field? An MVP has to be voted on, so that’s not it. A perfect game would be something, but that’s like waiting for the clouds to rain candy. Not everybody has one of those, so it’s not as if the Mets are being left out. Ditto for a four-homer performance. We’ll love if it happens, but it’s rare enough to advise against holding breath for.”
What can’t the Mets do this season? Nothing. There is nothing the Mets can’t achieve. Believe It.
This weekend is about the New York Giants. It’s about the Super Bowl, and a championship. It’s about perhaps a parade on Tuesday and random rankings of Eli Manning among the greatest QBs in the game today.
So good luck to the Giants. I’m looking forward to this game, and like so many so-called experts on Twitter, blogs, radio and tv, I’m going to give you my meaningless prediction. 30-16 Giants. It’ll seem closer than that though. The Giants will score early in the second half to go up 23-13, and the Patriots will answer with a field goal. The next score will be halfway through the fourth quarter when Tom Brady is picked off deep in his own zone. He’ll then turn the ball over on downs on the Giants 44 yard line, and Eli will run out the clock slowly driving down the field and taking a knee.
The Giants, and NY and NJ, will celebrate. The Senate will drink NY beers bought by New England politicians. There will be a parade. Then, despite five other local sports teams playing professional sports, all eyes will turn to baseball. We’ll tick into single digits of days remaining until pitchers and catchers report.
And it can’t come soon enough. Let’s Go Mets!
Take 2011 where two teams completely out of it suddenly made the playoffs and one of them even won it all. It’s impossible to predict baseball. Sure you usually have a pretty good chance of knowing which teams will be good, and which will be bad, but every year dozens of people that watch hundreds of games are completely wrong about who’s going to win divisions.
Despite a handful of games against the Wild Card-leading Atlanta Braves still to come in the last 60 or so games, when the Mets traded Carlos Beltran on July 27th while trailing those Braves by 7.5 games, it was considered the right move. That’s a lot of ground to make up for a team barely above .500, and the long term benefits of trading Beltran were largely considered to outweigh any gutshot chance the Mets had at overcoming that deficit. As it turns out, the Mets were only two games behind the team that eventually won the Wild Card. The St. Louis Cardinals were a mere couple of games better than the Mets at that point, and they even still had head to head games remaining. A lot of things still went wrong for the Mets from that point forward. They didn’t finish above .500 and it’s extremely unlikely that keeping Beltran would’ve made much of a difference. Still, it’s a pretty good example of how you never quite know what it’s going to take to make the playoffs.
That’s what I want from the Mets in 2012 while they get their payroll/revenue balance under control. I’m not demanding they throw money around and attempt to buy a championship, but they need to keep the possibility of a championship open. Put the team in a position so that if most things go right they can make the playoffs. I’m not talking outlandish things like Ruben Tejada putting up a season like Jose Reyes. Jose Reyes plays 140+ games. Jason Bay has a season that splits the difference between his best years and his Mets years. Johan Santana makes 30 starts and is a good, if not great, pitcher. Pagan is more pre-2011 Met than 2011 Met. Josh Thole, Lucas Duda, and Ike Davis progress and have good solid major league years at their positions. Jon Niese takes a step forward. Mike Pelfrey‘s numbers fall more in line with 2010 than 2011. The bullpen guys that get signed, coupled with the ones that remain from last year, perform reasonably well and keep the games from getting away. The biggest one of course is that the Mets stay reasonably healthy.
None of those things are that outlandish. Some are even likely. There are also good things and bad things that will be completely unforeseen. David Wright could break his back again, or R.A. Dickey could decide to live on Kilimanjaro and back out of his 2012 contract. One of the yet unsigned relievers could go on to have an unbelievable shut-down type year, and Mark Cohoon could be promoted from the minors in May and have a Rookie of the Year caliber season. You just never know, so give it a chance and hope and root for more good than bad. We’re certainly due.
My wedding was in October and fall themed. One of the table names was the World Series table, and to represent it I had the famous picture of the ball getting by Buckner.
With all the bumbling and incompetence attributed to the Mets, I started to wonder how they’d do in a purely random system. If you simply decided the World Series champion based on a roll of a 30-sided die on Opening Day the Mets would win one out of every 30 seasons. The Mets have two titles in 50 years, but there weren’t always 30 teams. So what does the math say?
For the first seven years there was a 5% chance to win, so they should’ve won .05 titles a year. As expansion happened that .05 number drops towards the .0333 it is today.
7 * .05 = .35 (1962-1968)
8 * .04167 = .3333 (1969-1976)
16 * .0385 = .6154 (1977-1992)
5 * .0357 = .1786 (1993-1997)
14 * .0333 = .4667 (1998-2011)
If you add that all up you get 1.944 titles the Mets would’ve won in their history purely based on the roll of a die. Statistically they’re beating the odds, however they will fall behind the pace if they don’t win one in the next two years.
How about just making the playoffs, based off the randomness.
7 * .1 = .7 (1962-1968, 10 teams, 1 spot)
24 * .1667 = 4 (1969-1992, 12 teams, 2 spots)
.1429 (1993, 14 teams, 2 spots)
4 * .2857 = 1.1429 (1994-1997, 14 teams, 4 spots)
4 * .1667 = .6667 (1994-1997, 12 teams, 2 spots)
14 * .25 = 3.5 (1998-2011, 16 teams, 4 spots)
14 * .1429 = 2 (1998-2011, 14 teams, 2 spots)
The Wild Card and divisional format makes it a little tricky, as the Mets technically aren’t competing for an NL West playoff berth. I don’t think even random odds should award them that. I did the math based on the two potential spots the Mets could win, and removed the two teams that would win the other two divisions. It’s not exact since if the two best teams were in another division the Mets could get in as the third best team, but for the sake of randomness I think it’s close enough.
Adding them up gives you 7.5096 playoff berths (9.4858 if you want them to try to win the NL Central) which is a shade off the seven playoffs the Mets have seen.
What if just the playoffs were determined randomly? The Mets actually do pretty good there.
4 * .25 = 1 (1969, 1973, 1986, 1988. 4 team playoffs)
3 * .125 = .375 (1999, 2000, 2006. 8 team playoffs)
They would’ve won 1.375 championships once they made the playoffs, suggesting that the Mets have made the most out of their playoff berths. ( They’re 9-5 in playoff series)
So overall, the Mets aren’t a bad franchise. They win their fair share of championships, make the most of their time in the playoffs, and get regularly, if not frequently play in October.
Doesn’t it depend on what beer they were drinking in the Red Sox clubhouse as to how big a sin it was? Why has no one asked this very important question?
First off, if it was something that said Busch, Miller, or Coors on it, that’s just wrong. It’s like rooting for the Cardinals, Brewers, or Rockies. The same goes for Blue Moon, which is part of Coors and there is a Blue Moon Brewery attached to Coors Field.
Even worse would be if they were drinking a Bronx Pale Ale from the Bronx Brewery.
For the Wilpon conspiracists: If they were drinking a Brooklyn Brewery Pennant Ale ’55, Fred wants to trade for Lester. Pennants aren’t won in September either.
Perhaps the best beer they could’ve been drinking was a local microbrew: Wachusett Green Monsta IPA. Although it says it has a homerun of hops in every sip, so perhaps that’s more of a David Ortiz beer.
Presumably anything from Sam Adams would be appropriately Boston, except Oktoberfest. If they were drinking an Oktoberfest that’s ridiculously presumptious when they hadn’t even made the playoffs yet.
What beer do you think they were drinking?
Not trying to step on the toes of Metspolice’s ’80s week, but I came across these 1969 playoff ticket stubs (Not mine, I wasn’t alive) and figured the Thursday before the second half would be the perfect time to post them. (And a much longer post I have planned complaining about FIP is lazily unfinished)
That’s the clinching game of the NLCS, which I’d forgotten was only a five game series. Game 3 of the World Series, presuming they mean game 3 and not home game 3, would’ve been the Agee catch game and the first World Series game ever at Shea Stadium.
Tags: 1969 mets, 1969 new york mets, 1969 ticket stubs, 1969 world series tickets, Baseball, baseball ticket stubs, mets nlcs ticket stubs, mets ticket stubs, Shea Stadium, tommie agee, world champion new york mets, world series ticket stubs
It was a horrible game. The Mets played sloppy baseball all around the diamond, and didn’t hit the ball with runners in scoring position. Niese didn’t throw enough curveballs and was forced to get too many outs in one inning, but survived through five.
This game was not a result of comments made by guys in suits. This game was the result of play on the field, which wasn’t better than the Cubs play on the field. Ruben Tejada was not thinking about what a meanie Fred Wilpon was to Jose Reyes when he failed to catch a pop-up going back.
Jason Bay is not done. He’s not very good, deserves all sorts of criticism, and is killing the lineup but he’s not done. Just like Carlos Delgado was not done in 2008. Remember him? I always laugh because there’s a blog out there called Ketchup On Your Ice Cream, whose last post was a frantic call for Mike Carp to replace him. This blog still stands, nearly three years later, as a monument to not overreacting. Yes, Bay looks horrible. Luckily he’s a hard worker and a hustler. He can come out of it. No better time than right now, when the Mets need offense the most.
Justin Turner is not “regressing to the mean” as I saw one beat writer note last night. Rookies do not regress, because the idea of regressing suggests a baseline value. Justin Turner does not have a baseline value, because his major league sample size is ridiculously small. Even punching in his Buffalo numbers to the extremely questionable minor league equivalency calculator gives him a respectable .743 OPS in the majors. Obviously it’s unlikely he’ll hit like Albert Pujols and drive in a run every game, but that doesn’t mean he’s trash.
The Mets are not done. Yes, they’re in a tough spot with the offense. Justin Turner helped some, but when he cooled off no one else stepped up to get big hits. When the offense is struggling the defense needs to make the plays and avoid costly mistakes that extend innings and make things tougher. The Mets had been pretty good at that, but they’ve gotten sloppy again lately. They’ve got one of those “turning point” series coming up this weekend with the Phillies. Everyone overreacting right now will likely be overreacting in the other direction if the Mets win that series.
The pitching is not horrible. The bullpen is actually very good, but the starters are what’s in question here. Yes, Pelfrey and Niese fell apart around some sloppy play and bad luck, but they’re not crap. Pelfrey is a solid above average workhorse type pitcher and Niese is still learning the league and the craft. Dickey put up a good showing on Friday and hopefully that means he’s back in command of his knuckleball. Gee’s a rookie and Capuano’s pretty solidly average. I’ve long been saying the good part of the Mets rotation, and the team in general, is that they all around don’t suck. There aren’t any huge black holes and automatic outs or gimme pitchers. Every pitcher is capable of pitching very well, and most of the time they’ll keep the team in games. The lack of an ace, for now, is mitigated some by having an above average back end of the rotation. I also suspect Sandy Alderson is looking for a couple of pitchers that could help out a little, for depth purposes, but it’s hard to find much in May.
So in the end, it’s just one game. You can’t overreact and point to every three game losing streak as confirmation that all the negative gibberish spouted about the Mets is true anymore than you can take a three game winning streak as evidence that I’m correct in my prediction of the Mets clinching the division on August 25th against the Phillies. It’s a long season, and lots of things change week to week and even day to day.
Tags: 2011 new york mets, fred wilpon, jason bay, just one game, justin turner, losing streak, Mets, mets clinch, mets defense, mets fans overreact, mets injuries, mets pitching, mike carp, New York Mets, one game, overreaction, sandy alderson, the sun will come up tomorrow, winning streak
My mother’s always sending me odd Mets/baseball cartoons she sees. This one, and I’m not sure where it’s originally from, came in the mail the other day. If you don’t know who Sisyphus was, here’s his Wikipedia page. Basically it’s a Greek myth about a king who tried to outsmart Zeus and was punished by being forced to push a boulder up a hill for all eternity. Just when the ball reaches the top, it would fall back to the bottom.
Presumably this is a statement on the Mets quest for a championship. Everytime things start to get good, the boulder roles back to the beginning. Perhaps it’s Sisyphus in the back of peoples’ minds when they call for a fire sale. After all, Sisyphus doesn’t start pushing the boulder again when it’s only rolled halfway back down. I have no idea why the Mets player is wearing #1.
Perhaps the cartoon is only referring to the Mets of recent times, since they have successfully pushed the boulder to the top twice in their history. Although perhaps the last time it was about to fall it got stuck on Bob Stanley and Bill Buckner.
The cartoon might be better attributed to baseball as a whole. To win a championship a team has to accomplish so many tasks, from signing and promoting the right players, maintaining health and effectiveness, successfully navigating a tricky 162 game season and finally three quick-shot short playoff series before the end and it can certainly seem daunting.
Letters to the NL East, Part 5.
Dear Beloved New York Mets,
Get angry. Seemingly everyone is against you and no one believes in you, but just because circumstances have worked against you recently doesn’t mean you’re out already for 2011. What do the experts know? It’s finally time to actually play some baseball, something you’re all pretty good at. It’s time to surprise some people. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a division winner, with the clinching game coming on Sunday September 25th the Phillies on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. Bobby Valentine will call the action.
David Wright says you need to practice beating teams and getting that swagger and confidence back. Do it. The first nine games are against the Marlins, the Nationals, and the Phillies. With the Phillies you get Hamels who pitches poorly against the Mets, Blanton who’s not very good, and Roy Halladay. It’s the perfect opportunity to get off to a fast start, get Bay and Paulino back, get guys healthy and on track, and start doling out punishment.
Remember, as much as the media wants to write about the Mets being in disrepair, the financial mess, and all the recycled story lines about grit and soft players that they’ve used in the past, if you give them a different story to write they’ll run with that too. People still write about the 1986 team, of which it’s the 25th anniversary of, because their story of beating up on the league and being unapologetic about it was fun to write. So give the writers a story about redemption and revenge. Cast the team, and Wright, as David versus Goliath. Treat everyone as the enemy and don’t let up.
The best thing about this team is it’s depth and balance. There aren’t a lot, if any, bad players on this team. No Jeff Francoeur, no Gary Matthews Jr. There are a variety of relievers that could’ve made the team that are waiting around in Port St. Lucie, and there are seemingly a half dozen different outfield prospects that could show up at any given time. Sure, no one ran away with the second base job, but no one threw it away either. Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner and even Ruben Tejada are right around the corner, or at the end of the dugout, should Emaus not be the guy. Your worst pitcher is either a second year prospect who could come close to 200 Ks, or a former All-Star who pitched to a sub-4 ERA in 66 innings last year in returning from injury.
You are not going to be easy to beat this year, and with some discipline and health, you could make it a really exciting season. Remember, no one gets a handicap for winning the division last year, or for having the best team on paper. It’s time to play the games.
Your Excited Supporter,
Optimistic Mets Fan
Tags: 2011 national league, 2011 nl east, Baseball, bobby valentine, clinch day, Cole Hamels, Confidence, david and goliath, david versus goliath, David Wright, david wright versus goliath, espn, espn sunday night baseball, jason bay, justin turner, letters to the nl east, Mets, mets depth, mets september 25th, mets team, New York Mets, NL East, nl east favorites, no francoeur, september 25th, swagger, when will the mets clinch