Believe It: Other Its.

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.

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.

Does It Get Any Better Than This?

Congrats JohanDon’t answer that. I don’t care.  Because this is awesome.  It’s perfect despite it not being a perfect game.  It’s simply Amazin’.


The first truly great moment, of many to come, at Citi Field.  The first Mets moment in history in a while that instantly became a “Where were you when?” moment.  The last one was probably also Johan Santana‘s.  His amazin’ domination of the Florida Marlins on the second to last game of 2008.


I was at a restaurant for my mother-in-law’s birthday.  A Hibachi steakhouse in Valley Stream, NY.   Much like Johan Santana, this restaurant had recently been damaged and shut-down, only recently reopening.  My wife, among others, joke that I’m addicted to my phone and this bit of positive reinforcement certainly won’t help with that.  I fully intended to detach from baseball for a night.  I’d seen Carlos Beltran‘s first at-bat before we went to dinner, and figured I’d read the recap and watch the highlights later.   I didn’t.  I finished my onion soup and peeked at the score.  After all, Johan Santana was pitching and we’d been there to see his last dominating start as a mere mortal last Saturday.  Game day told me of Duda’s 3-run home run and I smiled.  I did notice that there were no hits.  Of course I noticed. We always noticed.  It was early though, and we’ve seen that before.  My salad came and I started eating, and I drank my beer and ate some edamame.  All the while that nagging feeling in the back of my brain was tingling.  Internet addiction? Mets magic?  I checked the score.  I checked the pitch count.  I got worried.  These checks got more and more frequent, with a brief reprieve while the Mets were coming to bat.  They had a big lead and I was just hoping they wouldn’t prolong the time Santana had to sit and wait to continue.   I fretted briefly over the ‘injury delay’.   As we got to the 7th inning I started seriously checking the pace of dinner.


Would the guy behind the bar flip the tiny screen to the game instead of whatever race they were showing?  Was anyone really watching that? Maybe I would step out to the parking lot and use MLB’s At-Bat app for a live look-in.  Would 3G service be enough for that? Probably not.  The audio feed would probably be the way to go.  We’d finished ice cream and our waiter had disappeared.  Where was he? Run my credit card already!  Bottom of the 8th.  Someone finally showed up and processed it, and we could leave.  I got to the car in time for the 9th.  Instantly I was transported into the game.  It’s amazing how these events manage to do that.  I’d mentally pushed baseball down on my list of important things for the night, but it wasn’t having any of that.  Tonight was about Mets baseball.  I turned on the radio and Howie’s voice instantly filled me with all the jitters and emotions that we all know so well.  He called the game while I drove, which I don’t recommend in such situations..not that there will ever be a situation quite like that, and he called each ball in play with the urgency it demanded but also with a hint of terror that it was going to fall in.  Your brains, like mine, like Howie’s, probably ran through each of the billion ways it could’ve gone wrong.  It didn’t.  It so didn’t.


I parked, and everyone else went in.  I listened to the recap and interviews, grateful that they didn’t go to commercial and say “Back to talk about it in a moment”.  It was a great night.  It was a Mets night.  Baseball took over, and it was glorious.


Congratulations to Johan Santana, and Happy National Donut Day everyone!

Upcoming Mets Schedule Is Not A Big Deal

Supposedly the Mets have a difficult schedule coming up.  To think this is some make or break period though is a little silly.  All games count, but there is still so much time left after these games that they don’t quite mean that much in the grand course of the schedule, unless they did something crazy like win 25, or 75, percent of them.  I suspect what people are really saying when they tell you about the difficult schedule is that if the Mets can get through another stretch of games and stay in the playoff picture, they’ll start believing.


I say you believe now.  It’s more fun.  Still, let’s take a look at this so-called difficult schedule. (The New York Football Giants laugh at your strength of schedule arguments btw)  Carlos Beltran and the St. Louis Cardinal are next.  They’re pretty good, although one game worse than the Mets so far.  Nationals up after that, who are leading the division right now but merely 1.5 games up.  This is the biggest series of the bunch, for obvious reason.


Then it’s interleague play, which always matters less because the opposing team is not competing for the same playoff spot.  The Yankees are currently 1.5 games worse than the Mets and the Rays are only one better. The Reds have one less loss than the Mets and the Mets have already split two with them, and the Orioles are a team picked to finish last like the Mets. (that should be a fun one if they’re both in first)


Not to say this isn’t a tough stretch, but these teams are not teams that are playing better than the Mets, they’re teams playing much like the Mets. Equal competition, not better, unless you’re a non-believer.  The only teams truly dominating right now are the Rangers in the AL West, and the Dodgers who the Mets will play at the end of June.


The Mets have actually played well against good teams.  In fact they lead the league with 18 wins against teams above .500.  Their worst showing of the year was against the hapless Houston Astros.  Clearly the Mets have proved they can pretty much play with anyone.  Anything could happen going forward but to expect the Mets to falter based on opponent is to have not been paying attention to the first 50 games.


50 seems like a fairly substantial sample size and the Mets have the third most wins in the National League.  They have two top flight pitchers at the top of their rotation, one of the best players in baseball at third base, and an offense that seemingly manages to have good at-bat after good at-bat, even when dealing with slumping players and injuries.  The bullpen is streaky, but Bobby Parnell and Ramon Ramirez are pretty good, and Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco get the job done more often that not.  That’s more than you can say about most bullpens.  They’ve been in the money for a playoff berth for most of season and there is no reason to think that’s going to change in the immediate future.

Do You Believe In 6-3?

Is the Mets 6-3 record more than just a hot start?


Nine games are not a lot.  There is a LOT of baseball to be played yet.  Even the 1962 Mets had a stretch of games where they won six of nine.  In fact, they won nine of 12.  Of course, they followed that up with a 17 game losing streak, mostly to the Giants and Dodgers.


I don’t think this team is 1962 bad.  I’m pretty sure of it.  I don’t even think they’re 2011 bad.  I think this collection of players is a winning ballclub.  I said in March that this division would be a race down to the wire.  I still believe that they are all going to be more bunched up this season, compared to the Phillies winning 102 games last year.  As we know, this means winning the games against the division opponents becomes even more important.  The Mets are 6-3 against the division, 2-1 against the favorites, and are playing good baseball.


I was more optimistic, obviously, about this team to begin with.  I believe.  I think others are starting to believe too.  Maybe not that this team could actually compete, but that they might actually win more games than they lose.  They’ve shed the negativity that’s so prevalent in the offseason for what looks like a very fun team to watch.  You could see the expected win totals creeping up from the offseason, through Spring Training, and now even further with a nice start.


Obviously nothing’s perfect.  The Mets won’t win 67% of their games.  They probably won’t go 159 and 3. Bay still is very spotty and seems to get hurt every time he does anything good.  The defense is a work in progress, and may actually be really bad.  Mike Pelfrey is still Mike Pelfrey.  Although I’d offer this counter point to those saying it’s a pain to watch Pelfrey pitch:  Think about how the Phillies fans feel watching guys get soft blooping singles off of him and unable to make much of them.   Is there anything more frustrating than watching your players make soft contact?


There is much more good than bad in this short part of the season.  Ike Davis and Lucas Duda have started slowly, but they’re already hitting home runs.   The rotation has actually been excellent.  Santana is still standing and pitching well, Dickey is still awesome, Niese so far looks to have taken his new contract to heart, and even Pelfrey is generating the groundballs he needs to be successful.   Let’s not forget David Wright.  Many of you joked about his jammed finger and day to day status leading to a three month DL stint.  Instead he missed merely three games and homered in his very next pitch.  I think Rich Coutinho said it best:

So let’s enjoy some baseball, and see if the Mets can sweep the Braves again!

2012 New York Met as 2011 New York Giant

Every year there are tons of examples of teams that were deemed to have no chance to be competitive that make surprising runs deep into the playoff rounds and sometimes win it all.  The New York Football Giants were given very little chance to make the playoffs, and even less once they started piling up injuries in the preseason.  Tom Coughlin’s job was in jeopardy nearly every week, and Eli Manning was laughed at for calling himself elite.  The Giants were soundly criticized for mismanaging the cap and for doing nothing in the offseason.


Now there are only four teams left.  One of them is the Giants, and no one’s doubting they have a serious shot at winning their game in San Francisco and going to, and perhaps winning, the Super Bowl.


Eli Manning won Super Bowl MVP in 2008 in Super Bowl XLII.  That vindicated him some from the critics early in his career, but his failure to win a playoff since had brought back the doubts about his talent.  Last year he had a lot of interceptions, and it really downgraded his status with a lot of people.   In a way, it reminds me of David Wright.


I have hope that the 2012 David Wright will be a similar story to 2011’s Eli Manning.  David’s strikeouts nicely represent Eli’s interceptions.  Although he doesn’t have a title, Wright was a legitimate MVP candidate in 2007.  In 2012 I expect to see Wright return to that form.  After Eli outplayed Aaron Rodgers on Sunday there were people that were even comparing him to his brother Peyton, who may be the best ever.   When the 2012 MLB season ends, no longer will we have to debate if he’s the best third baseman in the NL East.  Instead critics will struggle to find a third baseman in all of baseball as good as he is.

Climbing Back Into the Playoff Race

With that four game sweep of the Reds the Mets have inched closer in the playoff race.  They are now 6.5, 6 losses, behind the Atlanta Braves for the Wild Card, and 3.5, 3 losses, behind the second place Arizona Diamondbacks.   What makes those numbers even less daunting is that they play both those teams.


They have nine games left against the Atlanta Braves, who they’ve already beaten in five of their previous nine games.  If they could play well against Atlanta, that number of games behind would shrink fast.  The Mets have six games against Washington and Florida before playing the Braves next weekend.  The Braves also have six games against those same teams.  It’s shaping up to be a huge series for the Mets, one that could really make or break the season.


I would like to see the Mets play better than the Braves during these next six games.  Gain one game before going head to head, so that they are five out.  Then they have the possibility to push it to four games with a series win, or really put the pressure on with a sweep and go to merely two games behind them.  Right now the Braves aren’t playing well and just lost Brian McCann, and the Mets are playing well and some of the guys that were slumping are now hitting.


It’s time to start surprising some people.  Not just “Hey, this team isn’t a disaster” surprise, but a “Hey, this team is actually _good_” surprise.  Let’s Go Mets!

New Citi Field Scoreboard Idea

I agree with many Mets fans that wish there was more Mets history at Citi Field. I tend towards wanting the little tokens rather than grand museums(or both). I think the stairways are too boring; they need a Mets logo on them. I’d like to see pictures of Mets, or the concession stands named after them.

I like the Lets Go Mets on the scoreboard. Maybe it’s a little cheesy, but it’s nice. I think it needs punctuation though. I think it should be Lets Go Mets! After all, aren’t we supposed to be shouting it?

In fact, why not two exclamation points? While you’re up there, why not connect it to Mets history, if only in a small way? One exclamation point for each championship, as seen in this photo.

From MetsStuff