THIS IS FUN!
THIS IS FUN!
There is no collapse, stop it. Baseball is surely an emotional sport to follow, but let’s be realistic here; the Mets are going to the playoffs. Their lead is insurmountable, and the Nationals just might lose 10 games on their own.
Of course, the Mets might win 10 on their own too. This team has a depth to it that they haven’t had in a long time. I hate to even broach this subject, because it feels as silly as pointing out that David Wright is a great hitter, or Yoenis Cespedes has been tearing the cover off the ball. They’re just things that happen. People seem legitimately worried though, which is pointless. Embrace a little logic and realize there’s really no way the Mets lose enough games to not clinch.
edit: After writing this, the Nationals went out and lost. Magic Number is down to 9. Really, nothing to worry about.
Normally I wouldn’t be pro-Cardinals, especially after they eliminated the Mets in 2006, but as long as it’s not the Yankees It doesn’t really matter to me which team wins. I don’t hate the Yankees because they win, I hate the attitude of many of the fans and the treatment they get in the media. That’s what makes me root against them. The Cardinals could be considered similar, but I have no contact with their fans and being in a different city keeps me separated from most of the Yankees writer counterparts that you can’t help but hear about when you live in the NYC area. What does matter to me is Carlos Beltran.
Carlos Beltran may be a Hall of Famer alreadydepending on who you ask, but for those that don’t think he is, a World Series ring and further postseason domination would strengthen his case. He’s played more games with the Mets than anyone else, the next closest being his Royals origins. This suggests that if he were to get inducted down the road, he’d go in as a Met. That means I’m invested in Beltran collecting the criteria required to strengthen his case, and if that means rooting for the Cardinals this postseason, so be it.
Carlos Beltran was one of the best Mets ever, and it was a joy to watch him during his tenure here. He’s still a great player, and I’m rooting for him to continue the postseason dominance he’s shown in his previous two trips there.
Let’s talk MLB playoff predictions. My picks are probably slightly biased, but there is nothing wrong with that. Anything can happen.
Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies.
My pick is the Rockies. Probably in four games. The Phillies have shown at times this year that they are not that good a team. They haven’t been playing well lately. Lee hasn’t had a good September and Hamels hasn’t had a good year, period. Their bullpen is shaky. They won last year because their pitching got hot at the right time. I don’t see that happening this year. The Rockies have the Wild Card momentum thing going for them, and they can actually pitch pretty well, which is the best thing to have to face the Phillies.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
This is another case of a hot team facing a team that coasted in. The Dodgers are a good team, but I don’t think they have things clicking. I think the Cardinals, behind their pitching and their Pujols, take this series in four games. You can never rule out the Mannywood factor, but I think even if he has a good series, which he probably will, it won’t be enough.
Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees
This series is being billed as a mismatch, but I think there is too much Yankees love out there. We can talk all we want about being tired and worn out, but I bet the Twins wouldn’t describe themselves that way. I think game 163 even helps them, because they won’t have time to unwind and feel tired. They barely have enough time to get to the next game. I think the Twins take the series in four. I think age catches up to the Yankees offensively, I think the pitching won’t be up to task, especially Joba after how he’s been mishandled. The one thing to say is that if the Yankees can hold off the steamroller in game one and win it, I think the Twins could cave to exhaustion and collapse in three.
Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
This is a compelling series too, and I think the hardest one to pick. I think this series will go five, and be the best series. I’m giving the edge to the Red Sox, because I think they have an edge talent wise and that will shine through, but it’ll be close.
NLCS: Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals
I think this is where the Rockies magic wears off. I think they get destroyed, and swept, by the Cardinals.
ALCS: Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins
Similarly I think the Red Sox take care of the Twins in five.
World Series: Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals
I think this is going to be the best World Series in a long time. I think it’ll go to November 5th, all the way to game seven. The Red Sox will take it in the end, winning their third championship of the decade and establishing themselves as the dynasty of the early century.
Today is why football will never touch baseball as far as greatest sport goes. Football has it’s moments..on Sundays. Today there is nothing on again until Sunday. That’s too many days without a game being played for me to really get into it.
I don’t watch amateur sports, so college football gives me no respite. Even that’s not until Saturday. There is only so much midweek analysis I can take, sooner or later I just want to see more action. There is preseason hockey, but that’s not overly exciting, the Islanders aren’t on tonight, and Taveras has the flu anyway.
It’s no wonder television starts around this time. As most baseball teams are just finishing off the schedule fans like me are mentally switching gears to other things. I’ll have MLB playoffs to watch in October many nights, but in terms of devoting myself to a sports team and getting excited, football just isn’t played often enough for me. It’s no more exciting than happy hour drinks on Friday night; great for a couple of hours, but a momentary distraction.
What I’m Rooting For Now
Sure, the Mets are out of it. Everyone has been injured. The manager is still a disaster, and there is still no obvious plan in place going forward. So what should we watch when we’re drawn in to watching baseball? What should we be rooting for?
September call-ups are always a popular choice, even if the Mets aren’t going to have that many. Biggest guy to watch is Josh Thole, the prospect catcher. Catcher is a big hole next year which makes catching prospects even more important. If Thole is for real, then the Mets can look for a short term stop-gap type solution behind the plate for one year. Can watch Murphy and Evans and Pagan and Parnell as they jockey for position and hope to be in the plans for next year.
Mainly though, I’m rooting against the Phillies and the Yankees. It still looks unlikely that either team will miss the playoffs, but stranger things have happened. Both bullpens are suspect, as Lidge goes for the blown save record, batters figure out Phil Hughes, Mariano gets older and frailer, and other guys don’t step up the possibility for a collapse looms. I think both teams are beatable, especially in the playoffs if it comes to that. I don’t expect to see either in the World Series.
Still, the state of baseball frustrates me. The Phillies and Yankees don’t lose as often as I would like, and too often grab victory despite teetering on the edge of failure. I would get no enjoyment watching either of them play baseball in October, and hope I don’t have to. The Islanders first game is October third. The Giants and Jets both start playing this Sunday. I have no idea when the NBA starts, but I think it’s a couple of weeks yet.
Last year I got right into the postseason, and the Phillies being pummeled didn’t hurt. It was like I was so expectant of the season not being over. This year I was just so disappointed and disillusioned that I haven’t been into it. Sox looked good last night, but I’m still pulling for the Rays I think. (I like to compare them to the ’69 Mets, but last night certainly reminded me of the ’08 Mets. Both teams blew it after Kazmir left! haha..that was..bad)
Islanders don’t look great, but I’m thinking there might be some fun there. I caught opening night at the Prudential Center against the Devils, they lost, but I had fun.
I’m going to be in Buffalo this weekend, I wonder if I should pick up a Bisons shirt or something.
Shea was great on Saturday. And hopefully it’ll be great on Sunday. Hopefully this isn’t actually the last game. Either way I’m going to take 6 zillion pictures. It’s going to be insane, and we won’t know the final of the Brewers game until the middle of the Shea Goodbye ceremony, which will make it all the more nerve wracking.
What Johan did was amazing. Oliver Perez never moved from his spot leaning on the railing in the front of the dug out, and was one of the first out to congratulate him. Here’s hoping he was taking notes.
Wow. Bummer of a weekend. It turns out this team is roughly the same team as last year. I’d originally thought the bullpen was better, but without Wagner, it just isn’t. The bigger deal is that the Brewers seem to be freefalling again, like last year. It’s shocking that the Phillies beat them in 4 games, but the Mets at least still have a two game in the loss lead. One of those games is to night.
I’m still not worried, this has been the trend for most of the season. They’d get a little good run going, and the Phillies would struggle a bit. Then it’d reverse, and the Phillies would catch back up. But each cycle of this, the Mets seemed to gain a little bit of ground. In July and early August, the Mets would get to a game or two lead, and lose it again. Now they’re getting a three of four game lead, and letting it dwindle down to one or two. I still think it’s likely the Mets win by four, and I think it’s entirely probable that the Phillies lose 3 games this week. If the Mets can lose less than that, or go 5-2, next week they’ll be a solid three games up with a week to play.
The biggest problem is still that the bullpen is unsettled. Last year at this time, we didn’t know who to go with when. Maybe because they were all struggling or hurt. This year it appears to be the same story. For the most part guys like Ayala and Stokes have been solid since coming here, but is that something that’s going to be the norm? Or are they going to be tired out from being the go-to guys, and by the final weekend, we won’t know who to call on in a tight spot?
The Mets have had plenty of opportunity to put this division away. There have been a game here and there that they just let get away, gave up early, or couldn’t shut the door on. They could easily be in a position that the Phillies wouldn’t even be sending out ticketing emails about coming to see their playoff push.
However, it is what it is. Let’s see the Mets end this this week, play TWO games better than the Phillies, and enter the final week four games up. The Cubs have a magic number of seven, and likely will be using those four games against the Mets for rest and setting up for the playoffs. Just like it’s been each of the last three seasons, the division is there for the Mets taking.
It’s depressing that Shea has become such a hostile place instead of a relaxing place to watch a game. I went to, literally, dozens of Mets games each of the last two years. I don’t feel like I’m going to make it to that many games this year at this rate. I bought a Saturday Plan last year, for the sole reason that it gave me the guarentee of playoff tickets to each round of the playoffs, something that I felt sure after 2006 was going to happen in both 2007 and 2008. Now, even though I was thinking about going to the game on Thursday, I’m probably not going to want to. Where last year I was looking for any excuse to go to a game, lately I’m taking any excuse not to watch.
The thing is, I can’t think of any huge changes I would make, or any big acquisitions that would make this team better. The “on-paper” looks good. There are some disappointments and some weaknesses, but they shouldn’t be causing the team to play like they are. I don’t even think the players know what to do, and I do believe a good amount of them are frustrated.
I’ll probably only flip over to check the score tonight while playing Grand Theft Auto, it’s gotten to the point where even watching them play well for one game just isn’t satisfying. Even the players that are normally fun to watch haven’t been playing like that.
However, I don’t think this can persist all season. I don’t count statistics from half of last year and this year, that’s not how they work. With how the division looks, with the talent on this team, with the nature of baseball, in one month we could be looking back on today and wondering what we were so worried about. Or we could’ve already torn all our hair out.
I still really do think when September arrives the Mets will be in a position to play well and make the playoffs. The Mets need to look at the Super Bowl Champions, put the past behind them, and move forward.
Oh, and to the anonymous Braves fan that commented on my last post…Get a life, or at least sign your name.