The 2020 Season, A Bad Experiment

No. It’s bad.

I gave it it’s best shot. I was pro-season going in, but now that it’s almost over it just didn’t do it for me. It wasn’t..normal?

That’s been a trend for me with the pandemic. Everything and everyone is trying their hardest to approximate normal. How can we dine? How can we shop? How can we cram the same educational milestones into a school year remotely? How do we have a baseball season?

It’s not normal though, and a little foresight would’ve gone a long way into envisioning a different type of season, not just a shorter one. Rob Manfred  though, seems to hate baseball, and it shows. So instead of anything approaching creative, we get shoe-horned in last minute changes like a runner on second in extra innings, or 7 inning games, extra teams in the playoffs and no breaks in the playoff rounds.

First mistake was ignoring the pandemic. MLB dragged its feet on playing at all, purposely waiting until they could mandate 60 games. Maybe that could’ve worked if they started earlier and factored in time for potential quarantines. Instead anytime anyone had to miss games, even if it was only a few days, they were faced with a 10 game in 7 day scenario, or long stretches with no off days.  

So teams would go from a bunch of days off in a row, to suddenly playing non-stop. I haven’t run specific numbers, but it’s hard not to imagine players timing being off, players routines being off. These are players that, accurate or not, would complain about all sorts of minor disruptions from not getting enough work in, to having to pitch the 7th instead of the 9th, as reasons why they were less effective. 

The injuries too. They go from cold to hot, with no build up. ‘Summer camp’ was abbreviated. Players rushed, and got hurt. The games mean more, so they’re pressing more. It’s like every complaint about the WBC without any guidelines or protocols in place. Never mind rehab starts. Need to miss a start or two because of a tight hamstring or a hangnail or anything else? Right back into live games without any minor league time. Hope you’re sharp!

Of course, there are no fans. We knew that, but for all the jokes about it being normal for the Marlins, or whoever, it’s wrong. It feels wrong. I can’t quite take the whole thing seriously because the images from the park are so foreign. The playoffs are going to feel weird, muted, without all the pomp and circumstance that goes with a fanatical group of people in the stands getting excited. 

Now that this season is just about over, even though it feels like it barely started, and I just never really found the passion to dive into the season and really commit. Part of that is just that with so much going on, sports feels so secondary anyway. I have so much on my mind, so much I’m worried about, caring about, dealing with, that sports? I just can’t get myself there. 

All in all, this season has mostly been an abomination. I was really rooting for it, but they just couldn’t pull it off, but that’s a discussion for another day. At least they mostly kept everyone safe, so far. 

Is Rex Ryan Hurting the Mets?

Currently the Mets are squandering an opportunity to climb back into the playoff race by not capitalizing on a struggling Atlanta Braves team, but whether or not they get closer it seems like some interest in the Mets could be waning as the season goes on, and I blame Rex Ryan.

The last couple of years Mets fans in their negativity have looked for any reason to give up on the team and root for next year.  Fans were doing it as early as Spring Training this year, proclaiming the season as hopeless and getting mad at people that suggested maybe they could actually be a winning team.  Now that the NFL has ended it’s lockout and is set to resume as normal, there is something else for Mets fans to focus on.  Rex Ryan’s antics become more enticing than Daniel Murphy’s defense.  Potential free agent signings for the Jets or Giants seem to become more interesting than what the Mets will or won’t do with Carlos Beltran at the deadline, or who will slip through waivers.  The health of various injured football players becomes more intriguing than Johan Santana’s rehab schedule.

I think the Mets still have plenty of interesting baseball left in them, and I suggest you don’t let preseason football, which most of you profess is pretty boring, get in the way of actual sport.  There will be things to watch on this team that will be exciting, games that will be a great deal of fun to be at, and players that are a marvel to watch play everyday.  If the Mets are out of it you can switch channels on Sundays, but don’t miss out on some fun baseball just because the Giants and Jets haven’t disappointed you yet this year.

Could This Be The Mets Final Test?

Could this be the final test for the Mets?

I hope it’s not, but if they fail it may mean the figurative end to their season.  The next two weeks are very critical, and the first order of business is just flat out winning games.  The Mets have played very well at home this year, and they’ve got three games against the tough Cardinals, and then three against the not so tough Diamondbacks.  There can be no excuses: They have to win games.  Omar’s job, provided he still has one, is to bring in reinforcements after that.  The trading deadline is next weekend, and the Mets are in need of some help.  No longer can they play waiting games or decide they don’t like the price.  When you drop as many games in the standings as the Mets did, you no longer have the luxury of pretending you’re not desperate for help.

After the Diamondbacks the Mets again head on the road.  It’s this road trip that could prove to be critical, as they face the Braves and the Phillies.  The Braves have been amazing lately, and the Mets have been making just about every other ballpark look to them like Turner Field did around the turn of the century.  By falling so far back, it’s become imperative that they make up ground by beating the competition in front of them.  Losing and falling further behind could very well be a death blow.

The Mets have been extremely streaky this year and they really are much better than they’ve shown lately.  If they take that streak and turn it into a hot stretch where they’re again a team that’s tough to beat, they could climb right back into this race.  There is still a lot of baseball to be played and August could be a good month for them.  After they play the division rivals on the road, they come home for the Rockies and the Phillies before going on a road trip that one would describe similarly to the Cleveland-Baltimore trip they took that they were successful on: they play the Astros and the Pirates.  Another home stretch with the Marlins and the Astros provides plenty of time to fight their way back into this race before facing the Braves again at the end of the month.

Can the Mets ace this next test and fight their way back into relevancy again?  I don’t know.  Neither answer would surprise me, but I’m certain they’re capable of it.  They often say you need to get hot at the right time and if the Mets can capitalize on that by beating up on the division rivals, as the Phillies did in 2007, they can certainly win this division.

Letters to the NL East, Part 5/5

Letters to the NL East, Part 5 of 5 (part 0, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 )



Dear New York Mets,


New Stadium, Fresh look. Let’s forget these so-called collapses, and focus on 2009. Games from 2008 don’t count, and teams don’t get handicaps for being defending champs. This division is ripe for the picking.


Braves look stronger, Phillies look weaker, but you still look like the best team on paper. It’s time to make that stand up. The bullpen changes should be enough to give you enough confidence to finish off these teams, win these games, and have an excellent season. As usual, health plays an issue. You need to make sure guys like Delgado, Church, Castillo and Maine all stay healthy. One benefit this year is that you seem to have a ton of outfield depth in Sullivan, Reed, Kielty and Evans. More so if you do acquire Gary Sheffield today, although I think he’s a washed up cheater if anything.


We’re all excited for this season, and hopefully you’ll give us something more to enjoy than a new ballpark. We’re all curious how Citi Field will feel in those rowdy, anxious playoff moments. Lets get us there to find out. Many have reservations about the park and how it stands up to Shea Stadium, but this season has the potential to get to put Shea behind us. Give us a new crop of highlights in the new park, and we’ll all love it.


Your lifelong fan,


Optimistic Mets Fan

Best Season Ever?

Greg over at Faith and Fear likes to go on about the ‘almost’ seasons like ’97; years that express the Mets rebirth from the basement into a competitor. These are usually seasons that have little or no possibility of horrific disappointment because you expect nothing and know it’d be a crazy long shot for anything magical to happen.

No one is looking at 2007 with anything but disgust; At least not on this end of the Jersey Turnpike. There was very little ‘good’ to take out of last year. Even something that might have been something, Glavine’s 300th win, was forever marred by..well you know. I’m sure there were some fun and memorable moments from 2007, but I find myself at a mental block whenever thoughts stray to that year.

2008 will be better, because it’s not like those other years where we expected nothing and got something. Not because it can’t possibly be worse. In a way it combines that magical trait of moving from nowhere to somewhere with the expectation of something exceptional. Much like ’83 or ’96 were worthless years leading into something bigger, ’07 will be the same way. The difference with 2008 is that it’s not coming off an era of irrelevance. Disregarding all the Shea Goodbye and other off the field stuff, 2008 is a recovery year but not just one where we look at the team and enjoy watching them because there is hope and good baseball for once. 2008 has endless possibilities all the way to the end, but even if it were to end as horrifically as any other season there is still that ‘97/’05 quality to it that will keep it in our minds.

For us younger fans (And by that I mean under 30 or so, which is a sad statement in it of itself), I imagine this is how it felt to watch Gooden in 1984. Pelfrey has blossomed into something every team dreams of, a home grown Ace. Even if he might never be the Ace on the Mets because we already have one, even If the Mets never win another game this year, there is something rather exciting coming out of 2008 that makes most of us rather giddy. Can you imagine what the future holds with a 1-2 punch of Santana and Pelfrey? How about how solid Daniel Murphy looks at the plate, coming seemingly out of nowhere? And of course I don’t need to express how wonderful it is to have two franchise ‘veterans’ in Wright and Reyes continue to shine. They hopefully haven’t even reached their prime yet, and they already hold places in the Mets record books that will have them mentioned for decades to come. These are only some of the moments that make 2008 already memorable. From as simple as sweeping the Yankees in the final Subway Series at Yankee Stadium to the possibility of winning it all, 2008 has something for every Mets fan to remember fondly.

Where will this chapter of Mets history take us? That’s yet to be determined, but it’s safe to say that the season will be full of successes no matter how it ends. Step back from the internal strife, the bullpen woes, and the late-inning offensive slumps to appreciate the good aspects of the season. Whether it’s Reyes’ or Wright’s all around good play, the joy of watching an emerging Ace or an already dominant one, the discarded player in Tatis making a comeback to have an excellent year, or any of the other exciting secondary stories that are playing out this year. Then brace for the next four to eight weeks as I expect this season could jump to near the top of the list of best seasons ever for both young and old fans alike.

Letters to the NL East

Baseball starts soon, and that means I’ll probably start updating with a little more regularity once there is actual content. For now I’m planning a 6 part series of “Letters to the NL East” which I’m envisioning as a sort of rally cry/smack talk analysis of what I think of those teams.

the 6th team being the Yankees, as they are close enough to warrant a little attention.

Letters to the NL East: Yankees

Letters to the NL East: Nationals

Letters to the NL East: Marlins

Letters to the NL East: Braves

Letters to the NL East: Phllies

Letters to the NL East: Mets