A Mets fan since 1971, Dan spent many summer nights of his childhood watching the Mets on WOR Channel Nine, which his Allentown, PA cable company carried. Dan was present at Game 7 of the 1986 World Series and the Todd Pratt Walkoff Game in 1999. He is also the proud owner of two Shea Stadium seats. Professionally, Dan is a Marketing Manager in the Bulk Materials Handling industry. He lives in Bethlehem PA with his wife and son, neither of whom fully get his obsession with the Mets.
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NLCS Game 4 Recap: Mets Win! Mets Win!

It won’t go down in history as one of their better-played games, but the New York Mets outscored the Chicago Cubs 8-3 last night in Wrigley Field to win their fourth consecutive game of the National League Championship Series, securing a highly improbable berth in the 2015 World Series. More on that improbability later.

The Mets committed several cardinal sins last night: base running mistakes,  several squandered opportunities to add tack on runs and relief pitchers falling behind early in the count. Plus, they lost arguably their best (but not their hottest) offensive player for no apparent reason. They did all of this on the road, a combination of circumstances that under normal conditions, usually equates to a loss. Fortunately for the Mets, last night was anything but a normal condition.

Granted, it was through the glare of the my TV screen, but I came away underwhelmed by the so-called Bleacher Creatures that we’ve heard so much about. The atmosphere in that old ballpark struck me as more of a rave than a playoff game . T-shirt? Check. Beer Mug? Check. White Towel? Check. Stand up and cheer? Check. Clap my hands? Check.  I don’t know if I believe in curses,  but the Cubs fans seemingly do, as they where taken out of the series the moment Miguel Montero dropped that third strike the game before. There was a collective “here we go again” resignation from them that would never happen in New York.

There is an deadly earnest seriousness to a playoff game in this city, Boston, or even Philadelphia that seemed lacking in Chicago. The crowd seemed more bystanderish than participants. I think that whoever the Mets face in the World Series next week will really need to brace themselves for what’s coming from the fans.

Back to the game itself, which had a surreal sense to it. I had to remind myself during the middle innings that the Mets where actually winning. Even after David Wright’s incredible snare of Starlin Castro’s liner in the 5th, I couldn’t shake a feeling of dread. I did relax to a point after Daniel (who’s Babe Ruth?) Murphy’s homer, but the suddenly unreliable Tyler Clippard gave those two runs back. Even the indomitable Jeurys Familia struggled just a bit in the ninth before getting a called strike three on Dexter Fowler to end the game and the series. The game lacked the drama of say Game 6 of the 86 NLCS, or the Todd Pratt walkoff,  or Bobby Jones’ gem. But considering how nervous I felt during most of the game, perhaps the lack of drama was a good thing!

Like many long time Mets fans, I tend to compare this season to others, looking for similarities. This team is far from being a complete squad, which is what the 1986 and 2000 teams were. It much more closely resembles the 1973 team, that rode great pitching and timely hitting, rising up from the depths of the division, overcoming heavy favorites in that race and the NLCS, getting to within a manager’s mishandling of the pitching staff (RIP Yogi) to beating the Oakland A’s. This team and the run they put on from August 1 forward reminds me of that team. A lot of recent bad memories, including the Beltran strikeout and the 07 collapse, have been somewhat expunged this year. Here’s hoping that the Mets can now erase an older hurt in this long-time fan’s memory.

I waited 13 years from 1973 to 1986. It took them another 14 years to get back to the World Series again. Now, the wait was 15 years. At this rate, I’ll be 71 the next time the Mets get the World Series and 88, which is how old I am expected to live to, for the subsequent one. What a way to go! The point is, that I am definitely going to savor these next few days and can’t wait for the World Series to begin. My sense is that Murphy, Clippard and Bartolo Colon are goners for sure after the World Series. Yoenis Cespedes is 50/50 at best to come back. But I think Murphy put it best when asked about his contract status: that’s a question for the offseason, we’re still playing.

Play on! Lets Go Mets!

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Sustainable Success or a Blip on the Radar?

2015 NL East Champs. Let that sink in for a moment. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Remember, it was called here first.

Little known fact: this is only the second time in their history that the Mets went from below .500 in one year to a division winner the next. You may have heard of the 1969 season, which was the only other  time they did this. In fact, the 3rd place 1972 Mets actually had a better winning percentage (albeit in a strike-shortened 156-game season) than their next year’s division winners did. Only the Mets, folks.

Division titles are a rarity in these parts, five of ’em in the last 45 years to be exact. So the question becomes, do we have to wait another nine years for the next one, or can the Mets actually win back-to-back division titles? More than likely, they will be the 2016 preseason favorites to do so, but these predictions will come from the same sources that figured the Washington Nationals would be the runaway divisional winners this year. So, can the Mets actually repeat this somewhat surprising success of this year? There’s a three-part answer to this question.

The first is obvious: the Mets’ young arms must stay healthy. It was hard to swallow, but the limiting of Matt Harvey’s innings was done with the coming years in mind. Matt is a Met for at least three more seasons and it would be a shame to lose any more of this service time to injury. A fully-healthy and ready for 200 innings Harvey is a key to a long run at the top for the Mets. At some point, the Mets will have to choose between Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz as to who they will invest in and who will be allowed to walk away. Based purely on age, I’d bet they keep the latter two, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Parts two and three of the answer are closely related.

It seems like a long time ago now, but before this past July 31, the Mets pointed to a pipeline of young talent that they touted as being able to keep them at or near the top of the NL East in the coming seasons. Much of it has been stripped away, sacrificed on the altar of a postseason berth this year. And what a payoff: the big “get” has been Yoenis Cespedes, perhaps the greatest in-season acquisition the club has made since getting Keith Hernandez back in 1983, if not ever. In what can only be termed as Amazin’, Cespedes put the Mets on his back and the team zoomed past the hapless Nationals en route to their first NL East crown since 2006. Cespedes is will probably be the runner up NL MVP, but the winner of that award will be on the golf course while Yoenis’ team plays on.

Now for the rub: Cespedes’ surge is incredibly well-timed, as his contract expires at the end of this year. He is due for a big payday and the Mets pre-July 31st history indicates that they have little chance of resigning this dynamic player, as most pundits expect him to earn between a $140M and $170M deal.

Re-signing Cespedes (part two) is directly related to part three, which depends on the Mets still fertile, if somewhat mature, conveyor belt of talent to supply them with enough cheap and serviceable alternatives at other spots to absorb this monster salary.  These alternatives have names: Michael Conforto, Dilson Herrera, Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Hansel Robles, Dario Alvarez and Logan Verrett, among others.

The Mets began 2015 with $33M earmarked for Bartolo Colon, Daniel Murphy, Bobby Parnell, Dillon Gee, Jerry Blevins and Jenrry Mejia. All of them can be allowed to walk, as each can replaced by the candidates mentioned in the previous paragraph. Colon and Murph in particular have given the Mets some big moments during this stretch drive, but such is the cruel nature of baseball. The players today have the freedom that their counterparts 40 years ago fought hard for, but this freedom means loyalty has gone out the window. You can only stay if you work for cheap, unless you are a superstar like Cespedes. I’d consider offering Murphy a QO, but only if I felt sure that he would rather explore the market for a long-term deal. They can pocket a draft pick in this scenario. They’ll need to draft smart these next two/three years. Poor drafts where the hidden causes of the collapse of the late 80’s and 90’s playoff teams.

For argument’s sake, let’s say that Cespedes gets $160M for six years. That makes him the team’s $26 Million Dollar Man.  Given the rate of inflation in baseball salaries, that could be a relative bargain sooner than you might think. The money coming off from Colon, Murphy, etc. covers the first year.

Of their other July pickups, I think they can let Tyler Clippard and Juan Uribe walk, but should keep Addison Reed (arbitration) and re-sign the relatively inexpensive Kelly Johnson. Reed gets the 8th inning, while Robles, Alvarez, Sean Gilmartin, Goeddel, Verrett and Josh Edgin jockey for roles in pen. The beauty of this is that all of these arms have big league experience and at least a modicum of success.  KJ can be the left handed bat off the bench as well as Herrera’s caddy. Don’t forget the Mets still have Juan Lagares, the 2014 gold glove centerfielder, signed to a relatively team friendly contract. Plenty of teams looking to get younger, faster and more athletic should be lining up at the door with offers for Lagares that could fill any gaps that open as next season wears on. Any bets on Clippard and Blevins being back in Washington next year?

More of a stretch, but in 2017 Smith replaces Lucas Duda and Rosario replaces Rueben Tejada. Farfetched? Smith was the 2015 FSL MVP, while Rosario  finished this year in Double-A. Jon Niese and Michael Cuddyer and their combined his $21M are gone after next year, while Curtis Granderson and his  $15M is gone after 2017. David Wright’s contract drops his salary to “only” $15M after 2018, so even after the pitcher’s salaries begin to skyrocket at the end of the decade, the Mets have other big money contracts either coming off the books or costing them less money. Smith and Rosario become the low-money guys at the same time that Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores start to hit arbitration. The same trade winds that blew Lagares out of town may end up moving Wilmer as well.

So, yes, the Mets can repeat. The bigger question is what the Wilpons will do. They should brace for at least a  25% payroll increase in the coming years. Is a division championship (at the very least) enough to justify the cost? They claim to love the team and must be reveling in this recent success. Seeing Cespedes walk has been viewed by some as a potential doomsday scenario. I can think of a worse one: the Mets lose Cespedes only to toss mega-millions at one of the lesser outfielder types like Alex Gordon to compensate. Remember the Kevin Appier fiasco?

All of this is getting a bit ahead, don’t you think? Enjoy the victory lap next week and get ready for some Divisional Playoffs! Lets Go Mets!

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Mets Game 139: Playoffs? Playoffs? Playoffs!!!

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Well, now it’s official: the 2015 Mets have entered that rarefied air that only a handful of previous Mets teams have ever experienced. They are an “it” team, on one of those magical runs that comes along all too infrequently in team history. This shot, taken in a sporting goods store in Easton, PA, which is normally the intersection of Yankee and Phillies territories, tells you all you need to know. A fellow Mets fan remarked to me that they must have had that stuff in storage for years!

As for the game itself, the Mets weathered superlative performances from Bryce Harper (2 HRs, 12 total bases) and Steven Strasburg (13Ks). Like a patient boxer taking a few jabs, the Mets waited until Washington lowered their guard ever so slightly and then struck hard, with homers from Kelly Johnson and Yoenis Cespedes. In a matter of seconds it seemed, the Washington Nationals where flat on their backs, staring up at the lights, contemplating plans to make tee times for early October.

Much has been written about the Mets July additions of Cespedes, Juan Uribe and Tyler Clippard. Johnson has been somewhat easy to overlook, but he has been Terry Collins’ secret weapon of sorts since his arrival. He is the epitome of “veteran presence” (read his comments about his approach against Strasburg last night) and his ability to play all over the place has allowed Collins to give a few guys a breather and/or avoid being overmatched. Wilmer Flores had a tough night against Strasburg, but Collins had the option of using Johnson instead of the 23-year old Flores in the 8th. In the 9th, Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto showed the Mets can also manufacture runs, combining to put a big insurance run on the board. Jeurys Familia did the rest. When I saw Matt den Dekker was the Nationals last hope, I knew the game was in the bag.

So, the Mets sweep Washington, opening a seven game lead with 23 left to play. Washington is nearly finished, their pitching staff is in disarray, their manager appears to have lost all confidence in himself and some of the team’s veterans look like they’ve quit. They really miss Clippard and Adam LaRoche, which is what I proffered here. The Mets buried the rest of the division with their hot April start, so we are looking at a virtual victory lap between now and the start of the NLDS on October 9, hopefully at Citi Field.

This is an epic time in team history and as a fan since 1971, I  am savoring every moment. The trades GM Sandy Alderson made in July should go down in Mets lore, as they completely altered the season’s (and maybe the franchise’s) trajectory. By the way, just how  smart is Mr. Moneyball, Billy Beane really? While his Oakland team flounders in last place, he can contemplate that in under a year, he traded away both the AL and NL MVPs.  Yes, I know, Cespedes probably won’t win it, but Harper will likely be watching, rather than playing baseball this October.

On a much more somber note, Friday marks the 14th anniversary of the horror that was September 11, 2001. Much water has passed under the bridge since then, but it’s a good opportunity to pause and reflect on the blessings that we do have in this life and to acknowledge the sacrifices of those who put themselves in harm’s way so we can enjoy things like baseball games.

Lets Go Mets!

 

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Mets Game 131 Recap: The Class of 2014 Comes Through

Maybe there was a plan after all.

Last night 2014’s top draft pick Michael Conforto combined with Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon, the Mets two 2014 Free Agent pickups to give the Mets a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies last night. With the win and the Washington National’s 8-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Mets begin September with a 6 and 1/2 game lead over the Nats for the Eastern Division crown.

Colon was brilliant again last night, with eight shutout innings over the seemingly hapless Phils, striking out nine. His fifth inning single in front of Granderson’s 23rd homer of the season gave the Mets a 3-0 lead. Earlier in the same inning, Conforto blasted his fourth homer into the left field stands. The early returns on Conforto have been encouraging to say the least. No less of an authority than Keith Hernandez gushes over each at bat; although it must be remembered that Keith was also a big fan of Matt den Dekker.

Perhaps a signal moment occurred in the 9th inning, as Jeurys Familia gave up hits to the first two batters of the inning. Up to the plate strode Ryan Howard, one of the last vestiges of the Phils’ glory days. With one swing of the bat, Howard could have easily turned the entire game and perhaps the Mets season, around. Instead, Familia, channelling his inner John Franco, walked Howard to load the bases. He then induced ex-Met Jeff Francoeur to hit into a double play, scoring a run. Familia then just barely avoided a game tying homer to Andres Blanco before whiffing him for the final out.

Deep breath, deep breath. As I shared earlier, I have a superstitious streak in me when it comes to baseball and I do believe in omens. If the Mets are going to blow this lead, last night would have resulted in either Howard, Francoeur or Blanco hitting a game tying homer, followed by several innings of pure torture before a Phils win. Instead, Familia (who is probably the Mets MVP this year) was able to slam the door shut. Speaking of omens, this win on the last day of August tied the team record for wins in that month, which was set in 2000, the last year the Mets went to the World Series.

So, now we run the gauntlet of “meaningful games in September.” The schedule maker has certainly been kind to the Mets, but it is still incumbent on them to get the job done.  I like the fact that they are adding Steven Matz and Addison Reed to their somewhat beleaguered pitching staff. While they still have those Washington games, although almost all of the pressure is in the other dugout at this point, as that team has almost no room for error.

See you tonight.

 

 

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Mets Game 127: Worth Staying Up For

Boy,  it was a lot easier to write copy for this blog when there was something to complain about! How about this: the Mets are causing me to lose sleep. I rise at 4:30 AM most days, so these late night games are killing me. Since July 31, Mets games have become “must see TV” in my household, so we all walk around a bit bleary-eyed (but happy) these mornings.

There is an aura around this team right now, a swagger in the dugout and on the field that comes through the TV screen. Down by five runs on getaway day? Let’s play. Starting pitcher is struggling? Let’s play. Wanna go extras? Let’s play. Your knucklehead, old-school coach is trying to intimidate us? Let’s play.  All in all, a 13-inning 9-5 win over a team that just a few short years ago inflicted two humiliating comebacks on the Mets, relegating them (and us)  to also-ran status on the season’s final days; the aftershocks of which are still being felt today.

Fortunately, this is not the 2007 Mets on the field these days. For openers this Mets team is actually adding quality arms, not scrambling to find them. Steven Matz is only a few days away from joining the rotation and Logan Verrett may prove to be one of those kismet (no pun intended) tales frequently occurring  during That Championship Season: lost in the Rule V draft, he is then cut by two teams before returning home to play a key role down the stretch. Sean Gilmartin and Hansel Robles may never be heard from again, but they have shored up the bullpen, which was the major culprit in the 07-08 disasters, providing an important bridge between the starters and the two late innings guys.

But it’s the offensive turnaround that has been the most startling. Lost in Daniel Murphy’s heroics (more on him later) is the fact that Yoenis Cespedes hit yet another homerun, a two-run blast in the 5th that cut the Phils’ lead to one run. I know they don’t give out awards like this, but Cespedes is the Mets’ second half MVP so far. Since his arrival all he has done is slash 303/345/596 with 8 HR and 24 RBI in just 24 games. He has transformed the Mets’ lineup and his ABs are worth staying tuned in for. Curtis Granderson has consistently delivered since the season started and Jeurys Familia was easily the first half MVP, but the arrival of Cespedes added that fear factor the Mets offense. I fervently hope they can find some way to keep him around.

Another potential offseason loss is Murphy. Even more so than David Wright, Murphy epitomizes the sojourn this team has been on since 2008, which was his rookie year. Who ever would have thought that all of those efforts to shoehorn him into the lineup would be paying off the way they are now? (Just keep him out of leftfield). His collaboration with Carlos Torres on that grounder in the 10th inning last night will live on highlight films for years. Plus, Murph is really fired up, which is rarity for any Met player ever (the team has almost always played with a kind of quiet reservation, both in good times and bad) and his exuberance is fun to watch.

So, a sweep in Philadelphia and now a home stand against Boston and these same Phils. Just in case you haven’t noticed, these are not the 2007-08 Phillies anymore. And FWIW, I don’t think the 2015 Washington Nationals are the 2007-08 Phillies either. But, we’ll be finding that out soon enough!

LGM. And, sound off below.

 

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Avoid The Jinx: How to Keep the Good Vibes Flowing

My life was much different back in 1988. I wouldn’t meet my wife-to-be for another year and while I dated, I had no serious relationships going on. I had an entry level job with the organization I eventually would spend another 20-plus years with, but their purchase by a Fortune 500 company and the first of my several promotions was years away. Even further in the future was the birth of my son. I was still adjusting to a personal upheaval that had required me to change most of the people and places in my life. Looking back, I was then in the middle of several transitions, all of which with the benefit of hindsight, turned out quite well.  In 1988 however, their outcome was very uncertain. I didn’t have much going on in my life, financially, socially or romantically.

But I had the Mets. And these where certainly heady times: the team had sprung, seemingly out of nowhere to win 90 games in 1984. They got even better the next year and then with me in attendance at Game 7, won the 1986 World Series. No team had repeated for nearly ten seasons, so I conceded 1987, but was very confident in 1988; especially when they romped to another division title and took two of the first three games in the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers.

I had tickets for Game Two of the 1988 World Series at Shea, which by the top of the 9th inning in Game Four of the National League Championship Series, seemed like a foregone conclusion. The Mets where about to go up three games to one on Los Angeles, setting up a 1973 World Series rematch with the mighty Oakland As. I couldn’t wait. I had vacation days put aside and cash saved up for the Series games and memorabilia that I was sure I would be seeing and buying.

Then the roof fell in.

No sooner had broadcaster Tim McCarver mentioned that he thought Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden was tiring, then did Doc walk John Shelby and give up a game-tying homer to Mike Bleeping Scioscia. The Dodgers went on to win the game in extras, tying the series. They eliminated the Mets three games later. I have seen this described as a kind of Continental Divide in the story of the 1980’s Mets—the night their expected baseball dynasty changed direction and headed into a permanent decline instead of another World Series berth. Looking back, you could feel the shift as soon as Scoscia’s shot cleared the right field wall. In less than two years that entire team was nearly completely dismantled and the  long losing streak of the 1990’s began. If only Davey Johnson had brought in Randy Myers to close in the 9th!

I have been through a lot of heartbreak with the Mets since and have experienced some gut-wrenching (and gut-turning) developments, but nothing, not the Generation K flop, not the Kenny Rogers walk, not the 2000 Subway Series humiliation, not the Adam Wainwright curve, not the 2007 collapse (or its 2008 echo), not the post-Madoff retrenchment era, nothing, hurt as bad as the 1988 NLCS loss. I was emotionally vulnerable back then and this unexpected loss to a clearly inferior team hit me as hard as if there had been a death in my immediate family. My work supervisor even pulled me aside after the carnage to make sure I was “alright.” My apparent maturity/cynicism since then has shielded me from taking further blows as hard as I took that one.

So let’s fast forward to this season, which to date has been the entire 1980’s in a microcosm. There’s been a fast start (Joe Torre had the 1980 Mets near first place in mid-July of that year), a period of despair and offensive ineptitude matching that of 1981-83, the rise of young pitchers, a promotion of a highly touted draft pick outfielder and a big trade for a major offensive piece, all crammed into an incredible four-months of baseball, with a potential crescendo looming in the final 50 or so games.

And that’s what has me nervous. These are the Mets we are talking about after all. While their history isn’t quite as bad as that of say the Jets, they have certainly have given their fanbase more than their fair share of angst. Re-read the paragraph just above the previous one in case you don’t believe me. Already, I am hearing some brash fan-boy bluster from talk show hosts, fellow bloggers, broadcasters and a few beat writers—the latter which may be doing it on purpose.

Now I get it, this is Mets Today, founded by a baseball instructor and coach (we miss you Joe) and we take a very analytical, straight talking approach to this game. But, superstition is just as big a part of baseball as batting practice. So I’m begging my fellow Mets fans: please don’t jinx this. We might be on the verge of something special, a season we’ll long cherish—with a lot of special moments that don’t come along too often, at least for us. Don’t offend the baseball gods with some loutish, moronic behavior, tempting them to deal us yet another blow to our collective solar plexus. All hail, oh venerated gods!  I suggest Mets fans might want to consider a quieter and subdued approach to the remaining schedule, going for the ride instead of trying to set the pace. I admit that some of this concern dates all the way back to that cold October night that Mike Scioscia killed off much of my innocence, but with my tongue somewhat planted in my cheek, here is how I advise taking in the rest of the regular season:

  • One Game at A Time: No looking ahead (or behind). Yes they will need a spot starter or two and those pitch counts might become an issue. GM Sandy Alderson’s inability to improve the team over the winter left them shorthanded for half the year, resulting in some frustrating losses, games they eventually may wish they had won. There are six games with Washington left on the schedule. Fred and Jeff Wilpon, Alderson and Terry Collins are still at their posts. But once the game starts there is magic  in between those white lines,  so…
  • Savor Every Moment: Get into the games, enjoy them with friends and family. We Met fans don’t get many opportunities like this one: a team on the rise, lots of charismatic personalities and a new hero almost every night. The last time this happened was 1984-85. A year ago, to be sitting so pretty like this seemed improbable. Unfortunately, as fast as they have risen, they can also fall. Be thankful for what is happening and enjoy it.
  • Respect The Nats (And the Yanks): This is a tough one. Washington is full of unlikeable characters, both on and off the field. They have made some very bold statements, several that they might be regretting. Some Yankees fans seem to think post-season games are their birthright. It’s easy to enjoy their suffering and even crow about it. Remember however that the Mets haven’t proven anything yet and both teams are in a position to do some real damage to our hopes. What good is talking trash if you later have to eat it? If Matt Harvey can stuff it, then so can we. And please, enough talk about “taking back the town.”
  • Don’t Count Magic Numbers (Yet): I have already seen them posted. Why? I can recall them all over the place in August of 2007, along with Gary Cohen’s gleeful ramblings about “sustained success.” Remember the outcome that year? Living in the middle of Phillies country, I sure do. Unless those final three games against the Nats are rendered meaningless, this practice needs to be avoided.
  • Save the Post-Season Roster Speculation: There was a thread started over on NYFS on this topic that included a lively discussion about whether or not Jerry Blevins should be included.  A day later Blevins “slipped” off a curb and re-injured himself (no word if he spilled his beverage). That was a warning. Take Alderson’s comments about the best 25 players at face value for now.

Now, I admit that I have indulged in some speculation myself. So, putting my more analytical Mets Today hat back on for a moment, I took a look at the 2007 Mets roster and compared it to today’s team. A comparison between the ’07 Phils and the current Nationals team was similarly enlightening. So here’s hoping the advanced stats don’t lie. Should the Mets make the playoffs, then  we can then kick out the jams and root loud and long.

But in the meantime, shhhhhhhh.

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One Order of Crow…

…but washed down with a tall glass of “well, they finally listened to us.”

The past ten or so days in Mets history have been well-chronicled elsewhere, so there is no need to re-hash them again here. Suffice to say that as a long-time Mets fan, I thought that when it comes to these guys that I had seen it all, but there is nothing that compares to the period from July 24 through last night. Never before have the Mets been so active with in-season trades, while at the same time playing ballgames under the heat and intensity of a playoff stretch.

My feelings on the Wilpon family and the Mets front office mirror those of many readers of this blog and Mets fans in general. So brace yourself—-kudos to Sandy Alderson for making those four deadline deals, especially the buzzer beater on Friday. And a grudging “thanks” to Fred and Jeff for taking on the extra money (although not a whole lot!) to make this team team more entertaining. I promise to buy tickets again. Now, please just go away and let us enjoy baseball.

Although “enjoy” may not be the right term for the emotions I felt as I watched the games this past weekend. I had my hands over my eyes, waiting, waiting for the bubble to burst and the Nationals to take the other hand from out behind their backs and throttle the Mets. Instead, I came away thinking that Washington is a lot like those late 1980’s Mets teams: loaded with talent, but perhaps more than a bit overrated and maybe, just maybe,  lacking that certain something that gets them over the top. At least those 80’s Mets won a World Series. If you want a laugh, check out the comments section in any recent Nationals game recap.

As for the Mets, I have no idea what to expect, but there is reason for optimism. They didn’t implode right after the All-Star break and when the sun came up this morning, it shone on their tie with Washington for the division lead. They could make as many as three more player additions via returns from the DL. While not the slam dunk that the ESPN hacks insinuated last night, their schedule is favorable,  especially when compared to Washington’s. That ficklest  of mistresses, Dame Momentum, is currently in their corner.

There is really no telling how this roller coaster ride of a season will end (and doesn’t that April streak seem like it happened three years ago?), but in the words of Keith Hernandez: “The race is on.”

 

 

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The Hip…Or The Wallet?

So I went to bed last night, thinking that the Mets had finally acquired the ideal player for their lineup and their stadium and at the cost of a pitcher I have long advocated moving, along with an underwhelming middle infielder.

Imagine my chagrin this morning.

And I can’t help but thinking that Carlos Gomez‘ hip has nothing to do with this trade falling through.

Maybe its the same DNA that makes me a Mets fan, but I wonder if someone in the Met ownership box did a quick calculation and decided that Gomez is too rich for their blood.  If that’s the case, we have come to the turning point of the 2015 season; a figurative Mike Scioscia  Game 3 homer to  all of the work done by the players, the manager and the coaching staff and even the much maligned front office to get to this point.  Looking at Sandy Alderson’s press conference being re-run on TBN this morning, I could shake the feeling that he has returned from vacation and replaced the Body Double that stood in for him this past week.

Yes, I know there are still 40-plus hours left to get a deal done. And this probably means that you, like me, will be constantly refreshing whatever website you frequent, hoping for news of another move. But brace yourselves for disappointment, as I think we have seen the true nature of this ownership and the front office. We’ve gotten close and there is genuine excitement about this team again. If an inability or unwillingness to take on a major league contract is the real reason why Gomez isn’t a Met, then our hopes for a turnaround have taken a serious and potentially permanent hit.

Here’s to us.

 

 

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