Frugal Mets Fit Bud’s Brand of Baseball

I was watching the Mets-Marlins game last week when retiring commissioner Bud Selig stopped by the Mets’ broadcast booth to chat about the state of the game and, briefly, the state of the Mets. Bud basically repeated his standard spiel about how the game has thrived under his stewardship, how competitive balance is bringing hope to more fans than ever before, and how he has total confidence in his buddies the Wilpons. I’d heard it all before, but in this new context, hearing it while watching the small-budget Mets pitch and hit, it finally dawned on me: Bud is right. By not acting in the best interests of their own fans, the Mets ARE acting in the best interests of Baseball.

It is the Mets and Cubs who allow fans of small market teams to have hope. Not everyone can just buy their way to a title. The Yankees and now the Dodgers get to be the loathed over-spending juggernauts that make even other big spenders look out-classed, and Rays fans won’t grumble about the payroll advantage of the Orioles and Blue Jays.

If ALL the big market teams bought themselves all-star lineups, fans in Miami and Milwaukee might not buy their owners’ promises of contention. Look how attendance declined in Baltimore when Ripken retired and the Yankees and Red Sox were leading the game in payroll dollars and wins every year. But in 2012 the O’s did a few smart things, caught a ton of breaks, were incredibly clutch, and all the fans came back to watch them make the playoffs. All without the team breaking the budget.

This is Selig’s plan for the Wilpons:

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Mets Games 160, 161, 162 – Wait ’til Next Year!

Mets 8 Astros 3

Mets 2 Astros 1

Astros 3 Mets 1

Here’s what I wrote for ESPN’s final “Power Rankings”:

The Mets finished with 79 wins for the first time since 2010, winning seven of their last 11 games and going 14-10 in September. Their 31-22 record in day games was sixth-best in the majors, and only the A’s won more games (eight) when trailing after eight innings (the Mets won six).

They were the only team with a positive run-differential (plus-11) and a losing record.

That last sentence is quite the head-scratcher.

Mets Game Notes

Bartolo Colon finished the year with 15 wins. Lucas Duda finished with 30 homers, the first Met to do so since Ike Davis mashed 32 in 2010. Duda’s #29 was quite dramatic, for those who weren’t busy pouring wine in Atlantic City with famous wine people.

The Mets finished 38-38 vs. teams in the NL East, for whatever that’s worth. More importantly (to Mets management), their attendance of 2,148,808 was 13th of 15 in the NL. The team had a 15-10 record in three separate months — April, July, and September. What does that mean in the grand scheme of things? A team that was collectively 15 games over .500 in three months yet finished four games below the mid-water mark?

They had 7 walkoff wins, 11 walkoff losses. They were 26-29 in one-run games and 7-8 in extra-inning games. Is that indicative of the bullpen, which by all accounts seemed to be a strength? Or the management of the team in late innings?

They finished the second half 34-33, so I’m sure the spin doctor will make hay of that winning record, in addition to the team’s tie for second-place finish.

The most games over .500 they ever stood was four — on Tuesday, April 29.

The most games below .500 was 11, on July 5.

The Mets never spent one day in first place for the entire season.

The Mets were shut out 12 times, and shut out opponents 11 times.

The Mets’ longest winning streak was four games. Huh. Their longest losing streak, six.

Next Mets Game

God willing, the Mets face the Nationals on April 6, 2015 in Washington, D.C. First pitch is TBD but Joe Namath Matt Harvey has already guaranteed a win.

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