By: Paul DiSclafani
But that’s the fan in all of us talking. How could we be Mets fans and think of it any other way? Do you really think you could root for a team all year long, live and die with it night after night and then, when they get to the postseason and sweep their way into the World Series, come up with any reason how they DON’T win?
Lets me take my Mets hat off for a minute and have a real, one-way discussion with you about this.
I have been covering the Mets every night as a reporter and columnist since the beginning of August – just about the same time all hell broke loose here in New York. But I’m a life-long Mets fan that has been living and dying with them, just like you. I know what this team was made of for the last few years and the results were just about what we expected.
This was not a good baseball team. Our players would get injured for months at a time, not weeks. Our free agents would take our money and when they got here, played like someone else. There is no reason to go through the list, every Mets fan knows it by heart.
We saw something different this year, from the Spring Training return of Matt Harvey and the debut of Noah Syndergaard (in the same game). We overcame the loss of Zach Wheeler and that idiot Jennry Mejia and his two drug suspensions. We had the high of our 13-3 start, the low of David Wright’s Spinal Stenosis and the energizing of our franchise with the trade for Yoenis Cespedes.
We kept our heads above water, even when most people (including me) were calling for Terry Collins’ head. And when we had our chance to take control of the National League East against those posers from Washington, we left them in the dust. They are still trying to figure out how they lost that game they knocked Harvey out of and led 7-1!
And all the grief our General Manager Sandy Alderson took as he tried to dig his way out of ridiculous contracts and a minor league system that was the laughing stock of MLB. He didn’t hit on 100% of his moves, maybe not even 50%. But baseball is based on a .300 batting average, right? How many of you were calling for his head when our beloved RA Dickey was traded? Looks pretty good for Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud right now, right?
But why would rational minds think that the Mets, our Mets are going to beat the Kansas City Royals in the World Series this week?
There are plenty of articles giving you position by position matchups, edges, maybe citing statistics that you may have never even heard of. The listing goes on and on.
This Kansas City team if full of contact hitters, they are saying. 75% of their at bats result in them putting the ball in play. They were the toughest in the league to strikeout. The weak point in the Mets is their infield defense. The Royals were one out away from winning the Series last year, so they know what it is all about. All valid points, I might add.
What about the Mets? Does everyone just think this is a fluke? There are no flukes over 162 regular season games and two rounds of playoffs. Let me tell you something about regular season statistics – they mean bupp-kiss.
Didn’t the Mets beat the LA Dodgers 10 out of 11 times in 1988 before losing to them in the NLCS? And didn’t I hear something about how the Cubs won all 7 games against the Mets this year in the regular season? How did that turn out for them?
All the pundits said the same thing – as Yoenis Cespedes goes, so goes the Mets. Really? And that guy Daniel Murphy that everyone makes fun of? He can’t field, he doesn’t know what to do on the basepaths. He hit only 14 home runs in the regular season and then hit seven in nine postseason games.
You see what I’m getting at? The teams that have the best regular season get to the playoffs in any sport. But the teams with the best regular season don’t always win the Championship. The postseason is filled with stories of underdogs and amazing finishes.
Amazing. Now that’s a word we will be hearing a lot of in the next couple of days.
Nobody can predict the future, not even Marty McFly. But there is one baseball adage that holds up year, after year, after year: Good pitching beats good hitting. And over the course of 162 games, if you don’t have good pitching, you can cover it up with good hitting and win a lot of ballgames.
But in the playoffs, it is all about good pitching. And man, do the Mets have good pitching. Think about what the Mets had to go through with the Dodgers when they had to face Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke twice in the NLDS. Then think about what the Cubbies must have been thinking when we throw out Harvey and Syndergaard, only to follow them up with Jacob deGrom. Before they knew what hit them, they were down 3-0 – and then we give them the sacrificial lamb, Steven Matz!
The Cubs never had the lead at any point in the series. Never. As a matter of fact, in 36 innings, they only had the leadoff guy on twice in the first three games (a walk and a HBP) and then twice in the final game, when they were down 6-1.
So you know what I say Kansas City-ens? Talk about statistics all you want and keep telling yourself your bullpen is better than the Mets. That what the Cubs fans were talking about, “Oh wait till we get into the Mets bullpen!” By the time they got into the Mets bullpen, it was too late.
No matter the results of the first two games, what do you think the atmosphere at Citi Field is going to be like for the Royals for the first World Series here in Queens in 15 years, on a Friday Night no less?
Of course this series will be decided by pitching, but there is no one wearing blue and gold with the names “Kershaw”, “Grienke” or “Arrietta” stitched across their back. Even the other American League studs like “Price” and “Keuchel” are gone. As Ed Norton would have said, “We ain’t a-sacred of youse”
The great unknown going into the postseason was how will the Mets young, inexperienced starters fare in the bright lights of the playoffs? Well, so far so good. Ask the Dodgers, who fired their manager. Ask the Cubs, who are still getting ready to play Game 5. Ask the Nationals if they would trade Strasberg, Gonzalez and Scherzer right now for Harvey, deGrom and Syndergaard. What do you think their answer will be?
In 1969, the Mets were a surprise to everyone and were expected to go quietly against the mighty Baltimore Orioles. But after getting their feet wet in Game 1, they never lost again, winning Game 5 at home, leaving the Orioles and the rest of baseball shaking their heads.
The 2015 team is built on pitching, just like that team was. They both came from nowhere in August and sped past the first place team before the rest of the league caught on. Then they backed it up in the playoffs and went to the World Series as underdogs.
I have seen almost every inning of every game this season. I have been watching baseball games for over 50 years. You see a lot when you look at players reactions when they are walking back to the dugout after striking out or flailing at the stuff these guys are delivering. And it is frustrating to see it all game, but to see it again the next night? And then again the next night?
They are about to do it again. Enjoy Games 1 and 2 in Kansas City, Midwesterners, because there will be no Game 6. Once we get home, we are ending it here. Get ready, Mets fans. We’re gonna party like it’s 1969!