As I reflect on a season that was simply disappointing, I begin to ponder what a World Champion really is. The best in the game? Not necessarily. That’s not to say that the best team never wins it all, or that the team that does win it all doesn’t deserve to, but it is usually a combination of talent, endurance, and luck that makes a champion.
Picture this…the Mets do not let a 7 game lead slip away and win the National League East. That changes the entire play-off scenario. The Mets sweep the Division Series, take the League Championship Series, and win 4 out of 7 to win the World Series. Does that mean they were the best team this year? Reality is, they only fell 2 games shy of making the play-offs at all. Just 2 games was the difference between playing baseball in October versus playing golf. They are looked upon, now, as a not-so-good team after all. But had they won those two more games and made the play-offs, conceivably they could have gone all the way. The only difference between the disgrace they are (and I say that with the utmost respect) and the heroes they could have been, is two games.
On the other hand, luck was indeed the deciding factor for the Phillies. They were fortunate that the team ahead of them, our beloved Metsies, choked down the stretch. Obviously, as I mentioned yesterday, the Phillies were not so great. But had they in fact beat the Rockies, they could have gone on to win it all. Does that make them better than the Mets? Better than the Rockies? When it all comes down to it, the teams who were able to make it into the post-season, whether it be on their own achievements, or the lack thereof on the part of another team, simply have to win three more series to be crowned champs. All it means is that they were better than the teams they played in the postseason, at the time they played them.
The post-season is here. (Well, it’s been here for a week, but you get my drift.) It’s a whole new season, and a whole new ballgame. (No punt intended. Ok, maybe a little.) Once 162 games are over, it’s a clean slate. The Phillies proved they couldn’t win in this new season of 2007, the post-season. And unfortunately, the Mets didn’t have the chance. Maybe in 2008, the Mets will be the best team in baseball, or at the very least, the luckiest.