The season is three months and 27 days old as of today. The Mets have spent only ten of those days with a losing record and by that I mean sub .500. And in that regard today the Mets are only a whopping three games under .500.
In 1973, after 99 games the Mets were 44-55, eleven games under .500 and they would go on to lose the next two games to put them in last place with a 44-57 record. It was their low-water mark that season.
There were no Wild Cards back then. There were six teams in the NL East not five and the only way to go to the post season was to win the division.
With the Mets on the brink of mathematical elimination, manager Yogi Berra held a team meeting in hopes for a last ditch effort to impart some wisdom on a team that stopped believing they were going anywhere that season. Yogi, a true champion, had been in this position countless times before in his career and he knew all about finishing strong and amazing comebacks. Then some joker in the back of the clubhouse where they were all gathered, started jumping up and down like a nut and screaming “Ya gotta believe! Ya gotta believe”. It was Tug McGraw.
The Mets were 13 games under .500 and they had to jump five teams to get into the post season. They went on to go 38-21 the rest of the way to win the NL East and came within one out of winning game seven of the World Series against Reggie Jackson and the Oakland Athletics.
These Mets are three games under .500 and if they beat the Diamondbacks tonight, only three other teams are in front of them for the post-season, not five.
Yesterday, Terry Collins made an interesting comment after the game and it wasn’t about Matt Harvey, it was about Josh Edgin. “He’s unbelievable. He hates to lose and gushes with enthusiasm. That’s a major league reliever right there, that young man belongs. I only wonder where we would be right now if we had him here a lot sooner.”
Matt Harvey was spectacular and I’ll go out on a limb and say at some point he will give up some earned runs, but what an addition and what an opening performance.
Most fans never believed in this team. I was the only one among our staff of 30 who picked the Mets to win that second wild card. April, May and June only backed up my faith and I took it as a small reward for for staying true to the essense of what it means to be a Mets fan – believing.
I’m still mad that we have a front office who see the game through LCD monitors and don’t dream out loud like Gil Hodges, Tug McGraw and even Terry Collins do. When fans dare to be so bold they’re referred to as quacks.
It’s always easier to believe the worst of something or someone than to believe the best because it would be an admission that you’re the closed minded one and nobody likes to be painted in such a haughty role.
So here we are, with our chances significantly better than they were in 1973, but with a front office and a majority of the fanbase that since opening day has been in “sell mode” and “I dont believe in this team mode”. And they are brazen enough to admit it!
Too bad for the players – a rag-tag group put together from scraps and pieces much like the 1973 version.
There were no 20-game winners on the Mets that year. Their bullpen had an ERA of over 4.00 which would equate to 5.00 these days. Only one batter finished the season with over 20 home runs – John Milner. Rusty Staub led the team with 76 RBIs. Buddy Harrelson was our leadoff hitter and shortstop and batted .248 and stole five bases. Eddie Kranepool batted fifth in the order and his performance makes Jason Bay look Ruthian. Krane hit one home run all season with 38 RBI. Want to compare them to this year’s version?
Yesterday, Mike Puma of the NY Post reported that a team source told him the Mets were still looking for a catcher and reliever – however small ones. Small ones?
When I think of what things might have been like with a visionary at the helm instead of a Harvard Lawyer who is guilty of Lip Service in the First Degree, I can’t help. but think what this team could have accomplished and how far it could have gone with just a minimum of help from our Commander in Chief.
Sorry, there I go being negative again…