If You (Re)Build It, Will We Come?
As the Mets play out their fiftieth season they are paying tribute to their 1962 counterparts. That THUD you heard was our beloved Amazins’ falling into last place. Fifty years later…and some things remain the same.
It’s been half a century since National League baseball returned to New York and it got me thinking. At the time, the Mets along with the Houston Colt 45’s, brought the total number of teams in existence to 24. Baseball has expanded several times since then and I wondered how we matched up against the more recent additions to our National Pastime. The results were a bit disheartening.
Granted, the Baseball landscape was far different in 1962 than it was in 93 when the Rockies and Marlins came into existence. Same can be said for the (Devil) Rays and D-backs in 98. Nowadays it’s much easier to build a winner than it was back in 62. Arizona proved that by winning 100 games in just their second season.
However, the Mets had a 30+ year head start on these 4 other clubs. Colorado, Florida, Tampa Bay and Arizona started with NOTHING! However, they have achieved more success in their short existence than our Mets have over that same time.
Interesting facts: Of these 5 franchises, the Mets have the 2nd best record. Only Arizona at 499 has a higher winning percentage. Through Friday’s loss to Houston, the Mets have compiled a record of 1555-1581 since Opening Day 1993, (.496.) The list is rounded out with the Marlins (.476), the Rockies (474) and the Rays (453.)
One may expect that the Mets should far surpass these other teams in total wins. After all, they started with nada. However, I will admit I was surprised that we even matched up this well in the win-loss column.
Here’s the disturbing part. Although the other 4 teams started with zilch and had to build from the bottom up and rely on discarded scraps, they have all surpassed the Mets in post-season success. Downright frustrating.
Now sure, first glance at this matrix shows we are holding our own. Respectable. Not great, not terrible. However, keep in mind that we’re an existing team whereas these other clubs had to build a winner from the ground up. Yes, we’ve had an adequate showing since 1993. But these other organizations have shown what it takes to BUILD a winner.
One must also keep in mind that while we stack up moderately against these other newcomers, we are the only ‘Big market Club.’ Our payroll has far exceeded that of the organizations listed. The only team with fewer trips to the post-season is the Marlins with 2. However, at least they have 2 championships to show for it. The same numbers of World Series’ we’ve won in half a century, the Marlins matched in 11 years.
And what will this chart look like in 5 years? The Rays and D-backs are young, hungry and will only get better. The Marlins are underachieving. And the Mets? Well, yea, we’re rebuilding.
Sadly I think our post-season appearance total of 3 will not change in the next few years. David Wright will be gone, Dickey most likely will also. Johan has broken down more than a 1972 Ford Pinto.
What can we do? Nothing really. We can vent, complain, throw things at the TV and go through the motions of a 162-game season. We’ll sit back while the Mets brain trust (and I use the word ‘brain’ lightly) keeps selling us the same ol’ line. And we can watch teams like Arizona and Tampa remain competitive while we….ahem…”rebuild.”
About the Author: Rob Silverman
It was 1973 when my dad introduced this 7 year old kid to Baseball and the Mets. It's been a love and passion that has lasted for 40 years, much longer than my first marriage. Since I was little, there've been 2 things I've always dreamed of: 1) Being a successful author and 2) playing right field for the Mets after Rusty Staub retired. Although 4 decades have passed and based on the current condition of the Mets, I have not given up on either dream
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