Can an Extra Wild Card Spot Entice a Team to Push Forward
I’m going to jump on my own bandwagon here. Last season while contributing for HardballChat.com, I wrote an article about the second wild card spot which was created for each league. I felt it would benefit the teams who maybe in any other season would be considered out of the hunt but could now focus on playing hard and getting in the playoffs.
A year ago today the Mets were 18-13 and tied for the lead in the second wild card spot, but by the All Star break they found themselves a half game out of the wild card hunt at 46-40. By the time August 1st rolled around the Mets were descending further out of the playoff picture at 8.5 games back and would eventually end the season at 14 games out of a Wild Card berth. If you looked at the team you felt they never had a chance to gain any wild card spot. But the opportunity was there if they just played hard enough, or had the talent to compete.
The Mets with all their pitching and hitting woes will keep them from even considering making the playoffs, but you have to wonder what is going through the minds of the Wilpons. I mean they play in NY, so why wouldn’t they want to provide a good product on the field? Why wouldn’t they want to have a winning team? Winning baseball fills the stands, excites the fans. In the hunt for one wild card spot gives hope, but now with two spots to grab, it should force a team to do whatever they need to, to reach the goal. Why settle for just mediocre baseball, don’t the fans deserve better? It just doesn’t make sense to me. If a playoff run is not in the plans for 2013, is it in the plans for 2014? Will better moves be made or are the owners still recovering from bad investments? We the fans hold our end of the bargain, we buy tickets to the games, we buy merchandise and all we ask for is a team that will compete for the playoffs, a team that is exciting to watch and will continue to get better not worse.
What is funny is that before I started writing for MMO, I saw the glass as half full. I would watch the Mets from my home in Florida and never really understood why things weren’t happening for us. But with the great followers that our site has and the knowledge of our writers, it has shown me a different side to the one and only team I have rooted for my whole life. Was I that blind to the reality of Mets baseball, could only a month of following and writing for MMO truly show me a different side of the game or the business part of it. I couldn’t be that naïve could I?
We all want a winner, we want an organization that will do whatever it takes to put a great product on the field, to have a team that will compete with just about anyone. In my earlier post “The Youth Movement has Fully Begun at Citi Field”, I felt good about watching the young studs call Citi Field their home, it felt like the right thing to do. Start from the bottom up and build a championship team, but that just doesn’t seem to be what is happening here. I mean, I am not giving up on my team, I have seen the good times and a lot of bad times, but in the end, I am a fan, I bleed Orange and Blue, I suffer through the rough seasons with the hopes that they will finally get it together, but with how Jordany Valdespin has been treated, with how the pitching staff has just been patched together and the talent on the field nothing near what a fan would want to see, it just boggles my mind how the Mets wouldn’t do all it needs to do to try and put a team together worthy of a playoff run.
Back in the 80’s the team that finished second, went home, there weren’t any extra games for them to try and get in the playoffs. If you won 90 games and finished second, you received nothing and the season was considered a failure, but now with the two wild card spots, more opportunities are there so are they willing to do what it takes to try and make the playoffs. I am really not sure these days.
Spending the money doesn’t guarantee anything, as the 2012 Miami Marlins and so far the Toronto Blue Jays have shown, but making an effort to put a talented and winning team on the field does make a difference in the mindset of the fans. We want a winning team and I just feel that as fans we deserve one.
About the Author: David Conde
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and I am a lifelong Mets fan. I am a Senior Editor for MetsMinors.Net and contribute for this great site. Follow us all winter long as our writers keep you informed on what is happening with the Stars of Tomorrow. You can follow me on Twitter @DAConde24
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