Archive Page 2

Good Moves

I like the moves the Mets made for a number of reasons. And in deference to SNY’s Sal Licata (Pysch-cata) I like the way the Mets are building their team and here’s why…

By acquiring Neil Walker from the Pirates for pitcher Jonathan Niece, the Mets get a better defensive second base alternative to Daniel Murphy. Is Walker an all-star caliber defensive player? No. But he has better range than Murph and gives up fewer runs based on defensive miscues be they physical or mental. As someone stated yesterday on MLB Network, I forget who, Walker will not forget how many outs there are. Plus Walker is a switch hitter and a better base runner than Murphy.

With Walker now in the mix to keep the seat warm for Dilson Herrera, it’s clear the Mets have closed the door on Daniel Murphy. I feel it necessary to say that Murphy will be missed. The guy can flat out hit and hit well in Citi Field and he handled the pressure in New York. Licata made a valid point about that yesterday afternoon on SNY. He also made the point that who is to say Walker doesn’t choke playing in New York? Well that’s always a possibility but this move made it clear the Mets front office is no longer comfortable putting insufficient defense out there day after day behind this awesome pitching staff. Outgoing pitcher Niese even may have hinted at that in his comment about joining the Pirates. He said, and I am paraphrasing, that he welcomed going to the Pirates where defense is taken very seriously.

But in fairness, it’s tough to see Murphy go even though I agree with the move. Murph’s performance in the LDS and NLDS where he won the MVP will not be forgotten. And to be fair, the Mets might have beaten the Cubs without Murphy but he single handedly won game 5 of the NLDS against the Dodgers by scoring all three runs in a 3-2 win. That included a brilliant base running play that caught the Dodgers napping as well as hitting the deciding home run off of Zach Greinke (now a Diamondback). Without Murphy, there’s a good chance the Dodgers win the LDS. That being said, after Murphy’s MVP LCS he reverted to the other player we know, making two crucial errors costing the Mets two games in the World Series while his bat went cold. So considering what Murphy is likely to cost in a new contract, the Mets made the smart move and replaced his production with a player who ultimately will give way to Herrera, at least that’s the plan.

The other move the Mets made was to bring in Asdrubal Cabrera to play short or at least share it with Wilmer Flores. Cabrera is not the player he used to be but he’s another defensive upgrade over Flores and a better hitter than Rubin Tejada. These moves give manager Terry Collins some flexibility. He can move these guys around and cover David Wright at third if his back acts up which it surely will at some point during the season.

The moves are not as sexy as signing a Yoenis Cespedes or a Jason Heyward to a long extended contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Even after the Mets made it to the World Series, there are still fans who feel only such a move validates the Mets being a big time team. Look around I say to them. The Mets are not the only club looking to save a nickel. Their crosstown rivals, with the moves they have made, are doing the same thing.

In Moneyball parlance, it’s about buying runs, not players. The Mets have replaced production of Murphy with Walker. With Cabrera, they have begun to replace production lost with Cespedes likely going elsewhere. The money the Mets have saved by not signing Ben Zobrist and not having to give Murphy a multi-year deal (Walker will be a free agent after next season) will likely be used to obtain an outfielder to platoon with Lagares. The production from whoever that player might be will cover the rest of what Cespedes would likely produce. They are replacing Cespedes and Murphy in the aggregate. That is the heart of Moneyball.

The deals are not what Mets fans were hoping. Even’s Matt Cerrone feels the Mets need to take on a ridiculous contract and go after Jason Heyward. I’m not sure why. First, Heyward is a nice player but has he yet had the type of season that screams superstar? Michael Conforto has the potential to be that type of guy. He’s a player, like the young Mets pitchers, that is going to have to be paid down the road or lose them to free agency. As the GM or his assistants, you must ask if it is worth giving out a huge contract or two to players that may not help you in a few years when you will need to pay your own players.

This philosophy helped the San Francisco Giants win three World Series in five years. It helped the St. Louis Cardinals who appear in the post season almost every season. It also helped the Boston Red Sox before the last few seasons. And it even helped the New York Mets get one step away from a world championship just this season.

Zobrist, Yanks Screw Mets

Well, when you put all your eggs in one basket, the basket better not drop. That’s what happened yesterday when a sure thing suddenly went south. Ben Zobrist chose to go to the Chicago Cubs over the New York Mets who had offered more money to the supper utility player. But I give Zobrist credit that he picked a spot based on comfort rather than money. The Mets allegedly had offered around 60 million over four years but Zobrist settled for 56 million instead to reunite with his former manager Joe Madden and play only two hours away from home. Not sure how Zobrist is going to survive taking four million less dollars.

Then to add insult to injury, the Cubs sent excess second baseman Sterling Castro to the Yankees for pitcher Adam Warren. It had been rumored for a long time that Castro might make his way to the Mets via trade. Realistically however, I don’t think that was ever going to happen because in discussions with the Mets, names like Harvey, deGrom, and Syndergaard always came up.

So what do the Mets do now? What is plan B?

I’m not sure, but it’s likely the Mets will not make any deal at the winter meetings now that the Zobrist signing did not materialize. The Mets hierarchy has shown they do not panic and it’s unlikely that will change after losing out on Zobrist. After winning the National League pennant just a couple months ago, the Mets are not pressured to prove anything at the meetings. But I am sure they will continue to lay the ground work for potential deals or free agent signings. Likely they will try to find someone to platoon with Juan Lagares in center and still may try to find a second baseman while Dilson Herrera gets more experience in Vegas.  The Mets also want to fortify the bullpen and there are a number of options there.

The deal not made is certainly a blow to the Mets who felt confident they would land Zobrist. They will need some time to absorb the loss and regroup. And Mets fans, don’t start with the Wilpons are cheap nonsense. By all accounts the Mets were willing to go four years and upwards of 60 million for a 34 year old but very good utility player. Zobrist would have been a perfect fit but not signing him is not the end of the world.  Too many fans are still caught up in the Mets making a big splash at the winter meetings. For goodness sakes, they got to the World Series in 2015 without making huge deals last winter.

Instead of focusing on what the Mets don’t have, here’s what they do have—a starting rotation of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Jonathan Niese, and Steven Matz. Add to that Zach Wheeler at mid-season coming back from Tommy John surgery and other options as well. They have a dominant closer in Jeurys Familia. They also have many arms available to put together a very good pen and likely the Mets will add from outside the organization.

In left field they have a super star in the making named Michael Conforto. Lagares in centerfielder has already won a gold glove and should be better offensively next season, especially if the Mets acquire another player to support him. Don’t forget the team offensive MVP Curtis Granderson who will be back in right field. Lucas Duda still has the potential of being a monster offensive player if he can just be more consistent. He has 30 and 27 home runs in the last two seasons respectively and he’s more than good enough defensively at first base. Behind the plate the Mets have two very good catchers in Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki (provided d’Arnaud can remain healthy and figure out how to throw out runners). Wilmer Flores started out as a train wreck at short in 2015 but worked his way to being a more than adequate defensive player with good pop in his bat. Flores, still very young, should only get better. Maybe the Mets bring back Daniel Murphy now or bring in someone else to play second but I would not be at all opposed to letting Dilson Herrera man the position. He’s 21 years old and has the potential to be a real star in the league. And of course there is the captain David Wright. Wright’s back will always be a concern now moving forward but no one works harder than David and when he’s healthy he will contribute.

Plus there is Michael Cuddyer who it appears played hurt most of the season. If he’s healthy, he’s too good a hitter not to be an offensive force off the bench. Of course you can become overly optimistic based on past statistics but it’s always safe to bet a player will perform to the level of the back of his baseball card.

Look, next year could be a complete disaster. That’s true of any team regardless of what happens in the winter meetings. The Padres and Marlins were the darlings of the winter meetings in 2014. How did that work out for them? Both clubs finished below .500 nowhere in the running for a playoff spot.  With the pitching the Mets have, they will still be a competitive club. Washington will look to prove something after a dreadful season when they were predicted to win it all. A young talented Miami Marlins team will also be much improved. It will be no easy task for the Mets to repeat in the National League East. But it’s hard to imagine with that pitching that the Mets are going to become a sub .500 team again. The Mets will make moves and improve the club. But patience is a virtue right now.

It’s disappointing the Mets did not get Ben Zobrist but it’s not Armageddon.

Things Go Better…

The biggest question of the off season was answered this morning (see original post). The Mets have announced that they have agreed to terms with Coca-Cola. Coke replaces Pepsi that was the Mets soft drink sponsor since Citi Field opened in 2009. In addition, the right field upper stands, formally the Pepsi Porch will be somehow associated with Coca-Cola. Details have not been announced.

No Way Am I Trading Pitching

If I were Sandy Alderson, I would not trade one pitcher for next season. Not one. Not even Zach Wheeler who likely will not be able to contribute until the second half of the season because of Tommy John surgery. I don’t understand the constant discussion of why the Mets should trade Matt Harvey now because the Mets won’t be able to afford him in three years when he is a free agent. Why are we concerned with the 2019 season right now, before the hot stove has hardly warmed up for the 2016 season? If Harvey and Bryce Harper end up on the Yankees in 2019 for roughly one billion dollars for two players, so be it.

I’m sure it has to do with the fact that the New York baseball writers need something to write about in this twelve month baseball season. Sure, I understand the basic premise. The Mets are about to lose two of their big bats this off season. They are going to have to make moves to make up for the lost run production. I get it. Ipso-facto, trade a deGrom or a Harvey and bring back a big bat. Well unless the big bat is Giancarlo Stanton or Mike Trout, hang up the phone.

Let’s first look at what the Mets are losing in terms of offense for next season.

First, it is very unlikely that Yoenis Cespedes returns to the Mets and based on his performance in the post season, I’m not too upset about him leaving. Cespedes will likely get his big contract from San Diego who tried to trade for him before. If not the Padres then another destination could be the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim where owner Arte Moreno has never been afraid of signing players to huge contracts. There is no question that against not so good pitching, Cespedes is an absolute monster. But against good pitchers who are able to exploit a batter’s weakness, Cespedes could simply not adjust. Yoenis has great talent but he also has some major flaws. He at times and inexplicably does not hustle and his ability for situational hitting is surely lacking. For three years and sixty million, I would sign Cespedes, no question but beyond that—adios.

Second, Daniel Murphy’s days with the Mets are likely over also. He has already rejected the Mets qualifying offer of 15 million dollars for 2016. That will guarantee the Mets a sandwich pick in next June’s amateur free agent draft if he signs elsewhere. There is no question that Murph can flat out hit. He was the NLCS MVP and a main reason why the Mets persevered and made it to the World Series. He single handedly won game five of the NLDS against Los Angeles. He drove in two runs and scored another via one of the most heads up plays you will ever see a runner make on the baseball diamond. Yes, we are talking about Daniel Murphy and any casual Met fan understands the irony in that. But it’s his body of work over eight seasons with the Mets that makes the front office hesitant when considering a long term contract for Murph. While he was Dr. Jekyll in the NLDS and NLCS, he was Mr. Hyde in the World Series making two crucial errors that led to losses in game four and game five. And in the Series, his bat went suddenly silent. There is a better chance that Murphy returns then Cespedes however.  It was reported this week that the Mets still want to make a serious offer to retain Murphy, hoping his love for New York will give the Mets a discount. We’ll see.

I would love to see Murph come back but only on a reasonable two or three year deal.  I would like to see him become a super sub guy off the bench, a player who could play some third for when David Wright’s back is acting up or to give Duda a blow at first. Murph would also be the number one DH in ten interleague games in AL ballparks and his patience and approach at the plate give’s manager Terry Collins a premier pinch hitter in a crucial situation. There is no question that Murphy would continue to contribute to the Mets, just not at second base at least on a regular basis where the Mets must improve defensively.

Likely though, some team out there is going to offer Murphy a better deal than the Mets will be willing to give him and for that reason, he is likely gone. It will be the only time in Murphy’s career where he will be able to cash in and set his family up for life. So there is the Mets dilemma. How do they replace the production from Murphy and Cespedes?

Well for me, it’s not by trading Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Wheeler, or Jeurys Familia—ain’t happening. I am not robbing Peter to pay Paul. There are other avenue’s to pursue and it likely would be through free agency and the farm system. And when discussing the farm, I’m including players that have already contributed at the major league level this past season. As for trades, the problem there is that anyone the Mets might be interested in, opposing GMs are asking for one of the elite pitchers. And in many cases, the cost is not equal. The Mets are not going to give up a deGrom or a Syndergaard, or even a Matz, for a guy who is going to platoon with Juan Lagares.

So what can the Mets do to add to their offense? Some of the answers are already in place.

Michael Conforto will become a much bigger part of the Mets offense next season. He will move up in the order and he will be in the lineup every day, even against left handed pitching. I would expect him to get better with more experience. There is no doubt that Conforto has the ability to become a star.  I also expect both Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki to be more consistent offensively. The key for d’Arnaud is twofold. First he must stay healthy. If this guy gets 550 at bats, the Mets are going to score some runs, you can bet. Two, he also needs to work on his defense, specifically throwing out base stealers. Most importantly, d’Arnaud has got to figure out how to stay on the field. He has been plagued by injuries over his career, with the Mets at the major and minor league levels as well as when he was in the Toronto system. Plawecki should hit too. As a backup to d’Arnaud, Plawecki is close in talent although his hitting as not blossomed as of yet. d’Arnaud has more pop but Plawecki is a better average hitter, at least his minor league stats suggest that. Put simply the Mets are set at catcher for a while and injuries aside, this is a position not to be concerned with.

Curtis Granderson is a solid offensive player. He may still be the leadoff hitter or he could move down in the lineup depending on what other moves the Mets make like if they get a leadoff hitter through free agency or trade.  Juan Lagares has the ability to be a better offensive player as well and he’s already a gold glove center fielder. The Mets would like to get a lefty hitting center fielder to platoon with Lagares. Extra outfielders include Michael Cuddyer who hopefully will be better next season. He underwent surgery on a core muscle injury he must have played through all season long. Certainly no one is going to rely on output from Cuddyer but if he can produce more than last year, it will help.

Wilmer Flores should be a better offensive player also with a full year now under his belt. He faded toward the end of the long season. He’s still a very young player and playing deep into October was not something he was accustomed to. Some better conditioning and a bit more muscle could help Flores mature and be the type of hitter everyone expects. But he’s likely going to play second or at least share time with young Dilson Herrera who most scouts believe will be a star player one day.  It’s unclear who the shortstop will be next year. It could be Flores or perhaps Ruben Tejada who played very well down the stretch before he was taken out by a dirty slide from Chase Utley in game two of the NLDS. Perhaps Matt Reynolds will finally get a shot at short. He made his major league debut in the playoffs at least in terms of being on the roster. He has yet to take the field or get an at bat at the major league level. But Reynolds is a scrappy player and could be a Wally Backman type of infielder who is a catalyst on offense.

Outfielder Brandon Nimmo has made huge strides in the minors and could make his debut in 2016. Not sure where he would fit into a crowded outfield but it’s a nice problem to have. Then there are reasonable free agents available like Ben Zobrist, Gerardo Parra, Denard Span, and who knows who else the Mets may have interest in.

So obviously the Mets need to make moves especially in light of likely losing Cespedes and Murphy. Ideally they want a shortstop, an outfielder, and a solid setup man for Familia. Honestly I think Addison Reed could be the bridge to Familia. Of all the imports the Mets traded for in late July and early August, Reed is the one player who is not a free agent and still on the roster. But I do agree that finding another solid guy in the bullpen is a necessity this offseason.

Sometimes the best deals you make are the ones you don’t make.  The Mets will need to tweak, not rebuild. I do not think for a second the Mets should trade one of their bright young pitchers unless they are simply blown away by an offer. And folks, that is not going to happen because any player the Mets are interested in, opposing GMs are going to ask for deGrom, Harvey, or Syndergaard. They are gauging the Mets for players of unequal quality. There is no way Sandy is going to bend unless he is bowled over.

So stop giving any credence to these reports that the Mets should or might trade one of the big three or even Matz or Wheeler. It is not going to happen and I agree with that decision.

The Big Question

Now that two plus weeks have passed since the Mets sheepishly ended the post season with only one win during the World Series, it’s time to consider the very serious questions.

When we look at some of the shortcomings the Mets experienced in the fall classic, it’s easy to focus in on the biggest questions of all. Do they have to do with middle infield defense, a power bat, a strong setup man? Hell no, the number one question on my mind for next season is what the hell are we going to rename the Pepsi Porch?

If you haven’t heard, Pepsi ended their relationship with the Mets. Not sure why or what that’s all about. Was the contract up? Did Pepsi have an out clause in their contract like Zach Greinke did with the Dodgers? Can’t say except now the classic Pepsi Cola sign in right field that harkens back to the early days of the soda giant will have to be taken down. It has stood there, above the right field second tier of seats since the ballpark opened in 2009 and has become somewhat of an iconic symbol at the Flushing ballpark.

Now of course the “Porch” will still be there. The seats that overhang right field aren’t going anywhere. But the Pepsi sponsorship will be gone and the ballpark will look different in regard to what will be behind those seats. Will it have something to do with the next soda giant that will peddle their sugary products at Citi Field? It doesn’t have to be. I guess any concession mogul could step up and pay huge amounts of dough to put up their signage.

I would bet, and considering the large amounts of cash the company has, the new right field area will have something to do with Coca-Cola. After all, the Mets aren’t going to open up the 2016 season without offering their fans some form of carbonated cola drink. That’s as American as baseball itself. No cola at the ballgame would be as wrong as no hot dogs.

But Coke and Pepsi aren’t the only cola companies out there. During the 1969 season, the cola sold at Shea was Royal Crown Cola, otherwise known as RC. Who knows, maybe they will make a comeback. Back during those years of Cleon in left and Tommy in center, the ads for RC Cola in the Mets program featured actress Meredith McCrae in a very short red dress with the motto RC: The Comers. Okay, moving forward…

Let’s face it, if you were to name the two most prominent names in the cola industry, it would have to be Coke and Pepsi, with RC a distant but respectable third. The left field bleachers at AT&T park in San Francisco is dominated by a giant Coke bottle with a slide in the middle of it for the kiddies. Might we see something like that next season? And what would they call it, the Coca-Cola Cove? Not sure.

Anheuser-Busch is also a long time sponsor of the Mets. Maybe there could be a huge beer mug over sections 301 through 305. They could call it “The Brewery”. Ah but that rings too much like something you might see at Miller Park, a stadium named after a brewery for God’s sake. Plus the Mets likely won’t want to have such an obvious fan friendly location associated with an alcoholic product.

What about Subway, the sandwich sponsor of the Mets? Nothing like a big Styrofoam sub sandwich floating over the right field stands. Hey folks, enjoy a 2016 Mets game from the “The Subway Platform”. Just thinking out loud folks.

If anything, the fact that the Pepsi Porch will be no more simply illustrates how things have changed in stadium venues over the years. For forty-five seasons, Shea Stadium was home to the Mets.  Over that time, very little changed at the ballpark. There was a big scoreboard in right and a batters-eye in center.  That was pretty much it until the eighties when Diamond Vision was added in left along with new plastic seats and a coat of fresh paint. There was always limited signage on the scoreboards and really none inside the ballpark.  Renaming of ballpark areas was never a cause for concern.

Today, everything requires a sponsor. That includes within the broadcasts as well. You can’t get the game time temperature without giving a nod to some corporate sponsor.  Howie Rose and Josh Lewin report the game from the Peerless Boilers broadcast booth for goodness sakes. Someday, all 42,000 seats may each have a sponsor.

However and I have to concede that it’s completely understandable given today’s costs of running a major league franchise.  You want great ballplayers? You have got to pay for them. You pay for them through revenue and that does not mean just ticket sales anymore. It also includes TV money, both local and national. There is merchandising, concessions, and of course sponsorships.

The point is that in modern day ballparks, not much is permanent beyond the field, brick, concrete, and steel.  In addition to the Pepsi Porch, Citi Field has the Acela Club in the left field corner and the Party City Deck just behind the left field fence. The Mo-Zone (Modell’s) just behind the right field fence at field level unceremoniously became the Honda Clubhouse prior to the 2015 season. Even the stadium’s name is suspect. Shea Stadium kept its name from before it was erected to when it was razed in 2008. Citi Bank has a twenty year deal with the Mets for naming rights. So in 2029, who can say for sure what Citi Field might be called? You don’t like it? Well consider that Citi Bank is handing over 20 million bucks per year for two decades to simply put their name on the ballpark.

It will be interesting to see what finally is going to happen upstairs in right field. That iconic Pepsi Cola sign with whatever that round doohickey thing was on top will be gone leaving a hole in the outfield skyline. But with the revenue to be made from branding and concessions, you can bet something big will be there. And once that’s figured out, maybe we can get on to secondary business like who’s going to play short and who is going to set up Jeurys.

Baseball Break, It’s Time for The X-Files

I need a brake from baseball. After 176 games, I’m finding it difficult to get into the hot stove. I just need time to absorb the season that just concluded. So for now, no MLB network, no SNY Mets Classics, need a brake.

Instead I’m binge-watching on the X-Files on Netflix, getting ready for the new six episode season that starts on January 24th on FOX. Couldn’t be as a far away from baseball as that.

I’m not watching every episode that featured David Duchovney as special agent Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson who portrayed Dana Scully, another special agent as well as a forensic doctor. That would take much more time than I have. There are over 200 episodes that aired over nine seasons between 1993 and 2002. I watched the show when it first debuted and really enjoyed it. Ironically I didn’t think I would because I really don’t believe in UFOs, ghosts, Big Foot, or anything else of paranormal origin. But like Field of Dreams that revolved around the unlikely scenario of ghost baseball players returning to play in a corn field in Iowa, the X-Files stories were told so well, it was easy to get caught up in the mania.

What’s interesting is that the Netflix episodes are presented in full high definition. In the United States, HD broadcasting did not begin until 1998 and not by most networks and cable channels. Apparently, from what I have read, producer Chris Carter was forward thinking enough to shoot the show using widescreen format cameras to portray the escapades of agents Mulder and Scully. (Now to make this somewhat baseball related, I am fairly certain I read a very long time ago that Agent Scully’s name was in honor of the great Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully but I could be wrong).  Other producers of other shows at the time were also using widescreen cameras because they liked the video quality compared to standard cameras. However, they blocked their  takes for 4:3 aspect ratio and if you were to go back to the original widescreen footage, you would notice the edges of sets, mic booms, and crew members on the left and right sides of the screen. The footage was virtually unusable when set to 16:9 aspect ration. Carter originally blocked the shows for 16:9 aspect ratio even though in 1993, no one owned a widescreen television. (I think that was not true of the pilot. I read that Netflix cropped that episode to show it in widescreen).

Netflix did a great job processing these episodes. A few long shots, here and there, look a bit fuzzy. Overall however, besides the fact that the technology used by the agents is so dated now, the episodes look as if they were just produced. I find that watching a lot of old shows on an HD TV not to be enjoyable because of the grainy video quality and the black bars on both sides of the screen. Not true of the X-Files. They look 98 percent new.

The X-Files episodes came in two basic flavors–stand alone or myth story arc. A stand alone episode was one where the paranormal de jour was all wrapped up in one episode. There was no carry over to the next week. The mythical story arc of the series revolved around a vast alien conspiracy. It turns out that Mulder, through various sources hidden deep within the government, was given pieces of information motivating him to investigate the government’s involvement and cooperation with an alien civilization hell bent on re-colonizing our planet. One must ask, can any one of these aliens play shortstop?

There would be seven to ten of the story arc episodes each season and typically each season ended with an alien cliff hanger that completed after the long summer break. There would also often be two part episodes throughout the season that revolved around the alien threat.

The show defies science at every possible turn but it always told their stories extremely well. And it specifically did a wonderful job of portraying Mulder and Scully’s relationship. There was no question of the sexual tension between the two main characters but the show never let that interfere with the basic paranormal story to be told and solved. Mulder and Scully were two characters whose work came first and everything else came last. Eventually, in the two movies that were made when the TV show completed production, it became clear that the two became an item. It will be interesting to see how producer Carter picks up the two characters, who are now twenty years older, in the new series. The show was never afraid to include humor. Mulder always had a good line or two per episode that would make you laugh. And some episodes were made with humor the utmost in mind. The third season Jose Chung’s From Outer Space comes to mind.

For me, the last couple of seasons of The X-Files were not as good as previous seasons. I just think it was a case where a series went just a bit two long, two seasons too long in fact. A new agent (Robert Patrick) was introduced who mostly replaced Duchovney who wanted to do other things and only made a few episodes the last couple of seasons. But looking back, the X-Files was one of the better TV shows ever made. It actually became a world wide favorite by its third season, probably not as widely watched as The Walking Dead is today but pretty close.

There will be only six episodes of the new The X-Files with all the main characters returning, even Cancer Man, the chain smoking bad guy who I thought was killed off. But I guess in a story where aliens and humans routinely procreate, anything is possible. It’s not clear if this is a one time thing or if there are plans to bring back the show on a more permanent basis. The X-Files will run from the end of January through February. Oh perfect, when it ends, pre-season baseball will begin.

Predicting the Past

Here are some predictions that were made for the Mets prior to the season beginning.

From Bill Price, New York Daily News:

“The Mets will make the playoffs. I have been on the other side of this all winter, and when things look too good for the Mets, I usually look at that as a sign something is about to go bad. But this year will be different. The Mets will make the playoffs due to a few factors: 1. Matt Harvey says they will make it. 2. They play in a division with one great team (that is severely banged up), one up-and-coming team and two of the worst teams in baseball. 3. They have depth in the starting rotation and a lineup that should be good enough to win some games. 4. You are taking a 79-win team and adding an actual left fielder, a No. 1 ace, a healthy David Wright and a full season from Jacob deGrom. The division may actually be in reach, but a wild-card spot is there for the taking.”

Well not bad. Bill was correct, the division was in reach and the Mets took it and then some. He was wrong about a healthy David Wright though but in fairness, no one saw that coming.

Here’s one from Athlon Sports and Life website.

“Teams often follow years of losing with a transition year in which they contend for a while but ultimately fall short, absorbing the lessons of a pennant race and applying them the next season. This could easily happen for the Mets in 2015, and if so, it would ultimately be an improvement over the last few years. But their goals are higher than that, and they should be. This team features a playoff-caliber rotation, and the offense showed real signs of life last season. The Mets will be a legitimate factor in the chase for a spot in the postseason.”

Not too committal but they were correct in that the Mets should have contended.

ESPN’s voting by committee said…

“The Washington Nationals led the way as our pick to win the World Series, receiving 42 percent (37 of the 88 votes) of the vote from our panel of experts. The Los Angeles Dodgers came in second, getting 19 percent (17 votes) of the vote… In the National League East, the Nationals were the overwhelming winners (85 votes) followed by the Miami Marlins (2) and New York Mets (1).”

Hey, I’d like to know who the one guy that voted for the Mets was. Give him a promotion. What I love about this one is the Mets took care of both of ESPN’s darling picks, Nationals and the Dodgers.

The Sporting News in conclusion of their prediction:

“The Mets will sweep the Braves at home in late September to edge within two games of the wild card, and will have to like their chances as they hit the road to woebegone Cincinnati and Philadelphia before wrapping up the season at home with the already-clinched Nationals. Their winning record will be assured, but the Mets will go 2-4 against inferior competition on that last road trip, rendering the final games of the season meaningless. It will be a good season for a team that has been downtrodden for so long, but an unsatisfying finish.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The Mets didn’t sweep the Braves. In fact they lost the series winning only the first game. Not sure how the Mets could go 2-4 on their last road trip since it was a seven game road trip but they did go 4-3 sweeping the Reds in a four game set, clinching the NL East in the third game. The Sporting news was correct however that the final home stand of the season against the Nationals would be meaningless and that there would be an unsatisfying ending. Just not in the way they thought. predicted the Mets to finish 82-80, 18 games back of the division champion Nationals. Hey, back then I might have felt okay about that. Sports Illustrated also predicted the Mets to win 82 games in 2015 and to finish in third place. I guess that was a safe bet. But here’s an interesting note that SI added:

“He (Daniel Murphy) doesn’t get mentioned enough as one of the better second basemen in the National League, but he should. He’s never going to win a Gold Glove, but the guy just hits. I agree with Kevin Long, who said that Murphy could win a batting title someday. He took his hitting to another level last year.”

Well Murph’s performance in the NLDS and the NLCS lived up to the praise that SI poured upon Murphy, that’s for sure. But it’s doubtful the Mets think of Murphy as highly as SI does when it comes to the future at second base or even on the Mets.

It’s fun to look back to see what the writers thought. And this coming spring it will be just as interesting when they make much bolder predictions of fortunes for the Mets. If you look back at all the twists and turns the Mets season took, it’s a wonder that anyone really comes close. And this article at kind of sums up why it is so ridiculous to make predictions as to who is going to win and who is not.