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The History of World Series First Games at NY Ballparks

Tonight’s Game 3 of the 2015 World Series will mark the first World Series game in Citi Field’s history. There have been 567 regular season games played at the ballpark that honors Ebbet’s Field since it opened. And with the Mets reaching the post season, they have already played four playoff games at Citi Field. The Mets are 3-1 in the post season at home having split two with the Dodgers in the League Division series and winning both home games in the League Championship series against the Cubs.

How long did it take for teams to play a World Series game in other New York ballparks over the years?

Here’s a recap of World Series firsts in New York…

The oldest ballpark in New York was the Polo Grounds. The original ballpark was located at the northern tip of Central Park and not in the location most think of when harking back to the glory days of the New York Giants or the first two seasons when the expansion Mets played there. In fact, there were three different versions of the Polo Grounds before the fourth iteration made of concrete was opened at Coogan’s Bluff in 1911. In its first year of operation, the Giants won the pennant but lost to the Philadelphia Athletics in six games.

The very first World Series game was played at the Polo Grounds on October 14, 1911 with the Giants defeating the A’s by a score of 2-1. Christie Mathewson pitched a complete game giving up the one run on six hits. Oddly, each game alternated between Philadelphia and New York instead of the 2-3-2 schedule used today.

Two years after the “modern” Polo Grounds opened, another ballpark made its debut in the borough of Brooklyn.  That of course would be the famed Ebbets Field named after the Brooklyn franchise owner Charles Ebbets.

Ebbets Field was home of the beloved Dodgers who would play there until the conclusion of the 1957 season before the team moved to Los Angeles. But in 1913, the Dodgers had been known as the Superbas then the Robins the following season. In 1916, Ebbets Field hosted its very first World Series game on October 10 with the Robins defeating the Red Sox in game 3 by a score of 4-3.

The win was the first of the series for Brooklyn who lost the first two at Fenway Park.  Brooklyn went on to lose the series in five games. Oh, the Robins officially took on the name of Dodgers in 1932. But for years they were affectionately known by their faithful as the Trolley Dodgers because fans had to dodge the many trolleys on Brooklyn streets to get to the ballpark.

The New York Yankees shared the Polo Grounds with the Giants. But when the Yanks got really good, Giants ownership evicted them. In 1923, the Yanks moved across the East River into their new ballpark in the Bronx, the likes of which no one had ever scene. In fact, it was the first baseball facility whose name included the word Stadium as opposed to Park or Field. Yankee Stadium was a three tiered structure, the largest ballpark built at that time.

It did not take the Yankees long to have a World Series played at their new home. It happened in their first year in the Bronx as they defeated the Giants in six games. The very first game at Yankee Stadium was Game 1 on October 10, 1923. The Giants defeated the Yankees that day 5-4, scoring the deciding run in the top of the ninth inning. And like earlier World Series, each game alternated between the two New York clubs’ ballparks.

It would be another 41 years before a new ballpark would go up in New York. After the exodus of the Dodgers and Giants to the west coast in 1958, the city began to search for a new team. When the National League agreed to expand to ten teams in 1962, they awarded New York a franchise. The Mets would need a place to play. So it was rather ironic that the Mets would open Shea Stadium in 1964 on the exact location the city wanted to build the Dodgers a new home in the 1950s. It would be in Shea’s sixth year of operation before the World Series would arrive.

On October 14, 1969, the Mets and Baltimore Orioles played the first World Series game in Shea Stadium’s history. With the teams even at a game apiece, the Mets, led by pitcher Gary Gentry, shut out the Orioles 5-0. That game saw two of the greatest catches ever in a World Series, both by center fielder Tommy Agee. The Mets would win the next two days at Shea to secure their first World Series victory in only their eighth season of play. That was a record at the time for an expansion franchise.

In 1974 and 1975, the Yankees made their home at Shea while Yankee Stadium was gutted and rebuilt. The Stadium reopened in 1976 to mixed reviews. Gone were the columns that obstructed many seats but so was the famous frieze that rung the outfield roof.  A facsimile of the frieze was put in the outfield above the new electronic scoreboard over the bleachers.  While the outside façade remained intact for all practical purposes, Yankee Stadium was a brand new ballpark.

And like the original that opened in 1923, the Yankees got to play a World Series the first year the new version was opened. Trailing two games to none to the Cincinnati Reds, the renovated Stadium hosted its first World Series matchup on October 19, 1976. The Reds defeated the Yanks that evening 6-2 on their way to a four game sweep.

The rebuilt Yankee Stadium would last 32 more years and so would Shea Stadium. In 2006, the city began construction on two brand new ballparks, a new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, right next to the older facilities respectively. Both ballparks opened in 2009 and for a third time in their history, the Yankees would reopen Yankee Stadium with a World Series appearance.

On Wednesday, October 28th, 2009, the Yankees hosted the Philadelphia Phillies for game one of the World Series. The defending world champion Phillies won the opener by a score of 6-1. But the Yanks would prevail winning the Series in six games.

The Mets in Citi Field were not as fortunate as the Yankees. The Amazins and their fans suffered through six losing seasons before tonight’s World Series debut at the new ballpark in Queens. So on this evening of October 30, 2015, a night before Halloween, the New York Mets will host the Kansas City Royals in Game 3 of the 2015 World Series. And while it will be an exciting (and expensive) evening for the loyal fan base wearing orange and blue, the Metsies have their work cut out for themselves, trailing the Royals two games to none.

Game time is at 8:07PM with Noah Syndergaard on the hill for the Mets. Tickets are still available, starting at over 600 dollars for standing room. The Mets need at least a win to insure that all three home games are played. Two wins gets the Mets a plane ticket back to Kansas City.

Keep the faith and Let’s Go Mets!


Slim Hopes but a Bright Future

It is rare that a team loses the first two games of a seven game series then wins four out of the next five to win. The last time it happened was in 2004 when the Boston Red Sox lost the first three then took four in a row from the New York Yankees during the 2004 ALCS. Before that, the Yankees won the World Series in 1996 losing the first two in Atlanta then winning four in a row. Before that was the 1986 Mets who lost the first two games of the World Series at Shea Stadium then won four out of five.  In 1985, in the two LCSs and the World Series, all three winning teams lost the first two then won. But you can see that this is a rare thing to happen. Since 1985, winning after losing the first two has occurred only six times. That’s six out of 87 best of seven series since ’85. If we do the math, it means the New York Mets, now down two games to zero, have a 6.9 percent chance of winning the 2015 World Series.

When you look at the performance of both clubs in the first two games, it seems evident to me that the Mets odds are even lower. The Royals hitters have neutralized the first two starters, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. For once good hitting has stopped good pitching. The Mets woes may also stem from the pitching staff working on fumes and an approach at the plate diametrically opposed to that of the Royals. The Mets seem to swing for the fences or swing and miss while the Royals single the opposition to death.  Kansas City hitters just don’t miss the baseball.

Of course the Mets host the next three (if it goes that far) at Citi Field and that’s a good thing. They will at least have the benefit of 45,000 supportive fans making a thunderous racket. Hopefully it will help the Mets get motivated to at least make a series out of this thing. But we are asking two rookie pitchers, with loads of talent, to steer the ship away from the iceberg ahead. That’s a tall order for both Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, regardless of their great ability.

So what if bad things happens and the Mets lose? Is it the end of the world? Does it mean this wonderful season was a total waste of time? Do we hide our Mets ski caps for the winter and bow our heads in shame? To listen to some of the talking knuckleheads in the sports media, you would think so.

This is what I so despise about sports these days. At some point in sports during the last several decades, disappointment has been replaced with anger and vitriol. I have said many times, if the only pleasure one can gain from baseball (or any sport) is for their team to win it all, they will be a very, very disappointed person. I would not even bother to follow a team if that were really the case. What the Mets have accomplished this season is simply remarkable. And the good news is that this season was not a miracle or an aberration. This season was not about an Ed Charles at third base in his last hoorah or shoe polish on a baseball or black cats in front of the opposing dugout. This Mets team is made up from a young core that will be competing and wearing the orange and blue for a long time. Like the Royals, this group of Mets will get another shot at winning it all, perhaps several shots.

I thoroughly expect the Mets to be a contender next year, the year after that and the year after that. In fact I now expect the Mets to contend every season because the pieces are in place to sustain success for many years ahead. This is not to say that there will be no moves to be made. Clearly there will be. Some will come from within while other moves will occur through trades or free agents. There is a bright future ahead and I have the utmost confidence that the front office has the Mets positioned for success moving forward.

So while I still hold out hope that the Mets can get back into this thing, I am content with what this team has accomplished this season. This has truly been one of the ten best seasons the Mets have ever had regardless of how the World Series will wind up. And folks, there is no shame or disgrace in losing the World Series.  There are fan bases of twenty-eight other major league baseball teams who wish their favorite team was down two games to none in the World Series.


Okay, So How have the Mets Done in Game 2s?

It was a great game but also a game of missed opportunities. The first pitch of the game should have been caught. That’s one run. Eight innings later, Familia throws a flat fastball that doesn’t sink. That’s another run they’d like back. Wright’s throwing error—oy vey.

This game was so eerily similar to Game 1 against the Yankees fifteen years ago. Blowing a one run lead in the ninth then losing it in extras, this time 14 innings. Wow! Yes it was an intense and great game. It’s just that the good guys lost.

First pitch from Matt Harvey ends up being an inside the park home run. Really? This could only happen in a game where one of the teams is the Mets. Obviously it’s of much more consequence if the Mets lose the game 1-0 but still.

I had the thought I may drive up to Canada and watch the games from there. I like MLB’s international broadcast better than Fox. Don’t you love the way the second the commercial is over, the first pitch is being thrown? Maximize those advertisements folks.

All in all, the Mets played well considering a) their very first World Series game, b) in a hostile environment with a packed house, and c) Daniel Murphy not hitting a home run.

How about that Jon Niese and the way he pitched on his 29th birthday. Not quite sure why Terry took him out after two innings. Not that Colon did badly. He was great too. The way I see it, this game began to unravel in the eighth when once again Tyler Clippard could not have a clean inning. Who knows how the game might have gone had Clippard got through the eighth and Familia started fresh in the ninth. Well that’s baseball Susyn, who can predict it?

So the Mets are down 1-0. And you can’t say for sure that the Royals bullpen beat the Mets bullpen. If Wright doesn’t make the throwing error, well we don’t know what might have happened. The teams look very well matched and should prove to be a very exciting series. Of course if each game goes the way of Game 1, the Mets could lose a very exciting four game sweep.

Oh… I nearly forgot. So how have the Mets done in game 2s in their World Series history?

They are 2-2. Down 0-1 in 1969, Jerry Koosman pitched an absolute gem, a complete game 2-1 victory that evened the series before the Mets and Orioles moved over to Flushing. The Mets won Game 2 in 1973 in Oakland. With the game tied 6-6, the Mets scored 4 in the top of the ninth and ultimately defeated the A’s 10-7. The Mets lost Game 2 in 1986 and 2000. Against Boston, Dwight Gooden just did not have it in his World Series debut, giving up six runs on eight hits in five innings. We now know the likely reason why Gooden struggled. Such a shame what happened to Doc. So glad to see he’s finally straightened out his life. Still one of the greatest Mets of all time.

Anyway, the Sox clobbered the Mets 8-6 putting the Amazins in an 0-2 hole. Same thing fourteen years later when the Yanks won Game 2 6-5. It wasn’t as close as the score indicates but it was exciting when the Mets scored five runs in the top of the ninth when trailing 6-0 entering the inning. The Mets won in ’86 after being down 0-2 but lost in 2000.

Don’t cut your hair just yet Jacob deGrom. We need it for tonight.

Did anyone notice that when Yoenis Cespedes was introduced before the game, he was nowhere to be found? I thought that was odd.


The Mets in Game 1s

Tonight will mark the fifth World Series Game 1 for the New York Mets in their history. In the previous four World Series the Mets have participated, they have never won a Game 1. It will also be the fourth time the Mets have opened a World Series on the road. The only time the Mets opened at home was in 1986. Back then home field was alternated each year between the AL and NL champ regardless of record. Odd years saw the AL team start at home while in even years, the NL took home field advantage. I kind of wish they would go back to that to tell you the truth.

In 1969, the Mets lost their first World Series game in history when they took the field against the Baltimore Orioles. It was October 11th at Memorial Stadium versus the Orioles who won 109 regular season games before sweeping the Twins in the first ALCS in history. The O’s were the heavy favorite to beat the Cinderella Mets. The Mets had also swept their NLCS against the Braves. Tom Seaver started against Baltimore’s ace, lefty Mike Cuellar. Seaver had won 25 games that season to Cuellar’s 23.

With two outs in the top of the first, Cleon Jones singled for the first Mets hit in World Series history. However, in the bottom of the first, Seaver gave up a leadoff home run to Don Buford with right fielder Ron Swoboda crashing into the wall trying to make the catch as the ball just cleared the fence. Legend has it that as Buford rounded second base, shortstop Bud Harrelson heard him say “You haven’t seen anything yet”. Harrelson allegedly responded “Neither have you”. Buddy was the more prophetic as the Mets went on to lose the opener 4-1 but then win the next four in a row and secure their first world championship in franchise history, only eight seasons since the league expansion.

It would be four years before the Mets returned to the Fall Classic. After a season ending surge that saw the Mets win the division on the day after the 1973 season ended, they defeated the mighty Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS. This time, the Mets opponent in the World Series would be the defending world champion Oakland Athletics led by Reggie Jackson.

As in ’69, the Mets were considered the underdog. The A’s had won 97 games that year while the Mets mustered just 82 to secure the division. But as in 1969, the Mets had outstanding pitching. That was evident in Game 1 when Jon Matlack faced Ken Holtzman. The A’s scored two in the third inning off Matlack. The Mets scored one in the top of the fourth and that was it. The A’s won Game 1 by a score of 2-1. The Mets won the next day, then took two of three at Shea Stadium. Unfortunately the Mets lost Game 6 and 7 in Oakland losing the World Series.

It would be thirteen years before the Mets would reach the World Series again. In 1986, the Mets took off early and ran away with the eastern division, winning a franchise record 108 games. While the Mets pulverized the National League that season, they struggled in the NLCS but defeated Houston in six games with a wild sixteen inning clincher. Three days later, they opened the World Series at home for the first time. They faced the Boston Red Sox in an historic Series that is still recalled every post season. But like the Mets previous two appearances in the Classic, that one games to none start was not to be.

The Mets bats could do nothing against Boston starter Bruce Hurst who battled Mets starter Ron Darling. Both were caught up in quite the pitcher’s duel until the seventh inning. Jim Rice walked then moved to second on a wild pitch from Darling. Boston catcher Rich Gedman drove in the only run of the game when his ground ball went right through the wickets on second baseman Tim Teufel. The Mets never mounted a threat and lost the opener 1-0. The Mets would win the series in seven games, defined by the miracle ending of Game 6 when the Mets with two outs in the ninth trailing 5-3 got three singles in a row along with a wild pitch and an error from Boston to win the game and stay alive for the winner-take-all Game 7 two nights later.

Perhaps the most frustrating of opening World Series games the Mets ever played occurred the last time the Mets were National League champions. That was in 2000, fourteen years since their last World Series appearance. That’s when the Mets met the Yankees in the only Subway World Series ever between the two New York clubs. As with the previous three World Series the Mets were involved, they would not win Game 1. But it was how they lost that game that was frustrating. And unfortunately, the loss set the tone for the series.

It was the first time the Mets were involved in an extra inning game to open a World Series and once again the Mets opened on the road, if be it four miles away.

In the top of the 6th, with Timo Perez on first and two out, Todd Zeile hit a ball that he thought was going to be a home run. Perez thinking like Zeile did not bust it from first base and Zeile went into his homerun trot. The ball bounced on the top of the left field wall in play. Perez turned it on when he realized the ball was not out of the park but by the time he reached home, he was thrown out by a couple of steps by Derek Jeter with the relay throw, ending the inning with the Mets not scoring.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Yanks rallied for two runs taking a 2-0 lead. But in the top of the seventh the Mets came right back with three to take a one run lead. Edgardo Alphonso drove in the go-ahead run. Al Leiter pitched through seven innings giving up just the two runs. John Franco pitched a scoreless eighth before Armando Benitez came in to close it out in the ninth. It’s a shame that Jeurys Familia was only about ten years old then. With one out, Benitez walked Paul O’Neill. Pinch hitter Luis Polonia and former Met Jose Vizcaino singled loading the bases. Chuck Knoblauch tied the game with a sacrifice fly sending the game into extra innings. The Mets mustered no offense in the extra innings but the Yanks threatened in the 10th and 11th but did not score. Finally in the Yankees’ half of the 12th, Viscaino singled with the bases loaded giving the Yanks the game and the 1-0 Series lead. The Mets only won a single game (Game 3) in that series, the worst World Series record wise in their history.

There you have it. The Mets are 0-4 as a franchise in Game 1s of the World Series. Will that change this evening when the Mets begin their first World Series in 15 years? Matt Harvey, tonight’s Mets starter, is probably the most dominant pitcher the Mets have had start a World Series since Tom Seaver did so back in October of ’69. If Harvey can be the dominant pitcher he can be then maybe the Mets can finally take a 1-0 series lead. But it’s not going to be easy. These Mets have never played this deep into a season with this much distraction and attention. The Royals are home with their crowd supporting them. They were in the World Series a year ago so they at least have the benefit of knowing what to expect. But through this post season when most felt the Mets would falter, they picked themselves up and carried it to the next level. This series has the makings of a good one. It all starts tonight at 8:07PM


Kansas City Here the Mets Come

Five world series in Mets history, and all five will be against different teams. The Mets are 2-2 in the World Series. They defeated Baltimore and Boston in 1969 and 1986 respectively. They lost to Oakland in seven games in 1973 and to the Yankees in 2000. In World Series games the Mets are 12-12.

On Tuesday, the Mets will begin their fifth World Series in franchise history when they face the Kansas City Royals. It’s interesting that the Royals last World Series win was in 1985 against the St. Louis Cardinals while the Mets last world championship was a year later in ’86 when they defeated the Boston Red Sox. In ’85 and ’86 respectively the Royals and Mets both lost the first two games at home but rallied to win the Series in seven games. In fact both clubs went 1-2 on the road in the middle three games then won the final two at home.

During inter-league play, the Royals and Mets have played nine times. The Mets have won four games while the Royals won five. The first meeting between the two clubs was back in 2002 at Shea Stadium when the Mets won the series two games to one. The Royals took two of three from the Mets in 2004 at Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium) and again at Citi Field in 2013.

The 2015 World Series should be an interesting match-up starting Tuesday in Kansas City. The Mets have much better starting pitching than the Royals but the Royals have an outstanding bullpen. Royals hitters lead the league in average against pitchers who throw 95 mph and above–gulp!  The Royals have home field advantage because the American League won the All Star game back in July.

An interesting footnote to the Series is that next season the Mets open up the 2016 season in Kansas City for a two game set. What a coincidence.

The Plan Comes to Fruition

When he was introduced to the media in the fall of 2010, Sandy Alderson said a lot of things. He didn’t say a lot of things Mets fans wanted to hear. He didn’t say the Mets would increase their payroll and go out and sign the best players available. He didn’t say money would be no option and that the Mets would be the National League version of the Yankees. Instead, he tiptoed around some very realistic and startling observations. One in particular was that the Mets were on the hook for some huge contracts for players who were clearly on the decline. Another was that the club’s farm system was in total disarray. It was clear that this military veteran, turned legal scholar, then baseball executive was going to take a path to insure sustained success, not just fire all cannons in the hopes of one glorious season.

Mets management, after suffering two dreadful season ending collapses after the last time the Mets made the playoffs, appeared on board with a plan that would take some time to fulfill. The plan required drafting smarter, spending more money, over slot as they say, to procure the talent necessary to grow and improve the franchise.

Alderson hired Paul DePodesta to be head of player development and scouting. He brought in J.P. Ricciardi as his special assistant while John Ricco remained from the Minaya regime as assistant GM. Sandy put together an all-star front office that made clear that the first order of business would be to rebuild the farm system. While that was going on, the Mets made minor moves at the major league level that would hopefully help the Mets compete but the reality was that everyone knew there would be four or five lean seasons before Mets fans would begin to see results.

Now in fairness, it needs to be pointed out that many of the players responsible for the Mets winning the 2015 National League pennant were drafted by former GM Omar Minaya. There is no question that Minaya’s talent was in scouting. I do believe his downfall was that he became drunk with money available to him from the owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon. He attempted quick fixes with a team that had many fundamental weaknesses instead of or in addition to getting the Mets’ development system in order. He also appeared vulnerably to media pressure to make a deal. The signing of Jason Bay for one comes to mind.

But give Minaya credit. In his second year of operation, he got the Mets to game seven of the NLCS. Unfortunately he never built a team, especially a pitching staff, for the long haul. The Mets collapses of 2007 and 2008 were in large part due to very ineffective pitching. At least during his tenure with the Mets, he was able to draft Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy, Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada, Juan Lagares, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Jonathan Niese, Hansel Robles, and Jerrys Familia. But before we give Omar all the credit, realize these players for the most part were developed under a completely retooled minor league system, and that credit must go to Alderson and his staff, especially Podesta.

Noah Syndergaard, Zach Wheeler, and Travis d’Arnaud were brought in by trading veterans Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey.  Those deals were made by Sandy as well as his drafts of Michael Conforto and Kevin Plawecki. Also, eleven young pitchers, all drafted by the Alderson regime were used in trades to acquire Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Tyler Clippard, Yoenis Cespedes, and Addison Reed. So the point is Omar deserves some credit. But let’s be clear. The farm system under Minaya was in complete disarray and was consistently ranked one of the lowest in baseball. Just recall the famous incident when former head of player development Tony Bernazard ripped off his shirt in the Binghamton Mets locker room and challenged his double A players to a fist fight. That’s not out of the Branch Rickey handbook of player development.

Really back then, it was just one embarrassment after another. Then the real bomb went off when it was revealed that a huge part of the Wilpons’ investments were with Bernie Madoff who was running a Ponzi scheme for years. The Mets organization was being maligned from the sports page to the financial section. There were even those accusing Mets ownership for knowing about the scheme. That of course was never the case as the investigation completely exonerated the Mets hierarchy.

Clearly and contrary to the public statements made, the Mets finances were in disarray and it was not even clear how the Wilpons would pay off their shiny new stadium in Queens. Alderson had to have been somewhat blind sighted by this development but he realistically was never going to spend a ton of money anyway. And perhaps, the Madoff distraction benefited in that Alderson not spending money could be interpreted on him not having much to work with anyway.

The Mets ownership led by the Wilpons and Saul Katz consistently claimed that their money issues had no effect on the Mets operation, none whatsoever. Considering how things have played out and with the benefit of hindsight, they may indeed have been telling the truth.

If you take Sandy at his word, and there is no reason not too, his plan all along was to build a system that could deliver quality players, especially pitchers to the major league team. The strong belief was that pitching was how a club gets turned around. The idea being to develop great pitching with a small core of position players then mix and match on a seasonal basis with smart free agent signings and keen trades. It’s a type of rolling system where the basic construct of the team remains the same season to season with some of the names changing along the way.

Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe are good examples of this. They were brought in as quality bats off the bench, professional hitters that could help lengthen the lineup, and fill in admirably. They both are free agents at the end of the season. The question is not if the Mets will resign Johnson and Uribe but what similar players will they sign that can fill in those roles. Yoenis Cespedes is a different story. He’s a player that can carry a team so it would behoove the Mets to resign him. However, not for a ludicrous contract that another franchise may offer him.

Now that the Mets have reached the World Series, you can expect that payroll goes up in the coming seasons. They don’t have to become the Dodgers who spent over 300 million to players this year. But clearly the Mets will need to spend more than the 101 million paid this season. They have sold a lot of tickets since becoming a contender and reaching the playoffs. Their TV ratings have surpassed the Yankees now. So money is flowing through the door.

For next season, the Mets have about 60 million on the books with several free agents and a number of players eligible for arbitration. The Mets will likely settle with their arbitration players as they usually do. They will also have to consider what current Mets’ free agents they would like to resign or what’s out on the market to fill the gaps.

So Sandy’s model is now in place. He has his core pitchers and position players. He and his staff will have to fiddle with the bullpen as every club does. They will need to consider resigning Cespedes or paying someone out there who is similar. Plus they may have additional players ready to make a contribution next season from within. Those could include Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini, and Matt Reynolds. And who knows what other prospects that may impress come spring training 2016.

These are all nice problems to work out. The Mets have turned the corner. They are no longer in development mode. They are in the business of winning baseball, competing and hopefully making the playoffs for years to come. What I would love to see in the next few years if not next is the Mets actually winning back to back division titles, something this franchise has never done in 54 years of operation. The Mets now have that chance and this is all due to the patient and consistent reworking of the Mets organization by Sandy Alderson and his talented staff.

But of course I speak of the future. For now we get a few days off before our team, the Mets, begin their fifth World Series in franchise history. Holy cow!


New York Mets: 2015 National League Champions

For the fifth time in franchise history, the New York Mets are the National League Champions. For the first time in history, they swept in a best of seven post season series. In this most amazing of seasons, the Mets are headed to the World Series.

This season has truly been remarkable and so different than all the others that saw the Mets get to the final round of the season. Congratulations to Terry Collins for finally getting to where every manager wants to be. Congratulations to David Wright, the real Mr. Met who worked so hard to not only get back on the field this season but to contribute as well.

A brief recap… The Mets had a great spring training. When the season began, they won two of three before they rolled off an eleven game winning streak. During that time they lost David Wright to a balky hamstring injury that turned into a four month ordeal when it was discovered he suffered from spinal stenosis. Travis d’Arnaud then went down for a couple of months around the same time when he was hit by a pitch that broke his pinky. Then later he missed time from a hyperextended elbow. Also lost was Jerry Blevins, Zach Wheeler, Josh Edgin, Rafael Montero, Jenrry Mejia (suspended twice), For three months the Mets basically held serve, hovering a few games over .500 in second place. Through it all, the pitching was outstanding, keeping them near the top of the division all while the darlings of the pre-season picks, the Washington Nationals struggled all season long. The Mets got back Wright and d’Arnaud then promoted Michael Conforto. In late August, Sandy Alderson started dealing, bringing in Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Tyler Clippard, and perhaps most important Yoenis Cespedes. The moves transformed the Mets from a pitching rich team to a pitching rich team that could thump with the best of them. A waiver deal brought in Addison Reed bolstering the bullpen. After the wild ride of Wilmer Flores, that endeared him to Mets fans forever, the Mets went 20-8 in August beginning with a sweep of the Nationals where the Mets tied for the lead in the division and never looked back. The Mets swept the Nats again in DC in early September and kept moving away as they took a commanding lead in the NL East. They clinched the division in Cincinnati then beat LA in five, and now their fifth pennant, winning four in a row against the Cubs. It’s been an historic season, no doubt.

So moving forward, what do we know?

We know that the World Series will start on Tuesday evening, October 27 at either Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City or the Rodgers Centre in Toronto. That depends on the ALCS that will continue tomorrow evening in KC with the Royals up three games to two. The AL gets home field advantage due to the fact the AL squad won the All Star Game back in July. We also know that both of those clubs have powerful lineups, much like the Cubs. They both have good number one starters but neither of their rotations matches what the Mets have. The short of it is the Mets have a good chance to win the Series even though both AL clubs have a more powerful lineup.

Here’s what else we know. The Mets are poised to contend for a good number of years. When you consider their starting staff of Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz are all in their 20s, they should be very good for a number of seasons. Plus they have Familia as closer and he’s also young. The Mets will be faced with having to pay all these pitchers one day but that is a nice problem to have. The point is, this is just the beginning of a great run for this franchise. With Zach Wheeler coming back next season, it’s possible the pitching could even be better. But of course there are always setbacks so it’s good to have depth. That’s key for any contending club.

So the Mets have become the 2015 National League champs with little resistance from a very good Cubs team. The old adage still remains true. Good pitching will stop good hitting. Hopefully that continues to be the case next week when the Mets play their final series of the year, the World Series. Who would have believed this back on February 20th in Port St. Lucie? The Mets did, that’s who.