Friday, June 16, 2006


Games 64 & 65 - Mets

Mets 9, Phillies 3
Mets 5, Phillies 4
Record: 42-23

Yes, that about wraps up the regular season for the Mets, right? Everyone from folks in the mass media (Mike & Mike on ESPN) to denizens of the Township (Wheelhouse Jerry) have concluded that it's all over but the singing for the National League East. While I am relishing the recent dominance of this Met team -- and it has been nothing short of dominance -- I'll abstain for now from crooning along with the legions belting out Glenn Frey's victory song.

Perhaps it's the past few years of disappointment that have me tapping the brakes on this parade float. Perhaps it's the unhealthy amount of superstition that resides somewhere within me. Or perhaps it's the fact that just across the aisle here we have the benefit of painful example. Don't you all recall Rob's Red Sox and their 1978 season? You think you do, but do you?

Most baseball fans know one stat – the Sox were up 14 games on the Yankees in July, and the Sox were down one game to the Yankees after 163 were played. And the drama, high drama, and melodrama of the way it played out down the stretch has been beaten into the ground. But here’s the thing that needs emphasis: the ’78 Sox were playing even better baseball much later in the year than these Mets. (Okay, nobody’s played better than this past week of Metball, but on the season.) The Sox were 62-28 on July 19, a .689 winning percentage. That’s tip-top baseball beyond the Break, just about flawless for the sport. The Mets have posted a .646 pct and it’s still just June 16. It’s way, way, way too early.

June 16. Anyone remember who was in first place over in the AL East last year on June 16? The Orioles were. Up three games on the Sox, six on New York. They’d go on to finish 21 games out, skunking it up in fourth place.

Now, that’s an unfair comparison, because that division was ultra-competitive and the O’s just weren’t; nobody, even down in Fells Point, figured they’d stay there much longer. The ’78 Sox, a legitimate powerhouse of a team, remains the modern standard for regular-season choke jobs, with apologies to my little buddy. The ’78 Mets were also 13 games out on July 19, 1978; they’d finish 24 games out, looking up from last place. This season could still go a lot of directions for these Mets, and since one of those many directions is straight down, while I am living in la-la land at the moment, you’ll not hear me consider this race any thing but still being run.

The Mets are scoring early and often; their pitchers are doing enough to win with the benefit of the booming offense. I’m excited every time anyone even mentions the Mets. This is ground not walked upon in many moons for us Met fans, and it’s easy to take results for granted. I won’t, even as I revel in these high times. Like Buffett sang before he choked away his credibility, don't talk about tomorrow tonight, 'cause I love the now.

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