Friday, September 29, 2006

Pedro Martinez - I'm happy he's not pitching.

My friends, this is a time for celebration rather than pain. We are only 4 or 5 days from seeing the first playoff baseball at Shea in 6 years, the sun is shining, squirrels are stealing food here at the U of H, and all I have is people consoling me on not having Pedro Martinez for the postseason and hearing from my very own community blog that the NL playoffs are now "even".

Kids, losing Pedro Martinez doesn't make the playoffs any more or less even. I know this may come as a shock to you, but this is a man whos ERA's by month since June have been 6.23, 6.00, 5.65, and 11.81. The Mets record in these months? 16-12, 16-9, 19-9, 12-15 (but, 7 of these losses have come since after we've clinched). He is not a driving force for this team this year. Fellow Mets fans, get off that roof. I know it's painful to think of the Steve Trachsel Run Generating Machine (Guaranteed to cause at least 7 runs to appear on the scoreboard between the two teams, or your money back!) potentially starting 5 postseason games and bringing America to yawns between pitches, but you have homework to do anyway. Or wives to please. Trust me, I've seen some of the moves being put on her, you need to do something.

So, are we still the favorite? Have you seen the rest of the NL? We're not unbeatable by any stretch (i'd say we're about 60/40 favorites in the first round and maybe 65/35 in the second), but the offense is what has made us the best team in the NL, and it's the offense we will continue to rely on.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let me take apart another theory that I am positive will come up somewhere along the line: "The ___________ are going to upset the Mets in the postseason because they played well down the stretch and the Mets limped into the playoffs."

The last time the Mets made the World Series was 2000. Eve 6 was popular somehow and I was a high school freshman with an Edgardo Alfonzo jersey. We lost to a team that year in the World Series that seems to be a pretty big hit with the kids these days. Guess their record down the stretch? The Yankees went into the postseason winning 2 of their last 15 games. If the Mets get upset, it will not be because of them being the worse team or them limping into the playoffs; it will be because it is difficult to win series of 5 or 7 games consistently.

On a related note, the Japanese leagues playoff structure (which you've been hearing about from me!) is three teams make the playoffs, one gets the first round bye, and the other two fight for the right to play the top seed. While I don't neccessarily agree with the extra game system, imagine the great playoff chase we would have right now if we just abolished the wild card. The Twins and Tigers would be a national story. We'd be tuning into their games every night as they battled to see who would get to be the second seed (editors note: ESPN's view may vary, I guess we really do need to see more Baltimore Orioles). What are the pennant races this year? Do I really care which 82 win squad from the NL Central gets to go dancing? Did anyone see that Phillies-Nationals game the other night? The one where the Phillies blew it once in the ninth, again in the tenth, then tried dearly to blow it in the fourteenth? I'm supposed to be enthralled over a team that can't even put away the Nationals with its season on the line?

The wild card has given me extra memories of my favorite squad: the 99 Mets. I would trade all those extra memories away if the wild card would do us a favor and die, so that other pennant chases could flourish. Until that day, we will have the occasional down to the wire chase for a wild card that is between two really good teams; The 2003 AL comes to mind, with the Red Sox barely beating out the Mariners. But really, the best idea to get people interested in baseball is to make all the pennant races focus on teams that clearly aren't very good? I understand increasing the number of playoff games creates fans in new cities, but when your system is random enough to where the wild card can win 3 World Series in a row, something has to be changed to protect the teams that actually have the best seasons. It doesn't have to be a free win. Maybe it's a free bye into the CS like the Pacific League system. Maybe it's adding a second wild card team that has to have a play-in game (oooh boy, thats even more markets that get to care about mediocre teams!).

I'm already excited. Bring on the Dodgers, bring on the headphones that are mandatory to avoid ear pollution by Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, and bring on some goddamn baseball. Also, bring on a Mets championship. I'm only asking for one.

1 comment:

Medicine said...

It doesn't have to be a free win.