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Ya Gotta Believe? Well...ya just gotta believe now. Watching the Mets celebrate their clinching of the Eastern Division title has to make fans feel really good about the way things have turned out. Especially when things looked rather glum in May, June, and the beginning of July. But with all of the anxiety, all of the complaining, and all of the people calling for heads to roll, the Mets have taken the first step on their way to a post-season berth for the first time in nine years.
There is a lot to figure out over the next seven games that remain for the regular season. But for now, it is a chance to revel in the victory.
OK...OK...so with Yogi passing it brings back all of the memories of his days with the Mets and leading them to an improbable World Series appearance in 1973. Of course anyone and everyone with any knowledge about the Mets recalls that 1973 was the year of "Ya Gotta Believe!" And after the first half of the season...and even heading into the latter part of July, the team hung in there, and then once reinforcements arrived, you really had to get back into the Ya Gotta Believe groove.
But since the bombardment of the Rockies in Colorado and the Phillies thereafter in Philadelphia, the team has not looked all that formidable. Even through the recent 8-game winning streak, things looked a bit shaky. That streak ended with the team losing six of the next eight games to finish a home stand at 3-6. And the way it all happened really is concerning.
Yogi Berra...the iconic Yankee...and the lovable Met...passed away at the ripe old age of 90. Not many people can be considered folklore, but you would think anyone with the name Yogi could. But he was so much more than someone with a funny sounding nickname. He was a great player, a knowledgeable coach, a caring mentor, a compassionate human being, and a true gentleman in every sense of the word.
He was a family man, his wife and children always came first. He served his country in the U.S. Navy, and even participated in one of the biggest battles in the history of this country during WWII. He was a loyal and much-loved teammate. He was Derek Jeter before there was a Derek Jeter.
The very thought of the Mets playing baseball well into October in 2015 is exciting. But if the series against the Yankees is indicative of what post-season baseball will be like, well, it will be brutal. Watching the Mets against the Yankees was like watching a Little League series. The Yankees are NOT a good team and the Mets...they were just bad.
The Mets are in the stretch run and it was the first important series against another team fighting for a post-season position. They got a taste of what the post-season atmosphere would be like in their own ballpark. And it was a bit disappointing.
I think that the acquisition of Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson is a good start to get spare parts and shore up the bench and give Terry Collins some needed flexibility. They are proven veterans who have been in pennant races before and have been clutch. However, the need for a BIG bat is overwhelming.
I would be less concerned if Lucas Duda were being as productive as he was in the first month of the season or the second half of last season. Wilmer Flores has quieted down and Daniel Murphy has been a shell of himself. So NOBODY is hitting.
The Mets announced that they will, at times, be sporting their "racing stripe" uniforms in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 World Series Championship team. I have always had a fascination with the Mets uniforms and to be quite honest, I absolutely hated those uniforms. The home uniforms were bad enough, but the road uniforms had a weird block lettering and then a silly looking script. Heck, Keith Hernandez has so often made his opinion of those uniforms known during broadcasts, calling them "hideous." I am a traditionalist, and although I liked the brief appearance of the blue and orange piping on the sleeves during the Lee Mazzilli era in the late seventies, early eighties, I am truly partial to the traditional home uniforms. But my favorite is the traditional away jerseys with the tiffany style lettering on the front and the full block numbers on the front and back.
And uniform numbers worn by the players always seemed to pique my interest. I am sure most people can be presented with a number and immediately associate it with a specific Mets player. In fact, sometimes you see a number on a player’s back and you either love the player or simply the way the number looks and all of a sudden that becomes YOUR number.
Frustration must be running rampant with the Mets...especially in the last 24 hours. The Mets started the series off against the Marlins with a huge distraction. The "Matt Harvey innings limit saga" suddenly became an issue just when the team is trying to sort things out with their starting rotation, trying to keep everyone fresh, and ensuring that everyone makes it to the post season healthy. Then they go ahead and lose a heart-breaker in 11 innings after the team fought back twice from deficits...the last time with two outs and nobody on in the ninth inning. The lead was blown again by the middle relief corps and the game was lost in the 11th...again by a reliever whose name is not Clippard or Familia. So it is no wonder that the old man, Bartolo Colon, would want to do it all by himself.
Just when you thought it was too good to be true...you find out it IS too good to be true. The Mets are finally playing meaningful games in September with an eye on October baseball for the first time in almost a decade. Even with the infusion of the exciting Yoenis Cespedes and key veterans Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and Tyler Clippard...all of whom have made major contributions since their respective arrivals...there are still major concerns with the team. Lucas Duda is still on the DL, Daniel Murphy and Michael Cuddyer are now sidelined with injuries, and...oh...yeah...the middle innings relief situation is providing many with a reason to head to their physicians for a prescription for Xanax.
The calendar turned, it's September 1, and that means the rosters expand. The Mets will be getting some extra bodies in the clubhouse to aid in the stretch run.
Welcome back Steven Matz...Kevin Plawecki...Eric Campbell...Kirk Nieuwenhuis...Erik Goeddel. Lucas Duda and Bobby Parnell will be back as soon as they are feeling 100% from their stint on the disabled list. Logan Verritt will return once the allotted time is over for his stay in Las Vegas. And Eric Young, Jr. has been brought back to the organization to provide some much-needed speed. It will all make for some exciting September baseball and an intriguing decision on how to construct the post season roster.
I love going to baseball games...I really do. But sometimes it can literally be such a painful experience. It is hard to coordinate schedules because of everone's busy lives so every so often I am able to drag my wife, begrudgingly, kicking and screaming, to a Mets game. She doesn't understand anything about baseball...rather...she is an old-fashioned rock and roller. Our brains work so differently. The wife will have music playing and point out the intricacies of a piece and say, "Did you hear that...did you hear that unbelievable transition?" And I just sheepishly reply, "Uh...well...that was niiiiiiiiice?" Admittedly, I don't even pretend to be able to hear what she hears. But then, she will not see, or understand, all of the intricacies of what is happening during a baseball game...all of the things you can't possibly see going on when you are watching on television instead of seeing everything happening before your eyes.