Friday, March 30, 2007

Your 2007 N.L. East Preview: New York Mets

You know, I didn't plan this out very well.

Everything I would probably say in this space I've already said here, here, here, and here. Now what am I going to talk about for five odd paragraphs or 400 words in this Mets preview?

No wonder I wasn't included in that Sports Illustrated poll...it's because your blogger is a moron!!!

You know, I was in Philadelphia last year and...

All right, seriously. Let's summarize. When you're in New York, everything is magnified...including and especially your flaws. So the Mets rotation is a famous flaw that I don't believe will be in play as much as others do. But every team in the National League is flawed. The Braves lack lineup depth. The Phillies lack a bullpen. The Marlins lack experience, and the Nationals lack a starting rotation. So everyone is flawed. The Mets though have more makeup to cover up their flaws than any other team in the division. So while the Nationals come into 2007 lookin' like a hockey player, the Mets can make themselves look like a hockey player's girlfriend.

Somebody commented on this site not long ago (I can't remember when or where, and I think it was one of those anonymous characters), and allow me to paraphrase but it went something like "Metstradamus is going to come on here before the 2007 season and predict that the Mets are going to win the division, but so what! It's the rest of the league that has improved and it's what you do in the playoffs that count" (and then he spewed some stuff about free range chicken, the Geneva convention and Kelly Clarkson...if I remember correctly).

Well with apologies to Steve Martin, excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse meeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Yeah I am predicting them to win the division. But there's no "so what" involved here. To hear the majority of the baseball community tell it, the Mets don't get the benefit of the doubt known as "they're the champs until somebody beats them". Just as many people are picking Atlanta and Philadelphia (Gary Thorne, Steve Phillips, and John Kruk, for example) than there are picking the Mets (Ken Rosenthal on the Joe Beningo and the Other Guy Midday show). So you can't have it both ways.

(Oh, about the rest of the league: if we have to worry about them in October, then that means that there will actually be baseball in October so I'll worry about them then, thanks. And let's get something straight: the Giants are old, the Cardinals have Braden Looper starting, and for all the Soriano hype floating around, the best pitcher the Cubs signed this off-season is Jeff Samardzija. So I'll worry about the Dodgers later.)

This is going to be an interesting season. Obviously, the Mets are going to have to get through the first 50 games without Guillermo Mota and see where they are. In fact, the first nine games are going to tell a lot about where this team is headed with games against the Cardinals, Braves, and Phillies. I can't wait to see the jarring change in fans as we're going from ho-humming our way through another spring training to starting the season against the three most hated rivals of the distant past, recent past, and present. Why not just schedule the Yankees on April 12th so we can all check into the hospital for mental exhaustion two weeks into the season?

But it's going to be a horse race this season, and not Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont Stakes like 2006 was...more like Empire Maker winning in 2003 and getting booed for ending Funny Cide's run to the triple crown. It truly is different to be the hunted and not the hunter. We'll find that out early this season. But even if ailing troops like Filthy and Pedro never get healthy (which I'm not counting on), the Mets should have enough hitting and pitching (yes, pitching) to pull away down the homestretch and have a comfortable lead in September to win their second division in a row.

Then the fun will truly begin.

Prediction: First place, 91-71

11 comments:

elliot said...

I enjoy your writing, Strad, and I wanted to thank you for your prolific output heading into the start of the real season. It's spring training for us fans, also, and your columns helped me get closer to opening day form.

It was nice to see John Maine bounce back from a previous poor outing with a strong outing yesterday. He will be key in justifying your (and my) faith in the Mets starting pitching.

OK, I'm ready - let's see some BASEBALL!.

Mike said...

Great analogy with the Belmont (very gepgraphically appropriate, of course).

I generally agree with you, and I'm predicting 90 wins. I think they'll battle it out all season with every team except the Nats, but the strength of the bats and the bullpen'll make the difference.

Of course, if Omar makes any moves, they could make it a lot easier for themselves.

jabair said...

Elisha Cuthbert is a cutie!!

Jeffrey said...

Hey Metstra/other people,

I have been reading your blog for a year and a half now, and I love it. I was so confident in the Mets that I bought 4 season tickets in Upper Reserve Section 5, and I want to sell some of these tickets at face value (games I can not attend). These seats are better than the ones selling at Mets.com, and you can sit in the same section for every game. If you are interested, e-mail me at mrmet924 at gmail dot com.

Back to the topic, I think that the Mets will win 93 games this season, even though they will be a better team than last year. (Their interleague schedule is crazy, and the NL is better). I can see us winning the pennant, and a Subway Series with a different result happening this time. Game 7, Top 9 (the game is at Shea >_>), Wagner strikes out A-Rod and the Mets run out of the dugout, WORLD CHAMPIONS.

Sean said...

'Damus,

When are we going to get some respect around here? This is an offense that won 15 games for Steve Trachsel. This is a team that relied on Jose Lima, Geremi Gonzalez, and Victor Zambrano to make starts at various points last year. This is a team that should have gone to the Series last year.

And yet...the Phillies add Freedy Garcia and are suddenly world-beaters? I don't get it. I just don't get it. Even Mike Jacobs is dusting off his crystal ball and declaring the Phillies as the heirs apparent to the NL East crown. Utley and Howard are beasts, of course...but Freddy Garcia? In that band-box, he's likely to give up as many homers as Howard hits (okay, so maybe I'm stretching just a bit...)


P.S.: What'd you think we'd have to give the Marlins to get Hanley "Jose Reyes Without the Arm" Ramirez to play second for us? I salivate when I imagine the ulcers that opposing pitchers would develop.

Unser said...

MD's a horse racing fan too, huh? I see the Mets more like Sunday Silence (http://www.horsehats.com/sundaysilence.html) - keeps winning, but gets no respect. Any horse with the name "Empire" can't be associated with the ball club from Queens.

Thank God the season's starting. Play ball!

Mutt$ Are Losers! said...

Live it up, MUTT$$$$$ Fans! hahaha. Your pitching will leave you right in the toilet next to the floating washington nationals!

BWAAHAHAHA! A Manly City of Philadelphia will show people how to play a man's game unlike themanicured femme lib New Yorkers who drink latte's and read the demcoratic new york times!

HAHAHAA! Finally a real city will show the country how baseball is played!

Mookie McFly said...

Yes Yes Yes

The Mets are losers? How many games behind us did Philly finish you moron. I cannot wait until opening day when we make you look like the team that you really are...Ryan Howard is good but he'd have to stretch to hir 40 hr's at Shea. Be honest Philthy fan...we don't think you aren't a good team but you and your stupid players can't stop themselves from predicting total victory before they even win a game. Think back to the last team you had in the playoffs...that is if you were even alive then, chump.

Mookie McFly said...

One more thing...

Metstra, why you hatin' on Rey Rey buddy? The guy died his hair orange and had 105 games without an error. I know he called Mets fans "stupid" but aren't they sometimes? I mean, booing Rey when Alomar and the team was just as bad was sort of stupid. I choose to remember how pretty it was to watch him and Fonzie turn the DP instead of the swings at balls over his head. He was a good Met not great...and he used to put his body directly in harms way for the team...hence the broken arm that really ended his Mets career. I hope he makes the team in Seattle and gets a chance to beat the Yanks a couple of times this year.

Metstradamus said...

Mook, you're right. He's probably suffered enough. But when you're busy calling players "stupid", you're taking precious time away from batting practice...important when you're batting .220 at any given time.

Freudian Slip said...

Come on Mets! It's time to get back on track once again :)
Matt