By: Paul DiSclafani
How great was it to wake up this morning and not have to think about what might happen over the next week? No more talking about pitching inning limits, no more worry about 2007 and 2008 collapses that have been hanging out in the back of your mind like a stupid AM radio song that won’t leave.
Just to be able to wake up, make a pot of coffee and open your favorite NY Sunday paper just to see what the back pages will have to say today.
With the Mets clinching the most improbable of their six National league East Titles, we Mets fans can relax a little this week. We can watch the games for pure enjoyment and keep one eye on the Dodgers, who will be our NLDS opponent starting on Friday, October 9th. The team with the best record gets to host Games 1, 2 and 5.
The Mets (88-67) have one more win than the Dodgers (87-67) with 7 games to play: today’s finale in Cincinnati, three in Philadelphia and three at home against the “I-really-don’t want-to-be-there” Nationals. The Dodgers have 8 games left: today’s try-to-avoid-the-sweep finale against the Rockies, four against the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants and three at home against San Diego.
Of course we’d love to get home field advantage. But you know what? I don’t care. Noting is going to knock that smile off my face, or any Mets fan today!
HARVEY MAKES AN ABOUT FACE ON INNINGS LIMITS
Just last Sunday, the Mets had a 1-0 lead over the rival Yankees after five innings, when the dreaded “Matt Harvey Innings Limit” reared its ugly head. When Collins pulled a dominant Harvey after just 77 pitches in a game that completely unraveled into an 11-2 loss, media and fans alike (including your humble narrator) went into a frenzy over the decision – regardless who made it: Harvey, his agent, Collins or GM Sandy Alderson.
Talk all week-long was about how Harvey could put his health (and future earnings) ahead of the team’s goal of clinching a postseason spot when guys like David Wright are out on the field risking not only their career, but future health playing every day they can. Maybe he reads this author’s articles because he made an about-face and suddenly wants to do whatever is necessary to help his team win.
On Tuesday following the debacle against the Yankees, Harvey approached Collins and said he had to talk to him. Collins said, “It was the way he said it. I could tell something was eating at him.” Harvey wanted Collins to know that he was on board with what needed to get done, and that this was coming from him.
“I think Matt was frustrated by what happened in the Yankee game,” Collins said, “He got caught in the middle of this thing, and as I’ve said all along that he’s a good teammate, but some guys in that clubhouse got turned off by it.”
Gee – that’s exactly what I wrote last Monday, just before Harvey had his conversations with Collins. Hmmm….
HARPER WANT’S METS TO WIN IT ALL
Well isn’t that special?
Nationals outfielder and probable NL MVP Bryce Harper was asked, after his team was eliminated from the postseason on Saturday, what he thought about the Mets clinching the NL East that was supposed to be delivered to the Nationals on a silver platter?
“They (the Mets) did a great job this year,” said the man who boldly predicted after the Nats signed Max Scherzer that they should get measured for their Championship rings, “Coming from the East, I hope they win it all.” Nobody asked former Phillie Jayson Werth what he thought about the elimination after his comment last week that the Nationals were “still going to win this division”.
Is that violin music I hear in the background?
YANKEE FANS STILL PLACATING US
And what is with the phony, back-handed “praise” that’s been coming from all the Yankee fans? Just last weekend, they were dishing their vitriol and making fun of us (again) because they took two out of three in the Subway Series. Then they went into Toronto with first place on the line and spit the bit, losing two out of three and essentially settling in for a one-game Wild-Card playoff.
Granted, we Mets fans would have had a ball with them if we had won the series, but to read all the players and coaches congratulating the Mets. Save it, phonies.
You can always tell when a Yankee fan is a true fan and not a bandwagon fan. These Yankee fans understand how privileged they are to have been able to enjoy the success they have certainly earned over the years. They also derive pleasure in needling the Mets and their fans along the way – and they have earned that right. They are fans just like us.
But it’s those fair-weather, band-wagon fans that don’t deserve to be Yankee fans. The front-runners who will never acknowledge a great performance or accomplishment from any team other than their own, you guys can keep your “compliments”.
From a life-long Mets fan to any true Yankee fans out there, thanks for the nice things you have said over the past few days and good luck in the post season.
A VIEW FROM THE BENCH: What is going on in St. Louis? My friend and colleague Jim Tsapelas, who is the Cardinals beat writer on our site, is getting nervous with a 3-game lead and the Cards going into Pittsburgh for three games. You should read his stuff … Now that they Mets are in the playoffs, take another look at my article about a possible playoff rotation. Now we can finally talk about it! … Hope you got to see the locker room celebration yesterday. If not, use this link to SNY. It was a little subdued until the Captain got into the dugout and then things went crazy … Did you know that Yogi Berra had five years with more home runs than strikeouts? In almost 9,000 plate appearances, he only struck out 414 times. For you kiddies, checkout the back of his baseball card someday.
BY THE NUMBERS: Mets were 49-48 when Michael Conforto was promoted and Juan Uribe / Kelly Johnson arrived from Atlanta … Duda hit his first career grand slam in the clincher after two monster 3-run home runs the night before. Guess he’s getting hot at the right time with 12 RBI in the last three games … Mets tied a major league record that was last accomplished in 1912. The NY Giants went 30 consecutive road games scoring 3+ runs. Mets look to break the record today … Mets set a franchise record with 10 straight road games and are 18-2 in their last 20 … Call the Generation MPH? Mets starting pitchers have 1,500 more pitches recorded at 90+ MPH than any other staff in the majors.