Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mets Don't Deserve their "Amazin'" Moniker

by Scott Silversten

Do you want to know what is the biggest oxymoron in baseball? Well, here it is: The Amazin’ Mets.

Now, I completely understand the “Amazin’” moniker that was affixed to the team during its glorious 1969 World Championship season, but in its current use, the nickname is just plain silly. The Mets are far from amazing and they have much more in common with their cross-town rivals than they do with the Florida Marlins, who are truly an amazing story this year.

The Mets attempt to pass themselves off as the underdog, forever in the shadow of their more successful fellow New Yorkers. They are the plucky team that rises up to grab division titles approximately once a decade, a rag-tag bunch more than the sum of their individual parts.

What hooey!

In fact, the only real difference between the Mets and Yankees is that the boys from Flushing have stunk for years, while the Bronx Bombers have used their big-market advantages to build perennial playoff teams and World Series champions.

The Yankees are often mocked for their excess of riches, given the fact that they have current or former All-Stars in eight of their nine position players (including designated hitter). They have a future Hall-of-Famer as the supposed ace of the rotation (Randy Johnson), another at closer (Mariano Rivera), and yet another starter (Mike Mussina) who could still find his way to Cooperstown.

With a team like that, anything short of a spot in the postseason should be considered a failure.

Then there are the Mets. Let’s see, the King of Queens have current or former All-Stars at seven of their eight every day positions, they have a future Hall-of-Famer as the ace of the rotation (Pedro Martinez), a No. 2 starter likely bound for upstate New York (Tom Glavine) and a borderline immortal at the back of the bullpen (Billy Wagner).

Yet somehow, we are all supposed to believe the Mets are this tremendous story as they establish themselves as the best of a weak National League. To be honest, with their embarrassment of riches, it would be headline news more so if the Mets were not in this position.

However, let’s give the Mets this credit: They have been able to put together an eerily similar team to the Yankees for a lot less money. The Yankees may have a $200 million payroll, but they clearly don’t have $200 million worth of talent. The Yankees overpay, but hey, it’s their money, not ours.

Despite these facts, the Mets are viewed differently. While success is expected in the Bronx, it’s cheered as a novelty at Shea. Even the Mets’ superstars are not viewed in the same light. For those that have not noticed, third baseman David Wright has suffered through a horrible August at the plate and is without a homer in a month.

Although it’s nearly impossible to imagine more discussion about the town’s other third baseman, one can only begin to guess the insults and barbs that would be tossed Alex Rodriguez’s way if he had finally hit his first homer last night since July 28.

Meanwhile, for all the talk of Derek Jeter’s candidacy for American League Most Valuable Player, it’s the Mets shortstop that has arguably had the better season. Jeter has the higher average and on-base percentage, but Jose Reyes tops “Mr. Clutch” in slugging percentage due to 16 homers and 16 triples, and has more than double the amount of stolen bases. And considering he follows the bottom of an NL lineup, the RBI differential (83 to 68) is not that great.

Meanwhile, the best player on either team all season has been Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran (39 homers, 111RBI, .389 OBP). At least Mets fanatics took their cue from Yankees supporters when it came to Beltran, booing him during the first home stand of the year due to a down year in 2005.

Both squads have plenty to choose from in the bullpen (the Mets’ loss of stud Duaner Sanchez was extremely unfortunate), the benches are built nicely for the respective leagues (the Yankees have more pop, the Mets more versatility) and the bottom of the rotation appears to be each’ s weakness.

A strong possibility exists for the second Subway Series in seven years between the teams, and there is this notion that the match-up would put the Yankees in a “no-win” situation. If the Yankees prevail, well, they are supposed to win. If they lose, they’ll never live it down.

The Yankees pay for their tremendous success with lofty expectations, while the Mets get a pass for their failures of recent past.

Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Scott Silversten's column, "Age of Reason", appears every Thursday

8 Comments:

Blogger Johnny Cakes but not gay said...

hater.

ur banned from watching the mets from now on.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Mets team payroll is actually closer to the Marlins than that of the Yankees.

Thursday, August 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you figure they don't deserve this? In 2 years, they have gone from cellar to the top of the division on the strength of a new GM, home-grown talent, and spending money on good FAs (not just spending on any hack who had a good year the year before. See Jaret Wright & Carl Pavano). And they are better than they have been with a smaller payroll.

With the injuries they have had to their rotation, starting 13 different pitchers, and losing Duaner, the fact that they have been able to maintain their huge-lead is amazing.

You're clearly an arrogant Yankee "fan" who can't stand that the other NY team is doing well. And like all the other dumb-ass fans in the Bronx whose main goal in life is to act degenerate enough to dub yourself a bleacher-creature, you're starting to see a trend and that's what's really got you ticked off.

You can all see that the Mets are going to be a good team for years to come, while the free-spending, trade all youth ways of your Yanks is coming to bite you in the ass. That's what you really can't stand...you see the writing on the wall and it looks completely AMAZIN!!!!

Thursday, August 31, 2006  
Anonymous hugo said...

Right. Well, first of all, it is a freaking nickname. And I think it just might predate this season anyway, so...

Second, it's not quite the same. The Mets spend $3 million more than their closest competitors, the Yankees upwards of $80 million more. And the Mets have managed to improve greatly this year without increasing payroll, which is impressive how ever you slice it.

Thursday, August 31, 2006  
Anonymous Kalyan said...

Another point to make is that using the All-Star selection as a measure of strength is stupid.

Paul Lo Duca isn't really a good pick as an All-Star. Floyd is past his prime there and Endy is finally putting a year that demonstrates his true potential. Sean Green is in the twilight of his career. Pedro is pitching with 1/8th of a labrum. Glavine? Not the same since Umpires stopped giving him those "corners" 6 inches off the plate. Trachsel? An All-Star ten years ago.

Of the Mets that are currently All-Star worthy at this point in their careers(if All-Star voting was done by competent people)

David Wright
Jose Reyes
Carlos Beltran
Pedro Martinez

We don't try to portray our team as the underdog, but isn't everyone an underdog compared to the Yankees? I bet the Mets would have loved to have signed Abreu and Lidle for chump change, all they cost was money.

Thursday, August 31, 2006  
Blogger gomets2006 said...

"I completely understand the “Amazin’” moniker that was affixed to the team during its glorious 1969 World Championship season"

Actually that is false. This moniker was afixed to the team in the inaugural season of 1962 by Casey Stengel when he called them Amazin because they were so bad. If you are going to comment on the history of this saying, do your research.

I also think your commentary is a little off. The Mets have spent on free agents like Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez and Billy Wagner. However, they also developed two of the brightest young stars in the game, Jose Reyes and David Wright. This team is a combo of home grown talent, good trades, and free agents. Hmmm. The two best teams of the 1990s - the Yankees and Braves - were built the same way.

Sunday, September 03, 2006  
Blogger gomets2006 said...

"I completely understand the “Amazin’” moniker that was affixed to the team during its glorious 1969 World Championship season"

Actually that is false. This moniker was afixed to the team in the inaugural season of 1962 by Casey Stengel when he called them Amazin because they were so bad. If you are going to comment on the history of this saying, do your research.

I also think your commentary is a little off. The Mets have spent on free agents like Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez and Billy Wagner. However, they also developed two of the brightest young stars in the game, Jose Reyes and David Wright. This team is a combo of home grown talent, good trades, and free agents. Hmmm. The two best teams of the 1990s - the Yankees and Braves - were built the same way.

Sunday, September 03, 2006  
Blogger gomets2006 said...

In case you need proof you got the history of Amazin Mets wrong, below is Stengel's quote that gave them their nickname. I found it in Wikipedia.

"Come see my "Amazin' Mets," Stengel said. "I've been in this game a hundred years, but I see new ways to lose I never knew existed before."

Sunday, September 03, 2006  

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