Monday, October 02, 2006

Attention all NY Mets Fans: This Column is For You.

by Doug Silversten

Wednesday night it all begins. After completely dominating the National League this year during the regular season, Wednesday night begins our road to the NL pennant. A lot has been written about what would it mean if the Mets struggle in the playoffs and don’t reach the World Series, or even the NLCS. Does it diminish what we did during the regular season? Does it mean our season wasn’t a success?

Answers: No and No.

The playoffs are a crapshoot. I don’t really believe you can "build a team for the playoffs." If your team is built strong enough to win 97 games in the regular season, to me it is built to win 11 games in the playoffs. Sure, it helps to have dominant starters, but you can also have dominant starters and get swept in a short series. So losing Pedro hurts, but we can certainly win without him. In 2000, we didn't have Pedro (although we did have Mike "No good schools in New York" Hampton) and our offensive wasn't nearly what it is this year, but we were still just a few breaks away (damn you Timo Perez) from possibly winning it all.

So be optimistic Met fans, and enjoy the ride. Unlike the Yankees who buy their way into the postseason each year, the Mets seem to buy their way in only once every several years, and there is no guarantee when we will be here again. There is nothing in sports quite like postseason baseball. And there is no postseason baseball quite like postseason baseball in New York. Despite only making the postseason six previous times, the Mets have had their share of dramatic postseason games, and I expect that trend to continue over the next few weeks.

Unless you're a bandwagon fan or incredibly young, you have certainly suffered as a Met fan over the past several years, and during most of the 1990s. Who can forget the days when it seemed like Dave Magadan was our best hitter. When our teams seemed to be filled with role players...Steve Bieser? Daryl Boston? Butch Huskey? Brian McRae? Gosh, those were our stars! I was thrilled if Mackey Sasser was up in a clutch situation...that is how pathetic we were.

No more. Delgado. Beltran. Reyes. Wright. Now that's an offense.

No more worrying that Benitez is the one to close our games out. We have Wagner at the end of a deep pen.

I have faith in Glavine. And El Duque. And...well, not Trachsel. But that's not the point. Although I certainly will miss Pedro, we have the starters who can take us far into the playoffs.

I'm pumped. No matter what happens, I'm going to savor every moment. Every pitch.

So, what's there left to say? Just three magic little words...


Doug Silversten's column, "The Big Picture", appears alternate Mondays


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"I've had a pretty good success facing Stan (Musial) by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third base."
- Carl Erskine