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The New Kings of New York

Courtesy of the New York Mets

Courtesy of the New York Mets

Thomas Schwartz, Opinion Editor

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After an exhilarating playoff run, the New York Mets failed to capture the ultimate goal-a World Series. But even after a devastating blow from the Kansas City Royals, the future looks brighter than ever for the Metropolitans.

Before this year the Mets had not clinched a playoff berth since 2006. Mets fans had endured eight agonizing seasons of lackluster baseball. September collapses, Reyes’s departure, and countless injuries have led many Mets fans to go incognito. Banners shoved away. Jerseys hid in closets. And the hope of a postseason return – never  mind a World Series title – seemed unimaginable. Furthermore, the club had finished in fourth place from 2009-2012 adding to the hopelessness felt by many Mets fans (including myself). While the New York Yankees during that span won a World Championship and were finishing atop their division, the silence from Flushing was deafening.  But  the baseball gods have heard their cries.

In 2015 a young ball club headed to spring training with the first possibility in years to secure a place in October.  Most of this hope was coming from their pitching. Matt Harvey, the phenomena, and Jacob DeGrom, the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year were and still are leading this charge. A franchise-tying 11 game winning streak in April caught everyone’s attention. On May 12 more depth was added to the team’s pitching with the appearance of the flame-throwing Noah Syndergaard also known as “Thor.” The Mets rotation seemed  brilliant and the mediocre offense appeared manageable with these incredible aces on the mound. Suddenly the entire season froze as captain, David Wright was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. Mets fans could sense the season’s hopes dwindle and a playoff berth begin to fade as the Mets fell to 41- 41 at the beginning of July, four and a half games behind the Washington Nationals. The nonexistent offense suffered and pitchers painstakingly battled to hold teams to one or two runs. The season seemed once again – for a ninth straight year – hopeless.

The Mets continued to tiptoe around the .500 mark until the end of July. The last days of July proved to be the turning point in the Mets season. General Manager, Sandy Alderson had acquired second baseman, Kelly Johnson, infielder, Juan Uribe, and outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes. And throughout these major trades Wilmer Flores proved that there is crying in baseball captivating the hearts of baseball fans. The following month, the Mets played extraordinary baseball with a record of 20-6 and solidified a first place finish in the National League East. Mets fans were ecstatic to witness the team’s first playoff appearance in Citi Field’s history. The team dramatically pushed through the Dodgers and easily swept the Cubs to land in the World Series. Daniel Murphy’s historical run and Ruben Tejada’s sacrifice all proved to be pivotal in the Mets’ postseason success.

Although the Mets succumbed to the Royals impenetrable offense and flawless defense (except for Hosmer) the seasons ahead look bright. The Mets topped the National League in all pitching categories finishing with a 3.43 ERA (while the Yankees had a 4.05). They have arguably the best rotation in all of baseball and even if Daniel Murphy and Yoenis Cespedes did not re-sign with the Mets, the promising young talent of Michael Conforto and Dilson Herrera could possibly make up for their absence.

The Yankees and Mets are complete opposites. The Yankees have a starting lineup with one player below the age of 30. The Mets have a young, homegrown ball club bursting with potential. The Yankees have a struggling rotation. The Mets have an overwhelming wealth of pitchers. Over the next seasons the Mets paraphernalia may come out of their hiding spots and the tired argument of “who has 27-world series?” may be silenced.

 

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