All season long, we’ve been comparing the 2007 Mets to the 2006 Mets, to the disadvantage of the former.
The few Mets fans who remember that the 2006 Mets were not as good as the 1986 Mets may also remember that the Achilles heel of the 2006 Mets was a starting pitching staff that collapsed and almost disappeared in the second half of the season. You see, when we started a rookie who’d only been with us half a year in the first game of the NLCS, and when we started a pitcher in the seventh game of the NLCS whose E.R.A. would have been the worst on the 1962 Mets, we weren’t just trying to show off how good our offense was.
The reason the 2006 Mets made it to the playoffs was that it had such a terrific offense and relief staff that it could survive the collapse of the starting pitching. The reason the 2007 Mets will make it to the playoffs is that the starting pitching is so good that it makes up for a decline in the quality of our offense and our relief pitching. This is what this weekend’s series has proven. The 2007 and 2006 Mets may look like roughly the same baseball team. But they’re not. The 2007 team is actually a mirror image of the 2006 team. Everything is reversed. We are in the Bizarro world.
You remember the Bizarro world from Superman comics, don’t you? It was a world that looked like the real world but in which everything was reversed. Even if you’ve never read Superman comics, you may know about the Bizarro world from the many references to it on Seinfeld. As I have written elsewhere (in the chapter in Mets Fan entitled “The Mets and Seinfeld”) Jerry Seinfeld is the representative Mets fan. He showed the world the way the minds of Mets fans work. And one thing he often showed them is that the Mets have a tendency to spend a lot of time in the Bizarro world.
What happens in the Bizarro world? Well, you sweep the Braves at Turner’s Field for one thing. You know that the Mets never win at Turner’s Field. Well, when they’re in the Bizarro world, they sweep a whole three-game series. Another thing that happens in the Bizarro world is that even though everybody else in the league thinks that the Philadelphia Phillies relief staff is pitching batting practice, the Mets can’t hit them! Everybody hits Philadelphia, but when we’re in the Bizarro world, we don’t!
Here’s another sign that we’re in the Bizarro world. Which game will be remembered as the turning point of the season, the game in which the 2007 New York Mets discovered who they were, and realized where they were going? It was Thursday’s game: a spectacular, marathon, epic, super-exciting 11-10 LOSS!
If I make it to the end of this season with my sanity intact, it will be a miracle.