One of the hardest things about being a fan blogger is that every once in a while you feel a need to pose as a sportswriter. You feel that you need to talk about how you feel the team is going to do, how a certain player is going to play. And yet, like other fans, all you know is what you read in the papers and on the Internet, and what you hear on the radio and TV. I guess people who read a blog want to know what someone who writes a blog thinks about what is going to happen. A blogger owes it to readers to tell them. But when I write this kind of stuff, I feel like a fraud, because I not only know no more than my readers, I know less than a lot of them. I am within my comfort zone writing about my impressions of the ballpark and my idea of the eternal qualities of Mets fandom. But me, a sportswriter? An analyst? Who am I kidding? I wonder if real sportswriters ever feel such moments of self-doubt. Probably not. They know so much, which is why their predictions are usually right.
Sportswriters were unanimous a month ago about the Mets being done for this year. When is the fire sale going to begin? What a disaster! What an abused fan base! How can a NY baseball franchise have allowed itself to become irrelevant?
Things are different now. But nobody knows how different. We’re at that moment where people who have been ranting and raving suddenly have to stop in mid-rant and wonder if they should shut up, or if they should just pause for a few moments before they go on.
I would like to point out that if the Mets play as well as they have over their past 25 games, they will win 98 games. I don’t know what to do with that fact any more than you do.
The first question that comes to my mind is why couldn’t the Mets play during the rest of the season as well as they’ve played over the past 25 games? You might say, well, it’s because the Buffalo Mets are not really as good as they’ve been looking lately. Perhaps not, but what if one or two of them (say Gee and Turner) really are pretty good, and what if Wright, Bay, and Dickey return to form? And what if Davis, Reyes, and Beltran keep playing as they are and Pelfrey, Niese, Capuano, K-Rod, and Isringhausen stay close to what they have been lately? Wouldn’t we then be thinking about winning 110 games? Of course not, but we would be talking about a pretty large margin for error, for a team we’d be glad to see win 90.
Teams that win tend to be of two kinds: really good teams (e.g. the ‘86 Mets) and .500 teams for which a lot of things have broken right (e.g. the ‘69 Mets). Could this scorned, battered, and very improbable team possibly belong in the latter category? Could we be in the early stages of something no one anticipated and no one even anticipates now?
One of the things that should not be true, but seems to me to be true, is that Subway Series tend to come when the Mets are at particularly interesting and pivotal moments in their season. It is my impression, and it may just be an impression (notice that I am not looking it up), that how the Mets have performed in recent years in Subway Series has some impact on how they perform in the few weeks afterward. What if the Mets win two out of three from the Yankees this weekend and are at the .500 mark, after having been given up for dead when they lost 13 of their first 18 games?