Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cherish These Mets [J. Mark English]

"The world is always changing, nothing stays the same...Cherish the METS we have, we should cherish the BASEBALL TEAM we have..." - Kool & The Gang

This is rare. Very rare. I became a Mets fan in 1991. Between 1984-1990 the Mets never had a losing season. They averaged 95 wins a season, including 2 division pennants, and a World Series berth.

And then I became a Mets fan. 1991 - the year doom struck the Mets. To be sure that 1991 could have been worse. They had a losing season, but still managed to win 77 games. Howard Johnson, Dwight Gooden, and David Cone (before he was traded) were the stars of the team, but they were not enough to carry a team that no longer had Gary Carter & Daryl Strawberry.

The Mets went out and got Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray, Vince Coleman, and Bret Saberhagen. The 1992 Mets were full of hope, and swagger.

The team was pathetic. They lost 90 games, and followed that up with 103 losses in 1993. Between 1991-1996 they averaged 83 losses...but that number is slighted due to the strike season of 1994. If you assume they would lose 88 games in 1994, the average would come up from 83 to 88.

Those were summers of misery. Met fans cared less for the team, and more for the individual. Todd Hundley, Edgardo Alfonzo, Rick Reed, John Olerud...players like these kept Met fans interested, but not satisfied.

That "other" New York team had begun to assemble a dynasty. The New York Yankees would have made the playoffs in 1994 if it weren't for the strike. And then they made the playoffs in 1995 and never looked back.

Since then, the Mets have been New York's second fiddle.

In 1997, things began to change. But the teams that won between 1997-2001 was a different team from those of the 80's. They were solid teams to be sure...built on great defense, gutsy pitching (Al Leiter, Rick Reed)...and a super star Mike Piazza.

But you never felt that they were a dynasty in the making.

This year feels less like the feeling we had in 1999 or 2000. This team is generating more of the feeling Met fans had in 1984 and 1985. The feeling that this could be the beginning of something big.

Enjoy this team. Cherish this team. Cherish every win. Every walk off homer, every double play, every triple, every stolen base. Cherish Wright, Reyes...and Pedro, Glavine...and Willie.

This is a special team. Cherish them.