Friday, September 22, 2006

Pedro Martinez: Saviour or Fool? [J. Mark English]

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune:
Omitted, all the voyage of their life,
Is bound in shallows, and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures. - William Shakespeare, Caesar, 1599

What the New York Mets have accomplished thus far in this season will mean nothing if they lose in the first round, or even in the second. There has been a curse on the divison winner of the National League East over the last 20 years.
Only one team from the division has won a World Series since 1986. The Atlanta Braves won in 1995, but it was in a strike shortened season which tarnishes the achievement of that team. The Atlanta Braves will best be remembered for winning 14 division championships in a row and having hardly anything to show for it.
The other teams to climb near the pinnacle have been the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets. The Phillies lost a heart breaking game six to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993 off the bat of Joe Carter, crushing the career of "wild thing" Mitch Williams. And the Mets lost to their crosstown rival, the Yankees in 2000, adding to their second team status here in Gotham.
Finally, the Mets moment has arrived. In this post season they can wash away the curses that has settled on this division. Furthermore, they can excercise the ghosts of Gotham and take back the World Series, and the city from the Yankees.
But if Pedro Martinez can not find the right stuff by the time the post season begins, then this team will be doomed. Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Paul Lo Duca...all these great hitters can be tamed. If you don't believe this...then look at how the Yankees great line ups have been shut down over the past two years in the playoffs. The Angels silenced the Yankee bats last year, and the Red Sox, down 3-0 in the ALCS of 2004, came back because of their pitching, not just their hitting.
Pedro Martinez was brought in to deliver a World Championship to this team. If injury prevents him from standing up when the team needs him most...then once again, a team from the NL East will sit on the sidelines as another team sips the champagne...tasting the sweet success of notching another World Series.