OWNER GREED VS. FAN INTERESTS - Tom Brennan
So the Yanks beat the Mets.
44-60, in fact, since interleague play began in 1997, if I have the facts correct.
As a Mets fan, I do not like it. But I am far more upset with Mets ownership GREED that, in my view, has put the almighty buck ahead of a Met fan's goal 1: winning pennants.
As an avid Mets fan since 1962, my concern, once they won the World Series in 1969, has been for them to WIN MORE OF THEM. Playoffs at least, and hopefully, win several World Series too.
And while the Yanks have been in the playoffs and won World Series numerous times since then, it has been bleak for the Mets since 1969: a single World Series win, two Series losses and just a few more early playoff departures in the 46 years since 1969.
So it would seem to me that playing a team (the Yankees) that ever since interleague play began has been arguably baseball's dominant team has the potential of thwarting Mets' runs at multiple playoffs.
It has certainly put the Mets’ playoff hopes in jeopardy in 2015.
When the Mets first played the Yankees this year, they had just tied a franchise high of 11 straight wins and were 13-3. The Mets lost of 2 of 3 and spiraled downward from that point until late July.
The Mets just concluded another 3 game series as they attempted to bury the unexpectedly bad for 2015 Nationals, a dangerous team that had drastically underperformed expectations, while at the same time the Mets have been trying to manage pitchers’ innings limits.
We all know this weekend’s result. The Mets lost 2 of 3 and saw their lead cut to 6, with 3 games left with that very same Nats team that, like a shark, smells blood in the water, Mets blood, and is riled up, and Mets fans are left wondering if we can make it to shore before the shark catches up to us. And the Nats get to play the weaker Orioles, a clear competitive advantage for them over the Mets.
What if those 6 games were against, say, the 64-86 Athletics? Would the Mets have instead won 4 of 6 & have the playoffs essentially wrapped up?
Why play 6 interleague games a year vs a team in the Yanks that is strong and in contention every....single....year? When all a team has to do to miss the playoffs is....miss the playoffs by one game.
Let's say the Mets do still make the 2015 playoffs. Losing 4 of 6 to a strong Yankee team could cost them playoff home field advantage. Which could be a deciding factor in whether one wins in the playoffs or not.
I hate the Mets playing the Yanks in interleague play for two reasons:
1) impact on playoff contention, and
2) sand being kicked in the Mets' faces in years when the Yanks were great and the Mets were not.
The Yankees are an astounding 1811-1249 since interleague play started in 1997. Why would you want to play 104 games during that time against a team that is 512 games over .500 during that period?
The answer is two-fold: Mets owners love the money from those games, and at the same time they hope and pray that it does not keep them out of the playoffs. Fingers crossed. Tightly.
While it would be in the true fans’ best interests to not be playing the best team in baseball over that time span at all in interleague play, much less 104 times. How about a little history:
· In 1997, Major League Baseball scheduled interleague games between the AL and NL for the first time. The Yankees won 2 of the 3 games.
· Mike Piazza joined the Mets in 1998; they were eliminated from playoff contention in the last regular game series of the season by Atlanta. The 1998 Champ Yankees won the interleague series 2 games to 1, the first of 3 straight World Series titles for them. So had the Mets played a lousy AL team instead of the world champs, maybe the Mets sweep and make the playoffs that year.
· 1999 resulted in expanded interleague play, and the Mets and Yanks went 3 and 3 in their face-to-face. Mets made the playoffs but lost.
· In 2000, the Mets lost the interleague 4-2, and with that backdrop of losing to the Yanks, also lost to them in the World Series.
· In 2001, the Mets finished 6 behind the Braves. The Yanks won 99, so they remained a formidable opponent. While the teams split the 6 games, had the Mets faced a weak opponent instead, maybe they win the pennant – they were close enough where perhaps 2 more wins would have swung momentum.
· In 2002, the Mets finished 26.5 games out. The Yanks won 103. In 2003, the Yanks swept the Mets 6 games to none. But the Mets were terrible, finishing 34.5 games out, so it did not matter, other than giving the Mets' fans a very huge inferiority complex.
· In 2004, the Mets won 4 of 6, shockingly, against a Yankee team that won 30 more games than they did. No playoff impact, but a head to head reminder for the 3rd straight season of Mets’ marked inferiority, no matter how the 6 Yank-Met games came out.
· In 2005, the much improved Mets finished 7 games out at 83-79. The Yanks won 95 games. The Mets split the 6 games. Perhaps, again, had they played a team that was 14 under .500 instead of 14 over, they win 5 of 6 and are close enough to the Braves to result in a different season outcome. What if, what if.
· The Mets went into a talent tailspin after a few collapses, and in 2009, finished 23.5 games out – but were only a half game out of first place when they played the mighty Yanks in late June. The start of free fall.
· In 2011, when Reyes was electrifying the baseball world and one got the sense they might be able to be put on his shoulders for a run, they lost 4 of 6 to the Yanks, and Reyes got hurt in – what else – the 2nd Yankee series in June. Jinx? Whatever, that killed that season’s chances.
I’ll stop there. Except to say three things:
1) The Mets play 4 games against the Yanks in 2016. Let’s hope that is not 4 too many. Zero to me is a much better number.
2) I liked the Mayor’s Trophy game better – one game a year, no effect on the standings.
3) To put fans, and not owners’ pocketbooks, first, baseball should figure its interleague schedule by calculating in such a manner that the collective records of a team’s opponents for the upcoming year is based on those teams’ prior year combined records being as close to .500 as possible – so if the Mets did play 4 against the mighty Yanks, they get several games against teams that had finished under .500 to balance things out.
Let’s hope we make it this year. Or the Mets' owners will be a lot poorer.