Reese Kaplan -- What is a Successful Season in 2016?

Last year was remarkable for Mets fans in a number of ways.  First, we saw the pitching mature and deliver on the hope and promise of the past several seasons.  Second, ownership opened up the wallets to  bring some professional ballplayers to town to replace the likes of Darrell Ceciliani, Eric Campbell and Danny Muno.  Third, the team’s improbable post-season run fueled by the unlikely Daniel Murphy power surge got them all the way from 6 consecutive seasons of losing to a National League Championship and a chance to play in the World Series. 

Lost somewhere in the euphoria of actually getting to the post season, actually winning the wildcard round, actually winning the divisional championship and then beating the Dodgers to advance to the World Series was the fact they were pretty much bitch-slapped by the Kansas City Royals not unlike the last ill-fated World Series appearance against the Bronx Bombers in 2000.  The surprising surge that took them to the top was such an emotional high that most fans pretty much gave them a pass on failing to complete what they started. 

So what do they do for an encore?  What would constitute success by the Mets in your eyes? 

To me, nothing short of a Game 7 in which either team has a legitimate shot of winning would constitute failure.  Yes, winning 90+ games would be great.  Manhandling others in the post-season would be even better.  However, how would you feel if the team again phoned it in during the World Series and got swept or (as happened last year) lost 4-1? 

Of course, there’s risk there.  If you do get to Game 7 and lose, that pain will stay with you perhaps for the rest of your life.  However, if it goes the other way and you win, the unmitigated joy will be enough to tide you over for the down years that will inevitably follow in this cyclical game of successes and failures.  All of us who are old enough remember vividly where we were and what we were doing during Game 6 in 1986 when the ball “gets by Buckner” and that wasn’t even the end of the Series.

If the team can indeed click on all cylinders then there’s no reason to settle for anything less than a World Series victory.  However, if they get to a Game 7 and are within a swing of the bat of winning in the 9th inning and don’t do so, I’ll concede they deserve benefit of doubt for having given it their all.  But a repeat of the 2015 travesty against Kansas City would be a strong indictment of leadership and motivation. 

So what are your expectations for 2016?  I’m on record saying they will get 93 wins and that will be enough to take the division.  I think they will for the second consecutive year advance to the World Series, but I’m also afraid they will once again fall short of victory. 


Tom Brennan said...

Pencil me in for 100 wins and a World Series win in 6 games.

Hobie said...

>> nothing short of a Game 7 in which either team has a legitimate shot of winning would constitute failure. >>

Wow, Reese, setting the bar pretty high. Would you be depressed if you won the PowerBall lottery but had to share it?

Post Season is a must. After that it's a crap shoot.

Reese Kaplan said...

Being in the post season is great. PREPARING TO WIN, motivating players, showing leadership and executing the plan is what was missing. Would you be happy with another 1-4 World Series? Personally, I could live with them losing if they showed up and demonstrated that they played competitively. Last year they did not, but as I said it got swept under the rug because everyone was simply so happy to be there. This year the goal should be winning it all. Hey, if it's tying run at the plate in the bottom of the 9th and the player ends it as Beltran did against Wainwright, tip your cap to the other team. But being made to look silly isn't going to cut it again.

Hobie said...

I agree that the self-destruct facet of the WS made for a disappointment -- a pitch (Familia), a catch (Murphy) and a throw (Duda) turn 1-4 into 4-1 -- but they certainly "showed up."

Hard to say what I would feel if they lost an extra inning walk-off in WS game 7. Worse than the NLCS called strike with the winning runs on base (sooo close)? or not as bad (got to the brink)? idk.

I DO know not making the PS qualifies as flat-out unsuccessful.

James Preller said...

I think they need to make the postseason -- and I don't count that crappy "Wild Card Game" as the postseason. One and done would be brutal.

So, yeah, the NL East.

After that, who knows.

The goal is to win the WS, but that does not mean it's an automatic "disappointment" is they fall short of the ultimate goal. We might emotionally experience it as disappointing, but intellectually it's almost obscene to see anything less than a WS ring as a form of failure.

I do think a failure to win the East would make it an unsuccessful season. And guess what? It's not going to be easy. At all.

Mack Ade said...

the minimum to me would be NL East champs, not wild card

Tom Brennan said...

These pitchers will not let us miss the NL East championship, assuming good health

Tom Brennan said...

These pitchers will not let us miss the NL East championship, assuming good health

Reese Kaplan said...

@Mack -- so you're saying you'd accept a season worse than last year's?

Metsiac said...

"Phoned it in"? "Travesty"? Are you serious? In 4 of the 5 games we had the lead in the 8th inning. A few breaks turned Ws into Ls, as you correctly pointed out. But if the games were replayed exactly as they were until the 8th, I'd bet the house that there wouldn't be a replay of the blown saves, errors and Harvey "Give me the ball" that cost us. Yes, the Royals were the better yeam in that Series, but it was FAR from a "phoned in travesty".

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

Since you put it that way... :)

Stubby said...

I didn't feel they phoned it in in the Series. I felt they gave it their all and were just outplayed by a team that was clearly better and more determined. Let's face it, the Mets were running on fumes at that point. The pitchers were all well over their innings limits, Cespedes was playing hurt, and Terry never should have left Harvey in that one game. We were a poor defensive team and, while we skated that in the NLDS and NLCS, it caught up with us in the Series. I'm not entirely convinced that we've improved the defense, but I do think we'll have the same determination the Royals had after falling short the year before.

I'm hopeful of a World Series championship in 2016. It's when I have always said they'd get it since Sandy came on board. I'll be very disappointed if they don't get back to the Series and somewhat disappointed if they don't win it. But I'm not prepared to call anything a "failure" until I see how the ball bounces this year. Baseball is and always has been a very strange game and many things happen that are beyond anyone's control. I will not preemptively slap a "failure" label on the team until I see what they do. Were I a Cubs fan, I would not call the 1969 team a "failure". Were I a Red Sox fan, I would not call 1986 a "failure". They played their hearts out and stuff happened. That's baseball.

If the Mets somehow managed to finish behind the Nationals, Phillies, Marlins and Braves, well...yeah, I think I'd have to call that a failure. But I'd still want to see how such a thing came to be. Win or lose, good or bad, I'm a Mets fan. Always have been, always will be. At their very worst, I don't think I've ever thought of them as a "failure".

Mack's Mets © 2012