MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Greetings… Any day I can get up and walk around after seeing the deadly cancer take out another of my heroes registers as a good day. This week it was legendary guitar god Eddie Van Halen gone too soon from this Earth. He follows John McCain, Neil Peart from Rush, Beau Biden and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Did they die for my sins? I must make them all proud by bringing you this fine wine of a sports article re my beloved NY Metropolitans… Mets 2020: What could have been?
I was reminiscing after being sent an article by Bureau Chief Vegan Matt about our visit to the 2016 one-game Wild Card playoff game between the Mets and 3x World Series winners, the San Francisco Giants. The article painted a rosy future for the Mets coming off a two-year run of actually making the post-season. When I looked at the comments, I was the lone naysayer, suggesting there was not a rosy future. Well, I’d like to counter that nonsense today. There is indeed a rosy future for this current iteration. To illustrate, I figured I’d look at how things could have gone differently in the past by following Alternative Mets Timeline… That’s when the carrier pigeon arrived with Management’s message: “Guy, you’ve got a deadline of 8:45pm tonight.”
I did not make the deadline and awoke at 2:00am to begin writing. I was reminded of legendary gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson’s struggle with sports writing and deadlines… Anywho, here’s what we’ve got for you today.
The Mets are on their way to prosperity; they just have to correct the mistakes of their past. Let’s go forward by going back… to their last championship in 1986. The Amazins could have been a dynasty if only they tried a little harder to keep the team together. If they had held onto eventual league MVP, Kevin Mitchell, who had played a huge part in game six’s rally instead of trading him for milquetoast Kevin McReynolds, they would have won in 1988. Maybe even 1989 as well. But it was not be.
The Mets ousted the best team in baseball, only to fall to the dreaded St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. If only Duaner Sanchez had chosen not to get into a Miami taxicab one fatal night, he could have continued his lights-out pitching and overcome Cam James’ Cards in Game 7, relieving Oliver Perez . This sequence would have followed Endy Chavez’s game-saving catch. I was at his game and as a non-religious sort thought I was watching the Mets version of David Tyree’s helmet catch that propelled the NY Giants over the 19-0 New Engalnd Patriots…but again, it was not to be. Billy Wagner gave up a homer to Yadier Molina. After Cliff Floyd almost did a Kirk Gibson (Cliff’s HR went foul) Carlos Beltran had his notorious look at strike three from Adam Wainwright. This caused much derision over his Bel-tron’s Met legacy. I don’t blame Beltran, although the optics of not even taking a cut was not good. Truth is, it was an unhittable curveball. I’m going to let Beltran off the hook here.
I was also an eyewitness to game five of the World Series. It was the cosmic payback for game 6 in 1986 and the Mookie Wilson/Bill Buckner play. I admit I rooted for Matt Harvey to stay in the game. We all know what happened. He walked the first batter, who advanced on Daniel Murphy’s throwing error. Jeurys Familia came in a batter too late. David Wright and Lucas “Where’s My Car” Duda combined to allow the winning run to score… My Alternate Timeline has the Mets trading Harvey for a young Mookie Betts. Imagine “Betts on the Mets!” Also, had Sandy Alderson not DFA’d both Justin Turner of and Travis d’Arnaud – things would have been different.
The team is now being passed on to Steven Cohen. Maybe he needs to emulate the way the Tampa Bay Rays conduct themselves? Smart drafting analytics and player development. We already have the assistant GM of the Rays in the mix in Adam Gutterige, let’s add their stellar manager, Kevin Cash, whose outmaneuvering of Aaron Boone has led Tampa to a Game 5 showdown with the Gas House Gorilla Yankees.
Here’s my plea to the Alternate Timeline Gods: please take care of us Mets fans and
Wright right these wrongs so we can see the one thing the downtrodden Met fan truly wants; sustained success. Once-a-decade, flash-in-the-pan stuff sucks. I know future Mets teams can shine bright if we follow the correct path. You get there by doing the following:
–Hire Cash to manage
-Sign Bartolo Colon to be long reliever
-Hire Cliff Floyd as bench coach. FYI, if you haven’t been tuning into the MLB network’s stellar coverage of the post-season featuring Clifford Floyd’s analysis, you are missing out
-Bring in former AAA pitching coach, Frank Viola, who ehlped develop the 2015 staff, he should be given a shot.
-Ink Free Agent JT Realmuto
-Package Matz, Thor, Rosario and Cano for Francisco Lindor to play 2nd base. Gimenez’s solid play this year shows he could be turning nice double plays with Lindor for years to come.
-Win the bidding war for Trevor Bauer as #2 to deGrom, with David Peterson (not to be confused with blind Governor David Patterson) as the left handed starter in the new Big 3.
Let’s do it, folks!#LGM
Comment below and come back tomorrow for Short Matt/Vegan Matt countering everything above. My counter argument(s) will be acute typo-itis; a direct result of having the now-removed tumor in my noggin for some time before getting it excised September 11. With that, I’d like to sing praises and give thanks to my lovely wife, Lisa who is putting aside her own needs to nurse me back to health, even though I’m a cranky mess who lashes out for no good reason. I need to be better for her and our kids. A Mets World Series win would help!