Monday, March 31, 2008

Let's Go Mets!

As will appear in Tuesday's issue of the New School Free Press.

There are two things on the mind of every New York Mets fan: the September collapse and Johan Santana. The first was the Mets not making the playoffs after blowing a seven game lead with only 17 games left (which had never happened before), while the second is a season with baseball's best pitcher.

Santana is being used by the team to showcase a new beginning and to forget the way last season ended—and I think it'll help. There's nothing like an amazing starting pitcher, one that has won two Cy Young awards and has an amazing lifetime record of 94-44 with a 3.22 ERA, to forget about a disheartening season. It also helps that he's only 29, and should provide much-needed relief to last year's overworked bullpen.

And if you're a New School student who doesn't understand what I'm talking about—and, frankly, that's most of the student body—that's your loss. You're missing out on something that's at the heart of New York: baseball. And while the Yankees aren’t worth supporting because they represent a fake sense of classiness (among other reasons to hate them), the New York Mets represent something new and exciting—not to mention talented.

That talent begins with David Wright and Jose Reyes, whom I'd take over the Yankees' third base/shortstop combo of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. The Mets' duo is younger, amazingly talented (Wright hit .325 last year, while Reyes stole 78 bases, leading the league) and don't have their own fans disliking them, like Yankee lovers with A-Rod.

The rest of the Mets' team is extremely solid with players like CF Carlos Beltran (33 HR, 23 SB), 1B Carlos Delgado (24 HR) and 2B Luis Castillo (.301) leading the offensive charge, and great pitching from Pedro Martinez (3-1, 2.57 ERA in an injury shortened season), John Maine (15-10, 3.91) and Billy Wagner (34 saves, 2.63).

But that’s enough statistics. The Mets are just more fun to watch than the Yankees. They’re faster, more enthusiastic, can play both small ball and hit a slew of home runs, don’t play in the Bronx and, simply put, the Mets are a better team who will go further than the (damn) Yankees.

I predict the Mets to win the NL East and, if a few key players (that's you Delgado and Alou) stay healthy, they'll make the World Series. While I don't know what will happen when they face either the Detroit Tigers or Boston Red Sox (I think one of them will make it) in the Series, I do know that the Mets will make it further than the Yankees will.

Having the upper hand of the two New York baseball teams hasn’t always been the Mets' position, but this season, there’ll be a lot more blue and orange than those boring Yankee pinstripes around the city.