By: Joe “Cright” Cardoso
First let me start by saying I am a diehard New York Yankees fan. Ok…now that we got that out of the way, I am a sucker for tradition and for great comeback stories. In Major League Baseball there are two stories dripping with tradition and history. The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets are going to the playoffs, and both fan bases are starved for this and pumped up for the second season. Each team has its tragic tale of how long it’s been since they made it to the playoffs. Thanks to MLB changing the playoff format baseball late in the season, in my opinion, it has never been more exciting. For those who may have been hiding under a rock or just released from that hospital for special people, here is where we’ve been. The Cubs haven’t been to the show since 2008 when they got swept by the Dodgers. Fans still cringe when a skinny guy with glasses and ear buds walks by. I personally know people who are still in therapy for the Mets 2007 collapse. But that was then and this is now.
Where do we start? The rebirth began in 2011 when the franchise grabbed two baseball guys, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, who wasted no time grabbing up young talent; LOTS of young talent, and letting them develop. They used a style of team building most teams can’t use anymore in any sport because we are an instant society that wants results ASAP. It was tough losing 5 seasons, but they followed and stuck to the plan and believed in it. They hired a great manager, Joe Maddon of the Rays, who knows how to tap into this generation of ball player. He brought a jolt of positive energy to the team from day one.
Fast forward to now and you have a Cy Young candidate in Jake Arrieta and two young sluggers in Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber along with trading for glue guys. Now they have the third best record in the majors, and since the all-star break they are 42-24. Fans of the Cubs have been waiting a long time for this and are ready. 1908 was their last world series win, and I’m not predicting that BUT if the Red Sox’s can do it, and we saw the magic carpet ride the Royals went on in October, then anything is possible.
New York Mets:
Who are these guys? Not the ugly step child we Yankee fans looked down on and beat up on the regular? Ok well, maybe we still look down on them, but can you blame us – 27 rings? Anyway ever since 2007 Mets fans have been a strange group. They expect the worst and if they do well it’s a blessing. Well, this season has killed that way of thinking for most. Coming into this season baseball fans like myself knew the Mets had a ton of young pitching but figured they had zero depth. “Experts” also figured ownership would not spend the money needed to make mid-season moves… The humble pie has been fatting but tasty.
They grabbed Yonies Cespedes from the Tigers. Think that wasn’t an important move? Really? Well, sit on this 32-17 record. Since he came on board he’s hitting .294 with 35 homeruns and just 105 RBI’s; not to mention all the young arms that have been better than advertised. Even with the drama which is Matt Harvey, the rotation rolls on and hope Tyler Clippard can return to form. Michael Conforto, called up in July, has been a spark as well. The Mets have had almost all the kids step up and perform, and they brought Queens and Citi Field to life. When they are playing well few parks in MLB match the noise (Hear me Yankee Nation).
So as we roll to October 6th and the start of the playoffs, as a sports fan it is awesome to see these two old dogs back in the race. It’s always fun to see a “small market” or a legacy franchise rise from the dead and be a factor. How will they do? No one knows, but we can’t wait to find out!