In a postseason full of intriguing story lines, one of the most talked about is the Mets improbable run to get into the playoffs and the subsequent success they have achieved in the playoffs. The prevailing narrative about these Mets is that they’re a down on their luck franchise with a tortured fanbase. Any success is unexpected and their World Series appearance is such a nice story because the Mets and their fans are long suffering. The problem is, this feel good story is completely false.
Before this season, the Mets hadn’t made the playoffs since 2006. That’s definitely a long time without a postseason appearance but there are longer current droughts. The Marlins haven’t been to the playoffs since their World Series win in 2003 and the Mariners have played fourteen seasons without a playoff appearance. The Padres, like the Mets, last made the playoffs in 2006, but unlike the Mets, they did not make it this year. But eight years is nothing compared to the 28 year drought the Royals experienced from 1985-2013. Or what about this year’s Blue Jays, who broke a 21 year playoff drought? Eight years is not worth feeling sorry for.
But in those eight years the Mets became a joke, right? Well, somewhat, but not exactly. In 2007 they won 88 games and finished only a game out of first place. However, they held a seven game lead as late as September 12 and still blew the division. I think this where the whole “lolMets” thing started. This was the beginning of the Mets franchise collapse. Actually, they won 89 games the next year and again only finished one game out of the playoffs.
Ok then, since 2008 they’ve sucked though, right? Yes, but they haven’t sucked that bad. In their worst year during that stretch they won 70 games, sixth worst in the league. The last time they finished with a bottom five record was 2003. The only other teams to not have a bottom five finish since 2003 are the Yankees, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cardinals.
So these last ten years haven’t been as bad as people have made it seem. But this is their first World series appearance in fifteen years. The Marlins and Rockies have been to the World Series more recent than that. Wow, that’s tough. You should tell that to the fans of the Cubs, Expos, Mariners, Pirates, Brewers, Orioles, Dodgers, Reds, A’s, Twins, Blue Jays, Indians, Padres, and Braves. None of those teams have made the World Series in this century.
Ok, but who cares about just making the World Series. They lost in 2000. They haven’t actually won since 1986. This is true. 28 years is quite a while. There’s a ton of Mets fans who have never seen them win a title. That 28 years is currently the 13th longest drought though. Not even top ten. You have nothing to complain about.
If you do include that 1986 title, the Mets would be in a 9 way tie for the 8th most championships since 1986. So there’s only been seven teams who have won more World Series than the Mets since the start of the 1986 season. Does that sound like a joke of a franchise that the media is making them out to be?
I’m not saying the Mets winning this year wouldn’t make for a good story. Every team winning a championship is a good story. If you can take a step back from the heartbreak of your team not winning, you have to be happy for the winning players. They’ve worked hard their whole lives to win that title. But the Mets winning is not a better story than if countless other baseball teams were to win. Don’t be fooled by this New York media narrative that the Mets are lovable losers. At best, they’re forgettable underachievers.