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NEW YORK METS MANIA

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The big question is: "Why DID the Mets lose the World Series?" The truth is that the tone was set on the very first pitch thrown by Matt Harvey.

The Royals' Alcides Escobar lofted a long fly ball to left centerfield. Yoenis Cespedes, who had made so many spectacular defensive plays since coming over to the Mets, took his eye off the ball for a split second, could not regroup in time, and had the ball glance off his glove, and then, to make matters worse, kicked it away from both he and leftfielder Michael Conforto. What should have been a fly ball out to the warning track was a bad error...ridiculously ruled an inside-the-park home run.

While ONE play never TRULY determines the outcome of a series, unless it is a "walk-off" occurence in the final inning of the last possible game, it can set an example for how things will essentially go. And it did.

MrMetCryingThe truth is, the Mets had a great run in late July and August. They showed some fire...and they showed some fireworks offensively. But they were a flawed team. It began to show in a September swoon, although they managed to finish the season with a very satisfying 90 wins...which NOBODY except for General Manager Sandy Alderson ever believed would happen.

The ONLY reason the Mets made it through the playoffs was that Daniel Murphy, the much-maligned "second baseman," turned into Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Kirk Gibson all rolled into one. But he was bound to come back down to earth...and he did. And after all of the huge home runs, and after all of the amazing plays he made in the field during the post-season, he will now be remembered for "the boot" that cost the Mets the series.

And that's unfair...because it did NOT cost them the series. No ONE play cost them the series. The Mets simply returned to being the team that they were during the regular season - phenomenal starting pitching, a very unreliable and unpredictable bullpen (except for Jeurys Familia), less than solid defense (especially up the middle - although Wilmer Flores was excellent at shortstop), and no clutch hitting with WAY too many strikeouts. They were exposed for the team they really were.

Sure there is disappointment...HUGE disappointment. But let's look at it rationally. NOT ONE expert picked the Mets to even have a .500 record...let alone make a World Series appearance in 2015. Not with all of the injuries that were suffered by key players heading into the season. Not with Harvey coming back from Tommy John surgery and not having thrown a pitch in a major league game for well over a year. Not with losing Zack Wheeler...Josh Edgin...Vic Black...all to surgery. And, of course, not with losing Captain David Wright to what seemed to be a career-ending back injury.

They kept their heads above water...made a couple of brief runs...and then Alderson brought in Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Tyler Clippard, and then Cespedes...and they were off to the races. They put on a show, they were fun to watch, and they played significant games not only into October, but into November.

They had a good team at the end...not a great team. There were deficiencies and they came to the forefront on the big stage. The Royals, who were in the Mets very position the year before, were just a bit better...for five games anyway.

Disappointment...of course. But there is certainly a lot to be happy about given the young core of pitchers that the media and analysts continually raved about...a core to build on.

The rallying cry of "Dem Bums" (my Brooklyn Dodgers lineage...LOL) was always "Wait 'til next year!" Well...for the first time in many years it seems like "next year" truly IS something to look forward to.

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About New York Mets Mania

Alan Karmin is an award-winning journalist and author. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and spent most of his life growing up in the New Jersey suburbs. Alan's family were avid Brooklyn Dodgers fans and when the Dodgers moved west, the Mets became the team to root for. The Mets have always been a true focal point, Alan even wrote a term paper in high school to analyze what was wrong with the Mets. While at the University of Miami, Alan honed his craft covering the, gulp, Yankees during spring trainings in Fort Lauderdale for a local NBC affiliate, as well as the Associated Press and UPI. He broadcasted baseball games for the University of Miami, and spring training games for the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos. New York Mets Mania is a forum for Alan to write about his favorite team and for baseball fans to chime in and provide their thoughts and ideas about New York's Amazin' Mets.