Spoiler alert: This article contains optimism for the 2022 Mets.
There’s no game more iconic and American than baseball, and the New York Mets are the epitome of the “American Dream.” Formed in 1962 after the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants relocated to California, the New York Mets became a symbol of New York unity. And against all odds, in 1969, they won the World Series and were coined the “Miracle Mets.”
Since then, Mets fans have gone through highs and lows seemingly every season. And in recent decades, we’ve had to tolerate a string of bad luck, finicky talent, and poor management. Despite all this, Mets fans have stayed steadfast in their support of the fickle New York team, and now in 2022, it seems to be paying off (so far). So why are the Mets good this year? Is it luck, or is there a reason?
The 2022 Mets are different from past iterations of the team, and they are clearly a good team.
In the past, the Mets have survived with strokes of luck, some star pitchers (such as Syndergaard and DeGrom), and a dedicated fanbase that enjoys comparing their favorite players to superheroes. But, that hasn’t been enough to win the Mets the World Series. In 2015, the Mets got close as the National League Champions, but lost the World Series to the Kansas City Royals.
In 2000, a Subway World Series against the Yankees caused an even more dramatic rivalry between Mets and Yankees fans. The last World Series the Mets won was in 1986. But now, the Mets have the highest win percentage in the National League at .667 (while the Yankees have the highest win percentage in the American League at .722), and they are consistently winning games.
After they played the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, there’s no question as to whether or not the Mets are good this year. Until this West Coast series, fans worried that the Mets were simply just winning against “bad” teams, but now that they split the Dodger series and won the first Padres game 11-5, there’s no question as to the caliber of the 2022 Mets.
Thanks to an adaptable manager, solid offensive players, and a reliable pitching staff, the Mets are proving to actually be good this year.
We definitely don’t want to speak too soon on this one. It was only last year that the Mets were first in the National League East Division before they went on a 10ish-game losing streak to lose their bid in the playoffs. And as Mets fans have learned, we can never get our hopes up too high, as we always find creative ways to lose. But now, the Mets are finding creative ways to win.
New Mets Manager Buck Showalter was hired by the new Mets owner Steve Cohen last year. Not only does Buck have the perfect name to manage a baseball team (his name sounds like a character out of a 1940s film), but he’s actually made solid game-time decisions that have affected the outcome of full series.
For example, when facing the 1-2-3 batters of the opposing lineup in the 8th inning, Buck put in our star closer, Edwin Diaz, to face them, but took him out for the 9th inning. This way, he wouldn’t overwork Edwin before the season’s end.
In addition, Buck creatively mixes up the batting lineup. All of our regular hitters are batting above .200, which is already better than we’ve done in past years. Guillorme, a solid RBI batter, is typically in the latter half of the lineup, which keeps the opposing pitcher on their toes. With the National League also implementing the designated hitter this year, the Mets have a chance to really up their offensive ante and rival American League teams.
Even without our star starting pitcher, Jacob DeGrom, who’s out with an injury, the Mets pitching lineup has been reliable. Up-and-comers like Carrasco, who threw 10 strikeouts in the Mets’ opening game against the Padres, and Megill are bringing the Mets to a new level. Add in the expertise and reliability of longtime Met Jeff McNeil and effervescent shortstop Francisco Lindor, plus "Pistol" Pete Alonso's home run hitting power, and it’s possible that 2022 could be our year.