There wasn’t always a postseason safety net

Properly, you must give us credit score. New York will not be a one-dimensional baseball metropolis. Within the house of a few weeks we are able to really feel utterly bulletproof and totally impotent. We are able to ooze pure confidence and leak oil. Either side of city. There was a time Yankees followers and Mets followers couldn’t await the following recreation — or as they could name it, “the following win.”

Now each side pray for rain.

OK. Perhaps it’s not fairly that dangerous. However it’s shut. The previous few weeks, because the Braves and the Rays have continued to chase the Mets and the Yankees and have eaten away nearly all of what was a mixed 26 video games price of leads between the 2 (the Yankees’ highest was 15 ½, the Mets’ 10 ½), baseball has grow to be one thing of a chore to look at.

Each groups.

Either side.

Nonetheless, it might be worse, and followers of each groups know completely effectively it might be worse. This isn’t the Outdated Days — for the needs of this column, “Outdated Days” is outlined as 1962-92 — when it was an all-or-nothing proposition. If old-time baseball guidelines — which means solely first place will get to go on to the postseason — have been nonetheless in place, then Baseball New York would already be mendacity in state, catatonic with disappointment.

However here’s a chilly, exhausting reality:

The Mets’ magic quantity for qualifying for the playoffs, getting into Saturday, was 10. The Yankees’ magic quantity was 15. That’s the prize to maintain the eyes affixed to. Getting in. That may not be excellent. That may not be perfect. However there’s barely a fraction of an opportunity the groups gained’t try this.

Pete Alonso's Mets and Aaron Boone's Yankees have struggled in September, but they still have a wild-card playoff safety net, unlike some other hard-luck past New York baseball teams.
Pete Alonso’s Mets and Aaron Boone’s Yankees have struggled in September, however they nonetheless have a wild-card playoff security web, in contrast to another hard-luck previous New York baseball groups.
USA TODAY Sports activities; AP

It’s price remembering: It wasn’t at all times this manner. Time was, there was no security web. And each side of city are nonetheless smarting from previous disappointments, ones that resonate even now, so a few years later. Listed here are a number of of the worst of instances.


The Mets and the Yankees each suffered and bled, pursuing groups (the Cardinals and Blue Jays) that have been resilient and chronic and, finally, uncatchable. There was one exceptional day — Sept. 12, 1985 — wherein the Mets beat the Cardinals at Shea within the afternoon and the Yankees beat the Jays on the Stadium at night time. The Mets have been a recreation up, the Yankees 1 ½ again, and visions of a Subway Collection have been starting to bop in all of the boroughs …

However each fell quick. The Mets gained the primary two video games of a must-sweep sequence in St. Louis, however misplaced the third recreation, 4-3, so 98 wins was solely going to be ok for runner-up to 101-win St. Louis. And although the Yankees pulled a miracle in their very own season-closing three-game sequence in Toronto — with Butch Wynegar hitting a game-tying homer within the ninth, adopted by the profitable run scoring on a dropped fly ball — even that wasn’t sufficient. The Yankees gained 97 video games. The Jays completed with 99. And that was that.


The Mets had been so wretched for thus lengthy, and by rights shouldn’t have gained 90 video games since they have been outscored for the season, 676-652. However Davey Johnson had arrived, and so had Doc Gooden, and the Mets loved a fall-out-of-the-sky season as their lead within the NL East grew to as a lot as 4 ½ video games on July 27.

However the Cubs have been an excessive amount of that 12 months, and gained seven straight over the Mets at one level. It was the primary of six straight years when the Mets completed first or second, which with a wild-card would’ve meant extra photographs on the crown. However there was no wild card then.


The Yankees hadn’t been within the postseason in 10 years, however they battled Baltimore proper to the ultimate weekend earlier than a heartbreaking loss to Milwaukee on the next-to-last day of the season. That 89-73 staff was adopted by an more and more profitable group of Yankees, capped by the 1977-78 back-to-back champs.

However ’74 held a particular place for lots of Yankees followers as a result of Bobby Murcer was nonetheless on the staff then, and since despite the fact that they have been enjoying dwelling video games in Queens, Yankees followers had come to embrace Shea Stadium as a terrific home-field benefit, and banners declaring “YES WE CAN” began showing each recreation.

Bobby Murcer in 1979
Bobby Murcer in 1979
MLB Pictures by way of Getty Pictures


Outstanding factor: Not one of the 5 straight Yankees champs from 1949-53 that coincided with Casey Stengel’s first 5 years ever gained 100 video games. The ’54 version gained 103 — and completed eight full video games behind Cleveland, which went 111-43 and gained the American League going away. The Yankees spent simply 5 days that 12 months in first place, the final on July 20, and although they have been terrific, it by no means mattered as a result of Cleveland by no means faltered.

Vac’s Whacks

OK. I did it. I actually did. As I pledged final week, I discovered 5 wins for the Jets — I’m calling 5-12 — and 5 wins for the Giants — softer schedule, extra winnable video games, so we’ll make it 6-11. Now can we simply fast-forward to the draft, aka the New York Tremendous Bowl?

Our world modified eternally 21 years in the past Sunday. Al Leiter, John Franco and Todd Zeile, all members of the 2001 Mets, have pledged by no means to neglect, which is why they continued their September ritual this week and visited Engine 33 in Manhattan.

On the day Queen Elizabeth II was born, Babe Ruth had hit simply 310 dwelling runs. Of all of the enjoyable info compiled within the wake of her passing this week, that’s the one I take pleasure in most.

Barry Pepper played Roger Maris in "61*".
Barry Pepper performed Roger Maris in “61*”.
Courtesy Everett Assortment.

Within the spirit of the season, I rewatched “61*” the opposite day. And greater than ever, Billy Crystal’s loving and painstaking consideration to element — plus the truth that each Barry Pepper (above) and Thomas Jane look identical to the M&M Boys — make that film maintain up very, very effectively.

Whack Again at Vac

George Corchia: Giants followers are sooo used to the 0-and-something begins to the NFL season. It’s only a query of guessing the overall variety of losses earlier than the primary win: 0-2, 0-3, 0-4 … ?

Vac: You understand what I miss? I miss assured Giants followers. I by no means thought I’d miss assured Giants followers (and assured Yankees followers), however I do. I actually do.

Christopher Sheldon: Aaron Choose’s chase for the report is spectacular, however I need him to hit 61 in 154 video games. To me, that will be a report that even The Babe would tip his cap to.

Vac: I’m not right here to decrease what Maris did, not a bit, and it was a shame to stay him with an asterisk all these years. However that doesn’t imply Babe Ruth getting eight fewer video games than Maris shouldn’t at the very least be PART of the dialog, proper?

@infinite1555: I get that each New York soccer groups enjoying at 1 p.m. slot is a demotion on this market, however as a fan I don’t thoughts it.

@MikeVacc: Giants followers will watch the Giants and Jets followers will watch the Jets, and there’s nothing improper with that. However I’m going again to my home as a child the place we watched each minute (barring TV blackouts) of each groups, which you’ll’t do once they’re head-to-head. Perhaps mine is a lonely voice on this one.

Jeffrey Cohen: Usually seen prior to now the place no-name gamers — together with ones introduced up from the minors — can spark a staff, like Al Weiss. Do the Mets have anybody within the wings who would possibly do the identical?

Vac: Sadly the 2 most probably candidates — Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty — are each on the IL now.

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button