When those outside of New York think about Major League Baseball in the city, one team springs to mind; the Yankees.
If you walk around any city in the world, you’ll find someone wearing a Yankees cap. They’re almost as famous as the city itself, and few outside of baseball could even name the second team in New York. This season that could all be about to change.
As Larry Brown Sports explains, the Mets are a surprise favorite for a shot at the World Series this time out. It’s a big shock to some; they finished 77-85 last season and haven’t won a World Series since 1986. They’ve only made the postseason nine times since their inception in 1962 and only four times since the turn of the century. It might even be fair to say they’ve been a bit of a mess in recent years, but that could all be about to change.
It’s been all change at the top, and a successful team starts there and works down. Billy Eppler is in as general manager, and he’s got plenty of experience having been with the Angels for several years. In LA, he developed an analytics department and built a team around the impressive Mike Trout. There’s a change of manager as well; Buck Showalter comes in having previously served as manager of the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles. Neither Showalter nor Eppler have had particular success with their former clubs, but they have brought a renewed air of hope to the Mets.
There have been some solid acquisitions as well. Max Scherzer won the World Series in 2019 and is an eight-time All-Star with more than 3000 strikeouts to his name. He’s joined by another impressive free agent, namely Starling Marte. A 2016 All-Star. Marte has a .289 batting average and is another solid signing that bolsters the Mets’ ranks. 32-year-old Mark Canha arrives on a two-year deal worth $26.5 million, with an option for a third year, whilst 2021 All-Star Eduardo Escobar pens a two-year, $20 million deal. All four add to an already strong-looking roster, including Jacob deGrom, Francisco Lindor, and Pete Alonso. Whilst there’s a long way to go, a good start could see this new-look Mets side impress.
A good start is well within their reach as well. According to a piece on the easiest opening fixtures for MLB teams by Bwin, the Mets could get lots of wins on the board early. Four of their first seven opponents are widely expected to be outsiders this season, whilst their first game under the new management against the unfancied Washington Nationals. Winning is a good habit to get into, and the Mets could be into that habit nice and early.
Of course, Mets fans have seen plenty of false dawns over the years; they came tantalizingly close to winning the World Series in 2015 but have looked on enviously as their city rivals have made the postseason matches sixteen times in 21 years. They might not have been the most prominent baseball team in New York for some time, but 2022 could be the year they become the noisy neighbor looking for success.