Coppola: Again Two Teams In opposite Directions

By William Coppola

We all know that baseball has two half seasons. The midway point is always thought of as being the Allstar break. This season we saw that break happen after most teams played about 95 games. It was not an even amount between teams because of rain outs that hadn’t been made up but every team was around that 95 game figure. Not quite an even half of a season but close enough.

That being said, lets look at the Mets and the Yankees. The Mets got off to an 11-1 start and we all thought ,“World Series” and wondered if Matt Harvey would be the number three or four starter. The Yankees at the same time were 5-6 and we were thinking if Aaron Boone should have at least managed a few Little League games before he became the Yankee skipper. Looking good for the Mets, no lets make that great for the boys in Queens and ho-hum for the Bronx Bombers.

So where are they now with 16 games left on the schedule? The Mets at 68-78 are licking their wounds and the Yankees are at 90-55 and playoff bound. Yet there is something that is not quite right with this picture. It was pointed out to me by fellow writer, David Russell, that since the Allstar break, the Mets and Yankees are about even in wins and losses. The Yankees are 28-23 and the Mets are 29-23.

With both teams headed in different directions, and the Mets so far out of the race, most people never noticed the Mets record for the second half and we would not even be talking about if were not for the fact that it is the same as the Yankees. Yes the powerful dominating Yankees. Make no mistake about it though, the Yankees are still having a great year.

For all the Mets bashing from all of us, I have to give them credit for not shutting down. For giving those half empty seats of loyal fans some sense of joy in what has been a season lost. As for the Yankees, they look like they are just coasting now that the Red Sox have clinched their playoff spot. They are resolved to be the wild card.

Why else would they start Sonny Gray recently against 66-78 Minnesota where they eventually lost 10-5? They need to be careful though and not take their foot off the gas peddle, as they could see their 1.5 game lead in the wild card evaporate to the point where they loose home field advantage and have to travel 3000 miles to Oakland for that all important one game winner take all game.

Lets not forget that they still have four games at Tampa Bay where they are 2-5 so far this year and six games with the Red Sox who would love to see them travel from Boston to Oakland after their season ending series there. A win in Oakland would have them flying 3000 miles back to Boston to face the Red Sox again.

We can question some of the moves Boone has made during the season as a first time manager. We can begin to start bashing the Yankees. Heaven knows the Mets have been bashed enough. One thing we need to recognize, is that the Yankees are having a season that normally would have them at the top of their division. They could end up with 99-100 wins and still find themselves 10 games behind the Red Sox. Amazing!

As this long season comes to an end, and we see our two teams headed it opposite directions, just remember this, we have two teams. There are only three other cities that have two teams giving them two chances to get to the post season. We have been spoiled in NY with having both of them in the World Series in the same year once in 2000.

For many who are my age, the series seemed to always be in New York. Heck the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Yankees played each other six times in the fall classic between 1940 and 1956.

Maybe we will see the Mets and Yankees playing each other again in October. Granted it is much harder today with 30 teams. During those Brooklyn Yankee classics in the 50’s, there were only 8 teams in each league and no playoffs. The Mets will find a way to get back into the playoff picture some day, though I wouldn’t read too much into this 29-23 second half. Also, we need not bash the Yankees for a 28-23 record during the same period. They still have the third best record in baseball.

Lets just be happy that we have two teams here. Giving us the possibility of having one or the other, maybe both, in the playoffs every year, just not this year.

WILLIAM COPPOLA IS A CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST WITH THE BRONX CHRONICLE WITH 40 YEARS OF BASEBALL KNOWLEDGE AND CURRENTLY IS A TALENT SCOUT FOR ASPIRING BALLPLAYERS

 

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