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The Ride Is Over For 2006

Mike SteffanosFriday, October 20, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Cardinals 3 - Mets 1
Cardinals Win NLCS 4-3

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to seeing Oliver Perez pitch next year after spending a whole spring training with Rick Peterson. I don't think I've ever been more proud of the efforts of a Mets pitcher. Despite being trashed by the experts as the worst pitcher ever to start a game 7, Perez did everything you could expect and then some. His one real mistake of the night was grooving one to Scott Rolen, and Endy Chavez' highlight reel thievery saved that one.

I'll leave it to others to find goats in this series. My disappointment with the results can't trump how proud I was of these Mets, who survived one blow after another that would have crippled a lesser team.

I'll be back tomorrow to put the wraps on this season, and then we'll start looking ahead. I want to thank those of you that made this site so much better by sharing your thoughts with me over the course of this season. As a Met fan isolated in the land of Red Sox and Yankee fans, your friendship and the camaraderie that we all share here means more to me than you could possibly know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Mike Steffanos

Box Score

Comments (16)

I was at the game and although my 11 year old son is devastated I do not have any regrets or complaints. Rather, I would like to give some thanks, especially to Fred Wilpon, Omar and Willie for making it fun to be a Mets fan again.

Does anyone remember in Spring training when the experts all told us that if Pedro's toe didn't heal the Mets would be going nowhere? Well, we had plenty of injuries and setbacks and it turned out to be a truly amazing year. I think all the Mets players and coaches did a fine job and deserve our appreciation as well. Specifically, Maine and Perez really mad it exciting to see young players with guts and drive. I look forward to seeing them develop further next year.

Lastly, I really want to give my thanks and deep appreciation to Mike for this wonderful Mets blog. Mike's Mets made my summer extremely enjoyable. It was a great 'find' this Spring and I looked forward to reading it every day. So, thank you Mike, keep up the great work and have a good winter.

With Omar's drive for a WS ring, I am sure we'll be even better next year.

Let's go Mets!

Oliver Perez's six innings and Endy Chavez's catch were only the latest in an extraordinarily long line of events that made me proud to be a Mets fan in 2006, including discovering Mike's Mets, the site I turned to more than any other for incisive postgame analysis and intelligent media criticism.

And oh yeah -- Mike's a great guy, too. Thanks for doing your part to make this season this season. Next year we'll pick a day without clouds and Dontrelle Willis and even our record.

Thanks for everything. Let's Go Mets.


Ditto. I gotta tell you that I'm pretty despondent, but this IS fun.

Mike, you are the MAN. I love your site, and please keep writing during the off-season. It sucks to be here in St. Louis and have my college buddies ripping on me for Beltran being caught looking, but I couldn't have asked for more. I'm so excited for the future of Perez, Maine, Pelfrey and Humber that it's hard to be that disappointed. Reyes and Wright will grow, and hopefully we can have the added boost of a mid-season Pedro comeback to propel us towards this spot once again. The division will be tougher, but it'll make the regular season a lot more exciting to watch. Here's to next season, as much as it stings to say that.

No words could do justice to such drama...did we lose? Methinks not...Why put lasbels on it?...Would I dig us going all the way..absotively, but I had too much fun to lower my sense of victory in the achievement. I know its tuff to get back here, and the future defies prognostication...I for one am stoked... The Mets are for real....and after I finish this round of shock therapy I should be just fine for 2007

This was a fun year, and thanks to you Mike and this blog, I was in every game right here in the Poconos of Pa. Without this I might be forced to be out there hunting squirrels. Looking forward to spring training, maybe going down there to catch a game, would be nice. See ya soon, and start to put your GM hats on.

Hi MIke- Thank you for a great blog and very entertaining intelligent posts. I read you everyday and always come away being impressed with what you had to say.

I have no regrets about last night or the whole season. it was a thriller, I was on the edge of my seat throught. Perez and Maine were great and all I felt last night was that we have a fantastic future ahead of us the next few years. I said since last season 2007 will be their year anyway. I was a little sad last night after the game, but by no means am I disappointed with this team at all. I enjoyed the entire season right down to the last seconds of the play offs-and thats what it's all about anyway,

I'll echo what the other folks said. It's been a constantly renewed treat, reading your thoughts as the season developed.

It's sad to be done for the season, but I don't think any Mets fan can feel anything but pride in the way the team fought against every setback. The 2006 version of the Mets is done, but I expect more big things out of this core of players.

If I had to choose one reason why the Mets lost the series, beyond the obvious one of not having el Duque I mean, I would cite the shortened roster. A spot lost to Trachsel, plus spots to Floyd and Anderson Hernandez, plus an extra reliever kept around in anticipation of multiple starters imploding early in a game; it made for a greatly reduced bench. When the Cardinals went searching for a hitter or an option in the outfield they could call upon Duncan, Preston Wilson or Tagushi; the Mets had Michael Tucker, who certainly did everything that might have been expected of him. Cliff Floyd became our Mark MacGuire, circa 2000; unusable but on the roster. Maybe, if Lastings Milledge had shown a little more maturity, there would have been a different mix and maybe even a different result.

No matter; I am very proud of this team, glad to have shared company with them this summer. And the sharing was so much more because of this great website. Thanks, Mike.


What everyone else said. Thanks for leading the cheers of the faithful around the blogosphere.

Here in Central Florida, I didn't know there were so many Mets fans. That is, not until I started actually started wearing my '86 cap. I thank you in large part for that.

Every Mets fan is a Mets fan for life, but sometimes life interferes and puts the expression of that fandom on the back burner. Mike's Mets was a daily reminder for me of what a great game this is, and what a great team we've got to celebrate.

Ironic, isn't it? "The Mets' starting pitching is in a shambles" was the phrase du jour this whole series. There were several reasons we didn't win last night, but starting pitching wasn't one of them. I guess Willie chose the right Oliver after all.

124 days (or so) until pitchers and catchers report.

It has been a real pleasure to read your blog on a daily basis.

The Mets just had one of the most memorable seasons in franchise history, ranking right up there with 69' and 86'. The fact that for most of these games, the Mets were just one hit away from beating those Cards was frustrating but it should taking nothing away from what they have accomplished this season. I can't wait for what Omar is going to do this winter and how it will translate into next year. I still believe.

Mike thanks for being part of my Mets experience. Just don't start charging.

Disappointing results, of course, but this was really a season to be proud of. The team has come a long way in the past two years, and I think back in 2004 the idea that the team would be battling for the NL championship in 2006 would have gotten you laughed at.

And, like any Mets fan, I'm looking forward to next year: Perez shows signs of becoming an ace; Maine looks to be part of the rotation for years; the basic lineup is strong (except for possibly the need for a better corner outfielder); free agency is not going to suck up half the team. More importantly, this is a fun bunch to watch. They love the game, love being teammates, and are a breath of fresh air compared to that sullen bunch in the Bronx.

Tweaks are needed -- you can never stand pat -- but, at this point, 2007 looks to be the most promising season since the 80s.

Given the obstacles the Mets had to overcome to even get as far as they did how can I complain? Think about it for a sec. You lose your ace, along with one of the best starters in post-season history to injury and have to replace them with two young guys who are major question marks. Then, they both go out there and show what they're truly made of. Along with that, you don't have one of your power bats (also injury) so you replace him w/ a utility guy (Chavez) who makes one of the top 3 outfield plays in post-season history, turning it into a double play. If I have one complaint it's that the Mets hitters squandered a lot of opportunities, left too many guys on base and couldn't figure out the St. Louis pitchers in the end. Still, the right guy was at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. I have to hand it to Wainwright. That pitch was pretty nasty and it had Beltran fooled. No worries. In many ways these 7 games were more fun than a World Series, and, truth be told, it's probably better that the Mets aren't going to play Detroit, because it would be worse getting schellacked (sp?) by those guys and totally embarrassed. Right now, however, the Mets have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. They battled to the very end and I'm sure they surprised a lot of people, myself included. Here's to 2007. ~cc~

For those interested, Brian Gunn has an excellent article on the Cardinals' victory over at The Hardball Times site. Brian used to keep the Redbird Nation site until he became ground down by the unrelenting pace of such an endeavor (thanks again, Mike); he is one of my favorite writers on the sport.

Gunn mentions something that I thought a few times during this series: the Tony LaRussa we got this time around was a better version than Tony's LaRussa of recent past. I thought LaRussa was entirely out-managed in 2000; not so this time, and most of the difference was LaRussa himself (and Mets roster composition I'd say).

On the way home last night, I started listing all the things that were great this summer and we reached our stop before I ran out. No one can take that away from us, not even Yadier Molina. What a great, great year.

Mike, you are the gold standard in a handful of blogs I can count on for unique commentary and insight. And I will always be grateful to you for being the first site to legitimize my own. :)

Thanks to all of you for your kind words and for sharing the season.

Mike...truly great job this season. It was a pleasure reading your insights every day and 'big-picture' demeanor. I'm looking forward to perusing what you write this off-season.

The one thing I learned from these last three weeks is that the playoffs are simply a crap shoot (as Billy Beane was quoted in 'Moneyball'). Especially with the Division Series. It really doesn't matter how hot or cold a team is entering the playoffs. Any team can win it...just look at the Marlins ('97 & '03), D-Backs ('01), Angels ('02) and Tigers/Cards this year.

You might was well roll an eight-sided die because that's what the playoffs have become.

I really don't think it would have mattered if Pedro and El Duque were healthy. They could not have pitched much better than Maine and Oliver did.

I just hope Omar doesn't spend crazy cash on a pitcher like Barry Zito this winter when the Mets already have some decent arms on the farm (Pelfrey, Humber). Zito would not have won the NL for the Mets this year. I mean, Jeff Suppan pitched better than Bob Gibson did in the '68 WS. Oliver Perez pitched better than Whitey Ford did in the 1963 WS. Steve Trachsel pitched worse than Calvin Schiraldi in '86.

It's a crap shoot.

I don't want to simpilfy things too much, but it basically all comes down to luck. All the pundits wrote off the Cards after their terrible finish. Every analyst picked the Mets to beat St. Louis. It doesn't matter what anyone says and it doesn't matter what the computer (or Baseball Prospectus) tells us.

Just make it to the postseason. And hope that the roll of the dice turns up in your favor.

You're on the money, Tom. Hopefully it will be out turn next year.

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