Sunday, April 5, 2020

A Celebration of Mediocrity

Although my classic Mike's Mets blog no longer exists on the internet, I still have all the old posts that I and the others who contributed to it saved.  The earliest material goes back to August 2005 when I finally took the plunge and began the journey of blogging.  You can still find the old stuff here from the day I started through February of 2006 when I moved over to

Looking through some of those archives, I was taken with how much fondness I still retain for that 2005 club.  Indeed, they might just be my favorite non-playoff Mets club of all time.  Yet there was nothing really great about them - they were the very definition of the word "mediocre".  They finished with a 83-79, tied for third place with the Marlins and 7 games behind the Braves. They were 6 games out of the single wild card slot available that season.

They struggled to score runs at times and ranked 10th out of the 16 NL clubs in OPS.  The rotation included the last great season of Pedro Martinez's career but a very mediocre Tom Glavine was #2 and a wobbly cast of characters including Kris Benson and Victor Zambrano filled it out.  The bullpen was "anchored" by the very shaky Braden Looper who became a scapegoat to a large section of the fans after blowing 8 of 36 save chances.

They were managed by Willie Randolph, who managed to bring back a sense of purpose and team discipline lacking during the Art Howe era that preceded him, but struggled to manage a bullpen and had difficulty at times with the press.

Yet for all of the negatives, the 2005 Mets carried a sense of hope and optimism for the future that had been sorely lacking for years.  After falling to fifth place during Bobby Valentine's final season in 2002 the team became almost unwatchable in the next two seasons under the uninspiring leadership of Art Howe.  In fairness, the players that Howe had to work with weren't anything to brag about as GM Steve Phillips finally wore out his welcome in New York the season before.

There were few reasons for hope in those dismal seasons of 2003 and 2004 other than Jose Reyes' debut in 2003 and David Wright coming up the following season.  The team that new GM Omar Minaya inherited in the winter of 2004 seemed very much destined for a complete rebuild and a revamping of the moribund farm system.  The fact that Minaya elected to go another way certainly cost the team any chance to sustain success, but it unquestionably made them more fun to watch in the short term.

Shedding Steve Phillips in 2003 and Art Howe in 2004 signaled that overdue change was finally coming.  Then off-season signings of Pedro Martinez early and Carlos Beltran late took the energy level up several notches.  Although I wasn't blogging yet I remember being both very skeptical that going all in was the right move and excited despite myself to see how it might all play out.  2005 was the start of one of the most compelling, if ultimately disappointing, eras of Mets baseball.

My intention is to do a series of posts over the next couple of weeks on various memories I have from that season.  I'll mix them in with anything current that seems worth writing about.

As always, thanks for stopping by.  Be well.

My Series on the 2005 Season:

I'm not sure if anyone who read the old blog will find their way here after all these many years, but if you do please drop me an email or comment if you'd prefer. I'd honestly love to hear from you. Also, I will be posting here regularly if you're inclined to come back.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

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