There wasn’t always a postseason safety net

Well, you must give us credit score. New York shouldn’t be a one-dimensional baseball metropolis. In the area of a couple of weeks we are able to really feel utterly bulletproof and completely impotent. We can ooze pure confidence and leak oil. Both sides of city. There was a time Yankees followers and Mets followers could not look forward to the following sport — or as they could name it, “the following win.”

Now either side pray for rain.

okay Maybe it is not fairly that okay But it is 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 develop into one thing of a chore to observe.

Both groups.

Both sides.

Still, it might be worse, and followers of each groups know completely properly that it might be worse. This is not the Old Days — for the needs of this column, “Old 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.

But right here is 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 is the prize to maintain the eyes affixed to. Getting in That won’t be excellent. That won’t be ideally suited. But there’s barely a fraction of a likelihood the groups will not 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 safety net, not like another hard-luck previous New York baseball groups.

It’s price remembering: It wasn’t always this manner. Time was, there was no safety net. And either side of city are nonetheless smarting from previous disappointments, ones that resonate even now, so a few years later. Here are a few 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 outstanding day — Sept. 12, 1985 — through which 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 sport up, the Yankees 1 ½ again, and visions of a Subway Series have been starting to bop in all of the boroughs…

But each fell quick. The Mets received the primary two video games of a must-sweep sequence in St. Louis, however misplaced the third sport, 4-3, so 98 wins was solely going to be adequate 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 successful run scoring on a dropped fly ball — even that wasn’t sufficient. The Yankees received 97 video games. The Jays completed with 99. And that was that.


The Mets had been so wretched for therefore lengthy, and by rights should not have received 90 video games since they have been outscored for the season, 676-652. But 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.

But the Cubs have been an excessive amount of that 12 months, and received 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 have meant extra photographs on the crown. But 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.

But ’74 held a particular place for a lot of Yankees followers as a result of Bobby Murcer was nonetheless on the staff then, and since although they have been taking part in house 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 sport.

Bobby Murcer in 1979
Bobby Murcer in 1979
MLB Photos through Getty Images


Remarkable factor: None of the 5 straight Yankees champs from 1949-53 that coincided with Casey Stengel’s first 5 years ever received 100 video games. The ’54 version received 103 — and completed eight full video games behind Cleveland, which went 111-43 and received the American League going away. The Yankees spent simply 5 days that 12 months in first place, the final on July 20, and though they have been terrific, it by no means mattered as a result of Cleveland by no means faltered.

Vac’s Whacks

okay 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 Super Bowl?

Our world modified endlessly 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 overlook, 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 house runs. Of all of the enjoyable info compiled within the wake of her passing this week, that is the one I take pleasure in essentially the most.

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

In 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 properly.

Whack Back at Vac

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

Vac: You know 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 Judge’s chase for the file is spectacular, however I need him to hit 61 in 154 video games. To me, that will be a file 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. But that does not imply Babe Ruth getting eight fewer video games than Maris should not at the least be PART of the dialog, proper?

@infinite1555: I get that each New York soccer groups taking part in at 1 pm slot is a demotion on this market, however as a fan I do not thoughts it.

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

Jeffrey Cohen: Often seen previously 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: Unfortunately the 2 more than likely candidates — Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty — are each on the IL now.

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