New York Mets Explained

The New York Mets are a professional baseball team based in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York. They belong to Major League Baseball's National League East Division. One of baseball's first expansion teams, the Mets were founded in 1962 to replace New York's departed National League teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. During the 1962 and 1963 seasons, the Mets played their home games at the Polo Grounds. From 1964 to 2008, the Mets' home ballpark was Shea Stadium. In 2009, they moved into a new stadium, Citi Field.

In their 1962 inaugural season, the Mets posted a record of 40-120, the worst regular season record since Major League Baseball went to a 162-game season (two games from their inaugural season were never made up). The team never finished better than second to last until the 1969 "Miracle Mets" beat the Baltimore Orioles in the 1969 World Series in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in World Series history.[1] Since, they have played in three additional World Series, including a dramatic run in that ended in a seven game loss to the Oakland Athletics, a second championship in against the Boston Red Sox that was cited in the Curse of the Bambino, and a Subway Series against their cross-town rivals the New York Yankees in the 2000 World Series which they lost in five games.

Recent years have again seen the team face struggles, including elimination from postseason contention on the last game of the season in both 2007 (regarded as one of the worst regular season collapses in baseball history) and again in 2008, followed by three losing seasons plagued by injuries and financial difficulties in the wake of the Madoff investment scandal.

Franchise history

See main article: History of the New York Mets. In 1957, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants relocated from New York to California to become the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, leaving the largest city in the United States with no National League franchises and only one Major League team. With the threat of a New York team in a third league, the National League expanded, adding the New York Mets. The new team took as its primary colors the blue of the Dodgers and the orange of the Giants (which are conveniently two of the three colors on the New York City flag), and took their name from the original 19th Century New York Metropolitans club.[2]

For the first two years of its existence, the team played its home games at the historic Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan. In, they moved into newly constructed Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, Queens, where the Mets stayed through the season. In 2009, the club moved into Citi Field, located adjacent to the former site of Shea Stadium.

During their history, the Mets have won two World Series titles (1969 and 1986), four National League pennants (1969, 1973, 1986, 2000) and five National League East titles (1969, 1973, 1986, 1988, 2006). The Mets also qualified for the postseason as the National League Wild Card team in 1999 and 2000. The Mets have appeared in more World Series—four—than any other expansion team in Major League Baseball history. Their two championships equal the tally of the Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins for the most titles among expansion teams.

The Mets held the New York baseball attendance record for 29 years. They broke the Yankees' 1948 record by drawing nearly 2.7 million in 1970. The Mets broke their own record five times before the Yankees took it back in 1999.[3] [4]

No pitcher in Mets history has thrown a no-hitter, and the franchise's hurlers have gone more than 7,800 games without pitching one—longer than any other Major League franchise. They are one of only two current Major League teams to never have a pitcher throw a no-hitter, the other being the San Diego Padres. Long time Mets ace Tom Seaver, who threw five one-hitters as a Met, eventually threw a no-hitter, but by then he was playing for the Cincinnati Reds. Similarly, the ace of the 1986 team, Dwight Gooden, threw his no-hitter for the Yankees (in 1996), and David Cone, who starred for the Mets from 1987-1992, threw a perfect game later in his career, also as a Yankee. The ultimate example of this trend is Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, who started his career with the Mets, but threw a record seven no-hitters after leaving the club.

The 1962 Mets posted a 40–120 record, one of the worst in major-league history, and the most losses in one season since 1899. In, the Mets famously bypassed Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson in the amateur draft, instead selecting Steve Chilcott, who never played in the majors. But the following year, they acquired Hall of Famer Tom Seaver in a lottery. Seaver helped the 1969 "Miracle Mets" win the new National League East division title, and then defeat the heavily-favored Baltimore Orioles to win the 1969 World Series.

In 1973, the Mets rallied from last place to win the division, despite a record of only 82–79. They shocked the heavily-favored Cincinnati Reds "Big Red Machine" in the NLCS and pushed the defending World Series Champion Oakland Athletics to a seventh game, but lost. This National League pennant was notable because it was the only NL East title between 1970 and 1980 that wasn't won by either the Philadelphia Phillies or the Pittsburgh Pirates.[5] [6]

Star pitcher Tom Seaver was traded in 1977, a day remembered in the sports world as "the Midnight Massacre," and the Mets fell into last place for several years. The franchise turned around in the mid-1980s. In 1985, they acquired Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter from the Montreal Expos and won 98 games, but narrowly missed the playoffs. In 1986, they easily won the division with one of the best records in National League history. After winning a dramatic NLCS in six games over the Houston Astros, they came within one strike of losing the World Series against the Boston Red Sox before a series of hits and defensive miscues ultimately led to an error by Boston's Bill Buckner which gave the Mets a Game 6 victory. They then won Game 7 to win their second World Series.

The Mets continued playing well after 1986 and won the division in 1988, but lost the playoffs that year and declined into the 1990s. They were out of contention until the 1997 season when they narrowly missed the playoffs. In 1998, the Mets acquired Mike Piazza in a blockbuster trade and missed the 1998 postseason by only one game. In 1999, they made the playoffs in a one game playoff but lost the 1999 National League Championship Series to the Atlanta Braves. In 2000, they easily clinched a wild card spot in the playoffs, and earned a trip to the 2000 World Series against their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees for a "Subway Series". The Mets were defeated by the Yankees in five games.

The Mets were not a factor in the standings again until 2006. They won the division and went to Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series, but lost on a 9th inning home run by Yadier Molina.

In 2007, the Mets entered the final 17 games in the season with a seven-game lead in the division. The Mets fell down in the standings throughout those games and needed to win their final two games of the season. The Mets won that Saturday, but on Sunday, Tom Glavine gave up seven runs in the first inning. The Mets managed only one run that day and were eliminated.

The Mets held a more modest 3.5 game lead after 145 games of the 2008 season, their final season at Shea Stadium. While their 7-10 mark down the stretch was slightly better than the previous season's 5-12, it still allowed the Phillies to pass them, once again. The Mets opened Citi Field in 2009, but were not a factor due to a rash of injuries to numerous key players including, but not limited to, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Oliver Perez and Livan Hernandez. The plague of injuries plummeted the Mets to a 70-92 record. The Mets did not fare any better in 2010, finishing with a losing record and missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year. The Mets finished with a 79-83 record, coming in fourth place in the National League East.

Upon the conclusion of the 2010 season, the Mets front office fired General Manager Omar Minaya and Manager Jerry Manuel. Former Oakland G.M. and MLB executive Sandy Alderson was hired to run the team. Alderson hired Terry Collins to replace Manuel as manager.

The Wilpons are currently facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit on behalf of the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme victims. As a result of this, and to deal with other financial issues, the Wilpons agreed to sell a minority share of the team to David Einhorn, a hedge fund manager and longtime Mets fan.[7] However, that deal fell apart, leading the Wilpons to pursue a different strategy of selling small stakes to multiple minority owners.[8]

Despite yet another losing season, the Mets made history in when Jason Isringhausen converted his 300th save with the team, the third player in franchise history to reach the milestone while with the organization behind John Franco and Billy Wagner. Also, José Reyes became the first Met in franchise history to win a National League batting title with .337 batting average. In 2012, the Mets will try to bounce back from 3 consecutive losing seasons, but it will be especially tough since the Mets lost José Reyes via free agency, when he signed a six year, $106 million contract with the Miami Marlins.

Theme song

"Meet the Mets" is the Mets' signature song, written in 1961, one year before the first season, by Bill Katz and Ruth Roberts. It is played on the radio, during television broadcasts and at Mets' home games.

Mascot

Mr. Met is the official mascot of the New York Mets. He was first introduced on the cover of game programs in 1963, when the Mets were still playing at the Polo Grounds in northern Manhattan. When the Mets moved to Shea Stadium in 1964, fans were introduced to a live costumed version. Mr. Met is believed to have been the first mascot in Major League Baseball to exist in human (as opposed to artistically rendered) form.

Uniform and logo symbolism

The Mets' colors are blue, orange, black and white. Blue and orange were originally chosen to honor the city's history of National League baseball; blue for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and orange for the New York Giants. Blue and orange are also the colors of New York City, as seen on its flag.

Logo

The cap logo is identical to the logo used by the New York Giants in their final years, and is on a blue cap reminiscent of the caps worn by the Brooklyn Dodgers. In the primary logo, designed by sports cartoonist Ray Gatto, each part of the skyline has special meaning—at the left is a church spire, symbolic of Brooklyn, the borough of churches; the second building from the left is the Williamsburg Savings Bank, the tallest building in Brooklyn; next is the Woolworth Building; after a general skyline view of midtown comes the Empire State Building; at the far right is the United Nations Building. The bridge in the center symbolizes that the Mets, by bringing National League baseball back to New York, represent all five boroughs.[2]

With the introduction of black as an official color, an alternate team logo was created. It is identical to the original logo, but the skyline is black instead of blue and the "Mets" script is blue trimmed in orange and white instead of orange trimmed in white.

In 1999, the logo received a slight alteration. The "NY" to the left of the team script was removed. No other notable changes were made.

Uniform color and design

Currently, the Mets wear an assortment of uniforms.

On November 16, 2011, the Mets announced new uniforms for their 2012 season, as part of the unveiling of their 50th anniversary plans. [9] Among the changes included the removal of the black drop-shadows that had been present on Mets jerseys since 1998. The off-white pinstriped jersey, introduced as an alternate in 2010, becomes the primary home jersey while the plain-white jersey with blue placket and sleeve piping, first introduced in 1997, is now the home alternate. Both uniforms will feature the "Mets" script, player numerals and names in blue outlined in orange, and both be worn only with the team's traditional blue cap with orange crest (although the orange button on top of the cap has been retained), blue undersleeves, belts and socks. A 50th Anniversary patch will also replace the regular Mets baseball/skyline logo on the left sleeves for 2012. They will also be wearing a patch that has homeplate, and the number 8 in the middle of it to recognize the recent death of Hall of Fame catcher, Gary Carter.

The black drop-shadow has also been removed from the team's gray road uniforms. The jerseys feature a radially-arched "NEW YORK" script in Tiffany style, player numerals and names in blue outlined in orange, and blue placket and sleeve piping. Like the home uniforms, the road grays will be worn only with blue caps, undersleeves, belts and socks, and will have the 50th Anniversary patch in place of the Mets skyline logo on the left sleeves for 2012.

The Mets will keep a black jersey in their rotation for one more season, along with the solid black cap with blue/white/orange logo crest; the two-tone black cap with blue bill and blue/orange crest has been eliminated. The black jerseys and caps will be worn as an occasional road alternate in 2012 before being retired and replaced with a blue alternate in 2013.[10] The Mets have worn a home version, with the "Mets" script, since 1998, and from 2000-2007 also wore a road version with "New York" in Tiffany lettering, both in blue outlined in white with an orange drop-shadow.

Another variation on the Mets uniform features a solid blue jersey with "Los Mets" written in orange with white trim, worn with solid white pants. The uniform was created for Fiesta Latina, but continues to be worn occasionally at home games. [11]

The standard cap is blue with an orange "NY" logo. An all black alternate cap with a blue "NY" logo trimmed in orange and white has been worn with the black jerseys. The batting helmets worn for each game match the cap colors (solid blue or solid black, with corresponding logos). For 2012, the Mets will wear the blue cap for all uniform combinations except for when they wear the black jerseys.

The Mets also wear blue socks when paired with the blue caps, and black socks when paired with the black caps.

Players of note

Retired numbers

Tom Seaver is the only Met to win the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award in 1969 and was voted the Mets' "Hometown Hero" in a 2006 poll sponsored by DHL.

Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson's number 42 on April 15, 1997, when the Mets played the Dodgers at Shea Stadium. Butch Huskey wore the number throughout the rest of his Mets career due to a grandfather clause placed on the retired number by MLB. Mo Vaughn also wore number 42 during his stint with the Mets, due to the same clause.

On the final Opening Day at Shea Stadium, April 8, 2008, the Mets unveiled a sign bearing the name "Shea" next to the team's retired numbers honoring William Shea and his contributions to the franchise.

Numbers out of circulation but not retired

Team captains

Rivalries

Atlanta Braves

See main article: Braves–Mets rivalry. The Braves–Mets rivalry is a rivalry between two teams in the National League East, featuring the Atlanta Braves and the Mets.[13]

Although their first major confrontation occurred when the Mets swept the Braves in the 1969 National League Championship Series, en route to their first World Series championship, the first playoff series won by an expansion team (also the first playoff appearance by an expansion team), the rivalry did not become especially heated until the 1990s, when division realignment put the Mets and the Braves in the same division,[14] [15] and the Braves became one of the most dominant baseball teams in professional baseball.

Philadelphia Phillies

See main article: Mets–Phillies rivalry. The rivalry between the Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies from 2006 to 2008 was said to be among the "hottest" rivalries in the National League,[16] [17] along with the Cardinals–Cubs and the Dodgers–Giants rivalries.[18] The two National League East divisional rivals have met each other recently in playoff, division, and Wild Card races.

Aside from several brawls in the 1980s, the rivalry remained low-key before the 2006 season,[19] as the teams had seldom been equally good at the same time. Since 2006, the teams have battled for playoff position. The Mets won the division in 2006 and contended in 2007 and 2008, while the Phillies won five consecutive division titles from 2007 to 2011.[20] The Phillies' 2007 Eastern Division Title was won on the last day of the season as the Mets lost a seven-game lead with seventeen games remaining.

Subway Series: New York Yankees

See main article: Mets–Yankees rivalry and Subway Series. The Mets – New York Yankees rivalry is the latest incarnation of the Subway Series, the competition between New York City's teams, the American League New York Yankees and the National League Mets. Until Interleague play started, the two teams had only met in exhibition games. Since the inception of interleague play the two teams have met every regular season since 1997, and since 1999 they have met six times each season, playing two three-game series, one in each team's ballpark. They have made the postseason in the same year three times:,, and, and faced off in the 2000 World Series.

Minor league affiliations

LevelTeamLeagueLocation
AAABuffalo BisonsInternational LeagueBuffalo, New York
AABinghamton MetsEastern LeagueBinghamton, New York
Advanced ASt. Lucie MetsFlorida State LeaguePort St. Lucie, Florida
ASavannah Sand GnatsSouth Atlantic LeagueSavannah, Georgia
Short Season ABrooklyn CyclonesNew York-Penn LeagueBrooklyn, New York
rowspan=4RookieKingsport MetsAppalachian LeagueKingsport, Tennessee
DSL Mets IDominican Summer LeagueBoca Chica, Dominican Republic
DSL Mets IIDominican Summer LeagueBoca Chica, Dominican Republic

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Greatest Upsets In Sports History. Sports Illustrated. 2012-01-28.
  2. http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/nym/history/timeline1.jsp
  3. Web site: New York Mets attendance. Baseball Reference. 2010-08-07.
  4. Web site: New York Yankees attendance. Baseball Reference. 2010-08-07.
  5. Web site: Notes: Phils - Pirates rivalry fading. July 7, 2005. January 3, 2011. George. Von Benko. Phillies.MLB.com. Major League Baseball. From 1974-80, the Phillies and Pirates won all seven National League East titles (Phillies four, Pirates three)..
  6. News: Pirates perform rare three-peat feat 4 - 2. September 28, 1992. USA Today. 5C. The Pirates...won three (NL East titles) in a row from 1970-72..
  7. News: Hedge Fund Manager and Mets Near Deal. Richard. Sandomir. Andrew Ross. Sorkin. May 27, 2011. June 9, 2011. B9. New York Times.
  8. News: Deal to Sell Piece of Mets to Einhorn Falls Apart. September 1, 2011. September 2, 2011. Richard. Sandomir. The New York Times.
  9. News: Uniform look - Mets Blog. Adam. Rubin. ESPN.com. November 16, 2011.
  10. News: Now Just Fire Wayne Hagin Already and We'll Be All Set. Paul. Lukas. Uni Watch. November 17, 2011. November 17, 2011.
  11. News: Note: about the all-blue "Los Mets" jersey. Michael. Baron. MetsBlog (SNY). August 6, 2011. September 20, 2011.
  12. Web site: Mets by the Numbers.
  13. News: Lisa. Olson. Crazy scene at Shea takes luster off Mets-Braves rivalry. New York Daily News. July 8, 2003.
  14. News: The Pirates will switch from the East next season. They opposed the move last week when realignment was approved, but agreed to allow Atlanta to move to the East.. Pirates OK new realignment. September 16, 1993. Hal. Bodley. USA Today. 1C.
  15. News: Pirates Relent on New Alignment. September 16, 1993. Murray. Chass. New York Times. B14. Murray Chass.
  16. Web site: Mets-Phillies rivalry looking like what Mets-Braves used to be. Bondy. Filip. April 11, 2008. New York Daily News. June 15, 2009.
  17. Book: Westcott, Rich. Philadelphia Phillies Past & Present. 10. MVP Books. 2010. 15 July 2011.
  18. Web site: In Depth: Baseball's Most Intense Rivalries. Forbes. Matt. Woolsey. April 28, 2009. May 25, 2009.
  19. News: Despite long game, rivalry long way off. Bondy. Filip. May 24, 2006. New York Daily News. January 11, 2010.
  20. Web site: High Phive: Phils clinch fifth straight East title. September 17, 2011. September 18, 2011. Mike. Radano. Phillies.MLB.com. Major League Baseball.