Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 17, 2013

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Today on The Sully Baseball Daily Podcast, I pay tribute to Tom Seaver on his 69th birthday.

The man who meant so much to the Mets kept being traded or drafted away from the team. And actually could have been the latest in the line of Dodger greats.

And lest we forget, he was also one of my favorite announcers ever.

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Sully Baseball Daily Podcast – November 17, 2013

Sears

Sears

Getting ready for kick off… thinking about the 1986 World Series

OF COURSE I am thinking about the 1986 World Series… what else would I be thinking about as the games deciding the Super Bowl berths are about to be played.

But I am not thinking about it for the reasons that you would think.

In the past, I lamented 1986 as the ultimate “what might have been.”
But 2004 and 2007 put that to rest.

Then I lamented the great flop of 1986 when I thought of Jim Rice’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame. Had the Red Sox won in 1986, I argued, Rice would have been in the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. He didn’t have Ted’s stats or Yaz’s stats… but the Sox would have won when Rice was captain.

Rice’s election last year put that to rest.

But today’s Jets game got me thinking about that fateful 10th inning.
The Mets and Jets are very similar franchises… and not just because their names rhyme.

They are second banana franchises in their own cities. The Yankees own the baseball scene and the Giants have always had a bigger following.

They both have had their share of heart break and dysfunction over the years.

Both have fan bases that have listened to Yankee fans and Giant fans crow about their more recent titles. The Yankees with their 27 titles and the Giants with Super Bowl titles in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

And of course they each had, over a period of 9 months in 1969, a startling championship that defined their franchise to this very day.

Both seemed beyond the realm of possibility… the AFL was supposed to be inferior to the NFL and the Super Bowl had been a lackluster joke in its first two games.

And of course the Mets averaged a 56-106 record for each of its first seven seasons.

Both teams rode the back of a brash new superstar… Broadway Joe predicting the outcome by the poolside…

Tom Terrific mowing down NL batters left and right heading into the Series.

And oddly, they both beat heavily favored teams that played in Baltimore.

Now there is one huge difference between the franchises:

The Jets have never won since. The Mets have… one other time.

The Mets have that, for them, Amazin’ moment of coming back from 2 runs down, 2 outs, nobody on in the 10th that was so beautifully recreated in this video game.

Now just imagine if the Mets never won that game. (And NO, I am not going to say “Imagine if Buckner made that play. The game was already tied. Buckner’s error prevented the game from going into the 10th. It neither clinched the World Series for the Met nor would have clinched the World Series for the Red Sox… please tattoo that on your wrist.)

Imagine if Gary Carter made an out… or Kevin Mitchell made an out… or Schraldi got that third strike on Ray Knight… or Mookie Wilson swung and missed on one of his 2 strike foul balls against Bob Stanley.

Trust me, I did every day of my life between October 1986 to October 2004.

But I always thought of the Red Sox side… for the Mets, they would still be pining for 1969.

1986 would have been thrown on the scrap pile of frustrations along with the end of the 1973 World Series, the trade of Seaver, the Scioscia homer in 1988, the bases loaded walk to end the 1999 NLCS, losing to the Yankees in the 2000 World Series, the called third on Beltran, the great collapse of 2007, the almost as great collapse of 2008…

All the while clinging to their lone moment of glory in 1969.

Kind of like the Jets do now, still waiting for that second great highlight to go with Joe Willy Namath running off the field, finger in the air.

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A World Series fact I bet you didn’t know

I was driving the other day doing what i do best… thinking about random baseball stuff.

And in my wandering mind I stumbled across a little factoid that surprised me.
Two expansion franchises have never met each other in the World Series.
In every World Series there has been at least one franchise that existed back in 1903 (the year of the first series.)
Think about it for a second…
Since 1961 there have been 14 new franchises added to Major League Baseball.
1961 gave us the Angels (whether they are from Los Angeles, California, Anaheim or Los Angeles of Anaheim) and the new Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers.)
1962 gave us the Houston Colt .45s (now the Astros) and the Mets.
1969 was the beginning of the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Pilots (now the Milwaukee Brewers.) Also that year was the debut of the San Diego Padres and the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals.)
1977 marked the debut of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners.
1993 the NL expanded to form the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies.
And the last expansion was 1998 with the Tampa Bay Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Now the Rangers, the Nationals and the Mariners have never played in a World Series.
The first ever expansion team to win a pennant was the 1969 Mets and they played the Orioles… who began as the Milwaukee Brewers and became the St. Louis Browns.
In 1973 the Mets played the A’s… who were in Oakland but were a team in 1903.
The other two Mets pennants (1986 and 2000) were against the Red Sox and Yankees.
The next expansion franchise to win a pennant was the Royals. They played the Phillies in 1980 and the Cardinals in 1985.
The Brewers (formerly the Pilots) played the Cardinals in 1982.
The Padres played the Tigers in 1984 and the Yankees in 1998.
The Blue Jays played the Braves in 1992 and the Phillies in 1993.
The Marlins beat the Indians in 1997 and the Yankees in 2003.
The Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in 2001.
The Angels beat the Giants (San Francisco by way of New York) in 2002.
The Astros lone pennant was a loss to the White Sox in 2005.
The Rockies played the Red Sox in 2007.
The Rays played the Phillies in 2008.
There it is… no two expansion teams have ever faced off.
Oh there have been close calls.
The 1980 Astros had the pennant winning run in scoring position in the NLCS which would have clinched a Houston/Kansas City World Series.
The 1986 Angels were one strike away, a sacrifice fly away and a Gary Pettis near home run away from meeting the Mets in the World Series.
What does this mean?
What is the significance? 
Well if the Angels play the Rockies in the World Series… it will be unique. (Not that it will get good ratings.)
And if I am forced to have this little nugget in my head… then by God you will have it too!

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