The 2016 World Series started last night, and a few pitches into the game I realized there is no way I’ll really enjoy it. A friend of mine recently said it was hard for him to get too worked up about the Mets fate in 2016 because their demise at the hands of Madison Bumgarner was so quick and efficient. I agreed at the time but I kind of lied. I just didn’t want to spend five hours ranting about why I’m so bitter.
I’ve heard Mets fans say they’ll enjoy this World Series because it’s free of certain rivals. Sure, it could have been worse. The Nationals could have made a run sparked by our former 2015 playoff hero Daniel Murphy. Or it could have been the even year Giants who disposed of the Mets in the 2016 NL Wild Card Game. Or it could have been stupid David Ortiz and the Red Sox. It’s nice that the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs period. But still, as a jealous Mets fan this series won’t be easy to watch.
On the one hand I can root for the team that was often compared to the 2015 Mets before the season. The talking heads all raved about the Indians elite starting pitching staff. Many experts felt they’d be a big bat short on offense (especially without Michael Brantley) unless they made a move at the deadline. They even had their own failed trade with the Brewers at the deadline like the 2015 Mets. In the end it turned out they had plenty of talent and won 94 games without adding a middle of the order presence. They’ve had a great playoff run despite missing two of their best starting pitchers.
On the other hand, the Cubs had the best record by far in 2016 and no matter what happens in the World Series they are showing they will be a National League powerhouse for the foreseeable future. The Cubs spent a ton of money last offseason and bolstered a team that already had arguably the most talent. They lived up to the hype. Theo Epstein is the man.
Whether the Cubs win or Indians win, one team will break an enormous championship drought. By next week, the number of sad, self-loathing, championship-less fans will diminish in a big way. There will be a mass exodus from Losertown as either the Cubs or Indians faithful pack up and leave. And I’ll remain behind with the rest of the sad sacks. As far as I’m concerned, the Mets have never won a championship. I wasn’t alive for ’86. My team will be 0-28 in my lifetime.
I think it’s hard for me to stay upbeat about the future for the Mets because I’ve never witnessed anything remotely close to competitive stability. Making the playoffs two years in a row is nice. It’s literally the greatest accomplishment I’ve witnessed during my time as a Mets fan. Forgive me if I keep the two year playoff streak celebratory champagne on ice.
And then there’s the fact that Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller are both playing in this World Series. So Yankees fans get to have a World Series talking point and feel like they were instrumental in crowning this year’s champion. It’s just a nice little Yankee cherry on top of this stupid Mets-less World Series. Sure it’s nice that the Yankees voluntarily traded Andrew Miller, arguably the best reliever in the game. But they’ll probably just re-sign Chapman, and then we’ll watch all the prospects they acquired instantly turn into stars. And we’ll still hear Yankees fans talk about the great “rebuild” of 2016. A season where they won 84 games and played better AFTER they traded away their most talented players at the deadline and brought up a once in a generation catching phenom in Gary Sanchez.
Meanwhile the Mets went from a four year rebuild, to a 2015 World Series appearance fueled by elite young pitching, to a 2016 offseason where Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz had their arms surgically rebuilt. Ehh whatever. I’m brooding. I’m bitter. I’ll shake it off eventually, but not until the season is actually over. Until then I’ll be sulking in Losertown, trying not to be sick as I watch some of the longest-tenured residents boxing up their belongings before they move out.