Our older readers may fondly remember the TV game show “Password”. It was very popular during the 1960s and 70s. For those who do not know how it is played basically a contestant and a celebrity (often Betty White) team up with one giving the other one word clues until the partner says the given password.
As a semi-retired optometrist here’s the exchange that has always stayed with me over the decades. This really happened.
Host Allen Ludden gives the contestant the password and we’re told at home, “The password is Optometrist”
This mind numbing route to the password tells me that sometimes you can get where you want to be in the most unlikely and unpredictable manner.
The 2016 Mets had as a regular season goal the winning of the National League East division, repeating as its champion. The secondary goal was to at least make the playoffs even if it meant participating in the dreaded play-in wild card game.
We know the Mets won’t reach that primary goal but the secondary one is surely in their grasp if they do not spit the bit in the final two series of the season.
But how this team has gotten to where it is can be filed in the truth being stranger than fiction department. After all, the master plan had the four young stud starting pitchers doing the heavy lifting. Bartolo Colon was resigned with the idea that he would be the fifth starter for half a season and move to the bullpen when Zach Wheeler was finished rehabbing from his Tommy John surgery.
The plan included power from Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda, and David Wright. Travis d’Arnaud, assuming he could remain healthy, would step up and be the better than average offensive catcher that the club expected.
How much of all that actually happened? Right, not much. Wright’s early injury could have been predicted but not the fates of Lucas Duda, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Stephen Matz. And who has been the iron man of the pitching staff? 43 year old Bartolo Colon the master of the 91 mph fastball which he throws over 80% of the time.
I pride myself on knowing a lot about the Mets and their organization but must confess that five months ago I could recognize only two of those names.
This brings us to one more oddity of this season. An area of ongoing debate is how good a manager is Terry Collins. If one spends any time on Twitter while the Mets games are on the lion’s share of comments are destroying Collins. His strategies are second guessed and he’s accused of being the worst bullpen manager in the game today. My personal knock on him is his willingness to utilize players that in my opinion do not even belong in the majors. Naming names: James Loney, Eric Campbell, and Sean Gilmartin.
Yet on a macro scale one has to wonder how despite all the injuries the team has incurred it can be right in the hunt for a wild card berth.
One has to conclude that Manager Collins has kept the ship afloat despite taking on thousands of gallons of water. How bad a manager could he possibly be? Who could have gotten more out of this motley crew?
The password is “playoffs” and somehow this Mets team just might make them.