For the Mets, actually it's not like the late 1970's at all

I hate starting the day off with feistiness, but I think @howardmegdal has a silly premise here, and some mornings even though I just want to sleep in, I’m forced to saddle up my horse and put on the tin star.

But it is unclear that anything other than hope for the future separates the 2012 team from the 1977 team, which, for those who may not remember, went on to become a 66-96 1978 team and a 63-99 1979 team, before the Mets were sold to a new owner.

via For the Mets, it’s like the late ’70s all over again | Capital New York.

Stop.  I mean just stop.  Just write an article called “Man I really really really really can’t wait until the Wilpons sell” and cut to the chase.

We already did a winter of “the Mets are awful and will lose 130 games and the Wilpons are stupid evil masterminds that are bankrupt and stupid except when being masterminds of financial mainuplation” or whatever the hell the narrative was.

Then they won some games!

Then the team was stupid for not trying to win the wild card (you remember three weeks ago, right?) and now they suck worse than 1979.  No. No. No. No. Stop.

If you’re old enough to remember the Mets of the late 1970s, the 2012 Mets might be ringing a bell for you.


As Khan said, “I know something of those years.”

Let me know when the Promenade Level is completely closed off for games and we can entertain that notion.

The 2012 Mets are playing at a 77-win pace, whereas their 1977 counterparts finished 64-98.

What’s 13 games among friends?

The 2012 team has David Wright.  There was no David Wright on the late 70′s Mets.

the 2012 Mets have three with at least one WAR….The 1977 Mets had three as well

This is when I know you’re on a fishing expedition.  Nobody sits around thinking about the 1977 Mets’ WAR.  Nobody.  And let’s not forget that WAR compares pitchers to hypothetical replacements.  It’s not a statistic it’s a made up guess and the worst of the “advanced’ stats (I also like the one where you guys add two numbers together to get a bigger number.)

The 2012-13 Mets have Johan Santana, who even diminished, with a suspect shoulder, shaky ankle, blindfolded and on two hours sleep would be Superman on the late 70′s Mets.

It has R.A. Dickey having a career year.  That didn’t happen in the 70′s.  Mets didn’t have career years.  They didn’t even have careers.  Take anyone you want off the 1978 Mets except Koosman and show me a career.  Go ahead, pick someone.

No Met was considered to start the All Star Game on the mound.  Or at any position.

The Mets would have one player in the All Star Game.  Lee Mazzilli.  John Stearns.  And that would only be because the rules made the NL invite a Met.  Oh and don’t forget 1978′s All Star appearance by nobody.

The 2012 team has lost two starting pitchers.  We may never see Mike Pelfrey again but like James Bond, Dillon Gee will return.  You’re starting 2013 with Santana, Dickey, Niese, Gee and Harvey.  1979 would sign the Salt II treaty to get that rotation.

The late 70′s Mets drew a million, then a million again post-Seaver and then 788k in 1979 – back when they counted only fannies in the seats.  I’ll let you argue either way you want – you can say that’s all the tickets they sold, or you can say that 50% of the tickets sold were never used.  Either way, they weren’t selling 2.3 million tickets.

The 1979 Mets did not play in a new stadium.  They did not have their own television channel.  Nobody invited my dad over for a free steak sandwich.  We paid our $2 and we sat in the mezzanine (because the upper deck was closed.)

David Wright and Lenny Randle cannot be compared.  There is no sentence you can write with Wright and Randle in it that isn’t gibberish.  It cannot be done.   You might as well compare David Wright to me.

while young, talented Pat Zachary and Craig Swan (0.7 and 0.5, respectively), stood ready to play the parts of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.

With a combined three major league starts by Wheeler and Harvey you cannot compare them to Zachry and Swan.  I’m going to just as arbitrarily compare them to Glavine and Maddux.  I’m gonna declare right now that Wheeler will win 355 major league games and four Cy Youngs.  Since careers are pre-destined let’s be optimistic.  Look me up in 2028 and we’ll see how this argument is going.  (By the way, Bonilla will still have 17 years left on his deal but that’s a whole other argument.)

You know why the Mets were sold after the 70′s?  Because the person who wanted to own the Mets was dead.  Her family wasn’t interested in owning the team.  That ain’t gonna happen with Jeff Wilpon.  He’s interested.  You may not like him, you may not like it, but that doesn’t make this 1979.


For those of you who found this at all interesting I anticipate twitter will be interesting starting a little after 8am.  I’m @metspolice

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My only problem with this post is that I didn't get to read it until after midnight. Bravo, Shannon.


Even if the flat Forbes numbers are true (and who knows) Phillies didn't really raise payroll and the Angels did, but they're the classic "just missed" exception. The potential payoff of the extra little push to make the playoffs is so profitable that it becomes worth it. But if you don't make it, you're the 2009-2010 Mets.

Shannon Shark
Shannon Shark

i highly encourage folks to read things to which I link. That's why I link. I think they are Reads worthy of discussion.


Good points. Another fallacy in comparing Zachry and Swan to Harvey and Wheeler is that both Zachry and Swan had each started over 35 games in the majors when the season began, while Harvey and Wheeler had never appeared about AA. (and Swan was hardly a bad pitcher, leading the league in ERA in 1978; he was on his way to be a great pitcher for the team when he tore his rotator cuff and was never the same).


I think the season's been a failure - an abject failure. And the future is relatively bleak, kinda like 1977 really. I mean what did we learn? That we have a great 37-year-old pitcher - and man, he is. All power to Dickey. That we have a 33-year-old pitcher with a big contract who will show flashes of brilliance but clearly will never be the same? That we have an All Star 3B who had been worn down by losing (again!) and may well be looking for the exit to la-la land? That we have a 1B who barely hit .200 with occasional pop (take a bow, Dave Kingman)? That we have a catcher who can't hit much, and isn't a great fielder (where have you gone, Ron Hodges)? That we have a patched together outfield that's probably the worst in baseball? That maybe, we have something in Tejada and Murphy at SS-2B - if the front office doesn't screw that up (and they will)? That our bullpen is literally a joke? That maybe there are a couple of solid arms on the way - no Seaver types, but perhaps a Darling-level arm? What else - the kid with the go-go attitude who doesn't have a position? Okay.... Yeah, the conditions are much better - stadium, food, attendance (though dropping), etc. But talent-wise, I think Howard's not far from the mark. At least the late-70s Mets were soon destined to get news owners and management.


hey now, WAR has a ton of good uses (particularly if you use offensive WAR and not murky the waters with crappy fielding metrics). This season has been incredibly valuable in a growing sense. Using whichever stats you like, it's provided a wealth of information for the Mets to use and adjust with next year. The ONLY thing that gets payroll to go significantly higher is your presence at the park. This is true of EVERY team in the majors. No one raises payroll when the business is in the red (i.e. losing more money than it makes). No one.


I think the main point about Shannon's response to Howard is that the Shea of the late 70s was a ghost town, with little fun to recommend it. The CF of 2012 is a much better scene, and generates a lot more revenue. Howard's talent point, however, is quite valid - as is the point about the general direction of the baseball operation.


OK, so the stadium [Shea was a dump especially in the late 70s], food [Aramark doing better than Harry M Stevens ever did] are better now than then. True and unfortunate that the ownership situation is different now, as so far Jeff Wilpon has been proven useless as a Major League Baseball executive, and Sandy Alderson was dragged to the Wilpons in a situation akin to when Donnie Walsh was thrown at James Dolan's Knicks - both to save valuable New York sports franchises. And Megdal's right when it comes to the various Mets corporate entities - lots of debt to be serviced on Citi Field, a low-ball TV contract with the SNY partners, and so on. And as far as the talent, we've seen some the prospects and aren't yet impressed, as they need more minor-league work. Plus - it seems that there isn't anyone available as good trade bait. Can't have a good team without an outfield, bullpen, and as Casey Stengel famously said when he drafted one, a catcher. Be prepared for some wrenching, penny-pinching years in a beautiful ballpark with a great steak sandwich.

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