I remember reading the New York Post staff predictions back in April and thinking what great locker room material it might make for the Mets as they head into their season. It’s a paper the Mets players were likely to come across and the contributing authors were guys who cover their beat, guys who clearly thought very little of the Mets chances as a team for 2012. The consensus was simple; the Mets were going to finish in last place.
As I said on April 4th, “I am sure fans were not expecting to see anyone predict that New York would end up being crowned NL East champs, but with the team finally healthy after an injury-riddled Spring, avoiding the basement seemed possible. For most of the writers at the New York Post, however, the Mets finishing in last place in the NL East is about the only thing they could agree on.”
Mike Puma, Mets beat writer: NL EAST: 1. Nationals; 2. Phillies-wc; 3. Marlins; 4. Braves; 5. Mets
Joel Sherman, Baseball columnist: NL EAST: 1. Phillies; 2. Marlins-wc; 3. Nationals; 4. Braves; 5. Mets
Kevin Kernan, Columnist: NL EAST: 1. Marlins; 2. Phillies-wc; 3. Nationals; 4. Braves; 5. Mets
Dan Martin, Baseball Writer: NL EAST: 1. Phillies; 2. Braves-wc; 3. Marlins; 4. Nationals; 5. Mets
George King III, Yankees Baseball Writer: NL EAST: 1. Phillies; 2. Braves-wc; 3. Marlins; 4. Nationals; 5. Mets
For the record, Ken Davidoff and Mike Vaccaro did have the Mets finishing in 4th place, ahead of only the Braves. As for Jim Bowden of ESPNXM, well, it was more of the same:
Fast forward to July 12, the day before the second half is set to start and the New York Mets, well they’re not in last place. I know we are only at the halfway point and these were predictions for the season, not the All-Star break, but given the opportunity to take a mulligan and redo their predictions, I think these guys would have second thoughts about picking the Marlins and Phillies to win the division and the Mets to hold down the basement. I tweeted to a few of these guys asking if they’d make any changes and only Mike Puma, who actually picked the Nationals as his division winners ( 1. Nationals; 2. Phillies-wc; 3. Marlins; 4. Braves; 5. Mets) responded:
I think Mike was just being witty about the whole thing, which is why I like following him on Twitter to begin with, but the fact remains that very few people believed in this team heading into the season and what they’ve done is kind of remarkable. They’ve manage to recapture a disgruntled fan base and put an enjoyable product on the field after losing one of the most popular players in franchise history to a division rival. I’m not going to sit here and say I thought he Mets would be where they are at the halfway point, but I was more optimistic than most and wrote the following when recapping the pundits predictions:
All I can say is that I hope Terry Collins takes the Post’s latest column and puts it up in the locker room for every player to see. This is the definition of bulletin board material and I think TC is great at rallying the troops.
Johan is back, the bullpen is rebuilt, Wright, Ike and Murphy are healthy and the young guys like Lucas Duda and Jonathon Niese will look to ascend their games to the next level. It may not happen, but I think there’s a lot more promise here then others are laying out. A pennant isn’t likely, I get that, but if the team can say healthy I think they’ll prove everyone who had them pegged for cellar dwellers dead wrong. That may not exactly be setting the bar high, but it’s a realistic place to start and anything can happen once a team starts enjoying making their critics eat crow.”
The season’s not over so it’s not exactly time to tell the critics to eat crow, but with the Mets sitting at 46-40 and only 1/2 game out of a wild-card spot, it’s probably o.k. to start laying out the plates.
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