This series takes a look at all 10 MLB teams to qualify for the postseason. We'll give them a ranking on a scale of 1-to-10 (1 being the Yankees, 10 being the Mets) to determine who best deserves Mets fans' casual support in the playoffs this year.
The Team: The Los Angeles Dodgers
The Case: For whatever reason, I have this hang up about all-time greats getting their deserved moment in the sun. It eats me up that guys like Barry Bonds and Mike Piazza never won a World Series. It is also inexplicable to me that Clayton Kershaw has never even pitched in one.
The Mets probably derailed his last, best chance in 2015 (that Dodgers team would have probably had an easier time with the '15 incarnation of the Cubs than last year's version). If you can explain to me why Don Mattingly lifted Kershaw for Pedro Baez to pitch to David Wright in Game 1 of the NLDS, you’d have solved one of life’s great mysteries. It would be awesome to finally get to see Kershaw bring it on the biggest stage of all.
Cody Bellinger is an animal. His 38 homers have set a new National League rookie home run record, and he didn’t even get called up until April 25. Bellinger and Corey Seager are two of the game’s premiere talents, and they play on the same damn infield.
Is Puig your friend? Puig my friend. Anything that makes cranky baseball fans irrationally angry.
Oh, and Rich Hill was basically out of baseball, making two starts for the Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks before he and his beautiful breaking ball found their way back to the height of their effectiveness.
Outside of the current crop of talent, going back through the Dodgers’ lineage can allow Mets fans to relate. “Wait ‘til next year,” was the cry for “Dem Bums” in Brooklyn, as they took one brutal defeat after another directly on the chin. They fell to the Yankees in the World Series in ‘41, ‘47, ‘49, ‘52, and ‘53. They blew a 13-game lead with 44 to play in ’51, eventually losing in a decisive third game of a best-two-of-three tiebreaker to their most hated rival; a game in which they blew after being up by three headed to the ninth. You may have heard of it...
There’s an off chance you have a grandfather or grandmother that goes all the way back to the Ebbets Field days that never renounced the Dodgers. That makes the franchise endearing. And in their Los Angeles incarnation, they haven’t won it all since ’88. That gives them some novelty.
Why To Hate Them:
Mike F’n Scioscia. True story: My father was so furious after Gooden gave up that homer to Scioscia in the ’88 NLCS that he walked out of our house, drove straight to a driving range, and – in anger – hit bucket after bucket of balls until he was exhausted enough to go to sleep. That’s how mystifying that home run was, and how unbelievable it is that those late ‘80s Mets teams didn’t win more than one world title.
Oh, and did I mention they have Chase Utley?
Yeah, they have Chase Utley.
Mets connections: The Mets could use an MVP-caliber third baseman right about now. Justin Turner would be a great fit, right? What’s that? They had him? And CUT HIM FOR NOTHING?
Yeah, it happened. And, don’t get me wrong, Turner had nearly identical stats to Josh Satin in his final season in New York:
2013:— Brian Erni (@brianerni) September 12, 2017
1: 221 PA, 15 2B, 3 HR, 17 RBI, .279/.376/.405
2: 214 PA, 13 2B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, .280/.319/.385
1: josh satin
2: justin turner
But it still stings.
Turner has been a postseason beast (20-for-56, two homers, 12 RBIs, .357/.471/.607 in 18 games) over his three playoff appearances with the Dodgers, including hitting .526 in the ’15 NLDS. It’ll be fun to see what he has in store for his next act.
Curtis Granderson has batted just .120 since being traded to L.A., but there’s probably no better human being in the game. And at 36-years-old, this could be it for the Grandy Man. It'd be nice for him to get sent off with a ring.
Honorable Mets connection to Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson. No, they've never played for the team, but they've always been good sports when The 7 Line Army has razzed them on the days and nights they're playing in center field. Being a dude with a good sense of humor goes a long way with me.
Rating: 6.5/10. They’d rank higher if not for the unfortunate presence of Mr. Utley. Hey, maybe if they win it all, he’ll finally retire? That might be worth the trade off of adding to his Hall of Fame case.
Tailgate with us on Saturday September 16th at Citi Field! Kick the night off with us in the Marina Lot! The Mets take on the Reds at 7:10pm so we expect fans to start showing up around 3pm. If you can't swing that early, just get there when ya get there.