Sports Opinion

The Apple Has Risen: Why This Season For The Mets is a Beacon of Hope

The New York Mets are a franchise competing in the National League (NL) of Major League Baseball (MLB). Ever since winning the World Series in 1986, the Mets have been a club of putrid baseball, mediocre baseball, postseason failure, unbelievable collapse, and incompetent management. However, that all changed in 2022; the Mets clinched a playoff spot, recorded 100 wins for only the fourth time in franchise history (and the first time since 1988), and clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 2016. From management overhauls to free agency splashes, this is why the Mets’ winning ways are here to stay. 

In October 2020, MLB owners approved the sale of the New York Mets to hedge fund manager Steve Cohen for $2.4 billion. After years of discontent from fans over the ownership of the Wilpon family, change was finally coming from the highest levels of the team. Coming off a late-season collapse in which the Mets choked away a division lead that the team held since August, morale was low amongst both the players and fans. From Javy Baez and Francisco Lindor giving fans “thumbs down” after big plays to Edwin Diaz blowing saves, the Mets were in disarray on the field. Furthermore, interim general manager Zack Scott was arrested and fired for drunk driving, the second general manager was fired by the Mets that season, following Jared Porter’s firing for sending explicit texts to reporters. This made things off the field even worse for the Mets. 

However, this past offseason, Steve Cohen went all in. Firstly, he hired general manager Billy Eppler for the front office and manager Buck Showalter for the dugout — two steady hands to right the chaos of 2021 in the front office. Right away, Eppler added Starling Marte and Mark Canha from the Oakland Athletics to complete the outfield and reinforce the batting order. Then, the blockbuster of the offseason: signing Max Scherzer from the Dodgers to create arguably the best 1 to 2 pitching rotation in MLB with Jacob deGrom. During the days of Fred Wilpon, such spending would have been nearly impossible. 

For the regular season, Showalter, Cohen, and Eppler’s hard work surely paid off. The Mets led the NL with 1422 hits and came third in earned run average with 3.57. The team also came second in the league for total wins by pitchers with 101. Furthermore, the Mets had the least amount of strikeouts in the NL, cementing them as a much more efficient offensive team. On a more personal note, infielder Jeff McNeil batted 0.326 on the year to earn the highest batting average in MLB. Pete Alonso finished first and second in the NL in runs batted in and home Runs, respectively. Edwin Diaz came fourth in the NL in saves with 32. In other words, this is a team loaded with talent that finally blossomed into a winning corps. 

It does not end there. The Mets are no longer in the age of Fred “Coupon” Wilpon. Cohen spends. A lot. Edwin Diaz? Five-year, $102 million contract. Star outfielder Brandon Nimmo? Eight-year, $162 million contract. DeGrom left? No problem. Cy Young winner Justin Verlander comes on a two-year, $86.7 million contract. Also, why not add Kodai Senga from Japan on a five-year, $75 million contract? If that seems like a lot of spent money, well, that’s because it is a lot of spent money. Cohen cares for his team. And he’s prepared to spend as much as he needs to win a championship. 

In short, the Mets are miles into the stratosphere ahead of where they were two years ago. Last year was just the beginning. So yes, cue the trumpets, and raise the apple, because as the song goes, “everybody’s coming down…to meet the M-E-T-S Mets of New York town!”