Creating New Legacies


Published: September 27, 2007

A new day is dawning over New York, as both the Yankees and Mets prepare for what they hope will be successful playoff runs.  It is a time of change for both teams, as this may be the last chance at a championship in New York for some veterans while the emerging leaders look to begin new dynasties.  If both teams can hold on to their respective playoff berths for the remainder of the year, the teams should have a legitimate, albeit improbable, shot at the World Series.

Mets infielder Jeff Conine breaks for second base in a game against the Florida Marlins. (Joe Rimkus/MCT)

The New York Mets, the most dominant team in baseball at one point this season, are entering the playoffs with a whimper.  Despite their early success, the Mets have lost seven games to the Philadelphia Phillies in recent weeks, a team that has narrowed the Mets’ division lead to a meager two games as of Sept. 25.  Even if they hold on to the division, the Mets will have to find a way to gain some momentum going into the playoffs.  The major question that should concern Mets fans has to be the pitching staff.  Tom Glavine has been solid, but not dominating this season, despite earning his 300th victory earlier this year.  Orlando Hernandez, who was placed on the disabled list on Sept. 16, looks as if he may suffer the same fate as last season when he missed the playoffs due to injury.  Pedro Martinez has been stellar since his return but does not have enough innings pitched this season to gauge whether he can be as consistently dominant as he once was.  John Maine and Oliver Perez have both pitched all across the spectrum, from near perfect to horribly inept.  The bullpen, with the exception of closer Billy Wagner, has been inconsistent and has blown a number of possible wins for the Mets this season.


The Yankees have experienced a year of highs and lows, in which they have often looked like the best team in baseball

Yankees captain Derek Jeter leaps over Baltimore’s Brian Roberts to turn a double play. (Paul J. Bereswill/MCT)

but have often been the worst.  Injuries and inconsistency have plagued the team, especially early in the season, but those deficiencies opened the door for an influx of youth, youth which was badly needed on the team.  The Red Sox are ahead in the division by two games as of Sept. 25, with only a handful of games to go.  If the Red Sox manage to hold on to the division, the Yankees, who are 5.5 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers for the wild card, will still have great momentum going into the postseason.  Alex Rodriguez, often criticized for his inability to hit in the clutch, has been everything the Yankees hoped he would be this season.  Melky Cabrera is beginning to play like an inhabitant of Yankee Stadium’s historic centerfield and Shelley Duncan has provided solid power off the bench.  The pitching staff, much like the staff of the Mets, has an amalgam of aging veterans, unproven youth and little else in between.  Roger Clemens has not pitched as he was expected to, but he and Andy Pettite are proven winners and always raise their level of play in important games.  Phil Hughes, the highly touted future ace, has been solid and along with Chien Ming Wang and Ian Kennedy, forms the core of a promising future.  Joba Chamberlain has single-handedly turned the bullpen from a sea of mediocrity and disappointment into a force late in games.

Regardless of what has happened in the season, the playoffs are a new starting point for is.  Recent streaks of great play or bad luck must be thrown out and a new focus must be essential for both teams.  The postseason should be a rebirth, in which the Yankees and Mets could find themselves in another cross-town rematch come October.