The 2006 New York Mets: Too Legit to Quit?

Not since their 2000 World Series run have the New York Mets had such a solid team.

I love the New York Mets radio theme song (I think it’s called “Meet the Mets”). It is by far the best Major League Baseball radio theme of all time. I find myself singing it constantly. And while I realize that making broad speculations based on a team’s theme song is extremely stupid; I’m going to do it anyway.

I recently went public with my prediction about the Houston Astros. In case you forgot, or never knew, it is my contention that the Houston Astros are not making the playoffs (I Don’t Fear the Rocket). I am a 100% sure about this; so feel free to use this information to make a completely excessive sports bet (bet the house, if you will). I am now ready to make my second great prediction of the 2006 Major League Baseball season; are you ready?

The New York Mets will win the National League East; in part because of their sweet theme song but mostly because their good.

Now, I realize this is a bold claim. The Atlanta Braves own the National League East (they literally have the majority of the stock). The Braves have won the NL East for an astounding 14 straight years; a truly unbelievable statistic. However, that streak is about to come to an end. Here are a few reasons why the New York Mets will stay on top in the 2006 Major League Baseball campaign.

LASTINGS MILLIDGE

A lot was made of rookie Lastings Millidge high fiving fans as he ran out to right field this week. Millidge, one of the most highly touted outfield prospects in Major League Baseball, had just tied the game with his first MLB homerun in the previous inning and was feeling excited. I personally saw nothing wrong with it. Millidge is going to be a perennial all star one day, but for now he brings a spark; some youthful exuberance that a team full of veterans needs.

TOM GLAVINE AND PEDRO MARTINEZ ARE LOOKING YOUNG AGAIN

Everybody knew what the Mets were getting when they brought in Pedro Martinez from the Boston Red Sox (if anything, he’s pitched even better than expected). But when they signed Tom Glavine to a long term deal, the jury was hung. At first, the move looked like a bust; Glavine struggled for a long time. But towards the end of the 2005 MLB season, something just clicked. Glavine was a new pitcher. He’s carried that with him into the 2006 campaign; and coupled with Pedro, the Mets have a pretty good 1-2 punch at the front of their rotation.

A MUCH BETTER BULLPEN

Like their cross-town rivals, the New York Yankees, the Mets addressed bull pen issues first and foremost in the off season (almost to a fault). Jorge Julio was a bust, but Duaner Sanchez and Aaron Heilman have been amazing. Heilman’s a homegrown product who, despite a desire to start, has been great in the setup role. The Mets got Sanchez from the Dodgers in a deal for starter Jay Seo; and he’s been perhaps the most surprising addition. Sanchez routinely goes two or three innings in tight games. Big money closer Billy Wagner has been a bit underwhelming (he’s been very up and down); if he can turn it around, the Mets will have won of their best pens in years.

DAVID WRIGHT

David Wright is quickly becoming the face of the New York Mets (if not the face of the MLB’s new wave of young stars). The third baseman has come up with huge hits, right and left. He seems undaunted by pressure; and, at 24, he’s already become the kind of team leader that most Major League ball clubs only dream of. He’s hitting .327 with 10 homers and 40 RBI; and he’s getting better every day. Along with Millidge and shortstop Jose Reyes, the New York Mets have a nucleus of young stars that should keep them in contention for years.

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