Does it matter if the New York Mets win the National League East only to get bounced out of the playoffs in the first round? Doesn’t it feel a little pointless?
I don’t think that way. Some might. Why bother trying if you have no shot to win it all.
As we’re seeing in the games the Mets have played against the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, there are teams much better built to handle the rigors of the postseason. The Mets have made valiant attempts to keep up. However, we’re reminded that this club is second-class to the few top-level ones in the National League.
Despite all of this, the Mets making the playoffs does matter
Unless you’re in the playoffs every year, it’s special when you do earn one of the berths. There are only so many postseason spots to go around. The Mets haven’t been there since 2016 and as we witnessed, it was a short one-game stay.
This Mets roster is made up almost entirely of new players. There are a small number of holdovers from five years ago when we last got to taste the postseason. The majority of the roster has yet to experience it while representing the Amazins.
Making the postseason and then getting crushed by the Milwaukee Brewers (the team most likely to face the Mets) is not a waste of time. I always believe it’s important to get over the hurdle before getting your chance to make a mad dash to the championship.
The Kansas City Royals are a recent example. They won the 1985 World Series then entered an epic playoff drought. The team wouldn’t make the playoffs again until 2014 when they were a game away from winning it all.
A year later, the Royals took down the Mets in the World Series. The experience they gained in 2014 set them up much better for the following season.
The Philadelphia Phillies are another example of this. Their 1993 trip to the World Series ended in a loss. Worse, the club wouldn’t get to the postseason again until 2007 when they were battered around by the Colorado Rockies in the first round. One season after, they won a World Series.
The Mets need to take a step forward like those two teams and see what it’s like to be in the postseason. Mentally, it’s helpful.
The counterargument to it does say the front office and even players can become complacent. Unless the team truly earned it, some may feel a little ego-bloated. I totally get this and do think it’s a concern to have, but not one to miss the playoffs altogether in order to avoid.
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The 2021 Mets might not be capable of winning the World Series. Give these players a sip, take it away, and maybe the 2022 club can be in a better spot to go further.