Déjà vu all over again. It’s how these latest New York Mets losses to the Atlanta Braves have felt. This feels familiar. I believe I’ve been here before. I’ve witnessed the back and forth battles with Atlanta coming out on top.
Former Mets first baseman Todd Zeile triggered the answer. It’s a reminder of what was happening in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The battles between the Mets and Braves in this era, one Zeile was a part of, were the best. The Mets only ever did come out on top in 2000 when they were able to pass through the postseason without having to meet the Braves. The two have managed to avoid each other in the postseason mostly because it’s the Braves who often get the best of the Mets in the first 162.
The Mets and Braves rivalry is too reminiscent of the peak of their rivalry in the worst way
The two National League East rivals faced off twice in the postseason. The first came in 1969 when New York came out on top in the NLCS. There wasn’t nearly as much juice back then with Atlanta geographically positioned in the National League West because, well, why not?
Thirty years later, the Braves got the best of the Mets in the NLCS. The drama around the 1999 team was epic. The Amazins had to win a one-game playoff against the Cincinnati Reds to even claim a playoff spot. A walk-off win versus the Arizona Diamondbacks helped them advance a round. Now it was the Braves they needed to slay.
Although they eventually lost, it was a drama-filled series. The Robin Ventura grand slam single turned the momentum for a day only for a Kenny Rogers bases loaded walk to end it all the very next night.
The Braves were the powerhouse National League team in the 1990s and into the early 2000s. The Mets were always doing the chasing.
As Zeile explains, everything seems to be going as right for the Braves as it is wrong for the Mets. It’s a game of inches. The Braves are measuring with a yard stick while the Mets are stuck with a dinky ruler.