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The NLCS Preview : Tales of Two Fan Bases



Disclaimer,  I’m a die hard Mets fan. I still remember 1986 like it was  yesterday. Growing up in the 80s , we had WWF wrestling and the New York Mets.The Mets mostly have been lousy since 1986 because they’ve had a lot of bad baseball players, because they’ve had some truly bad managers, because they haven’t been good enough, because they haven’t spent their money wisely, because sometimes they haven’t spent their money at all.Regardless of the past, I’ve waited nine years  for this weekend. Nine years to return to the scene of the crime. Mets will begin the NLCS at home with a much better team then they had in 2006.


There has never been a curse attached to any of this, or a jinx, or a hex, or a pox. The way these Mets played during the season’s final two months — and all across their National League Division Series with the Dodgers — ought to emphasize the point. They were resilient. They got great pitching. They had just enough clutch hitting, most of it from Daniel Murphy. Much as their lost seasons were no accident, nether has this season been a random series of happy accidents.

What will be interesting, as the National League Championship Series begins Saturday night at Citi Field, is to see if the Cubs — and their fans — come to these games with an equal amount of logical fervor, understanding they will win or lose this series based upon the most fundamental question the sport allows: Can Chicago’s gifted young hitters get the better of the Mets’ talented young pitchers, or will it be the other way around?


This will not be about Billy Sianis’ goat, or the summer of ’69, or October of ’84, or poor Steve Bartman. It never has been anyway, but these Cubs are too young and too good to be burdened by history, by 107 years of championship-free baseball, by anything other than this compelling and overriding fact ,this will be a great series

No fan base exemplifies the potential damage of negativity more than the Cubs’. That fact hit me square in the face in October 2008. Those Cubs, like these Cubs, had won 97 games, plenty to win the NL Central in a walk. Those Cubs, like these Cubs, were managed by a supremely confident force of nature — Lou Piniella then, Joe Maddon now.

And there was enough talent in the room, then as now, it wasn’t just easy to dismiss the shackles of history, you could understand why it all seemed so silly. I walked into Wrigley Field on Oct. 1, and there was nothing but positive energy. When the Cubs took a quick 2-0 lead on the Dodgers, Wrigley actually felt like Yankee Stadium used to — full of swagger, full of bring-it-on.


The Mets and Cubs would get here eventually, this much was expected. At some point, both organizations would be rewarded for hoarding young talent, whether by acquiring or developing their own core pieces for the future. Perhaps the only surprise is that each has reached this point ahead of schedule. At least, that’s the vibe going into Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at Citi Field Saturday night, when two of the youngest, most talented teams begin facing off for the pennant.The Mets and Cubs reached the brink of the World Series by following divergent philosophies. For much of the offseason, with the Cubs stocked with bats and the Mets with arms, the organizations were linked as potential trade partners. Nothing materialized, though neither club has any regrets.

While the Mets boast plenty of firepower on the mound, the Cubs ranked among one of the best fastball-hitting teams in all of baseball.The Mets dropped all seven games against the Cubs during the regular season. In those meetings, the last of which was July 2, the Mets were outscored 27-11. But since then, the Mets have revamped their own offense, adding Yoenis Cespedes and welcoming back a healthy David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud. And yes, Alderson said, even the Mets’ dynamic young pitching has taken a forward step in development.

Are the Cubs a great team? Yes. Do i believe in cures?No. Both fan  bases have suffered enough. Both fan bases deserve a  World Championship. I honestly believe this will be a  seven game series. I’m giving my  “unbiased” prediction towards the New York Mets. Manly, because great pitching always trumps hitting .

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