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You Had Better Believe The Mets Rule, Brother!

Is creating a web page dedicated to a major league baseball team cheesy? Sure. But with the millions of dollars spent by the front office this past off season, the Mets can no longer be labeled simply as the most futile, underachieving team in baseball. Now they're the most overpaid, futile, underachieving team in baseball (my apologies to the Orioles). Let's face it, the Mets are one of the few teams yet to make the postseason this decade...and time is running out.

So how does the preceeding validate this page's existence? Well, it doesn't. I just like the stupid team, okay? Not to be defensive, of course.

Mets fans have had plenty to rejoice over this off season. Owners Nelson Doubleday and Fred Wilpon have opened their checkbooks wide in an effort to bring the National League Pennant back to New York -- where it belongs, but hasn't been since 1986.

First, they dished out $91 million to re-sign catcher Mike Piazza, who will be the cornerstone of Mets teams for the next seven years. Then, with their top priority out of the way, the Mets re-signed ace starting pitcher Al Leiter two days later to a 4-year deal.

Bobby Bonilla was re-acquired a week later in a deal that sent the struggling and much-maligned Mel Rojas to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Next, the Mets re-signed veteran left-handed reliever Dennis Cook to a 3-year, $6.6 million deal and starting pitcher Masato Yoshii to a 2-year deal.

With next season's pitching picture a bit clearer, the Mets shored up their infield both defensively and offensively when third baseman Robin Ventura agreed to a 4-year deal.

Catcher Todd Hundley, who spent most of 1998 on the disabled list and played uneffectively when he returned, was dealt to the Dodgers in a three-way deal that brought flame-throwing reliever Armando Benitez and Roger Cedeno, outfielder, to the Mets. Hundley had been the pride of the early nineties Mets teams, but became expendable with the acquisition of Piazza and after the Mets witnessed his sluggish recovery from elbow surgery.

The Mets didn't stop there, though. They still needed an outfielder who could bat lead-off and they think they got him when they signed veteran Rickey Henderson to a 1-year deal with an option for the year 2000.

Inevitably, the Mets did lose a few players. Utility man Lenny Harris signed with the Rockies; starting pitcher Armando Reynoso signed with the Diamondbacks; outfielder Butch Huskey was dealt to the Mariners; pitcher Willie Blair was traded to the Tigers; and catcher Jorge Fabregas was swapped for relief pitcher Oscar Henriquez in a deal with the Florida Marlins.

The 1998 off season has proven to be the most exciting in Mets history... well recent Mets history.

But what Mets fan could foget the infamous 1991 off season?

That year, the Mets inked all-star Bobby Bonilla to multi-year deal and made a trade for Bret Saberhagen, who had won the American League Cy Young Award twice with the Kansas City Royals. The signings came after the 1990 Mets had finished a close second in the NL East to Bobby Bonilla's Pittsburgh Pirates.

Many predicted the 1992 Mets would dethrone the Pirates in the NL East and win the World Series. The Mets did neither.

Then, in 1993 the Mets topped the 100 loss plateau, leaving no doubt to the baseball world that they were the sport's biggest underachievers.

1994 brought the player's strike and it couldn't have come at a better time for the Mets -- or their fans. By the time the strike started in July, the Mets were already buried in the standings.

The 1995 and 1996 seasons saw the Mets improving, but they still hadn't reached the level where they could play with the big boys. The Mets finally traded the slumping Bonilla to Baltimore in 1995 and acquired first baseman John Olerud in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1996.

Under new manager Bobby Valentine, the 1997 and 1998 Mets have finished with identical records of 88-74. Both times missing the wild card entry into the playoffs.

So what does the 1999 team have in store for us Mets fans?

Rumor has it that General Manager Steve Phillips isn't done dealing just yet and he wants to acquire another starting pitcher. Could it be Toronto's Roger Clemens? Arizona's Andy Benes, Omar Daal, or Brian Anderson. Philadelphia's Curt Schilling?

Who knows?

But one thing is certain: the Mets can ill afford a repeat performance of the 1992 season -- or the 1998 season, for that matter. This a baseball team with high expectations hanging over their heads. A team that must win ballgames if Valentine and Phillips want to remain on the Mets' payroll.

After all, this Mets club has a legitimate shot at squaring off against the cross-town rival Yankees in the first ever Subway (World) Series.

If I had the chance I would take back the time I devoted to these pages and do something worthwhile with it, like lock myself in the house and watch the entire Planet of the Apes boxed set in order.
View, in more detail, the off season moves made by the Mets
For kicks, check out the '99 Mets and their '98 stats
Trace the Recent Progression of the Mets' uniforms

Best Mets Links on the Web

Official Homepage of the Mets
Unofficial Homepage of the Mets
ESPN's Mets page
CNNSI's Mets page
Sporting News' Mets page
CBS Sportsline's Mets page
Fastball's Mets page
MLB@BAT Mets Site Mets Site
New Jersey Online Mets Site

The Best Mets in History

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