Well, baseball fans, the 2015 Major League Baseball postseason tournament is underway now. The Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros survived the Wild Card play-in games, and now there are 8 teams left standing, including the Toronto Blue Jays and aforementioned Astros, both of whom snapped double-digit playoff droughts. By the time the early part of November rolls around, Major League Baseball will have its 3rd World Champion in as many years.
One of those contenders is the New York Mets, who upset the Washington Nationals to take the NL East title, their first title, and in fact their first playoff birth, in 9 years. The keys to the success of the Mets this year were a solid mix of starting pitching (including ’14 NL ROY Jacob DeGrom) and the hitting of players such as Yoenis Cespedes, Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy. One player who missed roughly half the season due to injury, but returned just in time to be an inspirational morale boost to his teammates was their team captain, 3B David Wright (Chesapeake). Wright, often nicknamed Captain America, is one of the few Mets players to have postseason experience, and his leadership will be counted on when the NLDS gets underway tonight in Los Angeles.
Another Met with playoff experience has graciously accepted his platoon role for the betterment of the team. OF Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake) signed with the Mets last winter to play closer to home after time in Minnesota and Colorado and to join fellow Hampton Roads-native Wright as well as try to win his first World Series ring. He will be a valuable part of the Mets locker room for the month of October as well-2015 will mark his 7th postseason appearance in his 15-year career. Cuddyer played in the postseason with the Minnesota Twins in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010. He has batted .338 in 22 career postseason games entering the 2015 playoffs.
Also in the postseason-St. Louis Cardinals 3B Mark Reynolds (Virginia Beach/UVA), who played in the playoffs 2007 with Arizona and 2012 with Baltimore; Chicago Cubs reliever Justin Grimm (Bristol), making his first playoff appearance. Also of note, the Cubs left fellow reliever Neil Ramirez (Virginia Beach) off the playoff roster for the NLDS, but have the option of adding him to the roster later in the postseason should the need arise.
8 teams. 1 Champion. Virginia will be well represented.
What do the following statements have in common:
- George W. Bush was POTUS.
- Bryce Harper was in middle school.
- Pirates of the Caribbean was the top grossing movie at the box office.
- Twitter debuts to the world
- Citi Field was in infancy stages of construction
Answer: All of these things were in 2006, which was also the last time the New York Mets made the postseason.
Fast Forward to 2015. George Bush is enjoying his retirement, Bryce Harper is one of the biggest stars in Major League Baseball, Twitter is ingrained in American lexicon……….and the New York Mets are back in the playoffs.
Low expectations going into the season, the New York Mets stunned the baseball world, upsetting the World-Series favored Washington Nationals to win the NL East for the first time in nearly 10 years. What worked in the Mets favor this year?
Perhaps the major turning point for the Mets, the point when they really took off, came on August 24. The Mets were 67-56 at the time and in a dogfight with the Nationals for the division. They had gone most of the season without their team captain, 3B David Wright (Chesapeake)-who had been out since mid-April with a strained right hamstring, and later diagnosed with what was thought to be career threatening spinal stenosis-but pressed on with a solid nucleus of a lineup in Cespedes, Flores, Duda. On 8/24, Wright made his triumphant return to the Mets. Just the fact that he returned was an inspiration to the teammates that he rejoined, but for good measure, Wright delivered at the plate as well, clubbing one of a team record 7 homeruns in a Mets 16-7 win over the Phillies. Including that win, the Mets took off, winning 21 of their next 32 games, to pull away and bring the road to the 2015 World Series through Citi Field for the first time.
While Wright provided a real inspiration to the Mets for their stretch run, also contributing such intangibles and leadership was veteran OF Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake). Cuddyer signed a 2-yr contract with the Mets in the offseason, relishing the opportunity to join fellow Hampton Roads-native Wright in a shot at a ring. While he has had some production as a regular, he has also dealt with a knee injury that eventually landed him on the DL. His injuries cleared the path for the emergence of others, but upon his return, the Mets wanted to use him in a platoon role. He accepted that role, which would give him playing time in the OF and at 1B, as well as pinch-hitting duties. Now relegated to a bench role, Cuddyer is hitting .455 over is last 7 games (albeit only 11 AB). Cuddyer’s experience will be extremely valuable to the Mets next week, when the playoffs start. This will be Cuddyer’s 7th postseason.
The New York Mets won the World Series twice, in 1969 and 1986. Two of the greatest ballplayers to ever come out of Virginia could be part of a 3rd title for the Amazins.
When the New York Mets got their captain back last night, that in and of itself was a victory. David Wright (Chesapeake) had been on the DL since April, but his return came at a crucial time for the surging Mets, who now lead the Nationals by 5.5 games in the NL East. With a darn good offense already in place, Wright was being counted on to be a team leader, not even the offensive threat he was in his career.
Apparently, he never got that memo.
Wright homered in his first at-bat, one of a franchise record 8 Homeruns by the Mets, and scored three runs himself in a 16-7 win. The Mets also set a franchise record with 15 extra-base hits.
Also getting in on the action was OF Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake), who hit one of those 8 homers and also added two doubles.
Cuddyer is now batting .255 for the year, Wright .342.
The New York Mets have come out of nowhere to take control of the NL East, opening up a lead over the WS-favorite Washington Nationals with roughly 6 weeks left in the season, this despite the fact that their team captain, slugging 3B David Wright (Chesapeake), has been gone for the better part of the season with what was thought to be just a hamstring injury at the time, and a later diagnosis revealed spinal stenosis, a serious lower back problem which ended the career of Lenny Dykstra. Well, Captain America is back!!!
According to ESPN, the Mets star hitter will be activated from the DL today and join the team in Philadelphia,
The Mets plugged on and used a committee of hitters to take over at 3B, and that, combined with the slugging OF Yoenis Cespedes, has produced the offense the Mets have needed to remain competitive. This means that the team really should not have to count on their Franchise Four slugger to be the offensive savior to carry them to their first playoff appearance in nearly 10 years. They just want him to be the team leader on the field and in the clubhouse. He likely will not even be an every day player, as the Mets say they will count on him to tell them when he wants to play and when he wants to rest.
Wright hit .321 with 1 RBI and 5 walks during his rehab assignment.
Since losing their captain and franchise player 3B David Wright (Chesapeake) to the DL in early April, the New York Mets have still churned on, and, thanks to their incredible pitching staff, have now overtaken the Washington Nationals, opening up a 4.5 game lead on the division title favorites with roughly 7 weeks to go in the season.
Now, the Mets are on the verge of becoming whole again.
Wright, who played in 8 games for the Mets this season before going on the DL with what turned out to be spinal stenosis, has been working his way back, rehabbing with the Mets’ Single-A affiliate at St. Lucie. Wright tells MLB.com that he hopes to get 30 at-bats in the minors before coming off the DL, in time to rejoin the Mets, which would put him in line to rejoin the big club next weekend in Colorado, just in time for a Mets stretch run that could lead to the team’s first division title since 2006.
When the New York Mets came into being in 1962, they set a new standard for expansion team ineptness, posting a record of 40-120, the 120 losses setting a new major league record for a 162 game schedule. Their subsequent years had some growing pains as well, until they upset the Baltimore Orioles to win the 1969 World Series.
In the decades since, the Mets have become a top tier franchise, winning their second World Series in 1986, and the franchise has had some noteworthy alumni, in their 50+ years existence.
That history was recognized at the 2015 MLB all-star game when MLB’s newest initiative, FRANCHISE 4, allowed fans to create their own “Mt Rushmore” of the greatest players each franchise has ever seen.
Among the Mets Franchise 4 was 3B David Wright. (Chesapeake)
Wright was voted in, and rightfully so. He is the current Team Captain, and has virtually re-written the Mets record books, holding the franchise record in almost every major offensive category. His awards mantle at home is just as full as his resume of franchise records.
Mets franchise star 3B David Wright (Chesapeake/Tides ’04) suffers severe setback in rehab.