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TRANSCRIPT: MITCH ON THE METS: JUNE 27, 2009

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28:  Former New York Mets players Yogi Berra waves to the fans at home plate after the game against the Florida Marlins to commemorate the last regular season baseball game ever played in Shea Stadium on September 28, 2008 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets plan to start next season at their new stadium Citi Field after playing in Shea for over 44 years. (Photo by: Al Bello/Getty Images)
HM SchumanContributor IJuly 1, 2009

The transcript from MITCH ON THE METS (www.wxlm.fm) - June 27, 2009:

Last week we talked about how the Mets were only two games back of the Phillies after having been 7.5 games back at that time last year. Well, the Mets took another week off of the schedule and this morning they find themselves only a half game back (as compared to 4.5 back last year). I thought there was good reason to be worried last week and I still think there is good reason to be worried. While it is true that the Phillies have not been able to separate themselves from the Mets - in fact the Mets gained a game and a half this week - while the Mets went 3-4, I warned last week that the injury plagued Mets had left themselves no margin for error and would eventually feel the pain of those injuries once the Phillies got hot. And remember, there are other teams in the division too.

Last week, when the Mets were 2 games behind the Phillies, the Marlins were 2 games back of the Mets. However, this morning, the Marlins are just a half game back. Any way you slice it, when you go 3 and 4 for the week, you figure to lose ground to someone.

Last week, I compared these Mets to the 1972 and 1987 editions, teams that started the season as pennant contenders but were laid low by injuries. Well, here’s a more hopeful take on the season. Maybe this is not a repeat of 1972, but rather, 1973. Remember 1973? That’s the year no one in the National League East, or as it was called then, the National League Least, wanted it. The Mets ended up winning the division on the last day of the season with an 82-79 record.

After 72 games this Mets team is 37-35 and just a half game back. In 1973, after 72 games the Mets were 33-39, 6 games under .500 and 11 games out of first place. On August 6, 1973, the Mets were 49-60 and still 10.5 games back. They then went on a 33-19 run and ended up in the 7th game of the World Series. Well, by August 6th this year, the Mets may well have most of their DL players back and then who knows. The key of course is not allowing one of their division rivals to run off with it, and the way things are going, maybe that’s possible. On the other hand, the Mets may well be in 4th place by next week. The battle cry for the Mets now is not Ya Gotta Believe. They are far from the believing stage yet. For now the battle cry is the less catchy, "let’s take another day off the calendar." At this point the Mets just want to wish their season away, at least until they are whole again. If that day happens, and if like 1973 their division rivals leave the door open, that will be the time to start believing.

As for their injured players. Things do not seem to be improving. Earlier this week John Maine pitched well and was then scheduled to start today in Brooklyn. That plan was scratched when Maine felt shoulder pain yesterday. He’ll be totally shut down for a week and now it looks like he won’t be back until the All-Star break, at best. Ollie Perez pitched without pain this week but was ineffective. He’ll try again tomorrow against minor league competition. Jose Reyes has yet to start running. Carlos Delgado is thinking about swinging a bat soon. There’s been no news on Carlos Beltran, but with this team, no news is good news. They’re still hoping to get him back next week.

Now back to Sports Talk with Bill and Mike.

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