2010 MLB Predictions: The Mets' Return of Wright, Santana, and the Underdogs

Christopher TricaricoContributor IMarch 12, 2010

FLUSHING, NY - MAY 03:  Mr. Met throws t-shirts to the fans between innings of the New York Mets game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 3, 2006 at Shea Stadium in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Pirates 4-3 in 12 innings.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Ever since their first game on April 11, 1962, the New York Mets have been the quintessential underdog.  For the majority of the team's history, the organization has not been expected to win a lot of baseball games. 

Despite the losing trend that has haunted the Mets, they have always had—and continue to have—one of the most passionate fanbases in all of sports.

Yes, there have been periods of dominant New York Mets baseball in their 48-year history. 

One of the greatest periods was Tom Terrific and the "Quiet Man" Gil Hodges leading the 1969 Miracle Mets—a team that was not meant to win—to one of the most shocking World Series runs and victories of all time. 

In 1973, Yogi's boys almost did it again with a team that amassed a mere 82 victories and marched all the way to Game Seven of the October classic.  They lost to the stacked Oakland Athletics, yet gave the better team a run for the crown.

The "Bad Guys" in 1986 took over the National League East by winning 22 more games than the Philadelphia Phillies with a stunning 108 victories.  This team defined domination in the regular season, yet became the underdogs throughout the playoffs.  Game Six is all that needs to be mentioned.

The 1999 and 2000 teams were underdogs, as well—weaker teams led by Bobby V and "Mighty" Mike Piazza carved their way to the NLCS and World Series, respectively.  Take a look at the lineups and pitching staffs in those years, and tell me your jaw doesn't drop. 

Despite their lack of star power, both groups could have won it all.  Imagine that steroid clown Clemens got tossed from the game in the first inning for throwing Piazza's shattered bat in his "direction."

2006—a year defined by "The Crash," "The Catch," and "The Curveball."  The Mets had players many current fans remember well—Pedro, Cliffy, the X-Man, D Wright, Chad Bradford, Billy the Kid, Endy, two Carloses, and two Joses, to name some. 

Fans thought this was the year—that for the first time in exactly 20 years, the Mets would take it all.  For the first time in a young fan's memory, the Mets were not underdogs—they were the best in the game. 

Perhaps that is where things went downhill.  The Mets had nothing to prove—and they wound up with a single NL East Division flag drafted over the right field wall.

New York's National League fanbase got its first taste of playoff action in six years—and they wanted more.  2007 would surely end with the Mets parading in Manhattan. 

Needless to say, that didn't happen—but what happened to the fans?

Outrage, disgust, embarrassment, failure, sadness: These are some of the emotions that have plagued Mets fans for the past three years—the worst of all being apathy.  However, despite the negativity that goes along with such feelings, there is a root to them—a root that defines a true Mets fan.


In October 2009, when the Phillies were playing the Yankees in the World Series—with the Mets' last game having been played well more than a month earlier—New York's No. 1 sports radio station, WFAN, was dominated by fans of the Lovable Losers, the Underdogs of 2010. 

Mets fans wanted to talk about how their team could get better with offseason moves, promotions from the farm system, and the fact that the Mets have something to prove to everyone.

Regardless of the circus of an administration that is running the franchise and its lack of internal and external communication, 2010 is a year that the Mets are predicted to win as many games as they lose. 

Last year, Sports Illustrated predicted them to win the World Series.  Virtually the same team, the 2010 squad is now back in its rightful place.  The Mets are the underdogs.

It is always nice to be surprised when the Mets are not supposed to win—and they pull off an amazing victory.  With what feels like the whole team coming back from surgery/injury and a late projected return of Carlos and Jose, this Mets fan is prompted to call out an old battle cry from 1973: "Ya Gotta Believe!"

Underdogs: Ya gotta love 'em.