2017 is without question the most disappointing season that I've experienced during my 32 years rooting for the Mets. I have seen previous teams lose more games playing worse baseball, and I've seen them bungle bigger individual moments.
I was demoralized watching a season fall apart during the final weeks of 2007, followed by similar pain in 2008, which coincided with the fall of Shea Stadium. However, in terms of the distance between expectations in spring and the reality on field in August, 2017 is the worst...
It was a grind watching the Mets in the early 90s, early 00s, and during the first five years under Sandy Alderson. But, I entered those seasons expecting them to play poorly and lose more games than they won. So, finishing under .500 during 14 of the last 25 seasons was not necessarily a disappointment. Instead, it just sucked...
Bobby Bonilla in action at the plate against the Florida Marlins. Mandatory Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
Similarly, as seasons go, while I realize 1992 was pretty bad, the Mets won just 77 games the year before, after which they gutted the team and hired a group of mercenaries to try and revitalize the franchise. It didn't work. And, while it was disappointing, I recall feeling unsurprised by the results.
In 2001, the Mets made adjustments to try and capitalize on getting to the World Series in 2000. And, while winning the Series could have been viewed as the logical next step, I don't know anyone that expected the Mets to top the Braves, who were predicted to win the NL East by SI.com, ESPN.com and CBSSportsLine.com. Plus, the Mets ended up winning 82 games that season, not to mention providing an unbelievable, uplifting moment for the entire country that September.
Following 100 wins and a fumble in the NLCS during 1988, winning just 87 games and missing the postseason in 1989 was certainly disappointing. However, despite having major expectations entering that season, they still won 87 and missed winning the division by six games. So, the distance between what we hoped for and what happened was fairly close, and the whole thing didn't reach its conclusion until the end of September.
And this is what makes 2017 so unique. We entered April believing the Mets could win a World Series. And less than 100 games later, the GM unofficially declared the season over by trading away nearly all of his veteran players.
May 9, 2017; Syndergaard (left) deGrom (middle) and Harvey (right) at Citi Field. Credit: Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Thankfully, unlike the other disappointing seasons, the reason we were optimistic in April still exists today. In 1989, the core of the franchise was getting old or were readying to leave as free agents. In 1992, the Worst Team Money Could Buy clearly busted open the door to a rebuild.
In 2018, though, the Mets can still take the field with Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia, and Jerry Blevins, as well as Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes and rookies Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith. It's a seriously solid core that can win if Alderson adds to it in the right way. And, with the right additions, I believe they can be better than the team we expected so much from entering 2017.
In other words, while this season has been a colossal disappointment -- in ways we never experienced before -- unlike previous disasters, there is still a foundation for hope just around the corner.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is the host of SNY's MetsBlog Q&ACast and the lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!