By: Cody Glenn Bubenheimer

Mets Should be Thankful for the Cubs

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It’s early March, and as fans, all we have to talk about are the expectations of our team. Last year the Mets played underdog, having decidedly lost the division to the Nats before the season even started. At the end of this year, the story will be one of two possible outcomes for the Mets.

Coming off a successful year, they’ll have bred a new culture of winning within the club and have confidently won the division for the second year in a row. Or, your worst nightmare could come true and the Mets miss the playoffs a year after playing in the World Series. Still, coming of a National League pennant, the expectations for this young team aren’t as simple as you would expect.

USA Today has the Mets finishing second in the East with 87 wins, two less than the Nationals’ projected 89 wins. Bleacher Report also has the Nationals winning the division over the Mets, and gave their projected NL Wild Card nod to another team in the division—the Marlins. Projection battles in their own division is half the issue here for the Mets. Another reason the situation appears so muddled is due to the Chicago Cubs.

Most experts haven’t been shy about singing the Cubs praises, taking into account their three biggest problems of 2015 being addressed: a starting pitcher behind Lester and Arrietta in John Lackey, a Gold-Glove caliber outfielder in Jason Heyward, and upgrading their middle infield with Ben Zobrist. But projections are meant to be based partially on the forecast of the coming season as well as the reflection of the prior season. The fact that the Mets defeated the Cubs in four games in last year’s NLCS has been conveniently ignored by those making the predictions.

So where do the Mets stand?

While they’re not entirely in the underdog role that they thrived in last year, they’re in no way World Series favorites this year, let alone expected to win the NL East. I have no problem with this whatsoever. The Nats upgrading from Matt Williams to Dusty Baker could easily add ten wins from last year’s total, while the Cubs shiny new additions have painted the Mets as second fiddle as the NL’s up and coming young team.

That being said, the Mets could be looking at a decade’s long rivalry with the Cubbies. With a playoff matchup already in the rearview, there’s been no shortage of storylines between the Mets and Cubs, including their Co-owner, Todd Ricketts calling Mets fans “really obnoxious to the media” and telling of the joys he had watching the Mets defeated in the World Series. Despite the Cubs young. powerful lineup being the perfect counterpart to the Mets young, powerful rotation, the Mets should actually be thankful for the Cubs. Without the Cubs shelling out $272 million between Heyward, Zobrist and Lackey, the Mets might be favored more heavily this year. Like I said earlier, it’s impossible to say how a team’s expectations will weigh on them throughout the course of a season, but if last year is any indication, I’m happy playing the underdog again.

About Cody Glenn Bubenheimer

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