The New York Mets have had a ridiculous 2021 season.
Their campaign has featured very high highs, very low lows, a fair share of controversy, and an admirable amount of fight.
The team looked dead in the water a month ago, but today, the Mets are firmly in the mix for a playoff bid.
If New York does find a way to sneak into the postseason, a lot of that aforementioned controversy would likely be forgotten.
Here’s what we mean by that.
The Mets’ Season Reached An All-Time Low When Javier Baez Called Out The Fanbase Last Month
As fans likely know, New York’s season reached arguably its lowest point near the end of August when Javier Baez called out the fanbase.
Baez, who was acquired by the Mets at the trade deadline, made a thumbs-down gesture to the fans in attendance at Citi Field after he delivered a clutch hit in a game against the Washington Nationals.
After the game, he explained what he meant by the gesture.
“We’re not machines,” Baez said. “We’re going to struggle seven times out of 10. It just feels bad when … I strike out and get booed. It doesn’t really get to me, but I want to let them know that when we’re successful, we’re going to do the same thing to let them know how it feels.”
As you might expect, this didn’t go over particularly well.
Fans and members of New York’s front office were all over Baez after the incident, and he ultimately apologized for it.
But the damage was seemingly done.
Mets fans were already frustrated with the team’s performance over the summer, and Baez’s antics surely didn’t help.
All seemed lost.
At the time, New York was below .500 and faced a major deficit in the standings.
But just when folks were ready to throw in the towel, Baez and the Mets started to turn things around.
Javier Báez updated stats since revealing the meaning of the thumbs down celebration (ranks among players with 40+ AB)
🪄.415 AVG (1st in MLB)
🪄.478 OBP (2nd)
🪄.732 SLG (7th)
🪄1.210 OPS (3rd)
— Mets Analytics (@MetsAnalytics) September 11, 2021
New York has since battled its way back into the playoff race, and with three weeks to go in the regular season, the team is still kicking.
Reaching The Playoffs Would Heal All Wounds
It’s probably safe to say that Mets fans would forgive Baez for his actions if the team reached the playoffs.
In fact, a lot of fans would probably forget about the indecent entirely.
But how likely is the team to make the postseason?
Well, let’s discuss.
Right now, New York is 5.5 games back in the NL East and 3.5 games back in the Wild Card race.
Obviously, the primary focus should be on the Wild Card race.
NL Wild Card
1️⃣ Los Angeles Dodgers 92-53
2️⃣ Cincinnati Reds 75-69
3️⃣ San Diego Padres 74-69
4️⃣ St. Louis Cardinals 74-69
5️⃣ Philadelphia Phillies 72-71
6️⃣ New York Mets 72-73
— Alain Keith Cabardo Daguio (@keithdaguio) September 14, 2021
At this stage in the season, a 3.5-game deficit is pretty daunting, but it’s not insurmountable.
The bigger concern is the number of teams still in the mix.
There are four teams in the front of the Mets who are competing for the second Wild Card bid.
Since that’s the case, New York is going to have to do a lot of heavy lifting.
A big-time winning streak will likely be needed.
And unfortunately, the Mets have the fifth-toughest remaining schedule in all of baseball.
That’s not going to help the cause.
But baseball is baseball, and the unexpected regularly occurs.
Stranger things have certainly happened.
Baez is presumably not thrilled with the impression he made on fans, and a postseason bid would be the best way to put that blemish in the past for good.
Yoenis Céspedes had a .942 OPS with the Mets during his magical finish with the team in 2015.
Javier Báez has a .949 OPS through 31 games with the Mets.
— D.J. Short (@djshort) September 13, 2021
Don’t count Baez and the Mets out just yet.