Monday, September 22, 2008

Meet the Mets (in Buffalo)

The New York Mets are a horrorshow right now, blowing late-game leads with the precision of a Swiss-made timepiece (a Tag Heuer, perhaps?). Jayson Stark of ESPN relays an astonishing statistic from Bill James: that if their games were ended after 6 innings, the Mets would have an 11 1/2 game lead over the Phillies, and if they were ended after 8 innings, the lead would be 6 1/2. Currently, they are trailing by 1.5 games. Incredible.

Which is why I shift my thoughts to more soothing things, like my (and the Dizzies') hometown Buffalo Bisons announcing the Mets as their new parent club. Now, the Mets' farm system can charitably be described as "bare", while the former daddy Cleveland Indians have consistently produced outstanding talent from within (i.e. Grady Sizemore, C.C. Sabathia), so this doesn't bode well for on the field success. But the Mets are my team (a rebellion against my Dad's Yankee-ness), so if on my visits home I can see the exploits of the few gems in the system (Fernando Martinez, Wilmer Flores), then all the better.

Part of the reason the Bisons are so attractive to major league teams (they beat out Syracuse to nab the Mets) is their top notch facilities. It's mind boggling to think of it now, but Pilot Field (now the poetically named Dunn Tire Park) is such a nice ballpark because Buffalo held out hope to land a major league team, and was one of five finalists in 1993 for an expansion team, which eventually went to Florida and Colorado. What would Buffalo be like now if it had a Major League franchise?

As Wikipedia helpfully points out, the stadium was one of the first "retro" style baseball-only stadiums built by the architectural firm HOK Sport, four years before they also built Baltimore's Camden Yards, initiating the template for all new parks, up to and including the new Mets stadium, CitiField, which will open next year along with their new Bisons affiliation. It's fate!

And...let me point out that the undefeated Buffalo Bills are now in first place in the AFC East for the first time since week 2 of 2003. I'm only stating facts, not setting myself up for inevitable disappointment.

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