This morning, as I was reading the morning paper in bed (see photo below), I was pawing my way through the sports section when I happened upon America's Line, the section where the point spreads and odds are listed.
In addition to the lines for tonight's games, the 2012 World Series odds were also listed for each team. Now I'm a realist, so just as I don't expect Jason Bay to become the second consecutive Mets' batting champion or Mike Pelfrey to toss the team's first no-hitter, I also didn't expect the Mets to be near the top of the World Series odds list.
I saw the safe bets on top (Phillies, Yankees, Angels, Rangers) and was surprised to see that six of the top seven teams called the American League home, despite the fact that the NL has won four of the last six Fall Classics. But the one thing I didn't see was the Mets.
I finally did find them, but not until I saw the names of the 23 teams ahead of them.
That's right. That bold-faced name you see near the bottom of the list is our beloved team. Now the thing that upsets me is not that at 80-1 odds, the Mets rank 24th out of 30 teams. It's far more than that.
First, the only National League teams with longer odds than the Mets to win the World Series are the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres and Houston Astros. The Pirates hold the all-time record in sports for most consecutive losing seasons, with 19. The Padres have finished higher than third place in the NL West only seven times in their 43 years of existence. And the Astros are coming off their worst season (56-106) in franchise history.
Second, the other teams in the NL East not only have more favorable odds to win the World Series, they're far more favorable. The Phillies (4-1 odds) are no surprise here. The Braves (20-1 odds) came within one choke job of repeating as wild card winners in 2011. The Marlins (also 20-1) apparently still had money left over after fattening the wallets of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, giving some of it to the Las Vegas oddsmakers to "earn" their high ranking. And the Washington Nationals, a team that is still seeking its first winning season since saying au revoir to Montreal, is at 25-1. Somewhere in the next time zone, you'll find the Mets at 80-1. No respect.
But if you think the Washington Nationals ranking so much higher than the Mets is the ultimate lack of respect, you've got another "think" coming.
The Kansas City Royals, whose sole finish above third place over the past 22 seasons came in 1995, when they finished four games UNDER .500, rank higher the Mets. But the one team that caught my eye is ranked even higher than the Royals. That team is the Chicago Cubs. The same Chicago Cubs team that hasn't won a World Series since 1908, the year Jamie Moyer was just getting the courage to ask his sweetheart to the prom. At 35-1 odds, the oddsmakers believe the Cubs are more than twice as likely to win the World Series than the Mets.
I respect a man who proudly wears the Mets' racing pinstripes.
Rodney Dangerfield made a living on not getting respect. Now it looks as if the Mets are following in his footsteps. In Back To School, Dangerfield's character comforted his son, who had just told him about his C average, by saying "A, B, C, you're in the top three, what's the difference?"
For the Mets, there is a difference. They can forget about the top three. They're not even in the top TWENTY-three, as far as World Series odds are concerned.
As everyone knows, the games are played on the field, not on paper. It's too bad my paper felt the need to play a game with me. I'm telling you, the Mets just get no respect. Even Rodney Dangerfield would feel sorry for us.