At Fangraphs, Jeff Sullivan initiated an interesting debate about baseball fandom and team success. He looked at two different types of seasonal success and wondered which is preferable: Over a stretch of four years, would you rather your team:
a) Win one World Series and have three bad seasons.
b) Have four very good seasons but no World Series titles.
A recent example for first scenario is the Tigers from 2011-2014. Over those four seasons, the Tigers experienced sustained success, winning their division in four straight seasons. However, they were never able to capture a championship. For the second scenario we have the 2012-2015 Red Sox. In three out of four of these seasons, the Red Sox lost 90+ games (or are on pace to do so, as they are in 2015). But in 2013, they made a surprise run and won a World Series.
In recent Mets history, they had a couple of runs that were similar to the Tigers'. From 1997-2000, the Mets compiled winning records, and in 1999 and 2000 they fielded particularly strong teams that won 97 and 94 games respectively. Those latter two seasons ultimately ended in disappointment with losses in the NLCS and World Series.
From 2005-2008, the Mets had winning records in all seasons and dominated the National League East in 2006, eventually losing in heartbreaking fashion to the Cardinals in the NLCS. The 2007 and 2008 teams somewhat infamously collapsed in the standings late in the season, and despite having winning records missed the postseason in both years. A woeful stretch of six straight losing seasons followed.
With their stockpile of young talent, the Mets may well be on the cusp of sustained success. If you could choose, as a fan, would you take one World Series title and three losing seasons, or four straight years of considerable success without a title?