Our sport has reached a dangerous crossroad, where it seems that too many athletes (pro and amateur) have become walking time bombs, with the prospect of a future lived in poor health (or worse) being the only trophy they can look forward to. Consider the following lifestyle: use liberal amounts of steroids, growth hormone and insulin; kick in an array of exotic substances for God knows what; add huge quantities of food every two hours that severely overtax the human digestive system; throw in a heavy dose of painkillers (some narcotic in nature); adopt an MO that requires dropping 40 or 50 pounds twice a year in a 12-week period; peak on contest day by means of diuretics so as to be bone dry and severely dehydrated. We don’t have to fund a Harvard research project to figure out that such a regimen is a recipe for physical disaster.
Nonetheless, the series was a hit with viewers, and the initial seasons have come to be reassessed. Writing in 2011, Meredith Blake of The . Club found the cast's career goals to be "ambitious, articulate, and thoughtful", particularly in the context of the time when the show was produced, when cast members may have sought to be on TV to further their career goals, but not to be reality TV personalities, which was not yet a common goal at the time, stating, "What's so curious about the show's somewhat chilly critical reception is that, compared to today's reality fare— Jersey Shore , the Kardashians, the various Real Housewives—The Real World: New York now seems incredibly, achingly earnest, bracingly raw, and sweetly idealistic." Blake contrasts this with the casts of later seasons, such as that of 2011, who tend to be defined more by their pasts than by their career goals, and who are never unaware of their own onscreen "narrative". 
The Mets began the 1969 season in a mediocre way: an opening day home loss of 11–10 to the expansion Montreal Expos was followed by a record of 21–23 through the end of May. On April 10, 1969 Tommie Agee became the only player ever to hit a home run to the small area of fair territory in the upper level of Shea Stadium. A painted sign on the stands nearby commemorated the spot at Shea. By mid-August, the favored Chicago Cubs seemed safely on their way to winning the first ever National League East Division title (and their first postseason appearance of any kind since 1945 ). The Mets sat in third place, ten games behind; but Chicago went 8–17 in September, while the Mets, with outstanding pitching from their young staff, piled up victory after victory, winning 38 of their last 49 games. They took first place for good on September 10, and finished in first place with a 100–62 record for the season, their first winning year ever, a full eight games over the Cubs. The Mets finished with a team ERA of , and a league leading 28 shutouts thrown. Tom Seaver led the way with a 25–7 record, with lefty Jerry Koosman behind him at 17–9 record, while Cleon Jones finished with a .340 batting average. Seaver's best game occurred on July 9, at Shea Stadium, where he came within two outs of a perfect game, but gave up a one-out, ninth-inning single to the Cubs' Jimmy Qualls for the only hit in the Mets' 4–0 victory.