The period of 2007-2010 has been laughable for the New York Mets and their fans. We have seen two collapses (2007-2008), one disaster of a season (2009), and another disaster disguised by a mediocre record (2010). You can even throw in the post-season choke job of 2006 if you want. A recent SNY poll ran during a Mets game and asked Mets fans if the team should trade Jose Reyes, David Wright, neither, or both. The overwhelming winner? Neither, as it received more than 60% of the vote. And that poll alone shows how delusional Mets fans are.
As I’ve said before, this team is not built to win a championship, from the top down.
Jose Reyes had a few injury free seasons (2005-2008) and now everyone thinks that he’s an iron man, despite the fact that he couldn’t stay on the field in his early days and has struggled to avoid injuries over the last couple of seasons. He’s hit his ceiling as a player (2006) and hasn’t been able to top, or even replicate that standout season. Considering that he was 23 at that point and is supposedly entering his prime now should trouble Mets fans and the organization. Yet everyone continues to believe that Reyes will be able to put it all together and be a reliable star for the next 5-10 years.
David Wright is a fine player, and unlike Reyes, his effort has never been questioned. He clearly wants to not only win, but win for the Mets franchise and its fan base. You can’t say that about a lot of superstars today. With that said, you wonder if he too has hit his ceiling, and that he has nothing left to offer. He is a 30/110/.300 player when healthy and with a decent supporting cast around him. Those are great numbers, but Wright has accomplished this reputation in strange fashion. He had a terrible 2009 and his 2010 has been erratic at best. His strikeouts have climbed, and his fielding is overrated. The fact that he doesn’t lead you to believe that he can be the MAN is troubling, considering that this is exactly what the Mets envision him being.
The problems don’t end there, especially when talking about the roster. And who makes the roster? Omar Minaya. Minaya was recently quoted as saying that you can’t “go young” in New York. Really? So what should you do then? Get older and continue to lose not only games, but your fan base? Omar does not instill confidence in any Mets fan. He can’t handle interviews, press conferences, or criticism. For every good move that he makes, he makes a colossally poor one as a follow up. For every R.A. Dickey there is a K-Rod or Jason Bay. Gee, Jason Bay is having a down year, going to a different league and going from a hitter’s park to a pitcher’s park? I’m stunned. And The Red Sox and Angels gladly watched the Mets drool over these guys during free agency and Omar never thought that maybe, maybe there is a good reason why these teams didn’t want these guys back? Hmmm…
Going back into the dugout, Jerry Manuel is next. And by next, I mean he’s the next guy who needs to be served his walking papers. And just so you know, I’m an advocate of Omar being reassigned as well. I say reassigned because it’s not my place nor do I feel comfortable saying that someone should be fired. We’re talking real people with real families. But with that said, Omar and Jerry need to be replaced. The Mets need someone who can manage a game, a lineup, and a bullpen better than Jerry. He often sounds like he has no clue what he’s doing, and he doesn’t fit the role of a leader. He sounds like a cool guy to have a beer with, not a guy I want trying to lead my team to a Series championship.
And what about the Wilpons? They deserve the most blame of all. They have let Omar and Jerry run this organization into the ground, and yes, they may have tied Omar’s hands in some instances money-wise, but to say that they are terrible owners when they’re shelling out over $120 mill per season is ridiculous. Thus, I’m not saying that they are bad owners, but bad talent evaluators. They need to look in the mirror and force themselves to get rid of these guys. I don’t care how nice Omar is to your family, Mr. Wilpon. I don’t care how many funny jokes Jerry has for you, Jeff. Get rid of them or risk losing your fan base for the next 2-3 years.
And this brings us to the delicate portion of the article, where we talk about the fans. Mets fans are passionate, knowledgeable, and beaten down. Geographically, they are surrounded by Sox, Yankees, and Phillies fans. Three of the best baseball organizations of the past ten years. I’m a Mets fan, so I understand the issues we have with following an organization that can’t get out of its own way while we watch our Yankee friends sit back and enjoy another 7-game winning streak. It’s aggravating and deflating.
But yet, Mets fans don’t deserve to be let off the hook completely. They are the ones who puff their chest out at the beginning of each season and preach that their team is ready for the big time. Countless times I’ve been told directly or heard on the radio about how this roster is just one or two pieces away. Yes, if Wright stops his accelerating K rate, Reyes plays 160 games, they get a #2 starter, a new closer, a new right fielder, a new second baseman, and a completely new bench. Plus a setup man. And a new GM and manager. But otherwise, yes, the Mets are only one or two pieces away! This boisterous tone simply makes us look bad. Yankee fans watch Met fans dance around when they finally make the playoffs while some Yankee fans simply can point out that they’ve only missed the playoffs a handful of times in their entire lifetime.
Now, the Mets are back in their “Play the young guys in September” phase, and Mets fans are ready for their greatest act of all: waiting for a glimmer of something to latch on to. If a young kid has a nice 10-20 games, pencil him in as a Mets starter for the next 10+ years! If he stinks, trade him for an All-Star, because surely the Cardinals would do a straight up trade of Pujols for Mejia, right? Go check out the forums for the Mets around the ‘net and you’ll find countless number of threads about the projected 2011 lineup, with names like Duda, Martinez, Flores, Tejada, and Nieuwenhuis. Never mind the fact that these kids have done nothing at the major league level, but let’s project them as starters who will rake right out of the gate and play a stellar field anyway. Wake up, Mets fans. Going with a youth movement is fine, and probably the right move for the Mets (which means trading Wright, Reyes, Santana, and anyone else they can in order to get some young guys in here), but you can’t expect them to play like All-Stars right from the beginning, and some are going to flat out fail.
People say that I’m the biggest anti-Mets Mets fan in the world. That may be because I’m 29 years old and the one World Series title during my lifetime barely counts because I was 5, and they’ve had as many losing seasons as winning ones during my “real fan” years of 1990-present (10 winning, 10 losing). Sure, Pirates or Royals fans would kill for mediocrity, but when you’re in New York, you get killed for mediocrity, and that’s exactly what this organization is made up of.
Time to clean house.
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