Top Banner Ads
Just when you think things are looking up, you are pulled right back down. We seem to have been down this road before. A year ago, one of my favorite players ever, Carlos Beltran, was hired to be the new Mets manager. Hailed as a smart baseball person, Carlos Beltran jumped on board without any prior managerial experience. Before even getting to spring training, Beltran was fired amidst the exposure of the Houston Astros alleged sign stealing cheating scandal.
New ownership. New philosophy. New ethics. Old-school Marine Sandy Alderson is brought back to take the reigns and steer the team into a new era. A young upstart is brought in to be the team’s general manager after stints with the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Arizona Diamondbacks learning under the tutelage of Theo Epstein. And before even getting to his first spring training…fired.
Jared Porter, considered to be a young upstart in the field at 41 years old, with an understanding of the new methods in baseball…like sabermetrics and computer analytics…apparently didn’t have an understanding of baseball’s (and society’s) emergence from the dark ages. I have warned my kids, and the students I taught in college communications classes about posting on the internet, texting, and other forms of communication that are not appropriate and, once out there, can come back to bite you. But even before this modern age of communication, we were supposed to have all learned that “no” meant “no.”
I love listening to sports talk radio…and watching some of my fellow Mets fans post their thoughts on social media. I get a real kick out of some of what I see and hear – ripping players, proposing ridiculous trades, firing managers, kicking general managers to the curb, and believing they can tell an owner of a business that they have to sell. Come on!
Even as a Mets fan, I am hugely impressed by the Yankees young squad put together by Brian Cashman – a combination of draft picks and young talent acquired by trade – especially Gleyber Torres acquired from the Chicago Cubs. And speaking of the Cubs, look at the job done by Theo Epstein, a combination of young talent drafted and acquired through trade. Neither team is perfect, they both have their own idiosyncrasies and deficiencies, but they are both exciting to watch. The Mets, on the other hand, are not.
You would think that after the Mets made it all the way to the World Series in 2015 that the fan base would be somewhat satisfied and have some faith in Mets management and General Manager Sandy Alderson. After all, after taking hit after hit in the media and on every fan blog across the internet, Alderson proved to be correct when he said that the team would be playing meaningful baseball late in the season. None of the so-called experts picked the Mets to finish with a record of over .500...let alone get to the World Series. Oh ye have little faith.
And now the talk is, as always, about how cheap the front office is and that they refuse to spend any money. The fact is...the Mets HAVE shown a WILLINGNESS to spend money...and they HAVE spent money.
The big question is: "Why DID the Mets lose the World Series?" The truth is that the tone was set on the very first pitch thrown by Matt Harvey.
The Royals' Alcides Escobar lofted a long fly ball to left centerfield. Yoenis Cespedes, who had made so many spectacular defensive plays since coming over to the Mets, took his eye off the ball for a split second, could not regroup in time, and had the ball glance off his glove, and then, to make matters worse, kicked it away from both he and leftfielder Michael Conforto. What should have been a fly ball out to the warning track was a bad error...ridiculously ruled an inside-the-park home run.
While ONE play never TRULY determines the outcome of a series, unless it is a "walk-off" occurence in the final inning of the last possible game, it can set an example for how things will essentially go. And it did.
The Mets put the final nail in the coffin of the Chicago Cubs, completing the sweep and sending them into the 2015 World Series. And they simply repeated the same process they utilized each and every game before - one of their young starters (this time it was Steven Matz) overmatched the Cubs hitters, Jeurys Familia put the finishing touches on in the ninth, and I am getting tired (not really) of saying this...Daniel Murphy hit a home run.
The Mets starters simply did not give the Cubs a chance to breathe. The Chicago hitters were able to put a chink in the armor here and there, but the Cubs never led at any time during the four game series. The Mets staff just completely overpowered the power hitters of the Chicago lineup.
Just when you thought it was too good to be true...you find out it IS too good to be true. The Mets are finally playing meaningful games in September with an eye on October baseball for the first time in almost a decade. Even with the infusion of the exciting Yoenis Cespedes and key veterans Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and Tyler Clippard...all of whom have made major contributions since their respective arrivals...there are still major concerns with the team. Lucas Duda is still on the DL, Daniel Murphy and Michael Cuddyer are now sidelined with injuries, and...oh...yeah...the middle innings relief situation is providing many with a reason to head to their physicians for a prescription for Xanax.
The Mets are sitting atop the Eastern Division of the National League yet they are far from running away with the division title. In fact, the thought of meeting up with any of the three teams in the Central Division - Cardinals, Pirates, Cubs - is downright scary. The Mets are doing a pretty good job of beating up on the second division teams...but they are struggling against teams with winning records...as evidenced by their sweep of the Rockies followed up, in turn, by getting swept themselves by the Pirates at CitiField. The split with the Orioles in Baltimore not only showcased the Mets strength, it also showcased their weaknesses.