We’ve seen this story before.
It’s gone on since 2007 when the rickety foundation showed cracks all season long before it came crashing down with the September collapse.
The Mets will waste good work from a few of their players with a late-inning stumble and embarrassing mishap on the bases, in the field or at the plate; they’ll mount a furious comeback only to fall short.
It’s the template and you’d better get used to it if you haven’t already.
Last night was another example of the Mets relentless self-sabotage. The failure to complete relatively simple pitcher-to-catcher force/tag plays is indicative of what’s gone on with the team since 2007. Both Ryota Igarashi and Bobby Parnell couldn’t execute a throw to the catcher on a grounder back to the mound—a play that is practiced ad nauseam in spring training and should be second nature to any big league competitor.
Igarashi’s errant throw with one out and the bases loaded caused catcher Josh Thole to jump off the plate; he had to scramble back to force the runner at home and had no chance for a 1-2-3 double play. The next batter, Carlos Gonzalez, broke his bat and singled through hole at shortstop due to the exaggerated shift; two runs scored to tie the game.
Parnell simply threw the ball over Thole’s head and allowed the go-ahead run to score in the top of the eighth inning. Troy Tulowitzki then homered to make the score 7-4.
As is customary, the Mets scored 2 runs in the bottom of the eighth to make the score 7-6 and that’s how it ended.
I’m not sure what people were expecting from this Mets team.
GM Sandy Alderson has done the right thing in eschewing the quick fix advocated by the likes of Mike Francesa and the newspaper writers.
What was he supposed to do? Repeat the mistakes of Omar Minaya and the prior regime and overspend to make a splash that wasn’t going to alter the team’s fate one way or the other?
The difference between a team like the Rockies and these Mets is that the Rockies take advantage of the other team’s mistakes and the Mets make the mistakes.
Anyone who looked at this transitioning group and thought they were going to contend was engaging in bizarre fantasy.
This season is about keeping the tradeable pieces like Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran healthy; finding a few scrapheap reclamation projects; and sifting through the various messes that accumulated since 2003.
Don’t act stunned or indignant because you were warned.
Regarding Francesa, you can hear the bitterness and vengeful attacks against the Mets as he ramps up the rhetoric and fans the flames of fan discontent.
Is it a true reaction to the team’s play and off-season inaction? Or is he being his normal two-faced self as he unleashes on the team on-air and is nothing by kind and conciliatory when a member of the organization is a guest on his show?
Francesa is a notorious frontrunner who used his relationship with Minaya as a justification for saying whatever he wanted about the former GM without fear of reprisal. The gentlemanly Minaya may have thought it was a legitimate “friendship” when it was Francesa triangulating his position.
“I like Omar,” as a Francesa justification for being “honest”.
Wariness with the media is the wise course of action in any circumstance, but this is worse because Francesa is clearly retaliating for the Mets new hierarchy refusing to kowtow to his bullying; not only that, Alderson and manager Terry Collins have had the sheer audacity to hit him back!
We’ve seen this for years with Francesa. The closeness with former Giants and Jets coach Bill Parcells was both inappropriate and mutually advantageous.
I couldn’t care less who’s friends with whom, but Parcells was also a bully whose demeanor intimidated the media at large; his success gave him a hammer to shun those who he perceived as threats to his autocratic rule over the city. Francesa had insider’s access to Parcells’s operation because of the relationship and never criticized “the coach”.
Naturally it undermined credibility.
The Francesa Mets bashing is going to grow incrementally worse by the summer, but if you look through the subterfuge you can see what’s going on.
On the bright side for the Mets, the new front office is neither reactionary nor desperate for the media/fan approval at the expense of doing what’s right for the organization. A large part of that is enduring the current atmosphere.
The Mets fans who are upset about the team’s play need to realize that it’s all for the greater good. The quick-fixes and coziness with the media—exacerbated by Minaya’s likability and desire to be liked—didn’t work.
They’re on the right track now whether it shows up immediately on the field or in the stands.
Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available.
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