Again, Yes Again

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Two outs.  Bottom of the 9th.  Down two runs.  One man on.  Ryan Church was at bat.  All of a sudden, there was a glimpse of hope for the Mets’ season.  The ball flew off Church’s bat and for a split second, I thought the game was going to be tied.  Alas, the ball landed in a glove twenty feet in front of the center field fence.  Game over and season over just like that.  For a team that couldn’t ever figure out if they wanted to put effort into the season, it may have been the perfect ending: giving just a little bit of hope and a predictable ending.  As I sit and type this, it doesn’t seem so long since I was writing something similar.  Eerily similar.

That was a Monday night right after the Mets had lost their last game of the season, ending any hopes of going to the playoffs.  They had a lead this September just like they did this year.  This year’s collapse wasn’t quite as historic, but more lends itself towards a trend in the franchise.  It is hard to watch a team, YOUR team, do something like that for the second year in a row; but when you feel as if you might care more than them, it’s not as difficult.  From the start of the year, it just never looked like this was a team who was ready to put last year’s collapse behind them. 

Who’s to blame?  What can be done for next year?  Is this going to happen again next year?  Read on to find out. 

Omar Minaya:  He takes the brunt of the blame in my mind.  He let the Willie Randolph situation hang around for far too long at the beginning of the season and let the whole thing fester into a huge distraction.  By the time they let Willie go, the team was almost halfway into sub-.500 season.  Obviously, Randolph wasn’t getting it done, yet he remained the manager into June. 

The bigger problem I have with Minaya is his lack of movement at the trade deadline.  The bullpen was in shambles and Billy Wagner didn’t look quite right.  Aaron Heilman actually looked, at times, as if he wanted to give away games and he was one of the BETTER guys in the pen.  Granted, there weren’t a lot of big name relievers available at the deadline, but they needed another arm or two.  It is just disappointing to think that one guy could have put this team in the playoffs, and he wouldn’t even have had to be a superstar.

Overall, Minaya has done a decent job in his tenure at GM.  He’s gone out and gotten Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Billy Wagner and Johan Santana.  He locked up David Wright and Jose Reyes to long-term deals.  On the other hand, his team has only made the playoffs once in four years with one of the biggest payrolls in baseball year in and year out.  Would I have given him a four year extension?  Probably not, two would have been sufficient for right now, but he’s probably better than anyone else the Mets could bring in right now.  He will have a lot to prove this offseason when he replaces Pedro and Wagner to prove he needed that deal.

Willie Randolph:  Willie never fully had control of the team this year.  After last year, there was speculation every day as to when he would get the ax.  It’s hard to expect players to bust it for a guy they keep hearing is going to get fired.  But, still, Willie could have done better.  The big knock on Willie was always that he wouldn’t let music be played in the locker room.  While that may seem like a small thing, you just can’t coach like that anymore.  These guys are making millions of dollars a year and if they want to listen to some Lil’ Wayne before the game, just let them.  That was just one of the many reasons he had lost the locker room.  He’s an old school guy in a new school world and wasn’t ready to change.  He’s a good manager who was stuck in a bad situation. 

Billy Wagner:  He was hurt long before he sat down for the year.  While playing through pain is sometimes admirable, he should have let the team know something long before he did.  If he had, perhaps they could/would have made a move to shore up the bullpen.  Instead, he waited until it was pretty much too late and now he’ll never pitch another game in a Met jersey (if he ever pitches again).  Good riddance, Bill.

September Offense:  The last three weeks of the season, the Mets scored 2 or less runs 9 (NINE!!!!!) times.  This is a team that needed 4 run leads because the bullpen was going to give up at least 3 runs every time they pitched.  Also, keep in mind the Mets played Washington 6 times in this stretch and the Cubs B League team 4 times.  It is a damn joke a team with All-Star caliber players all over the field couldn’t put the bat on the ball better than they did.

The Bullpen:  What else can be said about this atrocity?  We’ve already discussed traitor Heilman.  This is a collection of nobodys, plain and simple.  When you’re trying to talk yourself into Luis Ayala as a legitimate closer, things aren’t well.  Multiple additions and subtractions need to be made before next season.  That’s all I can say about a group of men I have screamed at for the few months.

Where does it go from here?  I will pray all offseason that things go back up.  It seems like a decade ago when the Mets were in a game 7 of the NLCS.  The team opens a new stadium next year and they will need to it with a bang.  Go get another marquee pitcher to replace Pedro, preferably under the age of 35.  Go get another hitter, someone that can play left field on a consistent basis and is not named Moises Alou. 

It was a long year for the Mets.  It was a long year for Mets fans.  The long year is over.  Let’s all forget about it and start moving on… what the hell else is there to do?  Here’s hoping the demons of all this losing are left in Shea and get their asses blown up.

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One Response to “Again, Yes Again”

  1. eDayStat Says:

    ‘Least you were part of a pennant race bud.

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