Monday, September 29, 2008

Yo, Meathead!

So it looks like I was dead wrong. Despite all the things going for them, the Mets found a way to blow it and miss the playoffs—the same way their bullpen found a way to blow all those games in which they were handed the lead. I don’t have the stats on hand right now, but I know they are pathetic—as of mid-September, the bullpen had 16 blown saves since the All-Star break, 11 in the ninth inning. While the Mets’ fall was not as precipitous as last year, in some ways, it is even more disappointing, since the players and fans have the specter of 2007 sitting on their shoulders. It was also sad that the team didn’t have enough resolve or firepower to find a way to win in the final game at Shea Stadium.

There is no question that Jerry Manuel should be retained as manager, finally having the “interim” removed from his title. But I am a little bit shocked that General Manager Omar Minaya has been handed a four-year extension, essentially laying the blame for last year, and indeed, the horribly poor start to this year—which has to be considered with the final numbers—at Willie Randolph’s feet. Randolph couldn’t make his players hit or field last year, and he surely did not assemble one of the most miserable bullpens in all of baseball this year. I think Mets personnel management should be handed over to someone else, and Minaya should be relegated to the dustbin. What happens next year, if the Mets fail to make the postseason for a third straight year? Will Minaya be fired then, too late to save all that money he’s being given, and walk off like a Wall Street CEO with a golden parachute?

Honestly, once the Mets started their current poor streak, losing 10 of their last 17, I started to tune out. At first, I’d have the game on, but as soon as they would give up their first lead, off would go the TV in my confidence that the team didn’t have the heart to come back. I was right almost every time. By the end, I couldn’t even get myself to watch the start of the game, and I’m sad that as a result, I missed Johan Santana’s pitching gem to preserve the season on the second-to-last day. But in the end, it didn’t matter, and like all Mets fans, I’m faced with the prospect of a bitter offseason.

Congrats to Ed’s Dodgers for making the playoffs. In the NL, there’s no dearth of teams I could root for: Dodgers, Cubs, Brewers—anyone but the Phillies, who have only added to Met misery over the last two years. In the AL, my favorite will be the upstart Rays, and I have to say it makes it at least a little easier that the Yankees are out for the first time in years and years.

It also makes it easier since the football Giants are still undefeated and currently the tops in the toughest division in the NFL. Now that everyone’s favorite, glamorous Super Bowl pick, the Cowboys, have finally lost to a team they were predicted to defeat (where was the vaunted defense against the Redskins?) maybe the Jints will finally get their due and be recognized as one of the best teams in the league. I’m definitely looking forward to the Dallas–New York game the first week of November. Oh, yes, and my thanks to the Bears for taking out the Eagles last night and adding to the Giants’ supremacy in the division.

I know, I know, the game can humble you, and the Giants could be another injury or bad game away from a fall. But as of now, they are still the reigning champs, and they look darned good so far, so I might as well smile while I can and forget the lousy baseball season (my favorite AL team, the A’s, didn’t even contend) until next year.

1 comment:

willie randolph said...

Tough break, Meat. The Metsies are great mid-season but tail off at the precisely wrong time. Wagner getting hurt was a big part of it, like you said. Good column once again!