Have You Thrown in the Towel?
It’s not far fetched, and I don’t blame him. It’s hard not to be frustrated and disgusted with the Mets the way they’re playing. There is blame on the field, in the dugout, within management and even with in the front office, all the way up. I’m not sure I’m even willing to excuse the ushers or ticket takers from the poor play of the Mets.
But it’s not over. If only it was. We all know how much 2003 sucked, but right now I think 2009 has sucked more. There was some hope in 2003. Shea Stadium shook in 2003, if only because Mo Vaughn was trying to make it to first base. You had Alomar who had been a great player; surely after a year of getting accustomed to New York, he’d return to form. You still had Piazza.
It became evident pretty fast that these guys weren’t going to get it done. It was a season probably very similar to how the Pirates fans think, of “Well, if this guy gets hot, gets good, figures it out.. then..maybe..” By mid-April, most fans realized that there was no point in getting invested in the season.
One of the bright spots of 2003 was getting to see our star prospect, Jose Reyes. A lot of 2009 hinges on the same idea. Right now it feels like they’re being overly cautious, not even testing the injury. On one hand this could mean he’s still not healthy, on the other it could mean he’s 100% healed and almost ready to go. He’s been swinging down in Florida so I hope this is the Mets way of getting his swing in shape while still resting the injury. Hopefully he’ll be ready to go, and soon.
The biggest reason I would say not to throw in the towel has to do with not being overly critical of our existing players. Despite the injuries, the Mets are in the top of the league in batting average, on base percentage. They’re getting guys on, they’re getting chances. The problem is what they do with those chances. Part of it is that they have Fernando Tatis, and lead the league in grounding into double plays. Part of it’s lineup management. If you have a lot of guys getting on, but not getting in, the lineup needs to be shaken up. Things like batting Luis Castillo and his high OBP 8th, where he’s more likely to be stranded due to the pitcher’s spot, inflate these numbers. Part of it may be the lack of power, and not being able to get as many runs out of one hit. Part of it may be the bunting, which gives away an out and a chance to have a big inning.
Another culprit has been the fundamentals. This has been a problem for most of the year, and why Jerry Manuel is not working harder at stressing it is beyond me. Especially when many of the errors seem to be of the mental kind, suggesting that the players aren’t in the right frame of mind in the field. It’s the manager’s job to get his players ready for the game. This doesn’t excuse them from making these mistakes, but it is a fault of the manager as well. When players are pressing, even in the first inning, something needs to be done. These guys need to relax. Especially David Wright who’s carrying the weight of all our expectations on his shoulders. Daniel Murphy is another who works so hard, that maybe it’s too hard.
This leads me to another thought, which is Jose Reyes in the clubhouse. Reyes, despite being a hard worker, is a very happy go lucky guy. Love it or hate it, he’s pretty much defined the atmosphere of the Mets clubhouse for years. I think the Mets miss that. His energy is something that’s missing with this team and hopefully when he comes back that energy is something he can rev people up with, get them confident and relaxed, and win some ballgames and maybe stop some of these mental errors.