Opening day has come and gone. On the plus side the Mets have one of the best all time winning percentages in opening day games – and we all know how that has worked out over 50 years.
On the down side, it looks an awful lot like they could use today’s game as the oft referenced “microcosm” game for what looks like the inevitable 48th year of futility.
Pelfrey being hyped as ready to assume the mantle of staff “ace”? In reality, he would not legitimately be looked at as the ace of any number of college teams and most, if not all, minor league teams. He may end up having a serviceable Bobby Jones like career, and may turn out to be a serviceable 5th starter on a major league team, but he has never found a bat that he could not hit. He may get 27 people to hit the ball directly at fielders over a 3 hour period, but he can never be really good unless and until he can get HIMSELF out of trouble on occasion. This will not happen unless and UNTIL he learns to change speeds. Every pitch looks exactly the same. OK sometimes he has good movement. Sometimes he throws a heavy ball all game – but he never changes speeds. Hell, even if he couldn’t get people out with it he should learn to do it just to put something in a hitters mind.
Which brings me to the next problem. Who does Dan Warthen have pictures of in the Met’s organization. My guess is Jeff Wilpon. Can’t be any of the triumvirate. What are his qualifications as a pitching coach? At least Peterson had the whole kinetic research combined with psycho babble thing going – and some sort of strategy regarding the art of pitching. Hell Leo Mazzone is out there begging for a job. I know, I know, he doesn’t fit the mold as a speak when spoken to guy – but he sure knows how to be a pitching coach, with years and years of proven results. Is Warthen’s plan to have the pitchers pound the strike zone = which they still don/t do enough. Round up and develop 95 MPH pitchers and teach them secondary pitches? Seems it is more like the Mets 50 year plan – just throw as much crap against the wall as you can and hope something sticks.
It would be considered noble, heroic, insightful, moneyballish, whatever – watching a front office assemble a rag tag team of no names, cast offs, rule 5’s (come on 2 out of your 9 players on the field on opening day are rule 5 players), but this is New York. Even being the second city team in New York should make you a Billion Dollar Franchise. Not Northeast Kansas City.
Which brings us to the biggest problem. Ownership. There is no sympathy. They pocketed millions from Met fans – not counting Madoff’s money and what they knew or didn’t know. They always did just enough to act like they cared but never went all in like Steinbrenner. They never had the whatever it takes mentality like Steinbrenner and now the Red Sox and Phillies. Why? General principles? Good business skills – which we already know they do not possess? Why? Because you can only sell so many tickets and once you sell them all, or all you think you are going to sell in the best case scenario, you can stop trying to impress anybody, you can stop trying to win, you can stop spending or investing as there is no ROI left for you to squeeze out. The actual pennants, world series, winning and all that comes with that culture and reputation is not important to them-and never has been for the entire Mets history.
From the time they were born they were a joke, an attraction. They hired a guy Casey Stengel who by that time was a washed up carnival hawker and he toured the land with his Metsies, Metsies schtick and his fabulous one liners about why they drafted a catcher first in the expansion draft – your gonna need somebody to go get the balls. They were known point blank as lovable losers. And they marketed the hell out of it for all it was worth. And it lasted for 50 years.
1969 was a MIRACLE. No other way to describe it. No other explanation for it. But it happened and so did 1986. And that should have been enough to open somebody’s eyes to what could be. What should be. But it didn’t. Again, lovable losers that they are, ROI focused as ever, just getting into the Subway Series was enough. Winning it didn’t matter. Getting maybe one curveball away from the world series in 2006 insured the max ROI for the next 3 years minimum, and take out the unscripted colossal collapses in 2007 and 2008 and they would still be living off 2006. Just like SNY still lives off 1986 replays – and Yankee info and commercials. (could you ever imagine Steinbrenner allowing a David Wright commercial airing during a YES broadcast?) The Met’s don’t care about that kind of stuff. They care about the bottom line. Hell if the Yankees don’t pay them to run their commercials who else will?
Now having said all this, I always hated people who criticized for the sake of bitching and moaning alone. I always felt if you weren’t part of the solution, you were part of the problem. Or at least if you didn’t have any ideas on what the solutions should be – then shut the hell up.
In this case however, the answers are obvious and can no longer be ignored or tip-toed around.
Selig needs to have the Wilpons sell the team – immediately if not already in the process. Otherwise he needs to move up his date and leave tomorrow and let the next guy make them divest themselves of what should be the Pinta or Santa Maria of MLB, if not the Nina itself.
The front office needs to bring in all their own people. And not shopping in Filenes Basement. It is killing the Phillies they can’t go right after Michael Young to fill in at 2nd base. Of course, they paid more than the GNP of ¾ of the world for their starting rotation, and Howard and Utley. But don’t be shocked if they get desperate enough they don’t go ahead and get him anyway. It’s called doing whatever it takes.
Start selling high on players like Pagan, Pelfrey (based on last year), Reyes if he starts looking like his old self, Beltran to an AL team if he proves he can DH, and David Wright before he completely flops.
Trade these guys for aces, or potential aces, or potential all stars. Restock the farm with top talent. Get established talent. Reyes or Wright could have brought a Lincecum a few years ago. They can still bring monster packages from the Red Sox, Giants, Dodgers, etc. Move them. Move on. Rebuild in your own image and see what happens.
We have already seen what happens with 50 years of the wrong vision, or no vision whatsoever. And it ain’t pretty. Somebody has to lead the poor Met fans out of the desert. 50 years of futility is enough.
And if we can’t go to the mountain – then we should bring the mountain to them, in the form of balled up season ticket applications. Stop supporting the same people who make fools out of us year after year after year after year. Stop buying 6 game packages. Stop going to the games altogether. Stop watching them on SNY. Stop watching SNY. It is the only thing these people respond to and unless and until we show them we understand how they operate the vicious cycle will continue in perpetuity. And the best we could hope for is some sort of purgitory if not outright baseball fan hell.