(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
Just for the record, baseball is not like football and the New York Mets are not like the New York Jets.
So when you are 2-5, the Jets need to win their eighth game.
The Mets…well not so much.
But after losing four in a row and staring a 1-5 home stand in the face, there was manager Terry Collins bringing in Jureys Familia with one out in the eighth to get the five-out save.
“I talked to him before the game,” Collins said. “You saw right at the end, he reached back and got a little extra. This is a game we had to have. You couldn’t sacrifice another game and he was the man.”
Great. The Mets are now 3-5 with 154 games to go. On April 13, it became must win time.
Apparently “Panic City” moved from the stands and into the dugout at Citi Field.
When Collins was asked about this after the game, he said he felt it was necessary for the club to end this six game set on a win. If fact it was imperative. Besides using Familia in the eighth, he started David Wright in a day game after a night match, used Jim Henderson in the seventh after throwing 34 pitches last night and Hansel Robles, who was supposed to get some rest today.
Collins has been around here long enough to see how everything plays out in New York, but this is the first time he has been given expectations to win. It’s unknown if the skipper felt some heat from upper management, but he did admit to reading what was put in the papers the past few days.
“I’m not deaf and I’m not blind,” he said. “I see how people are reacting and I see what’s going on. I’m not like other managers. I read your stuff. I read between the lines of what is being said. This team is as dedicated this year as it was last year. We got off to a slow start. It happens. It’s part of the game. It was important for us today for our fan base to stay excited, so it’s important for us to win.”
Does Collins actually expect a fan revolt as he travels to Cleveland if the Mets were 2-6? Would there be protests outside Citi Field and fans burning tickets?
The bottom line here is this, even if the Mets fall to 10 games under .500 before the end of April, they are in pretty good shape. Their staff if the envy of baseball, tickets sales are way up, and the club should be pretty profitable for the immediate future.
Even Collins has a nice contract, so even if the Mets fire him, he should be set.
So this just doesn’t make sense, unless the organization just doesn’t know how to relish in success. After being beaten down since 2007, it may be hard for Mets to just accept the highs and lows of the season. Like someone who was burned time and time again with a loved one, the club could just be shell shocked when it comes to the relationship with their fan base.
A little losing and the fans will run for the hills could be the thought.
“I am not worried about the confidence,” Collins said. “The perception is that there is no energy here. That’s completely not true. It’s that we are overconfident or that we are not taking things seriously. I heard that last night and it made me sick to my stomach. That this team, after what they accomplished last year, would have any semblance of that type of makeup. So I said we had to win this game today. That’s why I did that with Jureys today and if I have to give him a couple of days off, I will do it. People need to understand that we go out there to win. We care and we are trying to get this thing going with our outstanding pitching, but I feel that we had to win this today.”
I guess mission accomplished, but what happens if the Mets don’t play well during the next nine games on the road. Does Collins do this again when they come home against the Reds?
He said he “doesn’t like drama” and the media relishes in it, but today’s game will surely keep that perception going along.