Posted on: January 22, 2010 3:12 pm
So, after a very, very long hiatus from posting in any fashion on CBSSports.com, enduring the past year and a half as a Mets fan, and reading the posts of Mets fans who somehow feel entitled to a world championship, I've come to the conclusion that there is a severe lack of trust in the Mets ownership.
First of all, you have the shortfall of the 2006 Mets, who shockingly fell a basehit short of advancing to the World Series to face the uninspiring Detroit Tigers; then there's the choking episodes that were September 2007 & 08; and last but not least, the injury-riddled, depleted Mets of 2009. Man, it seems like eons ago that the Mets were taking everyone in the National League behind the woodshed and smashing their opponents. Admittedly, 2006 seems like 1986. Looking to start fresh, the Mets have a few of the stars on the mend in John Maine, Jose B. Reyes, Oliver Perez (who also needs a few other methods of rehab), David Wright and Carlos Beltran...so we think. The new year came in, and Mets fans, still wallowing in the 3-year stench of Mets-fandom, finally have something bright to look forward to, especially after the Jason Bay signing and then, "POOF!!!" Carlos Beltran will miss the next 3-4 months with surgery, the Mets pitching rotation still needs surgery, and all of a sudden, the Met fan's psyche becomes broken and needs surgery. So what do the Mets do to compensate? They trade Brian Stokes, a middle-of-the-road reliever to the Anaheim Angels for Gary Matthews Jr. Given Angel Pagan's energy, I think Sarge Jr. will do just fine to balance things out in centerfield while Beltran is away.
What I don't get is how every move the Mets make is criticized? I mean, sure, the Mets have gone from powerhouse to pariah in just 3 years! I can understand the fan's frustration, but can we give this thing some time? The Mets aren't exactly the Yankees, and remember that for all of the success the Phillies have had of late, they were always nipping at the heels of the Mets....for years! Let's just walk away from this whole thing as fans and realize that there is parity in baseball, and that the Mets will not contend every year although we expect them to compete. Every move Omar makes (think what you want about him) is made in the best interests of the team...they have to be, I mean he has a family to feed too, right? You think anyone in their right mind, regardless of how much they make, is going to sabotage their job? I don't think so. Give Minaya some credit...he hasn't traded away the farm, he hasn't signed any over-the-hill veterans a la Moises Alou or Mo Vaughn (*cough...Steve Phillips) this offseason, so lay off. The free agent class this winter has been uninspiring at best, so for Omar to stand pat this winter has been good for us. So what, we don't win the headline war in New York? Last I checked, those wins have no bearing on a world championship, so what difference does making the Yankees look like 'stiffs' in the paper make? It's still early, January to be exact, and pitcher and catchers report in just under a month. When April comes around, and everything that matters is happening on the field, then I'll be critical. Until then, the front office is doing what they can to make the Mets competitive. They may seem inept, disconnected from its fanbase and for what it's worth, "disenfranchised" (no pun intended), but the Mets will be back soon...bank on that!
Posted on: December 11, 2008 1:23 pm
I've come to realize how much sports fans (Mets and Phillies fans in particular) are tokens. We are all tokens. If you're a huge fan like me, you read the blogs, the papers and surf the internet especially during the offseason for news and rumors that could make or break your team's upcoming season. The Winter Meetings only intensify the habit. I've been a Mets fan all my life. I rooted for Darryl Strawberry and had a huge poster of Doc Gooden and his high leg kick hanging from the wall as a kid. I learned the history of the Mets from the fact that they built Shea Stadium on a swamp (and that the day before it opened in 1964, there was a terrible sewage leak in the basement) to the fact that Ryan Church made the last official out in the stadium's history. I am a token Mets fan. I went to my first Mets game as a sixth grader, worked there as a vendor during my senior year in high school and dreamed of being a future draft pick of my beloved 'Amazins'. I sift through all those rumors, and hang on every word the journalists spew about what the Mets are, aren't, should and should not be doing. I repeat, I am a token. I admit it. I've come to grips with it.
That said, when it comes to the Mets/Phillies rivalry, I could care less. What's more, I could really care less about what the Phillies are doing. I appreciate their fortitude and combination of offensive and bullpen depth. I appreciate the hunger they brought to the table down the stretch the last two years. After over 100 years of ineptitude (much longer than the ineptitude of my beloved Mets mind you), I have no problem saying that the Phillies are the 2008 World Champions. Congratulations are in order. After overtaking the Mets during another September slide, they deserve it regardless of how it happened. Truthfully, I was rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays, not because I dislike the Phillies, but because I am a fan of B.J. Upton and the youthful exuberance his team displays.
Nevertheless for what it's worth, it's the media that builds this hype about a rivalry between the Mets and Phillies. Truth be told, these two franchises have only been relevent in playoff and division championship talk for the last two or three years. If my memory serves me correctly, the Atlanta Braves of the last decade and a half coupled with the surprising Florida Marlins every now and again dominated the division. Now, all because Carlos Beltran proclaims at the beginning of 2007 that his Mets are 'the team to beat', they are suddenly rivals with the Phillies? If you recall, the Mets were a base hit away from the World Series the October before. After the Mets' thrashing of the Dodgers in the NLDS and the see-saw battle against the 80-something win Cardinals in the LCS, what else was he supposed to say? The team had virtually the same pieces in place going into that season, so another season of dominance wasn't totally out of the question. Let's not forget that they steamrolled the National League competition that year. Let's be realistic though. When the Phillies were swept out of the playoffs to conclude the 2007 season, their team went without any major moves to speak of and Jimmy Rollins made the same claim as Beltran during Spring Training the following year. This was 2008 mind you; and he was right, but they eventually had to go through the Mets just as Beltran had stated the year before.The Mets were in fact the team to beat in the NL East. The Phillies had to go through the Mets in both 2007 and 2008 to win the NL East. Regardless of how it happened collapse and all, this is a fact. Perhaps the Mets didn't dominate the way they did in 2006, but the fact is, they held onto first place in the division for quite some time until September doomed them.
So what does this all have to do with being a token fan? Let me explain....The media loves to conjure up the fact that the Marlins were energized to beat the Mets on the last two weekends of the season in 2007 and 2008 because they were annoyed with all the dancing and choreographed elaborate celebrations. And the Marlins, Phillies and Mets fans feed into it. Phillies fans detest the Mets...and their fans because of the media's force-fed perception of cockiness. If anything, New York is a major market, so both New York clubs despite the fact the media also plays these two franchises against each other as well (there is hardly a comparison) is well equipped to make splashes in the free agent market, like it or not. It no fault of the Mets organization or their fans that the Phillies aren't capable of spending the way the Yankees and Mets do. Yes, one could argue that the Phillies won this last World Series on the basis of developing their own players; the Mets and Yankees for better or worse use their farm for the purpose of importing high ranking free agents. Lets face it, that's how it always has been. Will it continue, the state of the economy forces us to think otherwise, but really, can you be mad at the Yankees for doling out exorbitant contracts to C.C. Sabathia, Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett? If they have the resources and the gall, nope. Fans of their rivals can only envy. But don't hate them because of it. And certainly don't allow the media to build up hate for a franchise that can do more than yours. Heck, why don't the Royals hate the Yankees? Or the Pirates hate the Mets? Because they know their limitations. So what Jose B. Reyes dances? Phillies, Marlins and Nationals fans had better get ready to take a leap off the upper deck after K-Rod converts a save. He's definitely more demonstrative than Reyes.
So give me a break NL East fans, cut the rivalry nonsense. Can the Phillies and Mets compete with one another?Of course they can; the last two years has proven that. But don't become a token and allow the media to add hype to Carlos Beltran and Jimmy Rollins' statements made in jest a few offseasons ago to cloud up the intensity that the major league baseball season will produce in this division for years to come.
Posted on: June 3, 2008 4:38 pm
So I'm reading this post on Dana Brand's blog at http://metsfanbook.com/blog/; and I was intrigued about his post on Willie Randolph. I thought it was an excellent article, a must read; and so, I thought I'd post it here for all the "Willie Haters" out there who also call themselves Mets fans. Here it goes, and by the way Dana Brand, good job!!!
Obviously, Willie should not have said what he said.
You’d have to be naïve to believe that racism doesn’t play a part, for some people, in the anger and bitterness that has been directed at Willie Randolph lately. But you’d have to be terribly unfair to think that it’s a prominent reason. Mets fans, after the historic choke of last season and the mediocre beginning of this one, have a sense that their team lacks fire and direction. In a situation like this, it’s perfectly plausible to blame the man who is supposed to lead and set the tone for the team. Any manager with a laid back manner and a controversial managerial style is going to get crap from the fans in a situation like this. Ask Art Howe. Race is not the main issue.
And what is this with SNY? Sure they put the camera on him when something bad happens. That’s the way news coverage and sports coverage works. He knows that. And Gary, Keith, and Ron are wonderfully respectful towards Willie. How would he like it if Tim McCarver was back in our booth second-guessing all his moves?
And how about this timing? Finally the air is cleared after the Mets have a meeting and decide not to be distracted by off-the-field stuff. Finally they get their heads together to play up to their potential and clobber the Yankees. All attention is on our opportunity to beat the Braves right after beating the Yankees. And then before you can blink, we’re all back in the media stew. We’re not in the glorious green world of the ballpark. We’re in the jam on the LIE, listening to Mike and the Mad Dog in an endless loop. What a complete and total bummer.
Willie must have known that this was not the time to say what he said. Why would someone who hates off-the-field distractions want to go out and create a big one at the wrongest moment imaginable? There’s only one answer to this question.
Willie must have meant it.
You know how sometimes you’re having a fight with someone and everybody’s finally calmed down and things are all right and then you just can’t help but say something that shows how hurt you were that the other person said what they said before things calmed down? I think this happened here. I don’t think that Willie thinks that racism is the big issue. But my guess is that he can’t help but feel as if it is. I think that like most African-Americans, Willie has had to deal all his life with people who just don’t like him for some reason and don’t want to give him a chance. And I think that when you’ve had to deal with crap like that, it is sometimes hard to put things in perspective when you are suddenly the object of so much intense hostility, when you’ve been doing your job with a pretty fair amount of success for three years. If you’ve looked at the Internet boards and if you’ve listened to the radio, you know how over-the-top the blame-Willie, we-hate-Willie stuff has been. I know this stuff is not necessarily racist. I know it just bubbles up out of the angst of being a Mets fan at this particular moment. But what may be happening is that Willie is mistaking one kind of unfair hostility towards him with another. That may not be fair of him, but I can certainly understand why he feels this way.
The problem, coincidentally, is the same problem Tom Glavine identified at the end of last year in a statement he certainly should not have made. When he said that he was disappointed and not devastated (as we were) to lose the last game of the season in the first inning, he was trying to tell us to back off, to understand that baseball is only a game. This comment was foolish. Tom should have known how much that last game meant to Mets fans, and he should have been devastated, and not merely disappointed. But I can understand where people like Tom and Willie are coming from. They must wonder: how can all of these strangers be so emotionally involved in what happens as I try my best to do my job? Why, if I look as if I’m screwing up, do they actually go so far as to hate me? It’s a reasonable question, but it’s also kind of a dumb question. That’s what this thing is. Baseball is something a baseball fan is passionate about. Sometimes our passion will come after you guys and sometimes it will look like some of the worst things in the world. At other times our passion will lift you to the heavens.
Everybody’s going to be talking for the next couple of days about how unfair and unwise Willie’s comments were. The game I’m watching right now is not going well, so it’s not going to save us. What I’d really like is if in addition to talking about how unfair Willie was, we also recognize something about the anguish that would have prompted him to say what he shouldn’t have said. It must not be easy for these guys, no matter how much money they make or glory they get. Yeah, they should put up with it, yeah, heat, kitchen all that stuff. Yeah, and they’re human beings too.
We should treat them with some understanding. And they should understand where we’re coming from. It is true that baseball is just a game, that it isn’t real. But that’s like saying American Idol isn’t real, or Harry Potter. The statement is true, in the most obvious and literal way. But it ‘s not true.
Posted on: May 27, 2008 5:30 pm
The last time Willie Randolph wore a Mets jersey and actually had something to do with the physical outcome of the game, Eddie Murray was his first baseman, Vince Coleman patrolled center field and Gary Templeton was his double-play partner. Heck, even if I'm wrong on identifying some of his former Mets teammates, one thing is certain: he is far removed from fielding groundballs, hitting in the clutch, driving in crucial runs in scoring position and giving a quality start on the mound. Those responsibilities lie in the hands of John Maine, Oliver Perez, David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado to name a few. All of these guys (not Randolph) are responsible for what happened last year, and consequently what is going on now. That is why he wasn't fired yesterday; and for good reason.
Should he be blamed for the regular meltdowns suffered by the bullpen? Nope. When your starting pitching with the exception of Johan Santana routinely gives you 5-6 innings; and throws 100+ pitches in the process, your bullpen will run the risk of getting worn out. I didn't realize it was Willie Randolph's fault that Oliver Perez seemingly 'spazzes out' once he reaches the 5th inning of every start and that Mike Pelfrey can't seem to find the strike zone with a 4-seam fastball. Should he be blamed for runners in scoring position not scoring? Nope. When you have runners at second and third with one out, how in the world is it Randolph's fault when Carlos Delgado has a bat in his hand and he strikes out and Brian Schneider follows him with an inning ending groundout to first? Where are the knowledgeable baseball fans who understand that it's the player's responsibility to earn their money and play the game with passion; and the manager's duty to make the most out of a team he is given by the ownership and general manager?
You see, when the Yankees were winning their championships, Joe Torre (whose demeanor is eerily similar to Randolph's...how ironic) was praised and ultimately reached the level in some fans' eyes as a hall of fame-caliber manager. When the Yankees started off slow last season however, most fans called for his head too...that is until the Yankees went on a winning streak and stormed into the playoffs. I'm not saying that the Mets will do the same, though I hope they do; what I am saying though is that I am growing sick and tired of the less than educated baseball fans....and media types (Mike and the Mad Dog included), who coincidentally look like bandwagon Mets fans. When the Mets were terrible in the 90's, where were the Mets fans, and why weren't they calling for the jobs of Jeff Torborg and Dallas Green? I wonder if its because they aren't aware of the fact that these two guys even managed the team?
The Mets are relevant now, and all of a sudden, everyone has an opinion. I wonder if we performed to the best of our ability with the resources we had on our jobs if the outsiders who though otherwise would be privy to call for our jobs? Why, I sure wouldn't take too kindly to it. No one knows what it takes to do the job that Willie is doing better than Willie himself. I dare any reader of this entry to challenge me on that one. Unless you have managed a professional sports team in a major sports market like New York, you have absolutely no clue; so instead of calling for the man's job and questioning every move he makes, be a real fan and follow the team whether they perform poorly or not. That's what a fan is anyway, right? A fanatic. If not, follow the Yankees. They're supposedly the better team in the city. Last I checked they were in last place. The Mets are two games under .500 and 6 games out of first. We haven't even reached the All-Star break, and all of a sudden it's doom and gloom.
Real baseball fans and people who have played the game at least until college will tell you that baseball is a game of streaks and that it will humble you. You can be hot one week, and totally bomb another. All the drive time alarmists and hype-driven bloggers out there probably wouldn't understand that though. Carlos Beltran was asked if he thought Willie should have been fired. He said that it wasn't his decision to make....and it isn't! His job is to play centerfield, not decide who manages or not. The media (as assinine as they are...ESPN included) takes his response to mean that he's not supportive of Willie Randolph. What, because he didn't come out and say that he 'loves' playing for Willie Randolph means that he isn't supportive? Fans, stop feeding into the media innuendo. We're smarter than that! The media knows that fans feed on their words because they're supposed to be the experts and have the inside scoop. That's not what he said. David Wright said that it's not Willie's job to win ballgames. Carlos Delgado was even turned off by the ignorant questioning of the media (he was asked a similar question to Beltran's). Be supportive of the team. The Mets are talented; and yes the ownership raised ticket prices, but still, what happened to being fans of the second place team in New York? That's what the Mets were before 2005. That's what they were in 2000 when they lost the World Series to their crosstown neighbors. That's what they were in the 1990's; and even when Steve Phillips (an ESPN homer) and Jim Duquette ran the team. Remember the Scott Kazmir/Victor Zambrano trade? That's something to be upset about....not a team that's still in the thick of a division race that no one is going to run away with.
I've followed the Mets since I was a third grader. If I remember correctly, they were horrible then. I was laughed at for even following them. Now, they've come one game short of the World Series; and missed the division title and playoffs by one game and all of a sudden everyone cares. Give me a break! Willie, on behalf of all the real Mets fans, those who have a clue...you have my support. I can't relate to what you're going through as a manager of this team, but I'm still a Mets fan, so I'll be rooting for you! Let's Go, Mets!!!
Posted on: May 2, 2008 3:15 pm
Like you, I believe Heilman will be fine. However, I must disagree with you...and everyone else who suggests that Willie Randolph misuses the bullpen. My argument is: what options does he have realistically when 4 out of 5 of the starters routinely fail to pitch beyond the 5th inning? The bullpen isn't misused. It's fatigued from having to clean up the mess of Oliver Perez, who tanked it versus the Pirates, John Maine, who threw 109 pitches...109!!! in 5 innings against the Cubs; Nelson Figueroa, who has been a revelation only because he hasn't pitched in the bigs in like 4 years and the league hasn't caught up to him yet; and Mike Pelfrey, who has been okay but not lights out by any stretch.
It's also no coincidence that Billy Wagner 'called out' Perez this week. Wagner understands that you can't keep parading your guys from the bullpen into games on a nightly basis. Your starters are expected to go at least 6-7 innings a start. The only one to do that regularly so far has been our $135 million dollar stud, Johan Santana; and even though in his last start he pitched like 5 1/3 innings against the Pirates, at least he battled and kept the Mets in the game. Oliver Perez walked like 5 guys in an inning, and everyone gets on Luis Castillo for making a key error and Jose Reyes for not covering second on a run down, but if your pitcher is throwing consistent strikes, your defense stays in the game. The Mets were down by 7 before anyone could get settled into their seats! How does one realistically expect an offense to power up against any major league team (even the lowly Pirates) when you're down 7 runs by the bottom of the second inning? That game reminded me of the last game of last season. The Mets weren't undone because of a lack of focus. They were 'out of it' because their starter didn't give them a chance from the outset to be in the game.
Let's be real Mets fans, stop the booing the team and calling for Randolph's head on a platter. The Mets aren't getting it done on the field for a variety of reasons. Pitching (starting and bullpen) and offense. When Ryan Church is your biggest offensive weapon when you have guys who talent-wise are exponentially better, there's a problem.
Posted on: February 16, 2008 10:13 pm
You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Seems like the Mets can't catch a break these days. When the Mets went out of their minds in '06 and put a whoopin' on everyone in the NL, out came the haters. When the Mets 'choked' as Met-haters like to call it in 2007, all was good in the rest of the NL East. Now that Johan Santana is in tow, representing the 'ace' the Mets needed, all of a sudden I'm hearing things like: "I hope Johan AND Pedro get injured", "The Mets still aren't that good", "The Mets still have questions", etc.
Well, I have a question: Why can't the fans of other teams just concede the fact that the Mets got what they needed in Johan, and now it's going to be a competitive season in the NL East? If Johan happened upon any other team in the league, I'd be disappointed, but not hateful of that team. I'd simply wonder why management didn't do what they needed to do to get him, and express hope that either Livan Hernandez or Kyle (I'm still not signed) Lohse could help the Mets get back to winning ball games. I'm not saying one has to renounce his allegiance to their team (though joining the Mets bandwagon at this point may still be permissible), but 'geez', the Mets need for an ace was obvious in 2006 and 2007. If they had one, you can bet they would have easily beaten the Cardinals in '06; and they sure wouldn't have given, yes given the division over to the Phillies on the last day of last season. But, I don't have to think about that because Johan is down in Port St. Lucie iat this moment as a member of, and working out with the Mets...and will be for the next 7 years.
Now that they've got an ace, LOOK OUT! The offense is more or less the same as it was last season (pretty potent), and everyone in the starting rotation is moving back a slot for Johan. Pedro is just as good if not better than any #2 in the league, John Maine and Oliver Perez as the Mets' third and fourth starter (remember both had 15 wins); and El Duque, the Mets' best starter last season regardless of how old we all speculate he is, is the fifth starter. What a luxury. The bullpen is going to be stronger and more defined not only because of Johan's presence in the rotation, but because Duaner Sanchez is healthy. The bench is deep; and everyone who was with the club in September is going to be playing this season with a huge chip on their shoulder. Note to the rest of the league: this season isn't about adding Johan Santana as much as it is about the Mets getting back to playing the kind of baseball they were playing two years ago when they were thrashing everyone in sight!
Just when you think all that is too much, Carlos Beltran goes out today and tells some reporter to "Tell Jimmy Rollins the Mets are the team to beat". Carlos Beltran??? On what side of the bed did he wake up this morning? Usually humble and reserved, Beltran must know something we don't: The Mets are hungry for revenge, they've have heard all the mess being talked about them this winter; and everything's in place to resume whipping the crap out of everyone in sight. If there weren't enough Met-haters before this, certainly there are a slew more now.....especially those living near Citizen's Bank Park.
It's going to be a great season. For all those who questioned the Mets' leadership in the clubhouse, I think we've found it....and his name is Carlos Beltran.
Let's go, Mets!!!
Posted on: January 28, 2008 5:33 pm