Visions of 2006 have cluttered my mind over the past three days. For much of the last eight months of baseball at Shea Stadium, the Metropolitans were a hollow vessel lacking a heart beat. They were there in body, looking quite lavish in their blue and orange uniforms, but it was quite evident that the hunger and drive to attain victory was lost somewhere along the way.
Was it the benching of Jose Reyes in mid-2007? The hanging Aaron Heilman change up taken into the dark night sky off of the bat of Yadier Molina? Over the course of the last season and a half of play, the Mets have become an enigma, one that I don’t believe anyone could solve. SNY has seemingly become the place to tune in to find the best soap opera on television lately. Each morning a new headline, a new controversy, and new negative outlook is cast upon our beloved Metsies.
Stating that Willie Randolph has taken the bulk of criticism for the teams underachieving and heartless efforts could be classified as the understatement of the year, and you wouldn’t get much of an argument. Though at a point I was indeed in favor of a managerial change, I’m not so certain it is imperative any longer. Hell, Randolph is one of the most classy, upstanding men you will find in this business, nobody can take that away from him. Facts are facts though, and the fact in this case is that managing the Mets to victory is in his underlying job description. If a shipping manager at UPS fails to have his deliveries out in a timely manner, he would be shown the door. Case in point, if Willie doesn’t tally up the W’s, I could not argue with the Wilpons decision to fire him, if it were ever to reach such a point.
However, in Randolph’s defense, the last three days have been an ominous reminder of what the Mets once were, and what they could be. The road to reaching .500 has served as a complete about face. Fun and excitement is again a daily element on the diamond. They’re playing loose and comfortable, and it has been displayed in their recent three game surge, following a disastrous 1-7 road voyage.
After having all but his head under water, and sinking fast, where is the credit being issued to Randolph now? Sure, I know, it’s only three games, lets not jump too far into optimism, but you cannot overlook the drive the squad has displayed lately, and I feel as though if Randolph warranted as much scrutiny as he received when Flushing was sitting at rock bottom, than he should be given some credit for their possible rise, hopefully it shall continue, all the way into first place, but one step at a time, don’t forget, a wise man once said, Rome was not built in a day.