It’s time to face some hard, cold facts. This season has, thus far, been a source of huge let downs and disappointments for both Mets fans and players alike. With the exception of an occasional bright spot, 2008 has been an unending deluge of heartache and frustration. Almost since Opening Day it has become clear that it would not be a cakewalk to the post-season. I have constantly heard the same comments repeated over and over again. On web sites, on message boards, on blogs and from fellow Mets fans I have seen the same sentiment expressed: The Mets are too good of a team to be playing this poorly.
I am regretfully starting to wonder if maybe we are not that good. Perhaps, this team is not the perennial powerhouse we expected. Maybe the players themselves are not the superstars they think they are. With the arrival of Johan Santana, many fans, myself included, thought 2008 was the start of a new dynasty. However, to paraphrase Mark Twain, it appears that such rumors have been greatly exaggerated.
The casual baseball observer frequently comments that the season is ‘too long.’ They remark that it’s hard to stay interested for six months. However, I tend to disagree. The 162 game season is one of the game’s strengths. One of the beautiful attributes about the grand ol’ game is the fact that no matter what, the worst team in the league is pretty much guaranteed to win 50 games. On the flip side, the best team in the league will lose between 50 and 60 games. Even our beloved 86 Mets, the team we all hold so close to our hearts, lost 54 games. When one thinks back to a pitching staff of Doc, Ojeda, Ron Darling and El Sid and hitters such as Keith, Gary, Darryl, Nails, Wally, Mookie, Ray Knight and Kevin Mitchell, it’s hard to fathom that even these guys lost 1 out of every 3 games. But they did.
The worst team can get hot for a stretch and resemble the 27 Yankees. The best team can go through a streak and play like the 62 Mets. However, it’s over the long haul when one can get a true feeling for a team’s ability and a team’s character. For far too long a stretch of time, the Mets have performed at a less than impressive caliber of play. For almost the last season and a half, our Mets have complied a decent record of 120 wins and 108 losses. Not bad, but not spectacular either. Definitely not the numbers one expects from an up and coming ‘dynasty.’ Starting on September 14 through Friday nights 7-1 victory, a span of 83 games, the Mets have an unimpressive record of 37-46. Going back a little bit further to late August, we have won only 47 of the last 99 games. This team has played average at best for a very long period of time. One has to wonder how good we really are. Even since the closed door meeting between Willie, Omar and the Wilpon’s, nothing has changed. Despite the brief surge in hitting, the fire that our team displayed was quickly extinguished in San Diego. Since that fateful Monday meeting, the Mets have once again displayed nothing more than complete and total mediocrity by displaying a 9-9 record.
No matter what the remainder of this season brings, I will never stop my allegiance to the Mets. I have been there for the World Championships, for the National League pennants and for the post-season appearances. But I also survived the dark days where we lost at or near 100 games year in and year out and Lee Mazzilli batted in the same spot as Carlos Beltran. I do hope that somehow, someway, things will turn around for these next 96 games. Sadly, my pessimism is growing and I find myself wondering what we need to do improve for the 09 season. We have a great foundation of young talent to build upon but I think it’s time for these Mets to step up and show what they are made of. The excuses need to stop and the victories need to hopefully start.