To Panic or Not To Panic: Notes from an Increasingly Confused Fan

An article by posted on May 20, 2009

 The usual rule of thumb is Memorial Day weekend. Two months of baseball in should give an attentive and analytic fan a good sense of where his Mets are headed. We are now a game out of first as we try desperately to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers, having completed three days of atrocious play mentally, physically—fundamentally!

We head into Memorial Day weekend facing the elite Red Sox. A test? Well, it certainly will be that, but more importantly the three games will show us what kind of resolve a beleaguered and injury-rife team has. If we continuing losing, should we abandon all hope? Of course, not, but if we lose we need to face up to the fact that constant tinkering with this amorphous roster most likely isn’t the answer.

Like a lot of us, I tend to be pretty doggone reactionary when it comes to the results of a game—that is, in the strict sense. Murphy or Church goofs up, and I want them 86ed tout suite. My Metsies no sooner lose a game than I am beside myself wondering how it will be possible for them to ever win another one. Irrational? I know lots of you feel the exact same way. Do I need to say that the Mets have dashed our expectations way, way more often than they’ve ever fulfilled or exceeded them? I didn’t think so, but I posed the question anyway.

Lately, I have been so angry and frustrated because I basically cannot get any sort of a grip on what I would think would be a kind of program or master plan. It’s clear, for example, that we’re not hitting homers; I was sure we would hit lots. Now Delgado is gone and with him goes one of the only true feared power hitters on the team. But we have to regroup and do everything better and more intensively than with him in the lineup.

I feel as if I’m being driven insane because of the GM and manager tinkering with the roster and the call ups with each game. I never have any idea who’s on first, second, who’s playing left, right, why a reliever is inserted in a variety of bad situations/match ups, and who pinch hits at crucial moments. The kinds of egregious errors we’ve seen of late cannot be blamed on Minaya or Manuel, though we could consider them enablers. The managerial decisions I cannot stomach are the ones that include the call up of scrubs, such as Ramon Martinez. This is what the system offers us? It’s a bad joke, plain and simple. Furthermore, people such as Pagan, Reed, and Murphy really will not cut it as all-around, everyday players. No way, no how. Having said that, it’s obvious now that Murphy should never be in the OF—NEVER. Why wouldn’t a manager at least switch Reed and Murphy if these guys are necessary to an at least temporary everyday lineup. Even if we posit that the tinkering/shuffling—call it as you wish—are unavoidable when a given role player doesn’t perform, then it certainly would seem to be the case that this has to be stopped in favor of consistency at some point before long. 

With all of this G-D experimenting, how about a ten-day experiment of a stable, consistent lineup. My proposal for a ten-day stretch is the following: 

Reyes—SS
Church—RF
Beltran—CF
Sheffield—LF
Wright—3B
Murphy—1B
Santos—C
Castillo-2B

If this fails to produce, Cora will replace Castillo, Pagan will replace Sheff (start using him to relieve Sheff in any case), and Tatis will replace Murphy. If an when Schneider ever comes off the DL, it is time to deal Shrek—not a gamer! And you all thought Schneider was so dispensable. Ha!

Let’s Go Mets!!!

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