The Recession, Unemployment And Swine Flu: Maybe We Can Blame That On Omar And Castillo Also
There once was a ballplayer. He ended the regular season without getting a hit in the final 9 games of the year. In spite of this, his team made it to the World Series. His hitting woes continued in the Fall Classic when he went hitless in every game, going 0-21, one of the worst Series performances ever. As a result, his team lost in 7 games. Perhaps one simple base hit would have garnered a Championship. It would have been easy to target this player and blame him and him alone for the Series loss. But that didn’t happen. Instead, Gil Hodges remained perhaps the most loved of all the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Now imagine if this had been 50+ years later and this was the Mets. Safe to say, Mets “fans” would have run this ‘bum’ out of town.
I am upset with why Mets fans must always pick out one single player to be our ‘whipping boy.’ It seems like each year we choose someone different to point a finger at and blame for everything that is wrong with this club. This is ridiculous. And somewhat embarrassing to real fans.
We collapsed in 2007 and immediately Willie Randolph had a bulls-eye on his back. It was clear that Willie and only Willie was to blame for all of our issues. Once we get rid of him, everything would surely turn around and we’d become winners. So, we fired Willie. We sent him packing, him and his 544 winning percentage (2nd highest in Mets history) and replaced him with Jerry Manuel. Surely now we would win. But wait. That didn’t happen. We collapsed yet again in September. I guess Willie was not the problem after all.
Next on our hit list was Aaron Heilman. It was clear that he and he alone was the root cause for our failed bullpen. The fact that Manuel overworked the pen was irrelevant. Yes, Heilman’s ERA was an awful 5.21. But Pedro Martinez had an ERA of 5.61. Yet, no one pointed a finger at Pedro. It was all the fault of Heilman and Heilman alone. Surely, once we get rid of him things will improve and we can become winners. So, with Heilman gone, the 2009 Mets went on to have the 12th worst ERA in the NL, 14th in strikeouts and 15th in walks allowed. Oh yes. And this was in Citi Field, a supposed pitchers park. I guess Heilman was not the problem after all.
Then, it became Omar’s turn. Yes, he has made some moves we disagree with but the positives far outweigh the negatives. This team is a lot stronger now then it was before he took over the GM role. With the exception of Frank Cashen, I can not think of a better GM in our history. I’m sure when the day comes when he is forced to leave, things will immediately improve, just like they did after we got rid of Randolph and Heilman.
And Luis Castillo? Luis Castillo??? You’ve got to be kidding. Do people–and supposed ‘fans’- really believe that Luis Castillo is what’s wrong with this team? We’ve had better. We’ve had worse. An upgrade at 2nd would be nice. But when I look at this team, I see many more pressing issues then getting rid of Luis Castillo. We have a huge hole at 1b. We don’t have any solid catching. Our bullpen needs some work and lets face facts: After Johan, our pitching stinks. Does anyone really believe that Mike (he has potential) Pelfrey, John ( 5 1/3 IP) Maine and Ollie (which Ollie will show up today) Perez really instill fear in Rollins, Utley and the rest of the National League Champions?
But yes, it’s all Luis Castillo’s fault. The fact that Castillo was 2nd on the team in Batting Average and Steals and 3rd on the team in OBP doesn’t mean a damn thing. It’s all his fault. Of course, he gets crucified for his defense. His fielding percentage was 982 and he made 11 errors. By comparison, our beloved David Wright had a fielding percentage of 950 and made 18 errors. Oh, there’s an idea. Maybe if we don’t win next year, we can put David Wright in the crosshairs. But that won’t happen. Once we get rid of Castillo, I’m sure everything will improve.
One thing that we seem to forget and that frequently gets overlooked is this: There are other teams out there. There are 29 other teams who want the same thing we do. Maybe we are not doing something wrong but rather they are doing something right. Maybe, just maybe, they are better then us and it’s no one’s fault.
There once was a ballplayer. Although fans loved him, he never truly mastered the strike zone. In his first 4 years, he walked only 96 times but whiffed 354 times–almost 4 strikeouts for every walk. He had a measly 308 OBP. These stats definitely leave something to be desired–Especially when you take into account that this guy was a lead-off hitter!!! Unacceptable. Imagine how different history would have been had ’fans’ run this guy out of town, too. He never would have been there in the 10th inning to hit that groundball to Buckner.
About the Author: Rob Silverman
It was 1973 when my dad introduced this 7 year old kid to Baseball and the Mets. It's been a love and passion that has lasted for 40 years, much longer than my first marriage. Since I was little, there've been 2 things I've always dreamed of: 1) Being a successful author and 2) playing right field for the Mets after Rusty Staub retired. Although 4 decades have passed and based on the current condition of the Mets, I have not given up on either dream
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