We all share great memories of 1986. One that stands out for me was actually the pre-game show prior to Game 7. Red Sox 2nd basemen Marty Barrett was being interviewed. The reporter asked him if he felt confident the Sox could overcome the Mets miraculous comeback in Game 6. Barrett answered eloquently, in a politically correct way as athletes often do. Then at the end of the interview he added the comment, ‘We should win.’ However, there was confidence lacking in his voice. He looked at the reporter seeking agreement, reassurance. It wasn’t so much a defiant statement but rather almost a question. We should win. (Shouldn’t we?)
It was at that point I knew we would win Game 7. There was no doubt about it. Even when we trailed 3-0 in the middle innings, we all knew we’d prevail.
I’ve seen the Mets new slogan for 2010: We Believe in Comebacks. I saw the commercial with David and Johan and John Maine and Manuel. One by one they all take turns stating ‘We Believe in Comebacks.’ It makes me wonder. Do they? Do we? Or is this just another catch phrase by the Mets organization to dull our senses for another disappointing season?
Just a few years ago our slogan was ‘The Future is Now.’ Today we believe in comebacks. We went straight from talking about the future to talking about the past. The only thing missing was the present. “We believe in comebacks” is supposed to conjure up memories of recent past glory. But what recent glory have we had? 2008 when we lost on the last day of the season? 2007 when…oh yea, we lost on the last day of the season? Or 2006 when we lost in 7 games to an inferior Cardinals team?
How far have we fallen? Just take a look at what occurred on January 19th. Bengie Molina, who we had our sights on all winter, re-signed with the Giants. Many Mets fans, myself included, were fine with not acquiring him. But take a step back and look at the big picture. A 35 year-old catcher decided not to come play for us and stay in San Francisco for less money and a one year contract. When a 35 year old catcher accepts less money NOT to play here, what does that tell you?
We turned our focus to Ben Sheets. This is the same Ben Sheets who averaged only 148 IP from 06-08 before missing all of 09 with an elbow injury. Should we have handed over $10 million to Sheets? Maybe, but probably not. On the other hand look at it from his point of view. If you were coming back from an elbow injury would YOU trust your livelihood to this Mets organization? We don’t exactly have stellar success lately handling injured players.
We were promised that our pitching would be improved this winter. It hasn’t happened. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, John Lackey, Javy Vazquez, Joel Pineiro and Randy Wolf are all with new teams in 2010. And what have we done? Now we are going after 42 year-old ex-Brave John Smoltz?
We did just sign Gary Matthews JR, however. I would like to point out that’s Gary Matthews JUNIOR, not SENIOR. (With the Mets you never know.) This Gary Matthews is 35 years old and after wearing out his welcome with the Angels, he comes to New York with his .248 BA.
Just a few short years ago the Mets were the class of the NL, favored to win the pennant. The normally quiet Carlos Beltran proclaimed to the Phillies and the rest of the league that ‘We are the team to beat.’ Sadly, we have been beaten.
Several days ago on this very website, Joe D wrote a very interesting article debating who would be a better signing for us: Tatis or Ryan Garko. While it was a great article and garnered many valid points and comments, it displayed yet again how far this team, this club, this organization, has fallen. And really, how low our expectations are as Mets fans. Our main rivals, the Phillies, won the NL pennant but still found a way to add Roy Halladay and Placido Polanco. Our cross-town rivals won the World Series and found a way to add Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez. And here we are debating the pros and cons of Fernando Tatis, supposed to be enthused with the signing of a 35 year old outfielder and licking our chops at obtaining a 42 year old pitcher.
It seems like other teams, both in our division and in our city build winners. We simply look to fill holes and eat up innings.
Over a period of a few short years we seemed to be building a dynasty, acquiring some of the best players in the game. We signed 5 tool superstar Carlos Beltran, future Hall of Famers Pedro Martinez and Billy Wagner, RBI machine Carlos Delgado, the best LHP in the game in Johan Santana. When Wagner got injured we obtained Frankie Rodriguez following his historic season of 62 saves. Sure, many of these players came here for the money. But also they wanted to play for a winner, for a team that was heading in the right direction. Ask yourself this: Would these guys sign with us today? Would they do it again if they had to?
But it’s okay, though. We do believe in comebacks. After all, David and company say so. Perhaps we can add some Marty Barrett influence into the commercials also. We Believe in Comebacks. (Don’t We?)