Only Winning Can Keep Attendance From Declining

An article by posted on April 23, 2010

So here we are fifteen games into the season with a 7-9 record and finally winning our first series of the season against the Cubs. Optimists (a club of which I was a charter member) are still under the impression that the season is still in hand and that only minor changes are needed right now. While others who love the Mets equally feel that major changes are needed. My take is that although the season is still young, we are indeed looking at somewhat of a continuation of some “unresolved” issues from the last three years. Changing some of the faces have only met with minor improvements so I guess the question on the floor is “When is it time to do something?”

It is easy in life for one to take the passive approach and wait for something to click. Sometimes, generally speaking, that is a better approach than making the impetuous decision that costs you later. (See: Kazmir for Victor Zambrano) Patience is a virtue, no doubt. However, I question if this approach works best for this team. Look at everything that is transpiring and you be the judge.

1. The Bullpen Is Already Overworked. Oliver Perez and John Maine are the biggest culprits as to why this is happening. They routinely go five or six innings which has put a considerable strain on the pen. They were flirting with 12 straight innings of scoreless ball a little more than a week ago, but now things have changed for the worse. Igarashi is out with an injury. Stoner and Acosta are up. I honestly can’t recall one free agent reliever that was discussed that may have made enough of a difference.

2. Attendance Is In Decline. Game 3 of the Mets-Cubs game at the revamped Citi Field had an attendance of just 25,684 fans, the smallest crowd ever at this stadium. When the announcers are commenting on how empty the stadium is during their broadcast, something is definitely wrong. And I’m just going to put it out there. I love Ike Davis like the next fan does, but he alone can’t put butts in seats. Only wins can do that. Fans will eventually return to Citi Field, but after all that the Met fans have endured, even a returning Carlos Beltran (whenever that is) can’t make enough of a difference attendance-wise. The fan base needs more than even that. This is a problem that only real changes in the organization and of course more wins, can solve.

3. Silent Bats. It’s not just Jason Bay and David Wright, although they get most of the attention. Overall, the bats are quiet especially in crucial, potentially game changing situations. The amount of men being left on base is almost reminiscent of the last couple of years, proving in effect, that many things have not changed. I can’t help but think about HoJo and wonder how much can be attributed to him. Hard to not blame someone regarding this lack of consistent situational hitting.

4. Walks. All the Mets pitchers have a combined for nearly eighty walks which puts them at the top of the heap in both leagues.

5. Making The Right Calls. The Mets decision making perturbs fans nationwide. Bringing up Ike Davis was a great move. Sending Jake down was also a smart move. The Mets do make good decisions… but they also make too many bad ones as well and it’s those bad decisions that continue to set the organization back. It’s now clear that GMJ needs to be moved, released, or whatever you want to call it. Pagan has wowed us with his play as of late and deserves all of the playing time in centerfield. Why is Chris Carter not swinging that bat in Citi Field? No one can say that there’s no room for him. F-Mart and Nick Evans are tearing the cover off of the ball routinely. There’s always room for hitting up here. Clearly, no one else is doing it. Why not breath some fresh air into this ballclub? What’s the worst case scenario? More wins? What happens with LF if Bay’s hitting continues to be non-existent? Who backs up Ike at 1B if he stays up? How long will the present 2B situation remain as is?

It’s time to make the tough decisions. Think outside of the orange and blue box. What do we have to lose? Can it actually be get any worse than it was last season? The laughingstocks of the greatest city in the world?

I know that people are talking about changes at manager, but that’s not even close to being enough. The time has come for the Mets to step up and do whatever is needed to win. The fans deserve it and the sport of baseball literally needs it.

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