Today is June 15th and the NY Mets are currently 1 1/2 games out of first place in the division. Pre-season analysts regarded the 2010 Mets as a cellar team, questioning Omar Minaya’s lack of motivation during free agency and through the countless “On Paper” comparisons of this 2010 Mets team with the 2008 World Series Winning and 2009 World Series Losing Philadelphia Phillies. All in All, Mets fans were painted an uninspiring picture to look at even before the first pitch was thrown.
The first 1/3 of the season was anything but consisted, filled with peaks and valleys, winning streaks and losing streaks; the ability to label this team as a contender or pretender was apparently more difficult then pre-season predictions suggested. One thing that the 2010 Mets have been consistent at is winning at home, with a home record of 24-10 through 63 games. Even more surprising that their 14 games over 0.500 record at home, is the fact that the majority of these home victories have taken place in front of an unpacked Citi Field.
Baseball is an interesting sport in that I believe a Championship team is produce as a result of 3 contributing factors all coming together to produce a winning environment. These three factors are:
1) The Team – Team Chemistry, Overall Talent, Quality Reserves, Ability to Stay Healthy, Picking Each Other Up, Fighting and Battling through every game, Never Quitting on a Play, Staying In Contention
2) The Ownership – Ability to make Mid-Season Additions/Subtractions to aid the club for the second half and post-season
3) The Fans – In seat support of the team, create hostile environment for opposing teams, giving the ballpark it’s electricity!
As of June 15th, 2010 only one of these three factors have come through, that is the NY Mets, “The Team”. They have grinded through the tough blow outs, continually trying to battle back when behind. They have tacked on late inning runs to widen their lead and further ensuring a victory. They have had minor leaguer’s step up and produce. Fielders have picked up their Pitchers when they make bad pitches and the Pitchers have picked up the fielders when they have made fielding errors. The NY Mets as a team are holding their end of the bargain, that is keep within striking distance of making the post-season.
With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, soon it will be time for the second piece of the the “Mets Tri Force” to step up and do it’s part by retrieving the necessary players needed to succeed in the second half of the season as well as the post-season. The Team is doing their part by ensuring the Mets will be Buyers, not Sellers this July; and if I were Mets management, I would feel like I was sitting on a gold mine, where 1 or 2 good acquisitions could result in PAYDAY. I can understand it may be hard to extend faith to Mets management, it is no mystery that the Mets have shown empty pockets in previous years, or the ability to shoot itself in the foot by over-estimating it’s prospects value. Us Mets fans are put in the unfortunate position where we have very little influence on what moves the front office makes, or doesn’t make.
Or Do We…
Typically the third factor in the “Tri Force” usually comes into play during the stretch run when the Mets are a game or two in front or behind a spot for the post-season. Only then do the fans show up and try to motivate the team into producing on field miracles. But I believe for 2010, the “Fan Factor” must be used a lot earlier than it ever has before. I think the fan factor must be used now, in full force, before the trade deadline expires and before we lose out on obtaining that “Big” piece.
The 1962-2009 Met Fan attitude towards the front office and the fans desire to get big name players here is to not attend the games until management signs that big name player. Then once management signs the big name player, Mets fans flock to the ballpark in essence thanking management for making the move. Personally, I feel this is stupid, because it forces management to put tons of faith on it’s fan base to attend games after they acquire the big name player. This is bad because it combines a team oriented decision such as improving your ball club with a financial decision, such as can we afford to add this player if fans continue not to attend games. In essence, what ends up happening is both the fans and management end up hurting the ball club, basically by it’s lack of support and faith in each other.
What I am trying to suggest here for 2010 is a complete reversal to the traditional Mets Fan – Mets Ownership relationship. For decades the pattern has always been; first the team produces, then the management produces, then the fans show up. This must change, at least for this year if not here on out. I am suggesting that for 2010, the fans step up and show up in the 2-hole. The team came through and has produced to this point, now I think it is time for the Mets fans to do their part and start filling out Citi Field.
Think about it, for decades we, the fans, have sent the same message to Mets management year after year; that is, “Go get us those big name players or we won’t buy your tickets”. That is a terrible message to send to ownership, just as bad as if someone were to say “I will only buy them a present if they buy me one”. If I were management receiving this message year after year, I would not go after the big name players, because it is not worth the risk. I could get the biggest name pitcher or bat, and the fans might still not attend the games, so why take the financial risk or trading away cheap prospects for expensive big name players, when there is no guarantee that the fans will produce.
That is why for 2010, we the fans will change the message we send to ownership! We are going to take the first step, we are going to show the Wilpons and Minaya that they can count on us for ticket sales and concessions and merchandise. We are going to send the message:
“Hey Freddy, Hey Omar, We Got This One. Here is your motivation to sign that big name starting pitcher. We are going to fill Citi Field for the remainder or June and July to give you the financial security you need to make a big move for our team”.
Let us fans do our part now! Let us make the decision for management to do nothing almost impossible. How could management not make a move when the team is thriving, and the ballpark is packed to capacity!
I am asking all Mets fans to take a leap of faith with me, just this once. If management lets us down, I will never ask this from the fans ever again, but my gut and my heart tell me that if we make the first move, if we fill those seats between now and trade deadline holding signs exclaiming “Ok Freddy, the fans are doing their part, now it’s your time to produce”; I think the message will be received and in the end, the fans, the team, and ownership can all win by being rewarded with a World Series Trophy.