“A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms, enthusiasms… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork… Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don’t field… what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? I’m goin’ out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins.”
If you saw the Untouchables movie, you know what came next. A bat to the skull of one of Capone’s hoods. It’s a thought that I have had a lot recently, mostly in part to the Mets slide which has them 7 1/2 games back in a division I was positive we would win by a nose. Can a baseball team win every game? I believe it’s impossible. If there was ever going to be an undefeated season for a baseball squad, those years have long past. The way that we are losing or, more aptly, being shut out of games is demeaning, demoralizing, and straight up embarrassing. It makes the team and the franchise look like pretenders and not contenders for a title. Is that true? Is that what the team is? If this is so, then much of the weight of responsibility goes on management. I’m already seeing a deluge of “Fire Jerry” and “Fire Omar” chants again but if we can’t fire the Wilpons, too, I fear that we may be facing the same dilemma somewhere down the line.
The players have to own it on the field and play up to their potential. I’ve grown to loath that word. Thanks, Omar. The managers have to implement a smart, winning formula to get the most from their players in preparation for and within game situations. The management has to ensure that the coaches and players they employ to do these jobs is capable and has the mindset, desire, and commitment to do said jobs. So where does the fault lie? Is it equal across the board? Is this a dysfunctional franchise by definition? Or is this a situation that can be resolved with an arm in the rotation, a hitter or two, and a few coaching changes? Or is this problem deeper?
I grew up as a New York sports fan and still have some of those tendencies to be frank. It’s hard for me to not look around and see how other franchises do business. They avoid all the turmoil that we have seen played out in the papers recently. They are never complacent and are always trying to improve their teams. If they make deals for prospects, they usually come out better than the other team. They draft well and they play solid baseball on the field more times than not.
I believe that getting another pitcher is simply a band-aid for a bigger problem. A coaching change might help, perhaps, instilling confidence and stability to a lineup crying for it for weeks. Players have even gone as far to talk to certain media about how they feel about the inconsistency in the lineup and why that may be causing them to press in their at-bats. Gee, you think? The best pitching we can acquire won’t matter if the offense can’t score more than two runs nightly. Our team has too many streaky hitters and that is disaster in a market that is demanding a winner in a town that already has one. Too many guys working under the “Potential Principle”. I have a serious knot in my stomach regarding the Wilpons and Omar being at the helm quite frankly. I don’t trust their ability to run this team the way it needs to be run to turn their misfortunes around, bring them back to major league status in New York City, and in the league as a whole. No conspiracy theories here but there is something wrong at the top. As long as that continues, the Mets may never see a World Title and that saddens me as a lifelong fan.
If you were an owner of a business/company that has consistently failed to meet goal, would you have the integrity to do what’s necessary even if it meant removing yourself from the equation? Not many would. One day very soon, I hope that we can see the kind of Mets baseball that will renew us again, restore our place in the city of New York, in the NL East, and in the league. What gives me joy? Seeing baseball, winning, competitive Mets baseball…